“Built Heritage and Fire: Technical Forum on Fire Protection, Investigation, and Restoration through Engineering” brought together experts, professionals, and stakeholders to address the specific challenges and complexities associated with fire-related incidents and recommended possible strategies for post-disaster restoration this past Friday, August 11, 2023.
ICOMOS Philippines recognizes that this technical forum is a much-needed response to the devastating fire disaster at the Manila Central Post Office in Manila on May 22, 2023. Fire hazard awareness, policies, response, and restoration are important factors in the protection of our heritage structures and sites across the Philippines. Response and coordination to fire disasters is critical at all levels of government and for all stakeholders, and we know that this forum has enlightened our fellow heritage site advocates and stewards to the importance of this topic.
To our speakers Christopher Marrion, Erik Akpendonu, Rodolfo P. Mendoza, Jr, Carlos M. Villaraza, Tristan G. Beriña, and Stephen Kelley, we extend our gratitude to your invaluable expertise and time. Thank you Johit Rigyasu for your contributions to Christopher Marrion’s presentation.
To watch the recently concluded Forum kindly check NCCA’s Facebook page ➡️
On August 8, 1988, ICOMOS Philippines was organized by Regalado Trota José. It was the first international non-profit cultural heritage organization to have been formed in the Philippines to conserve and protect places of significance in the Philippines. Within the first twelve years, ICOMOS Philippines founding members were pivotal in the inscription to the World Heritage List: the serial sites of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (1993), the Ifugao Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (1995), and the Historic City of Vigan (1999). These listed sites catapulted the Philippines onto the world heritage stage.
ICOMOS Philippines has been instrumental in working with various local and international institutions and organizations by strengthening dialogues between heritage professionals through our network of National Committees, International Scientific Committees and Working Groups and via Capacity Building Programs and international webinars with renowned partners.
Let’s celebrate this momentous occasion by looking back at our 35 years of history!
Please consider donating to ICOMOS Philippines or apply for membership at: http://bitly.ws/RyhB to further our mission and vision to elevate heritage protection and conservation towards international standards in harmony with our local context. Let’s protect and promote our diverse cultural heritage together.
ICOMOS Philippines in cooperation with the Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ASEP), the Institution of Specialist Structural Engineers of the Philippines (ISSEP), the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and Bakás Pilipinas, bring international and country-based experts for a hybrid Technical Forum on “Built Heritage and FIRE: Fire protection, Investigation, and Restoration through Engineering”.
The event will be held from 8:00 AM, Manila Time on August 11, 2023, Friday at the Metropolitan Theater of Manila (The MET) simultaneously streamed via online Zoom Conferencing Platform.
This forum intends to bring experts, professionals, and stakeholders to address the specific challenges and complexities associated with the Manila Post Office fire and fire-related incidents to built heritage, and develop possible strategies for its restoration. This also extends to addressing the concerns of fire risk management and restoration of cultural heritage in the country.
The Topics and Speakers are as follows:
Protecting our Cultural Heritage from Fire: Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities to Effectively Manage Fire by Christopher Marrion PE, FSFPE, MScFPE, President of Marrion Fire & Risk Consulting PE, LLC, and President of the International Committee on Risk Preparedness
Opportunities to Manage Fire Risk Through Traditional Knowledge and Community Engagement by Rohit Jigyasu, ICORP Vice President and UNESCO Chair on Cultural Heritage Management and Risk Management
Structural Evaluation and Rehabilitation of Fire-Damaged Structures by Stephen Kelley, SJK Preservation Architect/Engineer, ISCARSAH Past President
Burning for Heritage: Fire Threats to Built Heritage in Manila by Erik Akpedonu, Ateneo De Manila University, and ICOMOS Philippines Former Treasurer
Fire-Induced Effects on Concrete Material and Structure by Dr. Rodolfo P. Mendoza Jr., D.ENG, M.ASEP, ASEP Secretary
The Overall Approach to Assessing a Fire-Damaged Structure: Philippine Case Studies by Engr. Carlos M. Villaraza, F.ASEP, ASEP Past President
Electrical Safety Audit on Historic Buildings by Engr. Tristan G. Beriña, REE, Member, Electrical Safety Committee, Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines
To participate via Zoom kindly register in this REGISTRATION LINK or use the QR code above.
Manila, Philippines – ICOMOS Philippines recently concluded their Annual General Assembly on July 15, 2023, 3:00 PM (GMT+8) in a hybrid setup using the Zoom Conferencing Platform and held onsite at the Plaza Santiago Bldg., Intramuros, Manila, Philippines.
The main agenda of the Annual Membership Meeting were the presentation of the End of Term Reports of outgoing Trustees and Officers, and the Election of the New Board of Trustees.
In accordance with the provisions of the current by – laws of the International Council on Monuments and Sites Philippines, Inc. (ICOMOS PH) and in coherence with the Statutes, Rules of Procedure and Ethical principles of ICOMOS International, the ICOMOS PH Membership, with a quorum of 55 present out of 81 members at its official General Assembly, elected its new Board of Trustees and Executive Officers for 2023 – 2026 (3-year term).
