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The importance of honoring our heritage

BAYANIHAN PHILIPPINES performs during the announcement of Heritage Month events. —GISELLE P. KASILAG

WITH the urgency of honoring the past and preserving its legacy, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) unveiled the events for National Heritage Month that highlight the dynamic nature of the national patrimony.

“Our Filipino heritage is the legacy that our ancestors left us. From buildings and structures to social practices, oral traditions, and living expressions, our heritage speaks of what we have been through as a country and it speaks of the resilience of those who came before us. Our Filipino heritage also speaks of who we are as a nation. It indicates what we value as a society,” said Oscar Casaysay, executive director of the NCCA.

“It signals the direction of who we will be and, that said, we should continuously learn about our heritage and preserve it. By doing so, we honor the sacrifices of our forefathers. We honor their blood and sweat that shape the nation’s identity.”

Slated for the month of May — which Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. president Armita Rufino pointed out is the month with the most festivals in the Philippines — the celebrations will focus on four aspects: sustainable heritage management, heritage science, intangible cultural heritage, and urban heritage.

The kick-off event was held on May 2 at the Capiz Provincial Capitol in Roxas City. Apart from presentations of folk songs and dancing, the event featured the launch of the commemorative stamp entitled “Kalayaan ay Pamana: 125th Anniversary of the First Philippine Republic and Democracy.”

A webinar through Facebook focusing on the role of librarians in preserving traditions called the “Aklatan Series: Role of Librarians in Cultural Heritage Preservation,” will be held on May 5.

“Sinupan Kamustahan 3: Pangangalaga at Pagpapalaganap sa Komunidad” on May 17 is a Facebook Live event that will discuss online the different archival projects in the country.

An audio-visual presentation, Tahanan ng Kasaysayan: The Aguinaldo Shrine’s Legacy to Philippine Independence, will premiere on May 18 through Facebook. It highlights the transition of Emilio Aguinaldo’s home into a historical landmark that is vital in understanding the story of the nation.

“Tourism and Heritage: Enemies or Partners in Progress” is the theme of the Capacity Building in Heritage Management Clinic 2023-2024 to be held on May 23 to 30 at San Carlos in Pangasinan. The event will bring together experts in tourism and cultural management to guide strategies and best practices that tourism stakeholders may implement.

And finally, opening this month will be the Virtual 360° Heritage Site Tour: Museo de San Agustin, an online portal with high-definition photography and videography of the iconic San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.

Alongside the NCCA events is the Filipino Heritage Festival 2023 with its complimenting calendar of activities. This includes an essay writing competition, a heritage quiz, an exhibition on plazas at the Metropolitan Museum entitled “Places of Memory, Place of the Heart: Plazas in the Philippines,” a touring exhibit of National Artist Larry Alcala’s cartoons entitled “Larry Alcala: Slices of Life, Wit and Humor,” a Bacolod Heritage Tour, and many more.

“This year’s National Heritage Month, with its theme of change and continuity, reminds us that we should continue to develop what our forebearers have founded which is our Filipino heritage,” reiterated Victorino Manalo, chairman of the NCCA. “It is something we can hold on to in our changing world. But our task isn’t easy and it continues through the years.”

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