Project Report on the Climate Vulnerability Assessment of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

Click here to download the Report

This Ifugao-led study is a climate vulnerability assessment of the rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The assessment establishes why local communities value the terraces, and how these values, deeply rooted in indigenous knowledge, are impacted by climate change. The end goal is for communities to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity as they position to preserve and protect their cultural heritage.

Data was gathered by several focus group discussions among farmers in Nagacadan Hungduan, Mayoyao, Bangaan and Batad. This approach ensures the collection of critical data that truly reflects the lived experiences and needs of the indigenous Ifugao people. The assessment utilizes modern climate science and indigenous knowledge, as both realms of understanding are complementary and necessary to address the climate crisis more effectively.

The Ifugao Rice Terraces confront a web of climate challenges such as intensified typhoons, erratic precipitation patterns, prolonged droughts and increasing temperatures, which pose imminent risk of soil erosion, reduced crop yield or crop loss, landslides, and structural damage to the terraces. This threatens their ecological integrity, agricultural productivity, amplifies existing vulnerabilities, and can jeopardize the sustainability of this cultural landscape.

ICOMOS Philippines partners with R-DMUCH in localizing DRM Training for Cultural Heritage in the Philippines

On June 27, 2024, the Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage of Ritsumeikan University (R-DMUCH) represented by Director Dr. Shinta Yoshitomi and UNESCO Co-Chair holder on the Program of Cultural Heritage and Risk Management Associate Professor Dr. Dowon Kim and the International Council of Monuments and Site Philippines, Inc. [ICOMOS Philippines] represented by its Chairman and President Dr. Cheek S. Fadriquela and Vice President Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua entered into and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

ICOMOS Philippines President Cheek Fadriquela shares his gratitude to R-DMUCH in his speech: “With this Memorandum of Understanding, we are addressing the paucity of DRM related personnel in cultural heritage who will craft plans of actions before, during and after disaster events in the Philippines. In partnership with Ritsumeikan, I believe our aspirations will come into fruition in protecting our shared legacies.”

This MOU establishes key goals for the partnerships, particularly in the promotion, conservation, and protection of culture and heritage in the Philippines. In this vein, R-DMUCH and ICOMOS Philippines will cooperate in research and investigation as partner organizations and for educational activities and specialized professional programs on the conservation, disaster prevention, and risk management of cultural heritage. To broadcast this knowledge, the MOU allows two (2) representatives to participate in the International Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage [ITC]. 

One major output from participation in the ITC will be the establishment of a National Training Course on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage (DRMCH) in the Republic of the Philippines which will be under the partnership of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and ICOMOS Philippines; both will implement a capacity building program to aid stakeholders in formulating their own disaster risk management plans. 

R-DMUCH and ICOMOS Philippines sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the “Collaboration on human resource capacity building for the implementation of a national training course on disaster risk management of cultural heritage in the Republic of the Philippines”

Knowledge sharing is key in this partnership and will help refine disaster risk management of cultural heritage plans to the context of the Philippines with its own set of hazards and vulnerabilities. Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua, who successfully participated in the 2023 cohort of ITC and developed a Heritage Disaster Risk Management (HDRM) plan for the World Heritage Site in the Historic City of Vigan,  said: “This kind of capacity building is long overdue for us Philippine Heritage Professionals and Conservationists.”

Dr. Dowon Kim added to Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua’s comment stating “R-DMUCH will support the institutionalization of the DRMCH plan in the Philippines as R-DMUCH has been active in assisting other Southeast Asian nations, India and Nepal among others with their own National Disaster Risk Management Plans.” These countries already had sent their representatives to participate in the ITC in previous years.

Both Director Dr. Shinta Yoshitomi and Dr. Cheek S. Fadriquela closed the MOU signing ceremony with appreciation and gratitude that ICOMOS Philippines and R-DMUCH will strengthen the network between the two organizations and expressed appreciation and gratitude for future fruitful collaboration.

For the Philippines, this MOU represents the ongoing endeavor to elevate cultural heritage as an essential community resource and to adopt the attention that it deserves during times of disasters and crisis. Since cultural heritage resources are especially susceptible to the changing climate and its itinerant hazards, the implementation of a DRMCH plan will help mitigate the loss and disruption of our precious cultural heritage resources for now and for future generations. 

