UNESCO launches first Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) project in the Republic of the Philippines

On October 23, 2023, a landmark initiative unfolded in the Historic City of Vigan, Philippines, as UNESCO Jakarta, in collaboration with ICOMOS Philippines and with the vital support of the Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF), launched a year-long project dedicated to safeguarding of the Historic City of Vigan. The local governmental unit, under the helm of Mayor Jose “Bonito” C. Singson, Jr., welcomed the UNESCO-ICOMOS Philippines project teams and local stakeholders.

The scope of the project concentrates on two pilot sites which represent common building types in Vigan. The two homes identified by ICOMOS Philippines are the Syquia Mansion and the Cabildo Old House. Enthusiastically, the very same day that the HEF was inaugurated ICOMOS Philippines had already started onsite analytic activities which marked the inaugural implementation of the HEF initiative in the Philippines, underlining its significance in addressing the aftermath of such calamities. 

Please see the article in the Philippine Star Lifestyle and Arts section. Read here ➡️ https://bitly.ws/33hPK

This activity is 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, Country Project Director, 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 #ProtectHeritage

UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund supports the conservation of the Historic City of Vigan in the Philippines

Syquia Mansion, one of the historical buildings in Vigan damaged by the earthquake in July 2022. It is among the historical buildings that benefits from the support of the Heritage Emergency Fund. Photo credit: MNL Solutions, Inc., August 9, 2023

23 October 2023, City of Vigan, Philippines – With the support of the Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF), UNESCO Jakarta, in partnership with ICOMOS Philippines, launched a 12-month project to enhance the protection of the Historic City of Vigan, a World Heritage Site since 1999. This activity aims to support post-earthquake technical standard enhancement on the conservation and protection of heritage houses and structures and contribute to the long-term recovery of the city following the earthquake in July 2022. It is also the first HEF activity implemented in the Philippines.

On 23 October, representatives of national and local government agencies, universities, NGOs specializing in heritage and conservation, private companies, homeowners and technical experts attended the official launch of the project.

Official project launch of the first UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) project
in the Republic of the Philippines at the Historic City of Vigan, Ilocos Sur

“We are so excited to be one of the recipients of the UNESCO Heritage Emergency Fund project. The research and evaluation of the different teams will assure us that we will be able to restore the Syquia Mansion back to its glory days. Gregorio Syquia and all our other ancestors are beaming from up there!” – Ms. Maria Milagros “Mitos” P. Belofsky, Ancestral Homeowner, Syquia Mansion

“The critical concern now is how to protect the integrity and authenticity of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as homeowners plan to repair, restore, and rehabilitate their damaged properties; thus, the assistance from UNESCO and ICOMOS Philippines for restoration studies and plan for the two selected representatives is a welcome development” – Ar. Fatima Nicetas Rabang-Alonzo, a member of Vigan Conservation Council

Within the framework of this activity, the structural, architectural and materials assessments will be carried out for the representative houses (pilot sites), namely, the Syquia Mansion and Cabildo (Old) house, which will contribute in proposing technical standards for post-disaster damage assessment, and shoring and repair design for the future restoration of the entirety of the Historic City of Vigan’s beneficiary houses.

The findings of the two pilot sites assessments will 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, and support the update of Vigan’s existing 2010 Heritage Homeowners Preservation Manual with an addendum. The outcome of the assessment and technical studies will also contribute to enhancing the skills of practitioners, craftsperson and homeowners on the effective repairing methods compatible with original building systems and materials.

The Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF) is a multi-donor funding mechanism, established by UNESCO in 2015 with the goal of assisting Member States in responding quickly and effectively to crises resulting from armed conflicts and disasters all over the world. Its objective is to strengthen the ability of Member States to prevent, mitigate and recover the loss of cultural heritage, harnessing the potential of culture to strengthen resilience and support recovery. Since its establishment, the HEF has enabled UNESCO to support 84 countries through more than 120 emergency preparedness and response activities.

UNESCO thanks the donors of the Heritage Emergency Fund who make the activities possible: 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.

More about the HEF:



UNESCO is the UN specialized agency with a mandate to protect and preserve cultural and natural heritage, in line with the international conventions.

Website: www.unesco.org/jakarta, Instagram, Facebook, X ➡️ @unescojakarta

Media contact: Eliana Bantchev e.bantchev@unesco.org

About ICOMOS Philippines

The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental international organization dedicated to the conservation of the world’s monuments and sites. ICOMOS Philippines is an SEC registered non-stock corporation and the duly recognized National Committee (NC) of ICOMOS International in the country from 113 worldwide.

Website:  https://philippines.icomos.org/, Instagram, Facebook, X ➡️ @icomosph

More about the UNESCO Jakarta – ICOMOS Philippines HEF Team ➡️ https://bitly.ws/YgER

Media contact: Ar. Kenneth Javier Tua kenneth.javier.tua@icomosphilippines.com

ICOMOS Participates in the Extended 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee

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.

