Braving the Covid-19 Pandemic – Testimonial of Isaiah S. Cabañero from the ICOMOS Internship Program

My internship at ICOMOS Philippines was a unique one, to say the least. Despite the COVID-19 global health crisis and community quarantine measures in the Philippines, the internship experience at the organization, although entirely conducted remotely and facilitated online, have been for me more than educational and worthwhile. For three months, I worked and was still able to be exposed sufficiently to the different facets of both the heritage work and movement here in the Philippines, as well as to the nature of heritage-related organizational work here and abroad.

One of the first projects I worked on for the organization is the continuation of a study on the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP). Primarily, my task was to gather more substantial information on the ways and systems of local government units in accomplishing their annual listings for the PRECUP; and to know whether there are gaps in the processes in which ICOMOS, or the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) itself, could intervene at to help resolve the problem for the better.

Fortunate are those LGUs whose government leaders and local communities advocate hand-in-hand and work proactively for the appreciation, preservation, and conservation of their local cultural properties and heritage; but for the rest where perhaps what is present is simply haste and the mere mindset of compliance to just do the work, more attention from the NCCA and its allied agencies must be channeled towards these localities for continued education and co-creation of local cultural knowledge of their heritage, as well as direct assistance, in both the technical and logistical aspects of the work.

From this learning experience, I find myself at present gradually working hand-in-hand with local coffee farming ati communities close to home, as I begin to re-learn and better understand the unique local context these communities have lived in both the past and in the present in securing the continuance of their traditions and survival of their community identity in this rapidly urbanizing world, all towards hopefully achieving a shared appreciation of their local culture and, ultimately, the preservation of this local indigenous Filipino heritage.

For interested students or new graduates who would like to take internship with the organization, please contact info@icomosphilippines.com