Heritage and tourism.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)
LOVE for heritage is a cultural value that is difficult to advocate. Strange because we Filipinos have an incredible inventory of archeological sites - in caves, by river banks, underwater, even in highly urbanized zones like Metro Manila. We also inherited all types of colonial structures built by our forbears during 350 years of Spanish colonization and 50 years of American domination.
We still have 16th century Christian temples, lighthouses, elegant residences, military fortresses, town halls, hospitals, mission schools, public edifices in our registry of historically and culturally significant sites and structures. The UNESCO has declared the Ifugao Rice Terraces and the colonial city of Vigan as heritage sites. Twenty-six Philippine baroque churches have been recognized as treasures by the ICOMOS. Yet, the wrecker's ball has not been retired. Many heritage sites and structures are being needlessly sacrificed for market-driven, high rise real estate development; a lot more are left to decay and crumble beyond adaptive reuse. Then we wonder why the majority of Filipinos do not know their history and why our sense of national identity still remains weak after more than a hundred years.
Tourism seems like an effective tool for raising historical and cultural awareness. Since anything antique, vintage or heritage is considered old and useless, an obstacle to progress, and anti-modern, tourism could show that heritage conservation is a jobgenerating enterprise with a rapid ROI rate. Local government officials, who wanted to latch on to the tourism band wagon, can be encouraged to convert heritage sites, settings and structures into income-generating tourism products and destinations.
While tourism development can show the commercial potentials of culture and heritage, private sector groups like the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) can raise historical and cultural consciousness and advocate the protection and conservation of our cultural heritage.
The tourism sector is only one of the partners of heritage conservation. In the Philippines. There are many other stakeholders whose own mandates and development plans have to be taken into account. Among the government agencies, the HCS has to work closely with the National Historical Institute, National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the National Museum of the Filipino People and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board. …