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UP Visayas Iloilo convenes International Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage

Over two hundred scholars, cultural workers, artists, business management experts, and social and natural scientists from the Philippines, Brunei, USA, Liberia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, and Australia gathered for Pagtib-ong: The UPV International Conference on Intangible Heritage on May 25 and 26, 2017 at Casa Real (The Old Iloilo Provincial Capitol) in Iloilo City, Philippines.

Pagtib-ong (a Hiligaynon word meaning to raise or lift up) aptly captured the goals of the two-day event which are to celebrate cultural distinctiveness and find commonalities among the different countries that joined the first international conference of such kind in the country.

Fifty nine conference papers and presentations were made in the four plenary sessions and six parallel sessions. Each parallel session consisted of three clusters with a maximum of four speakers each. The sessions were structured according to topics with scholarly presentations complemented by experience sharing and artist talk. A two-session satellite conference on intangible political spaces specifically dealing with intangible cultural heritage and foreign relations was simultaneously held at St. Anne’s Hall of Assumption School Iloilo City. Conclusions of said satellite event were shared at the last plenary session (a five-person panel discussion) of the conference.

At the opening program on the first day, Dr. Felipe de Leon Jr., former Chair of the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts and ICH expert, talked about the value and practical aspects of intangible heritage. Keynote speaker Dr. Patricia Licuanan, Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education, shared the need to specialize in the scholarship aspect of culture and heritage. Assistant Director – General, Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific Region - Dr. Seong-Yong Park
discussed Sharing and Network Building for ICH Safeguarding in the Asia-Pacific Region.

UP Vice Presidents Nestor Yunque (Administration) and Jose Dalisay (Public Affairs) represented System officials. Former Antique Governor Sally Perez represented and read Sen. Loren Legarda’s message at the program.

Traditional Filipino food and crafts were sold and a photo exhibition of Filipino Living Treasures was set up at the venue’s hallways. Incidentally, two Filipino Living Treasures graced the event: Alonzo Saclag who is a musician and dancer from Kalinga, and Federico Caballero a Panay Bukidnon epic chanter. Cultural performances and a film screening were also held in the evenings after dinner.

Pagtib-ong: The UPV International Conference on Intangible Heritage is project of the University of the Philippines Visayas under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Resaecrh and Extension. Institutional partners include the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Tourism Western Visayas, Office of International Linkages, University of the Philippines and the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP). Governor Arthur Defensor of Iloilo Province and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City hosted the dinners. Prof. Martin G. Genodepa was Chair of the organizing committee of the conference. (With sources from UPV Chancellor’s Committee for Culture and the Arts)

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