For the term of 2023 – 2026, the following are the new Board of Trustees (BoT) and Executive Officers (EOs) as elected during the first Executive Meeting of the new BoT held last July 17, 2023:
Chairman / President: Dr. Cheek S. Fadriquela
Vice President: Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua
Corporate Secretary: Ms. Lilia Rosa “Tats” Rejante-Manahan
Treasurer: Ar. Harvey A. Vasquez
Board Trustee and Spokesperson: Ar. Michael “Mico” F. Manalo
In the same meeting, the new BoT selected and appointed the new Committee Officers and National Representatives / Coordinators for the same 3-year term:
Communications Officer: Mr. JH Corpus
Membership Officer: Ar. Giuseppe “Gio” Luigi Hernandez Abcede
Legal Counsel: Atty. Kathleen “Kate” Felise Constance D. Tantuico
EPWG National Representative: Ar. Claudia Isabelle V. Montero
SDGWG National Representative: Ar. Anjelika A. Orui
CCHWG National Representative: Ms. Kristine Kate A. Lim
(EPWG: Emerging Professionals Working Group, SDGWG: Sustainable Development Goals Working Group, CCHWG: Climate Change and Heritage Working Group. All National Representatives are also Coordinators)
The ICOMOS Philippines Membership is pleased to have them in the National Committee and looks forward to their valuable contribution towards an excellent and fruitful three-year term.
Know more about the people behind the International Council on Monuments and Sites Philippines in the links below:
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) Philippines has appointed Ar. Harvey Vasquez as the new Ex-Officio Representative to the National Committee on Monuments and Sites (NCMS) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
The NCMS is one of the subcommittees under the Subcommission on Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). The NCMS has a mandate to assist the NCCA in conserving built heritage and its environments through policy and program creation, and decision-making pertaining to cultural monuments and sites. ICOMOS Philippines has been providing technical advice to NCCA through its seat at the NCMS.
Arch. Harvey joined the oathtaking of NCMS ExeCon members for 2023-2025 last April 28, 2023. He is joined by other newly appointed members coming from different sectors and disciplines including architecture, archaeology, cultural landscapes, structural engineering, and heritage preservation advocacy.
Arch. Vasquez is a permanent faculty at the Architecture Program of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. He is the OIC-Associate Dean of the Environment Studies Cluster of the School of Design and Arts. He was also voted as Director of the NCR Sector of the Council of Deans and Heads of Architectural Schools in the Philippines (CODHASP) for the Luzon Super-region. He finished his master’s degree in Architecture from the University of the Philippines major in Architectural Heritage Conservation. He is a practicing licensed architect for sixteen years and co-founded Kalamaam Design Studio which, aside from commercial and private projects, is engaged in heritage conservation. The studio is currently doing restoration work on the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat – San Beda Church in Mendiola. He has been appointed the Heritage Conservation Consultant of the PNR South Long Haul Project of China Railway Design Corporation.
Arch. Vasquez is an active cultural worker and a member of ICOMOS Philippines. He is participating in the organization’s subcommittee of Sustainable Development Goals Working Group (SDGWG). He is also the representative to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)’s Stakeholders’ Chamber on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Philippines.
With his active participation in the past few years as a practitioner in heritage conservation, the recent appointment as the NCMS ex-officio representative for ICOMOS Philippines was a natural progression for Arch. Vasquez.
ICOMOS Philippines expresses its profound gratitude to Arch. Vasquez for having accepted this appointment and is extending its full support to his undertakings and responsibility as part of the NCMS.
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 reaffirms its commitment to advance heritage conservation and management in the country through its participation at the Inter-Agency Meeting of cultural organisations called by the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) on February 28.
This year’s National Heritage Month theme is “Change and Continuity,” shared values that ICOMOS Philippines upholds in all its programs and activities that promote cultural heritage as a tool and driver of development.
According to the NCCA, the theme aims to highlight the potential of cultural heritage in enhancing social capital, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.
The celebration, which happens every May, also seeks to showcase the benefits, impacts, and growth opportunities produced by heritage science research and innovation; promote advocacies; and encourage participation in programs that safeguard intangible and urban cultural heritage.
In line with the celebration of National Arts Month in February, ICOMOS Philippines’ Treasurer Erik Akpedonu led the discussion on “Renegotiating Philippine Heritage,” an event organised by the University of Asia & the Pacific’s (UA&P) College of Arts and Science held on February 28.
The lecture met its objectives after helping the participants with the following:
Identify Philippine artistic heritage with emphasis on different categories of cultural properties and their aesthetic values
Examine the parameters of significance that explain why cultural properties are important Philippine artistic legacies
Analyse the role of the colonial experience in shaping how heritage is understood, collected, conserved, presented, and interpreted
Investigate social, historical, and cultural transformations and issues that affect Philippine artistic heritage
Determine how stakeholders in artistic heritage are participating in conservation and preservation efforts and why it is significant
Mr. Akpedonu also discussed the lack of architectural heritage appreciation evident in basic and higher education curricula, and the steps heritage advocates must take to raise awareness and understanding among students and youth.
Dozens of UA&P faculty members, staff, students, and guests outside the institution joined the on-site activity, with many expressing interest in joining future learning sessions focused on cultural heritage management and conservation.
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.