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.
ICOMOS Philippines, the only heritage professional organization included in the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Stakeholder’s Chamber, led the discussion on heritage conservation as a driver for genuine and sustainable societal transformation during the agency’s 1st Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Summit held on November 22 to 23, 2022.
Dr. Laya Boquiren-Gonzales presented ICOMOS Philippines’ PAMANA (Heritage) 2030 Project led by the organization’s SDG Working Group. With only 8 years left to achieve the SDGs by 2030, references to heritage in the global collective aspiration remain alarmingly scarce as evident in the insufficient discussions and practices by local and national government agencies related to heritage promotion and protection.
To bridge this gap, the Pamana (Heritage) 2030 Project of ICOMOS Philippines launched in 2021 aims to further accomplish the following in the near future:
Release a call for case profiles and will produce a policy guidance document with relevant stakeholders;
Gather key local government solutions in addressing societal concerns of inclusive social development, holistic economic development, environmental sustainability, peace and security, and key partnerships within their local realities; and
Provide timely baseline data and policy recommendations focused on the intersection of heritage and the SDGs in various parts of the country.
Meanwhile, Ar. Harvey Vasquez zoomed in on the importance of efficient pre-disaster recovery planning and concise post-disaster methodological actions in conserving heritage sites through the case of the World Heritage City of Vigan, impacted by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Northwestern Luzon in July this year.
ICOMOS Philippines joined the City Government of Vigan and the multi-sectoral Vigan Conservation Council in the rapid assessment of the damage, made possible by funding from UNESCO Jakarta.
Through the summit, ICOMOS Philippines hopes that more individuals will become aware of the importance of heritage conservation in the present and future, and become involved in this encompassing, holistic, and transformative movement.
To provide how management and conservation of heritage places can give a dynamic and mutually beneficial role in society today and long into the future, the People-Nature-Culture (PNC) World Heritage Leadership (WHLP), a capacity-building programme delivered by IUCN, ICCROM, UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and other organizations, with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and other partners, is established to equip heritage site managers worldwide.
Among the fully-funded scholars is ICOMOS PH member Dr. Laya Boquiren Gonzales, who was invited to participate and present at the PNC Forum, which celebrated the conclusion of the 2017-2022 Korea-ICCROM Funds in Trust, the approaching completion of Phase I of the World Heritage Leadership Programme (WHLP) and the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. The event was held from October 10 – 12, 2022 in Suwon, Republic of Korea (ROK)
Dr. Boquiren – Gonzales presented “How can we establish good governance arrangements that ensure they benefit from the conservation of those places?” on Day 2 under the theme of Who benefits from heritage.
Dr. Boquiren-Gonzales provided highlights on her presentation from the forum:
The conservation of the Santiago Apostol Parish in Betis, Guagua, Pampanga, a National Cultural Treasure, is an excellent case of community-based safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) and application of the C’s of Governance, including the following:
collaboration of management actors;
concerted efforts of multiple stakeholders including local champions;
conservation anchored on a sense of collective devotion and pride and not only tourism as the sole motivation;
coordination among a consulting committee;
collaboration of local cooperatives for the safeguarding of ICH;
celebrations that dramatize the significance of traditions and honor collective memory;
contracting technical experts in the conservation of built heritage, a convergence of space of interests;
consensus and coalition-building;
cooperation strengthened by social relationships; and
collective pride rooted in one’s occupational identity and place affinity.
The claiming of public spaces (SDG 11.5 and SDG 11.7), originally intended for disaster mitigation, became an intergenerational significance collective skills formation anchored on place wisdom (the space is now an artisans’ haven and eco park).
Substantial impacts include the integration of woodcarving into the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system by local champions and acknowledgment of the need to integrate heritage into basic educational pedagogy. Heritage, including intangible properties, provide livelihood (SDG 8) entrepreneurial opportunities beyond mere employment (SDG 10), a sense of well-being and contentment, pride, social cohesion, and place affinity. It is life itself.
The conservation of built heritage and safeguarding of craft production unfold in relationships forged over time across levels of the locality. Decisions are arrived at through consensus. Concerted efforts are the product of coalition-building.
Ideally, cooperation is institutionalized or formalized under the coordinated efforts of national government agencies and provincial and municipal governments. When the local government and national government agencies enter the picture, the conservation of built heritage and safeguarding of the intangibles must be achieved through efficient planning and mobilization of resources, and reflected in Key Performance Indicators (KPIs); implemented in Programs, Projects, and Activities (PPAS); and audited using the right monitoring and evaluation tools.
Conservation efforts are best protected by legislation and enshrined in the constitution. However, the strength of implementing the terms of such arrangements and the rule of legislation are just as potent as the combined aspirations of communities. Therefore, community empowerment and collective action must persist above all.
