For the first time, the United States Embassy in the Philippines is funding a cultural heritage conservation training program. The Php1.245 million course will focus on best practices in protecting and preserving irreplaceable cultural sites and objects.
The University of Santo Tomas Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET) will facilitate the four-day training course in Iloilo City from April 17 to 20. The 27 participants are responsible for the conservation of built heritage sites in their localities around the Philippines. Participants include representatives from local and provincial governments, heritage councils, academic institutions, civic organizations, and dioceses.
Counselor for Public Affairs Carolyn Glassman explained, “The United States continues to strongly support efforts to restore, protect and conserve the Philippines’ rich and diverse cultural heritage through a variety of projects and programs. This important training course demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to safeguarding the Philippines’ invaluable cultural heritage for future generations.”
International experts on cultural heritage preservation will lead sessions designed to train participants on best practices of conservation management planning, including historical research, legal frameworks, architectural and materials documentation, conditions and hazard assessments, and conservation policy-setting. The course includes a full day of field work when participants will develop short conservation plans for built heritage structures in Iloilo City.
Iloilo City sometimes referred to as the “City of Mansions,” is an ideal venue for the training because of its numerous clusters of well-preserved heritage structures including churches, ancestral houses, and public and commercial buildings. These structures represent some of the finest Spanish and American colonial architecture in the country, serving as valuable case studies for course participants.
Through its Cultural Heritage Studies Program, CCCPET has been at the forefront of cultural heritage conservation in the Philippines. It has successfully implemented various programs and projects in the areas of research, cultural mapping, conservation, and restoration work, and heritage education and development to include conservation management planning.
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The U.S. Embassy has supported cultural heritage preservation in the Philippines by providing numerous grants over the years to restore built heritage structures and document intangible heritage all over the country. Projects include conservation of the San Sebastian Basilica in Manila, restoration of the La Immaculada Concepcion Church in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, documentation of the Tabon Cave Complex in Palawan, documentation of the Mangyan Baybayin Syllabic Script in Mindoro Oriental, conservation of ethnographic collections at the Baguio Museum, and documentation of oral traditions in Ifugao, among others.