The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) focuses on local cultural heritage in the National Heritage Month happening in May.
Awareness and preservation of heritage are vital in the construction and strengthening of our national identity. This will make Filipinos proud of their origins and would give strength to overcome crises and guide the nation towards progress.
Proclamation no. 439 was signed on August 11, 2003, which declared the month of May as National Heritage Month annually. This is “in recognition of the need to create among the people a consciousness, respect and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and love of country.” The choice of the month is apt because May is replete with fiestas, festivals and various celebrations, many of which are born out of traditions.
As the leading agency for arts and culture, the NCCA, led by its chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. and officer-in-charge and executive director Adelina Suemith, spearheads the celebration of National Heritage Month. The NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH), headed by Rev. Fr. Harold Rentoria, OSA, has lined up activities for a whole month as well as beyond that will surely feed the soul.
With this year’s theme, “Pamanang Pinoy,” the 2014 Taoid Heritage Program Celebration will give us a glimpse of the legacies of the past and how it remains to shape the present and the future. It is a recognition and celebration of the different aspects of our national cultural heritage—our traditional art forms and practices, important cultural structures both movable and immovable and other objects of national importance whether tangible and intangible.
Because of the recent disasters the country went through last year, particularly the earthquake in Bohol and Super Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte and parts of the Visayas, during which irreplaceable heritage structures have sustained serious damages, if not totally destroyed, this year’s Taoid Heritage Program celebration will also touch on disaster preparedness and risk reduction. Engaging also the youth and families, Taoid 2014 will give emphasis on rebuilding, connecting places and generations, and drawing strength from our cultural heritage.
The 2014 Taoid Heritage Program celebration will be held in different parts of the country, in the three island clusters of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, consisting of assorted activities and events.
The province of Southern Leyte and the municipality of Limasawa hosted a prelude of the celebration in conjunction with the 493rd commemoration of the first mass in the Philippines. Taoid sa Limasawa, which happened on March 31, jumpstarts the highlighting of heritage in the Visayas. Activities started with the Santo Niño de Cebu image arriving in the barangay of Triana and proceeded to the barangay of Magallanes via a foot procession, where it had a festive welcome. After a six-gun salute, the anniversary Eucharistic mass was held. The Taoid Heritage Program celebration was launched, graced by local officials as well as the members of the SCH. SCH officials conducted an ocular inspection and technical assessment of cultural properties, sites and structures including the library, first Mass marker, schools and the municipal hall as well as natural heritage sites.
The provinces of Albay, Masbate and Sorsogon, collectively nicknamed AlMaSor, will be the venue for the National Heritage Month celebration from May 1 to 4. The event will start in Albay on May 1, where the Run for Heritage will be held from the Cagsawa Ruins in Legazpi City to the Daraga Church in Daraga. This will be followed by an ibos-making demo and a breakfast of local delicacies. An ocular inspection and technical assessment will be conducted in Daraga and Legazpi. The day will end with a mass, the formal opening of the celebration and a dinner show featuring the Bikol epic Ibalong.
In Sorsogon on May 2, a motorcade will go around Sorsogon City, making sure to pass by heritage structures to promote National Heritage Month. It will be followed by an ocular inspection and technical assessment of Sorsogon and a meryenda of pili delicacies. The day will end with a formal opening of the celebration and musical performances at the Sorsogon Capitol Building.
In Masbate on May 4, an ocular inspection and technical assessment will be conducted and will conclude with a formal opening of the celebration at the old municipal hall of Masbate City.
For the Mindanao leg, Misamis Occidental will be the host, particularly the town of Jimenez and Ozamiz City, where ocular inspection and technical assessment will be conducted and a formal opening of the celebration will be held.
Besides the main events, heritage school tours, clean-up drives and heritage clinics will be conducted in the focal venues as well as in other parts of the country.
The steering committee of the Taoid Heritage Program 2014 is composed of Father Rentoria; Dr. Stephen S. Totanes, vice head of SCH and head of the National Committee on Historical Research; Lucille Karen E. Malilong-Isberto, SCH secretary and head of the National Committee on Monuments and Sites; Dr. Marilou P. Tadlip, assistant secretary and head of the National Committee on Libraries and Information Service; Robert Bjorn O. Santos, SCH member and head of the National Committee on Art Galleries; and Amado R. Alvarez, SCH member and head of the National Committee on Museums.
For more details on the activities and schedules, contact NCCA-Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Sanchez Napeñas at (632) 527-2192 or log on to www.ncca.gov.ph.