Are we prepared to be teaching landscape heritage conservation? We have many cultural landscapes that need to be preserved, but few formally trained practitioners.
The Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development published the research on the Cultural Landscape Heritage Conservation (CLHC) specialization in the Philippines. The study by ICOMOS Philippines’ members Arch. Kenneth J. Tua together with fellow Cultural Landscape specialists LArch. Gabriel Caballero and LArch. Susan C. Aquino-Ong was in coordination with the current four universities offering landscape architecture in the country: the University of the Philippines – Diliman, University of San Carlos, Bulacan State University, and University of San Agustin. Relevant stakeholders were also consulted in the study, such as the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA), the Technical Committee for Landscape Architecture, Commission on Higher Education (TCLA-CHED), and the Professional Regulation Commission – Board of Landscape Architecture (PRC BOLA).
The peer-reviewed article reviews the preparedness of the Landscape Architecture curricula in the Philippines for the CLHC specialization and will serve as a starting point to engage discussions with the PRC BOLA in its development of the CLHC specialization currently being planned. The end goal is to develop a training program for landscape architecture students from the current four universities, and landscape architects and heritage professionals.
It utilizes the framework of Harvard professor emeritus Carl Steinitz’s ‘Geodesign’, in formulating a developmental process and validation of the interrelationship and collaborative activity of the identified thematic areas and courses in terms of IT, geographic sciences, design professions and the people of the place.
If a program is created, then the hope is that more technically proficient practitioners can create methodologies and policies to preserve and protect places of cultural and natural significance.
How to balance heritage with the demands of a modern city? In exploring ways to preserve the rich cultural character of Manila, the City Government of Manila invited stakeholders to present their opinions. Among organizations invited was ICOMOS Philippines, represented by Trustee Erik Akpedonu, co-author (with Fernando Zialcita) of “Endangered Splendor: Manila’s Architectural Heritage 1571-1960. “Manila’s Tourism Stakeholder’s Seminar/Workshop on Cultural Mapping and Inventory” was the Tourism Month celebration, the City Government of Manila’s Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila (DTCAM), held the last September 22, 2022, at Universidad De Manila. Mr. Akpedonu proposed a number of legislative measures to better protect built heritage in Manila:
To legislate (by city ordinance or executive order) that the Office of the Building Official, before issuing demolition, renovation, or redevelopment permits, not only cross-check the proposed development site against the list of officially NCCA/NHCP- or LGU-declared heritage structures (as is currently the case), but to also cross-check against a list of PRESUMED IMPORTANT CULTURAL PROPERTIES (buildings 50 years and older, works of National Artists, etc.) as defined by Republic Act 10066 (The Heritage Act) and as compiled by PRECUP and Manila`s own Tourism Office, before issuing such permits;
To make public by online posting the minutes of all official meetings discussing any variations to any existing zoning laws for specific individual constrictions projects (which to date does not seem to be the case); and
To exempt declared heritage structures and Presumed Important Cultural Properties from Property Tax under certain conditions.
The meeting was attended by representatives from Manila`s Tourism Office and Office of the Building Official, barangay chairpersons, various NGOs (e.g., Grupo Kalinangan, SAHTA, ICOMOS PH) and the academe (e.g., Dela Salle University, Mapua University).
Mr. Akpedonu is co-author (with Fernando Zialcita) of “Endangered Splendor: Manila’s Architectural Heritage 1571-1960 (Volume 1: The Center)”, a complete compendium of Spanish, American and early independence period structures. The book chronicles the story of Manila’s rise during the galleon trade from a small port to the nation’s capital and the evolution of its heritage architecture. It is also a commentary on the current state of our built heritage, with discussions of current restoration practices, revitalization, and proposed economic uses for its preservation and protection. Book Preview: Facebook Watch
Being a member of ICOMOS means the opportunity to access a network of heritage professionals, and local and international members-only events.
The Open Forum Series was created with these benefits in mind: Open Forum Talks allow members to present their work for member peer review in an open yet professional setting, thereby leveraging the wisdom of the ICOMOS membership.
August 18, 2021, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM.
Moderator: Kara Garilao
Reactors: Dr. Eric Zerrudo, Atty. Kay Malilong
“Cultural Mapping in Context: Towards Rehumanizing Smart Cities for Sustainable Development”.
Twenty years ago, Kashiwanoha was a golf course and a horse breeding ground before that. Today, it is home to 3,000 households within just a 1km radius retrofitted with smart city technology that seeks to improve their quality of life on four fronts –energy, mobility, public space, and health. Cultural mapping was implemented, a first in the world for a smart city, to identify tangible and intangible characteristics of identity of its infant community. He presents the specifics of how cultural mapping was implemented, and seeks membership opinion on how we can understand heritage in such a context. When is something considered heritage? If it is new, is it ascribed by the community, to a place, or tradition? Considering that technology has inherent obsolescence, should it be remembered for its tangibles or its intangibles?
