Annually, ICOMOS invites a global and multidisciplinary panel of heritage experts to assess each country’s nominations for World Heritage Sites. Among that panel was ICOMOS Philippines’ past president Tina Paterno, presenting via video the decision of the ICOMOS World Heritage Panel to inscribe Portugal’s Historic Centre of Guimarães and Couros Zone on the World Heritage List at the Extended 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee at the Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
One of the most important steps in inscription to the World Heritage Site list is the advice that ICOMOS gives to UNESCO. Each work in tandem to process tentative inscriptions from desk reviews, to physical site visits and, if merited, to the final announcement for inscription.
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ICOMOS Philippines was tasked by UNESCO Multi-sectoral Regional Office in Jakarta, Indonesia to consolidate findings of several post-earthquake assessments into a situational analysis report on the damage to the Historic City of Vigan in the July 2022 earthquake. National agencies have prioritized several public structures while privately owned heritage houses have had no immediate access to support. Following the assessment, the UNESCO Jakarta’s Heritage Emergency Fund was one of the grants recommended by ICOMOS Philippines for the World Heritage site to apply. Though the fund is limited and cannot cover full restoration work, it is to be utilized to pursue technical scientific studies that can benefit and be applied to most of the ancestral houses, having a ripple effect. These studies will ensure that the majority of the damaged structures will be restored efficiently and be compliant to local and international standards.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Multi-sectoral Regional Office covers Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste. ICOMOS is one of the advisory bodies to UNESCO in the conservation of World Heritage Sites. Please see the article today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle and Arts section.
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.
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.
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
In celebration of ICOMOS Day 2021, themed ??????? ?????, ??????? ???????, the Philippine National Committee hosts a talk that explores the creation, selection, and preservation of heritage through the kalesa study and the jeepney.
Urban historian ??. ??????? ????? discusses the evolution of the carruaje in pre-War Manila. In the last century, it was perceived as a relic from an “unmodern” past that must give way to newer, safer transportation forms. Today it survives primarily for tourists who seek a nostalgic experience, or perhaps an incomplete interpretation/presentation of the Walled City and other historic districts.
What lessons on heritage declaration and preservation might one draw by studying the case of the kalesa and the jeepney, currently absent from the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property? What insights might be applied to contemporary vernacular architecture, especially those of lower-income Filipinos? What role do heritage managers and cultural workers play in identifying what should be preserved and ensuring that cultural properties, especially those heavily used and meaningful to marginalized communities, endure into the future?
These questions and more will be explored by Dr. Pante and guest discussants ???? ??? ?????????? and ?????? ?????? moderated by ???? ???????.
The webinar will be held via Zoom on 18 April, Sunday at 10:30 AM Hong Kong SAR, MNL time
As an environmental scientist and as a heritage advocate, I find myself eager to learn about the interconnectedness of culture and the environment. Though miles away from the Philippines, I joined ICOMOS Philippines as an intern hoping to broaden my knowledge on our cultural and natural heritage, and likewise to grow as a young professional in the field of heritage.
I was able to accomplish a variety of tasks during my internship, focusing graphic design, branding, and research work. These included creating promotional materials for ICOMOS Philippines’ talks and webinars series as well as contributing to the mapmaking for Project Alexandria and the archaeological research project led by Dr. John Peterson. My experience was made more fruitful through the mentorship of the Communications Team members, headed by Ms. Claudia Montero as they were able to help me translate my ideas into effective communication materials. Moreover, my involvement in the research work enabled me to be exposed to various heritage conservation aspects as well as Philippine Archaelogy which afforded me the opportunity to learn about facets of history that I would not have come across were it not for Dr. Peterson’s project.
My internship in ICOMOS Philippines was my first exposure to professional heritage work. Throughout the program, I gained a better understanding of various facets of heritage: cultural landscapes, built heritage, as well as the challenges that the Philippine heritage practice currently faces. However, the most important lesson and firsthand experience that I had with the organization was seeing the interdisciplinarity of heritage work exemplified by the members.
After my internship, I have started working as a research assistant for a research project on lake methane dynamics. While my current work mainly deals with environmental science, I hope to continue contributing in any way I can to our country’s natural and cultural heritage conservation. And in the hopes of improving my knowledge in both environmental science and heritage conservation, I hope to pursue graduate studies on ethnoecology and eventually join ICOMOS Philippines as a member this time.
ICOMOS Philippines’ intern Kenneth Tua will present his research on Philippine Landscape Heritage Education. This is his final presentation for the Internship Programme.
Philippine Landscape Heritage Education16 October 2020 (Friday) | 8:00 PM Philippine Standard Time
“Philippine Landscape Heritage Education: Review of the preparedness of Landscape Architecture curricula in the Philippines for the specialization of Landscape Heritage Conservation (LHC)”
Mr. Kenneth J. Tua is a registered & licensed architect and a sustainable territorial development consultant. He graduated Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Santo Tomas and have acquired professional certifications as a scholar in Sustainability, Sustainable Development, and Innovation programmes from YSISEA in Singapore, APYE in Thailand and Social Innovation Center, Hanyang University, South Korea. He previously worked for the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines – Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) where he handled the research of the proposed Manila Esplanade Lighting Project and low impact development projects. Currently, he is a graduate scholar of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in DYnamics of Cultural Landscape, heritage, Memory and conflictualities (DYCLAM+).
“Philippine Landscape Heritage Education”, is schedule this Friday, October 16, 2020, 8:00 PM (Philippine Standard Time)
ICOMOS Philippines’ past and current interns will present respective research. Dr. Victor Venida from the Ateneo de Manila University will be the discussant for this event.