For more information on ICOMOS Philippines ➡️

For more information on R-DMUCH and UNESCO Chair on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management ➡️

#RDMuch #Ritsumeikan #ICOMOS  #icomosPHILIPPINES #ITC #DisasterRiskManagement #HeritageDRM  #PhilippineHeritage  #ProtectHeritage

All is not lost in Vigan

Maintaining the status of a World Heritage Site is a daunting task in an environment where earthquakes, typhoons and fire are frequent occurrences. Those sites that are inscribed are the responsibility of the stakeholders to uphold the site’s exceptional value, authenticity and integrity. Having local stakeholders involved promotes a sense of ownership, a pride of place and a closer-knit community. These values and more are what sustains the World Heritage Site and ensures their existence in the future.

UNESCO Jakarta paid a courtesy call visit from December 10 – 12, 2023 to the Historic City of Vigan – Vigan City PH. Director Ms. Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa and Mr. Rizky Fardhyan were able to tour the heritage core of the city to note the extent of damage from the earthquake of 2022. They paid a visit to the Mayor Jose “Bonito” C. Singson, Jr., a focal person and key stakeholder, to introduce themselves and to clarify any points about the purposes of the present restoration efforts. The visit was of the utmost importance for UNESCO Jakarta so that they could observe Vigan’s stakeholder involvement and their cooperation in all the activities as well, since it is through the work of the local stakeholders that the Historic City of Vigan will be ultimately restored.

Working together, the local government unit of Vigan and its stakeholders, UNESCO Jakarta, ICOMOS Philippines want to ensure the continual revitalization of the Historic City of Vigan so that any endeavors will sustain the town’s exceptional authenticity and significance as a World Heritage Site.

Please see the article in the Philippine Star Lifestyle and Arts section. Read here ➡️ , you may also check in ICOMOS PH’s website here ➡️

This activity was supported by the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund. We wish to thank its donors: the Qatar Fund for Development, the Government of Canada, the Kingdom of Norway, the French Republic, the United Kingdom, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of Estonia, ANA Holdings INC, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Principality of Andorra, the Republic of Serbia.

Concerned stakeholders who are interested in providing in-kind contribution, you may contact Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua, Country Project Director, through and cc.: Let’s protect and promote our diverse cultural heritage together.

For more information on ICOMOS Philippines ➡️


Heritage Conservation Transcending Green Building and Climate Action

On November 10, 2023 the Philippine Green Building Initiative (PGBI) held a conference entitled “Beyond Green: Transcending Green Summit.” 

Ar. Giuseppe Luigi Hernandez Abcede introduced the first cluster of speakers. ICOMOS Focal Point to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), L. Ar. Gabriel Victor Caballero gave a brief overview on what entails sustainable practices. He focused on design and planning— whether it was in heritage conservation practices, local culture, compliance to Sustainable Development Goals, or in circular economies such as furniture design.

Representing PIID, ICOMOS, HCS (the 1st cluster of speakers) respectively. IDr. Lilia De Jesus,  IDr. Willie Garcia, Ar. Michaela Rosette Santos-Tayag,  L. Ar. Gabriel Victor Caballero, EnP. Denise Lagrosa, Ar. Giuseppe Luigi Hernandez Abcede, Ar. Dinky von Einsiedel

En. P. Denise Lagrosa remarked, “The conference was well represented by professionals who are practicing energy efficiency, sustainability, green design, heritage and culturally sensitive methods from the engineers, architects, urban planners, cultural heritage professional, master plumbers, air-conditioning systems specialists, and fire protection, among others.”

Dr. Cheek Fadriquela, ICOMOS President, delivering remarks during summit

Along with ICOMOS Member L. Ar. Gabriel Victor Caballero, Ar. Giuseppe Luigi Hernandez Abcede and En. P. Denise Lagrosa, Ar. Michaela Rosette Santos-Tayag (long-time member of PGBI) and Ar. Michael Angelo Liwanag, ICOMOS Ph’s /representative to the Philippine Green Building Initiative, were also in attendance.

ICOMOS Philippines is a partner and fellow organizer with PGBI for the Beyond Green summit.

For more information on PGBI’s event 👉

Statement of Significance for the Pasig River by ICOMOS Philippines

In the last quarter of 2021, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Philippines, together with the Advocates for Heritage Preservation (AHP), organized Pamanang Pasig, a heritage impact assessment of the  Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) on the Pasig River. The PAREX is a 19.37 kilometer, 6-lane expressway to be constructed over the river.