Associate member Kevin Florentin presented his research on
March 2, 2022 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM, progress report made with his research since his initial open forum in August of 2021. For the second session, Dr. Fernando Zialcita and ICOMOS Treasurer Erik Akpedonu attended as reactors for Kevin’s presentation.
Kevin Florentin is a Ph.D. candidate with the University of Tokyo Graduate Program in Sustainability Science Global Leadership Initiative. He currently holds a joint diploma degree in Sustainability Science with the University of Tokyo and the United Nations University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines. His current research interest is in understanding human aspects of the smart city. In addition, he has worked closely with ICOMOS Philippines and Intramuros Administration in pioneering pre-disaster recovery planning for heritage in Intramuros.
18th of September 2021 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Moderated by: Erik Akpedonu
Reactors: Guiller Asido, Paulo Alcazaren and Fernando Zialcita
“ENCLAVE URBANISM: 1.0 – A historical and configurational assessment of Spanish Manila’s Intramuros and its surrounding Spatial Fabric”.
The global privatization of the built environment into enclaves is seen as a contemporary theme leading to today’s range of socio-spatial disparities. Present-day Metro Manila is hollowed-out, with a long-blighted historical core. Most economic activity has moved to the enclaves composed of business districts and gated villages outside of Manila. This study investigates the historical roots of this enclave urbanism using spatial network analysis methodologies of space syntax theory.
This study uncovers the underlying structures beneath the order imposed by the Spanish on Manila. These include the center of political control – the civic plaza and urban grid within the walls of Intramuros; outside of Intramuros, the mission church plazas centering local populations around the Bajo de la Campana, serving as the base of Reducciones labour control; the unintended consequences of the Spanish defensive posture, and marginalization of the Sangley Chinese trader population; and the underlying importance of the Pasig River and its network of waterways in the commercial spatial network of Spanish Manila.
This study calls the critical attention of Philippine planning as it moves forward with repeating similar patterns of enclave urbanism in its push to urbanize and develop, whilst presenting a new evidence-based approach for local urbanism scholarship.
Leandro Poco completed his MSc Space Syntax: Architecture and Cities degree at University College London’s Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment. He previously completed his MA in Urban Design at the National University of Singapore in 2008. He is a Philippine registered Architect and Environmental Planner with over 15 years of combined Planning and Architectural practice experience in both Manila and Singapore. He is a Partner with Leonardo A. Poco & Associates, Architects, and has a keen interest in Metro Manila’s historical urbanism. He believes that evidence-based planning and design are key in improving Metro Manila’s dystopia and addressing her residents’ discontents.
With rising interest on collaborative heritage research, mentorship and the development of communications strategies for the organization, ICOMOS Philippines is happy to share that we will have two new interns working with us for the next three months:
Supitcha ‘Maysa’ Sutthanonkul is a heritage studies student from Thailand who is pursuing her master’s degree in World Heritage Studies in Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus, Germany. She has a background in architecture with a major in interior architecture. She has done projects related to history, heritage, architectural conservation and urban development. Her interests include industrial heritage, sustainable development, and adaptive- reuse of architecture in the urban context.
Maysa decided to join the internship program to learn about heritage conservation in a different context from Thailand gaining experience from one of the very active national committees of ICOMOS. She hopes to use skills and advice from her mentors, Gabriel Caballero and John Peterson to develop fruitful research for the heritage field in the future.
Maysa will be researching on the current state of the World Heritage Tentative List of the Philippines for the next three months.
CeireneMalolos is a graduate of Communication Arts from De La Salle University Manila and is currently taking her Masters in ASEAN Studies at the University of the Philippines Open University. Concurrent to her graduate studies, she participated in the ASEAN University Network – ASEAN Credit Transfer System at the National University of Singapore; and she was also a Darmasiswa Scholarship awardee taking Pure Fine Arts (Seni Rupa Murni) at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Denpasar, Bali in Indonesia.
By applying at the ICOMOS Internship Program, Cen intends to grow her expertise and knowledge on Philippine culture and heritage adding to her on-going area studies track, share and raise awareness about the current state of her country’s own culture and heritage – in the Philippines and beyond.
Aside from the advancement of the Project Alexandria research under the tutelage of Tina Paterno, Cen will further develop the organization’s communications strategy, particularly reviewing the video and graphic content to further the objectives of effectively communicating with the public, stakeholders and its members. She will be working with Communications Committee Member, Claudia Montero to further develop the brand of ICOMOS Philippines.
Welcome, Maysa and Cen! We’re very pleased to have your assistance.
Last 3 November 2020, ICOMOS International announced the appointment of ICOMOS Philippines Member Mr. Gabriel Caballero as the incoming Focal Point for the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2021-2023.
Considering the urgencies the world’s societies are facing today affecting the cultural and natural heritage, and the potential of heritage to help address these, the 2030 Agenda is an imperative to transform the framework of cultural heritage protection in the next ten years. Cultural heritage goes beyond monuments. It has a crucial role for the well-being of communities, which needs to be harnessed for sustainable urban and rural and socio-economic development, in particular for post-COVID recovery strategies at international, national, and local levels. ICOMOS is a leading global voice in integrating cultural heritage within sustainable development framework. The SDGs Working Group coordinates ICOMOS response to the 2030 Agenda, through advocacy, policy, localizing of the SDGs.
As Focal Point, Mr. Caballero will act as a facilitator and coordinator for ICOMOS International’s work in relation to the global sustainable development policy arena. He will also coordinate the activities of the SDGs Working Group (SDGWG) under the supervision of the Working Group Chair and the ICOMOS Director General, and in close coordination with the International Secretariat. He is mandated to push forward the implementation of the ICOMOS Action Plan for cultural heritage and localizing the SDGs.
ICOMOS Philippines would like to congratulate Mr. Caballero for his success and further contribution to the scientific work of linking heritage with the movement of sustainable development globally!
Unlike my other work in the private and public sectors, working in ICOMOS PH was the most fulfilling and unique of all. I had the experience to learn from the best of the best in the Philippine Cultural Heritage sector. I felt valued by members, who listened to my ideas for the organization and its stakeholders.
I applied for this internship because my scheduled trips in Asia for my masters degree were cancelled due to the pandemic. Little did I know it would open a huge door of opportunities for me- destiny indeed. I was assigned to the baseline pilot study for the research entitled: “Philippine Landscape Heritage Education: Review of the preparedness of Landscape Architecture curricula in the Philippines for the Specialization of Landscape Heritage Conservation (LHC)“. In this study, I was able to reach out and collaborate with stakeholders such as the Philippine Committee on International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL), Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA), Technical Committee of Landscape Architecture – Commission on Higher Education (TCLA – CHED), and Professional Regulation Commission – Board of Landscape Architecture (PRC – BOLA). Moreover, I was able to join committee meetings of ICOMOS PH wherein I was able to contribute and brainstorm to timely and pressing heritage issues, which increased my connection to Philippine Heritage.
The mentorship alone was already a worthwhile learning experience. Additionally, I was able to maximize my professional skills in academic research, stakeholder engagement, and project management. What I treasure the most is the professional and personal relationship I gained from the organization and its highly acclaimed members.
After this holistic internship, I will be continuing on to my final year of my masters degree in Europe and in the future, I will be doing another internship abroad, but this time I know I am more equipped and prepared, all thanks to ICOMOS Philippines.
For interested students or new graduates who would like to take internship with the organization, please contact email@example.com
In accordance with the ICOMOS Philippines By-laws, the 2020 General Assembly will elect the Board of Trustees for a term of three years (2020-2023). The Board of Trustees will elect among themselves the Chairman / President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Information Session, held last 30 October 2020, provided more information on proposed policies, procedures, and by-laws amendments which further elaborated the scopes and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees.
Functions and Powers of the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees shall have general charge of the property, business and affairs of the Organization with the power to manage, direct, and supervise the same under its collective responsibility as provided in the By-laws and the Policies and Procedure. Trustees shall:
Appoint or elect all officers, employees, and other administrative officers of the Organization as may be designated, except junior officers and minor employees; to define their duties and to discipline or remove them.
Purchase or otherwise acquire for the Organization rights and privileges of properties, and to manage, conserve, and invest the funds of the Organization
Approve the annual budget of the Organization
Delegate from time to time any of the powers of the Board which can lawfully be delegated to any standing or special committee or to any agent or officers and to appoint any person or persons to act as agents of the Organization with such powers and upon such terms as it may deem fit.
Additional Scope of Work of the Board of Trustees (based on the Policies and Procedure 2020)
Members of the ICOMOS Philippines Board of Trustees donate time and expertise to the Organization and they are part of a working board. As such, Trustees are expected to do the following tasks:
Donate a minimum of 10-20 hours a month of their time to the organization. Each trustee must take charge of one of the following for the duration of their tenure: staff management; fundraising; or 1 project per year
Assist the President in the cultivation of donors, partners, supporters, collaborators, allies, and other stakeholders
Ensure the organization’s activities are compliant and in furtherance of its mission in compliance with international parent organizations and local mission / vision
Engage in the creation of long and short-term goals with the President
Assist in review of financial statement
Respond to email within 48 hours for items for Board approval, as and when required.
Interested parties should submit their letter of intent and (1) curriculum vitae, (2) letter of intent, and (3) proposed agenda for the next 3 years to the ICOMOS Philippines Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org with the email title “Trustees Application 2020 – Last Name” by 15 November 2020.
For more information on the position and how to apply, please read the information below.