For more information about the ICOMOS Philippines, please contact: info@icomosphilippines.com

For information on ICOMOS Philippines please visit our website at: https://philippines.icomos.org/

#ICOMOS #ICOMOSPhilippines #ICOMOSInternational #UNESCO #World Heritage List

Photo credit: Dr. Teresa Patricio, President, ICOMOS International

ICYMI: One of ICOMOS Philippines’s project is featured in today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer article

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.

Heritage conservation, a driver for sustainable development

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 presenting ICOMOS Philippines’ PAMANA 2030 Project

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.
Ar. Harvey Vasquez presents the findings of the ICOMOS Philippines’ emergency assessment on the earthquake’s damage to some heritage structures in Vigan City

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.

NEDA Undersecretary for National Development Policy and Planning Rosemarie Edillon awards Certificate of Appreciation to ICOMOS Philippines

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.


ICOMOS Talks: UNESCO World Heritage – Perspectives from the Field

ICOMOS Talks: UNESCO World Heritage – Perspectives from the Field
8 August 2016 (Monday) | 1PM (Manila City, Philippines)

ICOMOS is one of the key advisory bodies to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and members of the organisation are dedicated to the stewardship of the world’s significant monuments and sites, and the dissemination of pertinent knowledge.

For this year’s World Heritage Committee meeting held in Istanbul, Turkey, ICOMOS Philippines supported the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines for evaluating various World Heritage nominations and reviewing the states of conservation reports. The Philippines is one of the members of World Heritage Committee from 2013 to 2017.

International conservation practitioners Augusto Villalon, Bojer Capati, Gabriel Caballero, Eric Zerrudo, and Michael Manalo will discuss triumphs, challenges, and guidelines that could better Philippine heritage policy and management.

  • Augusto Villalon, “The Benefits of the World Heritage Convention to Sites, People and Culture
  • Gabriel Caballero, “Unraveling World Heritage: Breaking Down the Concept of Outstanding Universal Value
  • Bojer Capati, “Safeguarding OUV (Outstanding Universal Value): Zonation Method for Heritage Sites
  • Michael Manalo, “Damming It Up: Recent Case Studies in World Heritage and their Philippine Parallels
  • Eric Zerrudo, “The Concept of Sustainability in Philippine World Heritage Sites

The event will be on August 8 (Monday), 1PM, at the National Museum of Fine Arts Auditorium, P. Burgos Drive, Manila City.

Registration fee for ICOMOS Members, as well for students and faculty with valid school ID, is PHP 200. For others and the general public, registration fee is PHP 400. To reserve seats, email info@icomosphilippines.com.

The image on the poster is of Alhambra in Granada, Spain, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984.

2015 UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture: Building A New Partnership in Siem Reap, Cambodia

The first UNWTO/UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture: Building a New Partnership held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from February 4-6, 2015, broke new ground in bringing together over 600 delegates including over 40 ministers and vice-ministers of tourism and/or culture from around the world to jointly discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by both the tourism and culture sectors.

The participants endorsed the Siem Reap Declaration on Tourism and Culture and committed to encourage and facilitate effective partnerships between government, private and community organizations in both tourism and cultural heritage sectors.

ICOMOS Philippines was represented by the following members: Ivan Man Dy, Claudia Isabelle Montero, Richard Daenos, Jeremy Balagat, Kat Correa, Rene Luis S. Mata, Tracey Santiago, Ivan Henares, and Marianne Claire Vitug.

They witnessed the Signing Ceremony of the ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty) and met up with the Mexican Patrimonio Mundial and Jordi Tresserras Juan of the Universitat de Barcelona.

ICOMOS Philippines participates in the UNESCO joint expert mission with ICCROM and NCCA

ICOMOS Philippines attended the discussion on the joint expert mission in assessing the situation and damage caused by the recent natural disasters. The mission was held from 2 to 12 December 2013 to Manila to assess areas hit by the Bohol earthquake of 15 October 2013 as well as those areas affected by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) of early November 2013. 

The goal of the joint mission is to identify immediate needs and emergency safeguarding measures, as well as medium-term interventions that would be needed for rehabilitation and recovery.  Other representatives from the cultural agencies were also present, with the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) leading the mission.   

More information can be found in the ICCROM website.

17th ICOMOS General Assembly held in Paris, France

The 17th ICOMOS General Assembly was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France from November 27 to December 2, 2011. Representing the Philippine National Committee were Ma. Joycelyn Mananghaya, Ivan Anthony Henares and David Mason.

Mananghaya and Henares also attended the 2011 annual meetings of the Cultural Landscapes (ISCCL) and Cultural Tourism (ICTC) committees respectively. The Philippines will be hosting the 2012 ICTC Annual Meeting in Vigan, Ilocos Sur from November 5 to 10, 2012.