Partnering with the anthropology department of the University of San Carlos, the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office held a half-day heritage forum attended by Cebu tourism officers and students last October 16 at Palm Grass Heritage Hotel in downtown Cebu City.
The forum was intended to share knowledge on Cebuano history, museums in Cebu, and heritage conservation; promote awareness on the role of heritage conservation in society; and develop participants’ competencies on supervision and management of museums and in heritage conservation.
It was also meant to boost understanding of participants on the true meaning and presence of museum in relation to the tourism industry and how it helps Cebuanos appreciate their heritage sites.
The forum speakers were Dr. John Peterson, director of the University of Guam Office of Graduate Studies, Sponsored Programs & Research; Delilah Labajo, chairwoman of the University of San Carlos Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History, School of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Jocelyn Gerra, a heritage and cultural advocate and University of San Carlos Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History, School of Arts and Sciences professor.
Peterson spoke on landscapes and historical preservation in the country, saying many open areas in Cebu would actually tell how people lived in olden times. He said landscapes would tell where the concentration of settlements could be, and pointed out that doing landscape architecture and preservation should go hand-in-hand.
Labajo, on the other hand, shared how she and her group did the cultural heritage mapping of all barangays of Aloguinsan town, particularly tracking four major periods (Pre-Hispanic, Spanish, Early 1900s/American, and World War II/Japanese Occupation) of its history and especially noting traditions and beliefs and important events.
Gerra, meanwhile, dwelt on museums, museology, and creating a sense of place, especially mentioning that museums’ (and heritage places’) role in looking after the world’s cultural properties.
During the Question and Answer that followed, she emphasized the need for towns to really come up with a well-crafted curatorial brief for their respective museums. The brief, she said, serves as blueprint for the museum to give it direction.
Culminating the forum, Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito Costas informed that heritage conservation is included in the budget for the Capitol’s cultural governance program.