Last July 18, 2020, ICOMOS Philippine members met up to discuss the situation of monuments and the current discourse of politics that surround these objects. The conversation was led by Ms. Lila Shahani, former Secretary-General of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.
Ms. Shahani discussed about the dynamics of politics, national narratives and cultural meanings of monuments. It was then followed by several reactors who discussed the angles of heritage interpretation, plaza development, and cultural politics. An open forum discussion was then facilitated by Dr. Stephen Acabado, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles
ICOMOS Philippines will be exploring further steps to think about deepening the discourse on the topic in the national context.
ICOMOS Philippines member Gabriel Caballero also participate in the global discourse by ICOMOS International entitled, “Diversify / Decolonise Heritage!” which was held online on July 19, 2020, 13:00 Paris Time. The initiative was started by ICOMOS Germany in collaboration with the ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group.
Check out Ms Shahani’s two opinion pieces on Rappler. The first carries forward from the ICOMOS discussion, Rethinking monuments – “Who or what do these monuments celebrate, and what do they leave out? More pointedly, what do they erase and what do they choose to celebrate and canonize? “. The second is about ‘National’ narratives and the Philippine bureaucracy– “Who speaks (and who is spoken for) in the nation? Whose interests does it serve and represent? What does it encompass? ”
Back in 2018, when the work of studying the existing spreadsheets of the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP) was given to me and my colleague Carissa Veloso, I got quite excited because the task gave us a chance to have a glimpse of the heritage registry encompassing the whole country. It was a challenge to check and assess over 5,000 entries that led me to uncover the gaps and successes across the different regions.
The analysis gave me headaches and long nights of work, but it was worth the effort. The research was essentially a diagnostic report on the registry of cultural properties across the country. I discovered that even though there were a lot of entries, many regions were underrepresented and numerous listings were problematic, such as listings of corporate establishments as cultural property.
Although I am currently more focused on the mainstream architecture practice, the brief exposure from the heritage field helped me to become more conscious in raising awareness about our built, intangible, and natural heritage in both my designs and in dealing with my clients. I am thankful for ICOMOS Philippines for providing me this opportunity.
For interested students or new graduates who would like to take internship with the organization, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
With more activities online and new collaborations between members and external partners are happening, ICOMOS Philippines is happy to share that we will have a new intern working with us for the next three months: Kenneth J. Tua is a registered & licensed architect and a sustainable territorial development consultant. He is currently taking his Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in DYnamics of Cultural Landscape, heritage, Memory and conflictualities (DYCLAM+) in Europe under the ERASMUS+ Scholarship. Previously, Kenneth worked with HBA and RMDA and at the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines – Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
He decided to apply as an intern for ICOMOS Philippines during his summer break from his masters degree to be able to incorporate his ongoing studies in Sustainable Heritage Management and Cultural Landscapes at the Philippine setting. Moreover, Kenneth wants to be of great service in creating advocacies in galvanizing solutions for the Philippine cultural heritage. In collaboration with members of the International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL), Mr. Gabriel Caballero and Dr. Susan Aquino-Ong, Kenneth will be starting a research that will look into how heritage conservation can potentially be integrated to landscape architecture programs in the country.
Welcome, Kenneth! We’re very pleased to have your assistance.
The ICOMOS Annual Report for 2019 was recently published and its shows the work of the international organisation of ICOMOS and its various National Committees and International Scientific Committees. ICOMOS also remembers the dedicated work of members and colleagues who have passed away during the previous year. A small tribute to Ms Jocelyn Mananghaya, former Trustee of ICOMOS Philippines can be found on page 37 of the annual report. ICOMOS Philippines further recognizes Ms Mananghaya’s contribution to the organization and the advancement of the heritage practice in the Philippines in this tribute.
Maria Joycelyn Bolhayon-Mananghaya
January 1, 1965 – September 17, 2019
ICOMOS Philippines remembers the passing of Architect Maria Joycelyn Bolhayon-Mananghaya who was a former Board of Trustee of the Philippine Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Her heritage advocacy was focused on the conservation of the World Heritage Sites in the Philippines and for several years, she served as the National Commission on Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) consultant for world heritage concerns. Arch. Mananghaya also served as Secretary to the NCCA National Committee on Monuments and Sites from 2011 to 2013 and was part of UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.
Joy, as she is fondly called by family and friends, had a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of nature, culture and people. She was a member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes and was part of the global discourse on world heritage issues. She wrote extensively about the living cultural landscape of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras and her contributions to the book, “World Heritage: Benefits Beyond Borders” was well recognized by her peers. She undertook expert missions and provided reviews for cultural/natural heritage nominated properties and was designated as the focal point for periodic reporting of world heritage properties in the Philippines.
A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Architecture, Joy pursued higher education at the Escuela Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museografía Manuel del Castillo Negrete in Mexico with a Masters in Architecture Degree. Throughout her life, she generously mentored and nurtured countless students and emerging professionals, many of whom have become respected practitioners of heritage conservation in the Philippines. Architect Mananghaya’s passion and service continue to inspire us, and we will miss her very much.
ICOMOS Philippines is very pleased to welcome its new members for the year 2020! Get to know them as we share with you a brief of their profile and expertise.
