Leading the celebration is NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH), headed by Regalado Trota Jose. This year, the theme is “Taoid: Crossing, Caring, Carrying on…” aimed at giving us “a glimpse of the legacies of the past and how it remains to shape the present and the future.” It is also “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 or intangible.”
Primarily known as the country's leading producer of quality marble, the province of Romblon is also home to many heritage sites. Located at the southern part of the Luzon island cluster, the province is composed of 20 islands strewn on the Sibuyan Sea, with the islands of Romblon, Tablas and Sibuyan as the major ones. Being in the center of the Philippine archipelago, Romblon has become the center of supplies distribution for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. With abundant natural and cultural heritage, the NCCA together with local government officials would like to create a broad based awareness campaign for the heritage to be valued, owned and used by the people.
Among the heritage sites in the province are the 18th-century Cathedral of San Jose in the capital town of Romblon in Romblon Island, one of the 34 colonial churches declared as National Cultural Treasures; Fort San Andres; the old municipal hall; 18th-century Spanish bridges; and heritage houses.
The grand launching is set for May 1 and 2, 2012. An exhibit at the Romblon Capitol Building will begin the activities. Set for 3 P.M., the exhibit will be accompanied by a culinary festival, a weaving demonstration and a marble sculpture demonstration. A formal opening will be at 6 P.M. to be attended by Romblon governor Eduardo C. Firmalo, NCCA chairman Felipe M. De Leon and Pres. Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III. A serenata at the St. Joseph’s Cathedral featuring choirs, a violin performance and local talents to sing traditional Romblon songs, will happen at 8 P.M. The following day, there will be a walking tour of heritage sites in the town of Romblon, a lecture on the experience of the Tam-awan Artists’ Village in Baguio by Chit Asignacion and a cultural presentation in the town of Odiongan.
Aside from the grand launch, there are also other National Heritage Month activities. The Cultural Mapping and Planning Workshop, facilitated by heritage management expert Eric B. Zerrudo, is in March and April. Participated in by cultural workers, tourism officers and teachers of Romblon, the workshop aims to “document the significance heritages of the province, not just as a cold reference of future generations but to adapt them in contemporary contexts towards the creation of a meaningful and enriching life of every Romblomanon.”
Conducted in Romblon and Odiongan, topics include heritage and development and natural heritage (March 22-23, 2012), built heritage (March 29-30), documentation of intangible heritage (March 30 and April 20), local history and movable heritage (April 20-21), and heritage and cultural tourism (April 27-28).
A capacity building workshop is also in the planning in the areas of festival management, facilitated by Elmar Ingles; visual arts by Nemesio Miranda; theatre arts by Edward Perez; and music by Angelo Aquino. There will also be workshops and lectures on local history writing, establishing an art gallery or artists’ village, proper conservation practices for built heritage, establishing an archives office and preservation of archival documents, library awareness and appreciation with storytelling using local stories, and establishing a museum and basic museology, to be conducted by the six committees of the SCH.
The SCH has decided to extend the celebration up to the end of the year with activities being lined up throughout the year. The closing of the celebration is set for December.
The NHMC steering committee is composed of Regalado Trota Jose, head of SCH and the National Committee on Archives; Imelda Loste, head of the National Committee on Art Galleries; Dr. Maria Nela Florendo, head of the National Committee on Historical Research; Antonio M. Santos, head of the National Committee on Libraries and Information Service; Dr. Jaime C. Laya, head of the National Committee on Monuments and Sites; and Dr. Antonio Julian Montalvan, head of the National Committee on Museums. The NCCA is led by chairman Felipe de Leon, Jr. and executive director Emelita V. Almosara.