Thursday, November 15, 2012

ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Conference & 2012 ICTC Annual Meeting

The ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Conference and 2012 ICTC Annual Meeting came to a close last night as we returned from the post-conference tour to the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. We've been very busy the past two weeks since our first delegates arrived on November 2.

Conference Chair Ivan Henares, National Museum Director Jeremy Barns, Ambassador Jose Maria Carino, ICOMOS Philippines President Augusto Villalon, ICOMOS ICTC President Susan Millar, DOT Director Cynthia Lazo, Conference Co-Chair Ivan Man Dy. Photo by Anson Yu
Conference Chair Ivan Henares, ICOMOS Philippines President Augusto Villalon & Conference Co-Chair Ivan Man Dy. Photo by Anson Yu
Official activities started on November 5 with the Welcome Reception at the Old Senate Session Hall of the National Museum. Before that, foreign delegates were transported from Intramuros to the National Art Gallery on an air-conditioned jeepney courtesy of Jeepney Tours, followed by a tour of the newly-opened galleries of the National Museum. I was astounded with how much of our national treasures were in storage all these years before they finally seeing light in these new exhibits.

Food was catered by Cibo, and cultural performances rendered by the Ramon Magsaysay High School and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

The next day, delegates flew to Laoag City. We got to visit Paoay Church which was the only major embarrassment during the conference as ICOMOS experts pointed out violations that were being committed by the local government as we were visiting. Structures were being constructed in the core and buffer zones which raised a major concern among our guests.

In the Historic Town of Vigan, we got a grand and festive welcome at the City Hall of Vigan as each foreign delegate was assigned an assistant for the duration of the conference. Dinner was at the Burgos House (National Museum) hosted by the Department of Tourism Region I.

For the next two days, the conference was held at the recently-restored Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol. A temporary exhibit on archival material of the town plaza of Vigan was also opened by the National Archives. In the evening, the City Government of Vigan invited everyone to watch a sarsuela which was followed by a festive dinner in front of city hall.

The next day, the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee held its annual meeting followed by a workshop with local stakeholders. The day ended with a Closing Reception hosted by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur at the Vigan Plaza Hotel.

We returned to Manila the next day. In the evening, we got a glimpse of the reconstructed Ayuntamiento de Manila, as well as an evening tour of Fort Santiago, the Rizal Shrine and Casa Manila. A Farewell Reception was hosted by the Intramuros Administration at Barbara's. Check out photos of the conference in the Ivan About Town FB page and with Estan Cabigas.

As most of the delegates went back home, the other half braved the long drive and truck traffic to visit the Rice Terrace of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao. It was a very meaningful visit to Banaue, Lagawe, Kiangan and Hungduan as we got to interact with local officials and stakeholders. The group had a very comfortable stay at the Banaue Hotel. Here are some photos of our post-conference tour to Ifugao.

Thank you very much to everyone who contributed, particularly the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur, the City Government of Vigan, Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs-TCCP, UNESCO National Commission, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Metrobank Foundation, City Government of Manila, Intramuros Administration, TIEZA, Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), National Museum and the Provincial Government of Ifugao among many others!

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