Kinna Mae G. Kwan
Kinna is a researcher and heritage practitioner. She received her Master of Arts in Cultural Heritage Studies from the University of Santo Tomas and is currently studying Urban and Regional Planning at the University of the Philippines. Her thesis, which earned a meritissimus (highest merit) recognition, focused on social value of historic sites hinged on community memories and attachment to places.
She works as a project-based researcher at the UST Graduate School–Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics. Her present work at the center involves cultural mapping, drafting of conservation management plans, and providing technical assistance to local government units and heritage managers across the country. As an advocate of heritage and culture in the public sector, she has worked with government institutions such as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (PCEP), Department of Tourism, Philippine Postal Corp., and served as a consultant in her hometown, Guiuan. She previously worked for the Lopez Museum and Library and the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation.
She is also active in refugee research and has been collaborating with UNHCR in studying the Philippines’ history of refugee assistance. Her focus is on the 5th Wave when the Philippines became a transit country for White Russian refugees in 1949. Her research led her to major archives in Australia, USA and France, and was published in The Journal of History.
Last 24 May 2020, ICOMOS Philippines members and friends met up over zoom to have a “Lighter Side Talk” entitled, “The Basics of Baybayin”. The talk was conducted by prominent broadcaster, Howie Severino and his wife and environmental lawyer Ipat Luna.
After a short presentation on the history and typologies of ancient Philippine text, participants brought their pens out to do impromptu writing in baybayin, which everyone enjoyed.
Howie Severino believes that, “Baybayin is a window to understanding nature, culture, history, heritage, identity, at iba pa, which is why it’s so compelling.”
ICOMOS Philippine member, Fung Yu created a fan-art of the ICOMOS Philippines logo, which brings a Filipino brand to the international prominence of ICOMOS. What do you think about his interpretation?
Veggie packs or cake that were awarded during the talk and members decided to donate these prizes to Covid-19 frontliners, homeless and workers in Baclaran.
ICOMOS Lighter Side Talks was conceptualized by the ICOMOS Philippines Board of Trustees to explore unexplored conversations and lighter topics of heritage and culture for the benefit of ICOMOS Philippine members.
Even with the Enhanced Community Quarantine, heritage work continues. ICOMOS Philippines is fortunate to have a new intern working with us remotely for the next three months: Isaiah Cabañero is an advocate of community development and believes in the agency of the people to effect change in transforming their lives and society for the better. He majored in Community Development at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, working with communities and volunteer organizations which gained him experience in community organizing and people-centered participatory project development.
Isaiah contacted ICOMOS Philippines regarding an internship because of his interest in cultural heritage conservation which has continued to seep through his work. He believes that “scientific and technological methods in conservation strategies must go hand-in-hand with the economic and socio-cultural knowledge of local communities in order for efforts to be sustainable and become, ultimately, for the people.” He will be continuing the Project Alexandria research which will be done in collaboration with the ICOMOS Philippines Secretariat and Trustee, Kara Garilao. He will also be assisting the organisation with the planned focus group discussions and other communications projects.
Welcome, Isaiah! We’re very pleased to have your assistance.
ICOMOS Philippines members came together online last April 25 to discuss the topic entitled, “Heritage Practice Amidst Covid 19”. This discussion is seen as the first step in exploring collective strategies to adapt to new challenges amidst the global pandemic for Filipino heritage practitioners. Members living in different parts of the Philippines, United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Germany and Egypt shared their current situation, challenges and prognosis of Covid-19 in their heritage practice during the 2-hour discussion.
While the pandemic has threatened the heritage practice, many still viewed the resulting changes in the new heritage landscape as opportunities. Following were common experiences:
A. Stalled projects due to site inaccessibility and suspension of government-funded projects or work with local government projects; B. The recent memo from Department of Budgets to keep ‘non-essential’ industries alive results in diminished spending for heritage and mass layoffs for the creative industry; C. Difficulty in engaging students with online learning
As part of the International Day of Monuments and Sites 2020 theme of “Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility, and Shared Culture”, ICOMOS Philippines is organising a zoom discussion entitled, “Heritage Practice Amidst Covid 19”. The goal of the discussion is to check in with its members and understand how Covid-19 has affected their practice. It will explore collective strategies for heritage professionals in the Philippines to adapt to new challenges amidst the global pandemic.
ICOMOS Philippines is gathering testimonials from researchers, students and graduates of its internship program. The first testimonial comes from Carissa Veloso, who interned with the organization in 2018 and now has become part of ICOMOS Philippines.
In 2018, I completed an internship with my partner Chanelle Custorio at ICOMOS Philippines. While my primary work dealt with research on the PRECUP of the NCCA, I was also able to participate in a couple of other events in partnership with ICOMOS International.
As an intern and in the early stage of my career in heritage, it was exciting to be exposed to these kinds of international events and also be connected to ICOMOS Philippines members who are at the top of their fields in the country.
My mentors for the PRECUP were always approachable and while they provided a lot of guidance, there was a lot of room for me to accomplish my work through my own methods.
It was a full learning experience doing research on something that I felt was meaningful.
Carissa Veloso continues her work in heritage and now serves as the Secretariat of the ICOMOS Philippines. For interested students or new graduates who would like to take internship with the organization, please contact email@example.com