Born in 1979 in San Juan, Metro Manila, he completed his elementary and secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila University, and his Bachelor of Arts in Economics, Master of Business Administration and Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning degrees all at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
From a very young age, he has been a staunch advocate for the preservation of Philippine heritage. He is currently Vice President and Trustee of the Heritage Conservation Society and Expert Member and Philippine Representative to the International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC) of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). Ivan is also Senior Lecturer at the Asian Institute of Tourism of the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
As a college student, he initiated the “Preserving Heritage for Progress Program” in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga in 2001, a program that focused on the protection, conservation and promotion of the architectural heritage of the city. He painstakingly convinced local stakeholders to preserve their ancestral homes, many of which were eventually declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as Heritage Houses. In 2004, the program was named Galing Pook Award Trailblazing Program and one of the Top 10 Best Practices of the League of Cities of the Philippines.
In 2001, he was named Most Outstanding Kapampangan for Youth Leadership in recognition of his leadership in raising cultural awareness in Pampanga. In 2005, he received the United Nations Association of the Philippines Outstanding Youth Leader Award. In 2006, he received The Outstanding Fernandino Award for Preservation of Heritage and Promotion of the Arts. In 2007, his blog was named Best Travel Blog at the 1st Philippine Blog Awards. In 2008, he was named a Philippines 21 Fellow by Asia Society, which selects ten promising young leaders every year to join the Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit. In 2010, Spot.PH included him in their list of “10 City Heroes You Should Know” for his heritage conservation advocacy.
He ably organized the 2012 ICOMOS International Conference on Cultural Tourism which brought together Expert Members of ICOMOS from around the world to Vigan, Ilocos Sur to share cultural tourism best practices to hundreds of local stakeholders. The feedback from foreign and local delegates was very encouraging, and had contributed to the good reputation of the Philippines as a global leader in community-based cultural tourism. He was named one of the The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) for 2012 in the field of Heritage Conservation.
Through the years, Ivan has helped move forward this advocacy through innovative promotion via mainstream and social media. This is where Ivan has made his unique and indelible mark for his championed cause: his efforts have brought an oft-neglected cause to the consciousness of the youth by giving it a younger and more accessible face. In particular, his use of social media networks and his award-winning blog have given cultural heritage a voice that demands to be heard.
He has certainly given heritage a voice, one that was previously muted by other equally important national priorities. He has and continues to strive for what the Heritage Conservation Society envisions, a Filipino society that values and preserves its cultural heritage in order to instill pride of place and strengthen Philippine national identity. Ivan has always believed that a strong national identity and pride are often disregarded tools for nation-building.