More than a dozen speakers discussed the Pasig River’s historical, aesthetic, and social significance, and the potential impact the PAREX would have on these values. Experts also discussed its impacts on traffic, disaster risk management, public health and the ecology. The series ended with alternate uses for Metro Manila’s river heritage, and global examples of sustainable development of urban rivers. Recordings of the discussions may be viewed here ➡️ Pamanang Pasig

This Statement of Significance for the Pasig River is based in part on those experts’ input, research, including a statement by the the Tuklas Pilipinas Society, Inc. and the Kapisanan ng mga Arkeologist sa Pilipinas (KAPI).

To this day, despite its role in the formation and development of Tagalog culture and history, the Pasig River remains undeclared as a heritage site. ICOMOS Philippines recommends that the National Government revisit the several petitions to declare Pasig River as a National Cultural Treasure.

See Pasig River Statement of Significance (SoS)

See KAPI and Tuklas Pilipinas Society’s statement on the Pasig River in Archaeology and Early History

Cover of the Statement of Significance for the Pasig River by ICOMOS Philippines

For more information on ICOMOS Philippines ➡️

#ICOMOS #ICOMOSPH #PamanangPasig #PasigRiver #NationalCulturalTreasure #NoToPAREX

Statement of Significance for the Pasig River

In November 2021, ICOMOS Philippines held the Pamanang Pasig Conference to highlight the importance of the Pasig River in light of the impending construction of the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX). Members of ICOMOS Philippines then gathered together to draft a statement of significance for the Pasig River.

Joint Statement by the Heritage Conservation Society and the International Council of Monuments and Sites Philippines on the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex

Rizal Memorial Tennis Stadium (c) Manila Nostalgia

The Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites – Philippines (ICOMOS-PH), as regards the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC), respectfully state the following:

1. We reiterate our gratitude to the cultural agencies, specifically the National Museum (NM) and the National Historical Commission (NHCP), for their declarations on RMSC as an Important Cultural Property and a National Historical Landmark, respectively.

2. We particularly note with approval the NHCP’s declaration that outlines the significance of RMSC as a historical site – as a venue for the Far Eastern Games and in subsequent athletic, religious. political, and social events; its role in World War II and its reconstruction thereafter; and its architectural design in the Art Deco style by Juan Arellano, one of the country’s most significant architects.

3. Having thus outlined the statement of significance of the site, it is the duty of the cultural agencies, consistent with international best practices, to require the preparation of a conservation management plan (CMP) by qualified experts, under its control and supervision, to ensure that the significance of the site is respected and preserved.

4. A CMP should be prepared prior to detailed site, architectural and engineering development planning, and the CMP should in fact guide and provide the parameters of such development planning, just as the preparation of a environmental impact study and securing an environmental compliance certificate guide development planning.

5. The CMP should then be presented to, and evaluated by, stakeholders in a manner similar to that provided under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 10066, (the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009), reflecting the fundamental principles of Sections 4 to 7 of Republic Act No. 7356 (the Charter of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts). Further, any CMP should be defined by public accessibility as provided by Section 40, and provide the parameters of a heritage agreement, as required by Section 18 of Republic Act No. 10066.

6. We reiterate our support for progress and development, and recognize the need for cities to evolve, but in the context of the sustainability of cultural significance through conservation, as provided under Republic Act No. 10066.

This Joint Statement was signed by Mark Richard Evidente, President of Heritage Conservation Society and Dominic Galicia, President of ICOMOS Philippines

Post Script Note: ICOMOS Philippines created a small working group which submitted a World Monuments Watch Nomination for its 2018 cycle. Research findings were shared by Gabriel Caballero at the mASEANa conference in Jakarta that happened in January 2018.

Drafting of the Philippine Heritage Charter with local heritage experts and ICOMOS Philippines

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the International Council on Monuments and Sites Philippines held a consultation with experts and advocates of heritage last September 8-9, 2016, at Silid Darangen, NCCA Building, Intramuros, Manila City.

The consultation session was the first of the series of consultations that will happen all over the country in the coming years. The leveling consultations gathered local experts from NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to work together in redefining Philippine Heritage that is more comprehensible to Filipinos. It was aimed at further understanding of Philippine Heritage sensibilities, priorities, and therefore implementation of a Philippine Heritage Charter. ICOMOS Philippines member Patricia Maria Santiago served as the project director of the initiative.


The said event was participated participated by several ICOMOS Philippines members, which is shown in the photo above: Melva Java, Fernando Zialcita, Augusto Villalon, Dominic Galicia, Tracey Santiago, Kara Garilao, Claudia Montero, Christian Aguilar, Ivan Henares, Tina Paterno, Chen Mencias, Cheek Fadriquela, Markel Luna, Manuel, Singson, Victor Venida, and Richard Daenos.