Friday, December 22, 2006

Heritage updates

Heritage bills in the Senate
The Sub-committee on Education, Arts and Culture created a Technical Working Group (TWG) tasked to do the following:
1. Prepare a draft bill that will integrate and harmonize the essential elements of a National Heritage Protection measure from pending bills before the Committee on National Heritage;
2. Request additional position papers from various stakeholders, including but not limited to, artists and conservation architects, archaeologists and biologists, conservationists, historians and Muslim and ethnography scholars;
3. Review all the existing laws, presidential decrees and treaties with regard to protection and conservation of Historical, Natural and Cultural Heritage in order to have a systematic body of conservation laws.

The Heritage Conservation Society is among the members of the TWG. It is in this regard that we would like to ask for position papers on the said Heritage Bill. Please send them to Thanks!

Heritage watch
Iloilo plaza can’t be altered without NHI green light

Heritage conservation awards
I just received a call for nominations for the 2007 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation. The awards were established "to recognize the achievement of individuals and organizations within the private sector, and the public-private initiatives, in successfully restoring structures of heritage value in the region."

To be nominated, the restored structure must be at least 50 years old; privately owned or leased; restoration must be the result of private initiative or a public-private partnership; and restoration must have been undertaken within the last ten years and put into viable use for at least one year prior to the award.

We were thinking of nominating the restored Gabaldon buildings under the Heritage Schoolhouse Restoration Program of the DepEd and HCS but since it is financed and owned wholly by government, they are not eligible for nomination. You might know of conservation on other structures which deserve to be recognized. Deadline for nomination in March 31, 2007. Visit for more details.

We've won three Honourable Mention honors namely Nielson Tower, which is now the Filipinas Heritage Library in 2001; Gota de Leche Building in 2003, and the Far Eastern University Manila Campus in 2005. Other nominees were the Balay Negrense Lifestyle Museum - Don Victor Gaston Y Fernandez Ancestral Home, Silay City; Fule-Malvar Mansion, San Pablo City; Orchid Garden Suites, Manila; Zaragoza Mansion, Vigan; General Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite; Syquia Mansion, Vigan, IIocos Sur; and the Santos-Andres House, Antipolo City.

Grants deadline nearing
Just to remind everyone, the deadline for nominations to the World Monuments Watch for 2008 is on January 15, 2007. Announced every two years, the World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites calls international attention to cultural heritage sites around the world threatened by neglect, vandalism, armed conflict, or natural disaster. It fosters community support for the protection of endangered sites and attracts technical and financial resources to assist in their rescue. More than 75 percent of the sites have been saved or are well on their way, thanks to timely intervention. To download the nomination form, click here.


  1. Anonymous24.12.06

    I had a meeting yesterday with the Philippine Association of Museums, Inc. at the Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago and noticed an ongoing construction at the former golf driving range on the side of Roxas Blvd. I learned that this construction by the PTA(Philippine Tourism Authority)has been ongoing even without permit from the (IA)Intramuros Administration for the IA is opposed to the project - a badminton court, according to my source of information.

    I feel that the badminton court project of the PTA is not appropriate on the site for it will obstruct the view of the portion of the historic fortification. Considering that many badminton courts have been closing this year in Metro Manila.

  2. Anonymous24.12.06

    Yes, thorughly inappropriate just like the giant metal frames of the golf course that dawrfs the silhouette of Ft. Santiago itself.

    But then, who among our officials are concerned with "visual dignity"?

    1. Manila allowed SM to rise two floors higher than the nearby City Hall. The back entrance faces City Hall!

    2. Right beside the Cultural Center of the Philippines, supposedly the pinnacle of the performing arts, is a giant clown of Star City. It's there the whole year, thanks to Freddie Elizalde. Lisa Macuja, wife of Freddie and star ballerina, should realize that this demeans the image not only of CCP, but of the Philippines as a whole.

    3. The supposedly largest billboard in the world stands right in front of a church tower whose image of Our Lady used to be a landmark clearly seen from EDSA. Yes, the billboard brings in revenues to the Church. But it also sends out the message that commerce matters more than the Divine.

    Our problems with preserving heritage are far deeper than we assume. A major problem has to do with the LACK OF AESTHETICS. Aesthetics has been marginalized in the curriculum, in the public sphere. The result is an ever-intensifying urban ugliness. And yet because of Filipino prowess in designing furniture and home accessories, the government keeps bragging that we are the "MILAN OF ASIA"!

    A contradiction!

  3. Anonymous24.12.06

    Dr. Zialcita really has a point! I totally agree with him. Has this letter been published in any major Philippine newspaper? How can this be expressed to those who may be able to take action on the matter?

  4. Anonymous24.12.06

    As I've mentioned before, we are aesthetically and historically challenged.

  5. According to the DOT, the Manila City Government is making moves to regain jurisdiction over Intramuros. And that becomes a big problem because if it happens, the Lord Mayor can do what he wants with it, building a shopping mall included. I was told the Lord Mayor was not secretive about this new project.

  6. Anonymous24.12.06

    Jurisdiction over Intramuros would create another disaster for the City!!!!! This mayor is making a final bid for his "Sirain ang Maynila" and " Patayin ang Maynila project"

    He is pitting his son Alli for the mayoralty posts!!!!! I would rather vote for Danilo Lacuna or even Rose Bud for the mayoralty posts at least baka may magawa sila sa Binondo ( Ugly tall buildings are all over the Chinatown area ) and all those historical building in Manila.....

    Watch out guys for the Postal and Philatelic Museum near the historic Post Office as these may become the next target fot the rennovation......

  7. Anonymous27.12.06

    hello ivan,

    Regarding the World Monument Watch, can I suggest to nominate the Linapacan Spanish Fort in the remote Calamian islands of Palawan . It was built during the 17th century to protect the local community from intruders. Apparently, no one knew of it's exact location since it was so hidden, until a foreigner living in the Philippines "discovered" it. It;s greatest threat is neglect, natural aging, and as you can see from the website, overgrown plants and trees that endanger the structure of the site.

    To see more info and photos, just google the name "islomaniac" and click on his photo albums. It's under Linapacan Spanish Fort.

    thanks and let me know what you think :-)

  8. Hi Heather, the site would have to be nominated by its owner or the LGU if it has jurisdiction over it. Would you know who they are and how to contact them? Thanks!


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