UST Faculty of Arts and Letters and Graduate School faculty member  Prof. Arlen A. Ancheta, Ph.D., and UST Development Studies Graduate School student Elmira Thrina C. Pelayo,  presented their study on woman fisherfolks titled “Framing Vernacular Memories of the Woman Fisherfolks: A Vanishing Cultural Heritage in Namayan Island, Philippines” in a workshop held from  August 15 to 16, 2019 at the National University of Singapore.  

Prof. Arlen A. Ancheta, Ph.D. (rightmost), Elmira Thrina Pelayo (fourth from left) , together with other workshop presenters at the National University of Singapore

The workshop was organized and sponsored by the  Asian Research Institute (ARI). The workshop, participated in by researchers from the different parts of the globe, had for its theme, “Placing Islands in Sustainable Urban Development: Heritage, Histories, Tourism and Identity.” 

The study on woman namamaklad  is also co-authored with Center for the Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics Director Assoc. Prof.  Eric Zerrudo. The study is an ethnographic presentation of the vanishing cultural heritage of the woman fisherfolks in the small island of Namayan, city of Malolos in Bulacan. Namamaklad is a manner of scooping fish in the fish corral.  The study showcased the nightlife of the women as they joined their husbands in scooping fishes in the fish corrals along the estuary of Manila Bay. 

As an ethnographic study, woman namamaklad recall their chants; how they sort the fishes while their husbands scoop in the fish corral. Their closeness to the sea made them realize that food security is at stake as development takes place in the adjacent cities. According to Ancheta, who is also a researcher at the UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education, their research revealed that vernacular memories require historical space in urbanization to highlight the significance of the small scale fishing industry. 

Presentation in the workshop was by invitation. There was a call for papers but only nine were invited as presenters.  The presenters were from Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Each country had one presenter except for the Philippines and Singapore which had two presenters each. The presentation was open to the public and they were considered observers.  There were around 30 observers.

The workshop was capped with an island tour for the participants and observers of St. John’s Island and St. Lazarus, the two southern islands in Singapore.