Project Alexandria28 September 2020 (Monday) | 6:00 PM Philippine Standard Time
“Summary of Conservation Projects in the Philippines: The National Museum and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines”
Ms. Patricia Cecille Monica H. Panganiban is graduated with an Erasmus Mundus Masters in Archaeological Sciences from the University of Evora in Portugal, where she specialized in the study of pigments from Ancient Egpytian funerary masks and sarcophagi. Prior to that, she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University. She is currently working with the Nayong Pilipino Foundation on the development of the Nayong Pilipino Virtual Museum.
Ms.Ma. Louisen Manuel Roxas is a graduate of BS Human Ecology major in Human Settlements Planning from the University of the Philippines Los Banos, and she is currently pursuing her masters in Urban & Regional Planning at UP Diliman. Currently, she is working as the Training Manager of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), an internal NGO focused on humanitarian action & community development through open mapping.
“Diagnostic Report of The Philippine Registry of Cultural Properties (PRECUP)”
Ms. Carissa Veloso is the current ICOMOS Philippines Secretariat. Before joining ICOMOS Philippines, she was the Business Development Manager for San Sebastian Basilica Conservation, a non-profit restoration foundation based in Manila (2015-2019). She was also the representative of the Philippines for UNESCO’s young professionals program for the 42nd World Heritage Committee Session. She holds a BS Management degree with minors in Cultural Heritage and Entrepreneurship from Ateneo de Manila University.
Ms. Chanelle Custorio is both a registered and licensed chemical engineer and architect. She is an alumni of UP Diliman, worked in the restoration of San Sebastian Basilica, and is now a co-partner for the architecture firm Hiraya Design Studio. She has also attended courses on Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites by ICCROM as well as on Conservation of Japanese Textiles by TNRICP.
Mr.Isaiah Cabañero is a graduate of Community Development at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, working with communities and volunteer organizations which gained him experience in community organizing and people-centered participatory project development. He is currently working hand-in-hand with local coffee farming ati communities in Iloilo.
Ms. Ruby Descalzo is a recent graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University, with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Cultural Heritage Studies. She previously served as the President of Baybayin Ateneo, a Filipino cultural student organization. She is currently under the mentorship of Claudia Montero, and will be working with Dr. John Peterson as part of her internship.
Mr. Gio Abcede is a graduating BS Architecture student from De La Salle University, College of Saint Benilde. He has worked with One/Zero Design Co. on the Maestranza Creative Quarters project and collaborated with Digiscript Philippines Inc. with mapping presentations for the Intramuros Cultural Management Plan. He is also a core member and graphic designer for the Heritage Conservation Society. He is currently working closely with the Architecture Committee of ICOMOS Philippines, under the tutelage of Dominic Galicia.
Dr. Victor Venida, ICOMOS Philippines member, completed his M.Sc. in economics at the London School of Economics and a PhD in economics at New York University. He completed a specialist course in International Economics, Trade and Finance at the Instituto Nacional de Administracion Publica at Alcala de Henares, Spain. Currently e is a Professor with the Department of Economics and a Lecturer with the European Studies Program, Development Studies Program and the Law School of Ateneo de Manila University.
“Project Alexandria ”, is scheduled this Monday, September 28, 2020, 6:00 PM (Philippine Standard Time).
ICOMOS México, through its Scientific Committee of Theory and Philosophy, together with its Secretariat of Academic Development and Youth and Heritage Group, organized last Tuesday, June 23, 2020 an online discussion entitled, “Los Retos de la Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural y Natural Frente a Condiciones de Riesgo”. It discussed on the present challenges of cultural and natural heritage conservation as it faces risky conditions in its continued practice amidst the global pandemic.
The panel in the online discussion included ICOMOS Philippines President Tina Paterno, who shared the current situation of heritage specialists and practitioners in the country on her presentation entitled, “A View Towards Recovery: Focus Group Discussions on Heritage During the Pandemic”.
Ms Paterno shared findings from several local discussions on how ICOMOS Philippines members are seeing the changes in the heritage practice in their fields of expertise. A common emerging theme was the necessity to explore how heritage can be part of recovery, perhaps by linking it to new national priorities. Generally, many ICOMOS Philippines members saw ideas for continuing a heritage practice amidst Covid 19, during in the mandated pause we are all going through, to re-evaluate where the Philippines is in the practice, and identify where structural improvements are necessary. She also shared two success stories from the past discussions.
“We have a chance to do things differently,” Paterno concluded, “and the accessibility of discussions and knowledge moving online is a great ‘democratizer’ for learning. Our hope is that one day, heritage becomes a more mainstream issue and it happened from a time that there was this major pause and painful time from COVID but it was able to give birth to something truly positive.”
WEBINARS & FOCUSED GROUP DISCUSSIONS
Starting June 2020, ICOMOS Philippines held free public webinars to think about heritage in a differently because of the current global situation. The first webinar was entitled, “Place-Making and Food Security: Thinking of Heritage Conservation and Food Production,” which explored the mechanisms that shape rural and urban spaces, private and public, facilitating food production and place-making grounded in community-based participation. It provided various perspectives that link food and the understanding of historic significance of particular places.
The online discussion can be viewed on the official Facebook page of ICOMOS México. ICOMOS Philippines would like to thank Mr. Yoloxochitl Lucio of the Grupo Jóvenes y Patrimonio del ICOMOS Mexicano A.C. and Dr. Saúl Alcántara Onofre, ICOMOS México President for the invitation.