Cultural Heritage in Ilocos Sur

28 08 2011

As I am reflecting on my past visit to Ilocos Sur, and Vigan’s relationship to UNESCO, I found this website:

It is the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts that worked with UNESCO in sustaining cultural heritage in the Philippines. In the Rationale of the NCCA web page, it says,

“The UNESCO declares that there are two approaches to preserve cultural heritage: one is to record it in a tangible form and conserve it in archives; the other is to preserve it in a living form by ensuring its transmission to the next generations.
The establishment of Schools of Living Traditions (SLT) is in response to the second approach. While there are various facets of cultural heritage that can be transmitted to the next generations, this program would like to specifically focus on the transmission of indigenous skills and techniques to the young. It aims to encourage culture specialists/masters to continue with their own work, develop and expand the frontiers of that work, and train younger people to take their place in the future.”

I like this quote because it helps me put my own research into perspective. Since my academic training is in archives, I’ve been reading the monuments and cathedrals in the Ilocos region as products of colonial records. But now, this quote tells me there’s another way to connect with indigenous “living records” which are in the form of skills and techniques such as in dances and crafts.

Since my focus is on the Ilocos region, I found that there are a few SLTs that were established there. It supports the Bago tribal dances, weaving, blacksmith work, among other things. This corrects my previous post that said Ilocanos didn’t have metals prior to Spanish arrival. They did have gold and other metals that they used for jewelry and tools.

There’s a really good website that came out of the SLT at Banayoyo, Ilocos Sur: