ICOMOS Philippines selected as the Implementing Partner of the first UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund Project for the Republic of the Philippines

On July and October 2022, Northern Luzon was struck by two strong earthquakes, with the epicenter in Abra province. One of the areas heavily affected was the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Historic City of Vigan, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1999. Despite immediate aid provided by local and national government agencies, the response could not address all the needs of the damaged areas due to limited funding and a lack of expertise for restoration. During this time, UNESCO Jakarta assigned ICOMOS Philippines to conduct a situational analysis and recommend priorities for repair. This project called “Post-Earthquake Damage Assessment of Vernacular Buildings in the World Heritage City of Vigan” was conducted from August to November 2022 led by Dr. Cheek S. Fadriquela.

Onsite survey for the post-earthquake damage assessment situational analysis. Ar. Nico Pilotin, LGU Vigan (left), Dr. Cheek Fadriquela, current ICOMOS Philippines President (left), Ar. Giunno Alonzo, Junior Local Counterpart, Ar. Anjelika Orui, Research Associate, Ms. Cornelia A. Parel, Ancestral Homeowner, Ms. Maria Cristina Paterno, past ICOMOS Philippines President (right).

Following that successful partnership, ICOMOS Philippines applied to the Call For Partnerships (CFP) by UNESCO Jakarta for the project called “Post-Earthquake technical standard enhancement on the conservation and protection of Heritage houses and structures in Vigan World Heritage Site (WHS), Philippines”; the first UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) project to the Republic of the Philippines. ICOMOS Philippines was successfully selected and contracted as the official implementing partner of the said project on August 10, 2023 and September 14, 2023, respectively.  The objective of this project is to provide technical assistance to two representative privately-owned ancestral houses and to assess the recently applied methodologies and conservation techniques for damage assessment, shoring and repair and to recommend technical standards as part of the site’s long – term recovery.

Kick-off Meeting. Present from UNESCO Jakarta are Dr. Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa, Director; Ms. Diana Setiawati, Project Coordinator; Mr. Rizky Fardhyan, Project Assistant; and Mr. Angga Conni Saputra, Project Assistant. From ICOMOS Philippines are Dr. Cheek S. Fadriquela, President; Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua, Vice President; Mr. Joselito Corpus, Communications Officer; and Mr. John Ray Ramos, Heritage Affairs Officer.

This project will allow the implementation of structural, architectural and materials assessments of the Syquia Mansion and Cabildo (Old) house by a pool of experts, including those from ICOMOS Philippines.

The findings of the two pilot site assessments will then be shared with the local government, the ancestral homeowners, and the Vigan Conservation Council through a series of lectures, training-workshops and town hall meetings. Additionally, ICOMOS will work with local stakeholders to update Vigan’s existing 2010 Heritage Homeowners Preservation Manual with an addendum.

Overall, the goal is to apply learnings from the assessment and structural study of two houses to upskill practitioners, craftsperson and homeowners on effective methods of repairs that are compatible with original building systems and materials. This project duration is from September 2023 – August 2024.

Onboarding session of the Key Expert Teams with the ICOMOS Philippines Project Management Team. Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua leads the project as the Country Project Director; Dr. Cheek S. Fadriquela as the Materials Conservation Expert; Ar. Michael F. Manalo with MNL Solutions, Inc. as the Architectural Conservation Expert team; Engr. Rodolfo P. Mendoza Jr. and Engr. Lessandro Estelito O. Garciano with Petro Jikken, Inc. as the Structural engineering Conservation Expert team; Dr. Eric B. Zerrudo and Ms. Bev Macayan Bautista as the Heritage Conservation (Training-Workshop) Expert Team; Ar. Fatima Nicetas Rabang-Alonzo and Ar. Giunno Alonzo as the Heritage Conservation (Local Manual Review) Expert Team; Dr. Laya Boquiren – Gonzales as the Heritage Interpretation-Curator Expert; and Atty. Lucille Karen Malilong-Isberto as the Legal Counsel-Expert (not in photo). 

