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.