Once the center of Filipino life, plazas in Manila are either disappearing or falling into a state of disrepair. As few people recognize the historical and cultural significance of these landmarks, they are often overlooked by heritage conservationists, as well as students of history.
To help Filipinos rediscover Philippine heritage and culture, Samsung and the Philippine Science High School Foundation Inc. have teamed up to hold an exhibit entitled The Plazas of Manila at Yuchengco Museum with noted architect, designer, and urban planner Paulo Alcazaren as the curator.
Open until September 18, the exhibit highlights the historical and cultural significance of plazas in Manila, with the use of augmented reality on Samsung’s latest digital tablet and Smart TV technology.
Coinciding with the exhibit is the launch of Culture Explorer, a mobile application that uses augmented reality technology to help people, especially the youth, learn about Manila’s plazas and other cultural and heritage landmarks.
The app is virtually a tour guide in one’s pocket, with fresh content and plenty of interesting trivia. It also allows users to navigate around key landmarks and travel back in time to see how the landmark has looked and evolved over the years.
Since history is better appreciated with other people, the Culture Explorer app allows users to connect with other Culture Explorers who share their interest in the different sites.
“Through this exhibit, we are able to cast the spotlight on one of the most important elements of Filipino culture and history, the plaza. This exhibit allows us to bridge technology and art together, giving the Filipino youth a chance to learn about their roots,” said Linda Cordova, executive director of the Philippine Science High School Foundation Inc.
Alcazaren, a founding member of the Heritage Conservation Society, believes that the marriage of technology and art will not only benefit artists, but also students of culture and history.
“Technology makes the arts, culture, and history more accessible and more appealing to people. It allows them to appreciate everything in a more dynamic manner, injecting a new dimension and giving it a meaning beyond what they get to read in books,” said Alcazaren.
The digital exhibit and app launch is an undertaking of Samsung’s Corporate Citizenship Program, which is committed to the conservation of Filipino culture and history.
Culture Explorer is compatible with all Android smartphones and tablets, and can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store and Galaxy Apps. No registration is required for users to enjoy full access to the app.
“We hope that the public will find the time to visit the exhibit and download the Culture Explorer app. It is a great and fun way to learn about history and culture, and will definitely help everyone—students, teachers, and plain curious folk—to appreciate the richness of Filipino heritage,” concluded Cris Concepcion, Director of Content and Services at Samsung Electronics Philippines.