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 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 through kenneth.javier.tua@icomosphilippines.com and cc.: info@icomosphilippines.com. Let’s protect and promote our diverse cultural heritage together. For more information on ICOMOS Philippines ➡️ https://philippines.icomos.org/

#UNESCO #unescoJAKARTA #ICOMOS #icomosPHILIPPINES #HeritageEmergencyFund #firstHEF #WorldHeritageSite #HistoricCityofVigan #PhilippineHeritage #SustainableHeritageManagement

ICOMOS Ph co-hosting Preserving Legacies: A Future for our Past & Climate Risk

Preserving Legacies is a global initiative supported by the National Geographic Society and funded by Manulife to address climate change. Climate change is the fastest growing threat to cultural – natural sites and the greatest danger to our planet’s most spectacular natural heritage today. One in three natural sites and one in six cultural heritage sites are threatened by climate change impacts like floods, droughts, and rising seas.

To safeguard cultural heritage, there is an urgent need to equip communities worldwide with the tools to accurately anticipate worsening and future climate impacts, and empower them with training to turn that scientific knowledge into action that will safeguard sites, support community adaptation, and plan for unavoidable loss and damage.

For the Preserving Legacies project, about eight sites globally are cadet sites; they have been chosen to fully engage in climate heritage training and a peer-to-peer learning experience. Site custodians from these sites will shadow the full process of pilot sites located at Jordan and the Philippines, including attending their workshops, to better prepare for their own assessments in 2024.

Two primary sites will go through a more robust program to link climate science and site conservation by enabling access to locally downscaled climate change models and organize a community-led workshop of the sites’ climate vulnerability as well as impacts on local communities. Petra, Jordan and the Ifugao Rice Terraces of the Philippines are the beneficiaries of the first program. 

The Preserving Legacies leg for the Climate Risk and Resilience at the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras conference was from October 11 and concluded October 13. Participants celebrated with the Kiangan rice harvest with eating, rituals, chants, and dancing, a site visit to the Nagacadan cluster of the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, presentations of the sites by farmers and local officials, lectures by Marlon Martin of the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo), a climate lecture by Dr. Ma Laurice Jamero, leader of the Resilience Collaboratory from the Manila Observatory, and roundtable discussions of the topics that were presented. 

With the knowledge base of both the international site custodians and local Ifugao community, the conference has put forth comparative analyses of climate change around the world, presented suggestions for increased adaptation capacities and mitigation strategies, and  recommendations for ways forwards for an environment that is sustainable and resilient.

6th Annual Gawad Maestro Award Granted to ICOMOS Philippines

ICOMOS Philippines advocates for best heritage practices, and to realize this goal, ICOMOS Philippines offers lectures and seminars to up-skill any interested individual who desires to gain more knowledge about the many disciplines and skill sets that comprise and contribute to the field of heritage conservation. 

On September 21, 2023, ICOMOS Philippines won the 2023 Gawad Maestro Award as a Learning and Development Organization for the NGO category by the Philippine Society for Talent Development. Among the many initiatives, its Photogrammetry Field School was lauded by the said awarding body. The event was held in BNCC Hall, Savoy Hotel Boracay Newcoast, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan.

Photogrammetry is one of the many advanced technologies that is used for one of the most essential steps in conservation, the documentation of a monument or structure. It is highly accurate and is able to capture and measure structures from photographs. Although it can be used with simple tools such as a smartphone, it can be labor-intensive and requires a mastery of how to use the technology. 

Knowing that this technology is fast becoming a standard practice and there was a lack of practitioners outside of Manila, ICOMOS Philippines offered the first photogrammetry program in the Philippines that was financially sustainable and inclusive of paying and subsidized trainees available across the Philippines.

After the completion of the field school, many participants felt empowered to be able to use the technology on their own. The post-evaluation revealed that 50% could document a room, and over 30% could document a building. 

Four students passed on their skills to their communities through their own training programs. Three of the former students have become so adept at this technology that they now specialize in photogrammetry and have formed a non-profit, Limang Siglo.  

We would like to extend our gratitude to the Philippine Society for Talent Development for recognizing ICOMOS Philippines as a Gawad Maestro awardee. We thank PTSD for celebrating this milestone with us for sending us this kind message: “Your organization’s journey serves as a shining example of what is possible when passion and talent are combIned with relentless determination. The contributions have not only advanced the Talent Development industry but have also inspired and paved the way for future generations in our field.”