2018 ICOMOS Annual General Assembly held in Buenos Aires, Argentina

From the 3rd to the 7th December 2018, members of ICOMOS Philippines attended the Annual General Assembly of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  This meeting is part of a three-year cycle of formal discussions leading to the next General Assembly which will be held in Sydney, Australia by 2020.

ICOMOS Philippines was represented by the following members: Tina Paterno, ICOMOS President, Gabriel Caballero, Contributing Expert of ISCCL and EPWG Commnunications Officer, and John Peterson, ICAHM President.

From L-R: Gabriel Caballero, John Peterson, Tina Paterno

Ms. Paterno attended the Regional Group meeting for Asia-Pacific and presented the current activities of ICOMOS Philippines. Mr Caballero, together with the ICOMOS Board, organised the World Heritage Training Session which was aimed at engaging members about the organisation’s role within the World Heritage system. Mr. Peterson chaired the annual meeting of the International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management . The proceedings of these discussions will be published by ICOMOS Argentina in the months to come.

Biodivercities & The Sustainability of Urban Historic Plazas

The second joint partnership of ICOMOS Philippines and Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA) brings together two stellar speakers, Prof. Perry S. Ong and Paulo G. Alcazaren for the CPD Seminar “BiodiverCities and the Sustainability of Urban Historic Plazas” on Nov 17 (Saturday) 1:00 – 6:00 pm at the Institute of Biology Auditorium, UP Diliman.

With rapid urban development of centers, how do we work towards having well-planned, sustainable, and resilient cities and communities?

This program is an accredited CPD Seminar for Architects and Landscape Architects (Applied Points: 3.5 – 4), but is open to other professions, LGUs, scholars, and advocates of sustainability, design, urban planning, biodiversity and natural and cultural heritage.

Registration fee is at Php 1,300 for regular entrants and discounted rates of Php 1,040 for Senior Citizens and Php 500 for students.

To register, kindly follow the instructions on this link: https://goo.gl/forms/WxRdeQT6uEBAcWUt2. For inquiries and other concerns, email info@icomosphilippines.com or visit our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/icomosph/ for more details.

Lighting and Acoustic Design for Existing and Historic Buildings

This CPD Program offered by ICOMOS Philippines will help professionals understand and learn basic principles for lighting and acoustic design for existing and heritage structures. In these talks, the basic theory of each discipline’s approach, and how to get the job done on low, medium, and high-end budgets will be discussed.

Lecturers Mr. Richard Thomas (Optimum Show, Paris, whose projects include: the Louvre, Paris, Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, and the Parthenon, Athens) and Mr. Jose Hermano (Acoustic Analysis Inc., whose projects include Araneta Coloseum, PETA Theater, La Salle Greenhills St. Benilde Gymnasium) will discuss past projects that illustrate and support these principles, and how they might have embellished or reduced the output depending on cost.

This seminar was held on July 28, 2018 (Saturday), 1pm-6pm at Casa Blanca, Intramuros, Manila.

IN MEMORIAM: Augusto Villalon

In Memoriam

Augusto F. Villalon

May 31, 1945 – May 5, 2018

Through his tireless advocacy, Arch. Augusto Villalon, former President of ICOMOS Philippines, inspired innumerable heritage conservation practitioners and ordinary citizens alike to protect the national patrimony. Although he was practically a lone voice when he helped introduce heritage conservation to the country some 40 years ago, Arch. Villalon zealously promoted heritage awareness through his writing, speaking, organizing, and campaigning. Publications and countless newspaper articles which he wrote helped mold the national consciousness. Organizations which he helped found, such as the Heritage Conservation Society, generated momentum, as did his years of involvement with both the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and UNESCO’s National Commission of the Philippines. By 2009, the groundswell that he helped create finally led to Republic Act 10066, better known as the Philippines’ Heritage Law.

Arch. Villalon was the bridge between the Philippines and the international heritage conservation community, primarily through his work with ICOMOS. He was President of ICOMOS Philippines for 25 years, was called upon to undertake numerous international missions, and was the moving force behind the inscription of the Philippines’ first five UNESCO World Heritage sites. He was Vice President of the International Committee on Cultural Tourism as well as the International Committee on Vernacular Architecture. He was a founding member of the International Committee on 20th Century Heritage, and he also served in both the Executive and Advisory Committees of the organization. He was so revered worldwide as an elder statesman of the conservation profession that ICOMOS awarded him with an Honorary Membership in 2014, just one of his many prestigious international and local distinctions.

Toti, as he is fondly called by family and friends, effected social change beyond the field of heritage conservation as well. As President of the Gota de Leche Foundation, he helped provide milk and nutrition support to indigent children in Manila—an endeavor to which he passionately dedicated himself.

A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, Arch. Augusto Villalon leaves behind a loving family, respectful friends and colleagues around the world, countless grateful mentees, and the well-deserved legacy of being the father of heritage conservation in the Philippines.

ICOMOS Philippines Elects its New Board of Trustees

During its annual General Assembly held at the Ayuntamiento in Intramuros last August 19, 2017, members of ICOMOS Philippines elected Maria Cristina Paterno, Ar. Michael Angelo Liwanag, La. Susan Aquino-Ong, Maria Karina Garilao, and Ar. Jeffrey Cobilla as the new Board of Trustees.

Attendees of the 2017 ICOMOS Philippines General Assembly held last August 19, 2017 at theAyuntamiento, Intramuros, Manila.

In a succeeding meeting of the Board of Trustees, Maria Cristina Paterno was elected as President, La. Susan Aquino-Ong was elected as Vice President, and Ar. Jeffrey Cobillawas elected as Assistant Corporate Secretary. Elected as Corporate Secretary was Atty. Lucille Karen Malilong.

For more information about our current Board of Trustees, please click on this link

UNESCO World Heritage: Perspectives from the Field

Last 8th of August 2016, ICOMOS Philippines organised a panel presentation at the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila. The talk was entitled, “UNESCO World Heritage: Perspectives from the Field”.  Several ICOMOS members and heritage practitioners discussed the triumphs, challenges, opportunities and guidelines that could possibly help improve Philippine heritage policy and management, particularly in UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Five panelists discussed the following topics:

  1. “The Benefits of the World Heritage Convention to Sites, People and Culture” by Augusto Villalon
  2. “Unraveling World Heritage: Breaking down the concept of Outstanding Universal Value” by Gabriel Caballero
  3. “Damming It Up: Recent Case Studies in World Heritage and their Philippine Parallels” by Michael Manalo
  4.  “The Concept of Sustainability in Philippine World Heritage Sites” by Eric Zerrudo
  5. “Experiences from World Heritage and Thoughts on Interdisciplinary Action” by Jefferson Chua

ICOMOS is one of the key advisory bodies to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and members of the organisation are dedicated to the stewardship of the world’s significant monuments and sites, and the dissemination of pertinent knowledge.

For this year’s World Heritage Committee meeting held in Istanbul, Turkey, ICOMOS Philippines supported the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines for evaluating various World Heritage nominations and reviewing the states of conservation reports. The Philippines is one of the members of World Heritage Committee from 2013 to 2017.

ICOMOS Philippines Statement on the death of Pamana

On 19 August 2015, the world was greeted with the shocking news of the death of Pamana, a Philippine Eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi, released in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, in Davao Oriental, Mindanao, Philippines.  Pamana’s murder sparked outrage worldwide.

Ironically, Pamana, after surviving gunshot wounds in 2012 and being rehabilitated to good health by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, was released on 12 June 2015 in Mt. Hamiguitan as part of Philippine Independence Day Celebrations, with Pamana’s release a symbol of the country’s right to fly free again. Pamana’s freedom was short-lived, once again cut short by gunshot wounds.

Pamana is the Filipino word for Heritage.  Pamana’s death diminishes us all. As a species found only in the Philippines, Pamana is not only a national treasure of the Philippines, but it is part of the world’s living heritage as well.  Thus, if the Philippine Eagle goes extinct, it is not only the Filipino people’s loss but humanity’s loss as well; if it goes extinct, the world will never see a Philippine Eagle fly majestically ever again.  Ensuring that Philippine Eagles do not go extinct is a global responsibility.

Pamana’s death is laden with ironies: surviving gunshot wounds and being shot again to death inside a declared Wildlife Sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we supposed it would live the rest of its natural life in safety and security. We were wrong.  Philippine Eagles need more than a physically secure place to live in. Given their precarious state, they need human understanding that they are better off left alone.  We should commit to providing conditions that would ensure that they are left alone and unmolested.

ICOMOS Philippines stands in solidarity with the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the Biodiversity Management Bureau of  DENR, or the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Filipino people in our fight to ensure the survival of the Philippine Eagle for all humanity’s benefit.  We also realize that UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, are much more than physical monuments for humanity to enjoy, but are a living heritage that should provide sanctuary to all life found therein.  We commit to take positive action that would help ensure that the shooting of Pamana would be the last, and for Philippine Eagles to fly free.