Issue of October 14, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Capability building seminar 2

The just concluded seminar workshop on capability building sponsored by the Baguio Museum in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Manila was attended by 33 participants from Northern Luzon and two participants from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Six of the participants were from Baguio, two from Benguet, one from Ifugao, three from Abra, one from Mountain Province, two from Kalinga and the rest were private individuals and observers.

Overall impressions from the participants included: topics were comprehensive and substantial, venue was accessible and perfect, food was delicious, and the resource persons were knowledge and topics were very educational.

Inasmuch as the participants were inspired, they wanted more museology-related topics like museum guiding, ethnographic researches, museum management, benchmarking, museum enhancement, more training on collection of artifacts, display strategies, demonstrations on conservation, provenance, authentication and preservation, and cultural conferences

According to University of the Philippines Baguio Museo Kordilyera director Dr. Analyn Amores and conservator-consultant Orlando Abinion, Republic Act 1066 is an act providing for the protection and conservation of national cultural heritage.

Baguio Museum president Fred Bagbagen mentioned the three-pronged approach of the 2017 U.S. Embassy Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation: facility rehabilitation, conservation of artifacts, and capability building

U.S. Embassy Grants Officer Representative and Program Specialist Edwin Vergara mentioned that capability building is one of the Embassy’s new programs. Baguio’s hosting was the second of a series of capability building seminars. A seven-day seminar under the UST stewardship is scheduled on February 2019 in Albay.

Vergara mentioned that interested parties or persons can submit a two to three-paragraph concept paper on cultural heritage with special focus on the significance and urgency of their proposal. About 30 participants will be invited and a matching of objectives will be done. The first one was held in Iloilo.

Former National Commission on Indigenous Peoples commissioner Zenaida Pawid suggested “to follow up on the individual riches of each ethnolinguistic group. The NLAM (Northern Luzon Association of Museums) should coordinate and contribute to the Cordillera unity in diversity.”

A trustee of Baguio Museum expressed his sentiments to share to the world the knowledge of the tribal elders to have a sense of balancing.

“Each artifact has a voice,” Amy Rogel Rara says. “(It is) a record of the people living. We must have respect for heritage and cultural sensitivity.

“We must search for indigenous spirituality,” says Ike Picpican. “We must pick up a spiritual item or object, come together and search for its meaning beyond.”

Indeed this gathering has brought out the inner feelings of our museum workers. They said they came to the seminar not knowing what to expect and came out richer in knowledge. It has brought inspiration to move forward.

“The spirit of the museum has inspired us to appreciate our culture. Napakaganda ng ating kultura,” was the message of Fr. Oscar Alunday, a culture bearer from Abra.

Elsa Bagioan, a Tinguian scholar from Abra said, “It’s the culture in us that will connect us to one another.”

Kevin from Kalinga and Glen from the ARMM invited the participants to visit their provinces as they have much to show in terms of cultural heritage.

Capability trainings like this one inspire people and give them a better understanding of the culture of others. There is a need to be aware that culture bridges. No one culture is above the other, be it foreign or local.

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