A remarkable celebration of Intangible Cultural Heritage took center stage at the Intangible Cultural Heritage International Conference and Field School held on August 1-7, 2023. This event, strongly supported by the International Information and Networking Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under UNESCO (ICHCAP), brought together emerging professionals and graduate students from Asia-Pacific Higher Education Network for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (APHEN-ICH) member institutions to champion the preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in alignment with the UNESCO 2003 Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region.
The ICH Conference, organized by the UST Graduate School-Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET) in partnership with the UST College of Tourism and Hospitality Management took place at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) on August 1, 2023.
The conference also featured a lineup of esteemed speakers who enriched the event through the discussion of relevant topics on various aspects of intangible cultural heritage. Among them were Commissioner Aldrin A. Darilag Ph.D., from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Assoc. Prof. Eric B. Zerrudo Ph.D., the Director of USTGS-CCCPET, Prof. Neel Kamal Chapagain Ph.D., the Secretariat of UNESCO-ICHCAP, Prof. Seongmi Jeong Ph.D. from the Korean National University for Cultural Heritage, and Ms. Corazon Alvina from the Museo ng Kaalamang Katutubo.
Another culturally enriching event unfolded as the APHEN-ICH Field school commenced at the City of Pampanga on August 2-7, 2023. The UST-GS CCCPET, in partnership with the Local Government of Mabalacat, Pampanga designed the field school to provide its participants with a deep dive into the world of intangible cultural heritage of Pampanga Philippines, offering exploration of traditional crafts, artistic expressions, local culinary practices and more.
The field school included participation from artisans like Willy Tadeo Layug with his demonstration of santo making, Peter De Vera of the Bale-Balayan Children’s Theatre Group, Tomas Ramirez showcasing the silver pukpok making, Aching Lillian Boromeo featuring her San Nicolas Cookies, Roland Quiambao sharing the legacy of the lantern making, and more.
In addition, the six-day field school gathered the expertise of many professionals in the ICH landscape including Ms. Jinyoung Seo from UNESCO-ICHCAP, Edward Benrick D. Salonga from Pampanga State Agricultural University, Mr. Abhijeet Thapa from Tribhuvan University (Nepal), Assoc. Prof. Evangeline E. Timbang Ph.D. from the UST College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Mr. Weonmo Park, director of UNESCO-ICHCAP, Ms. Renee Talavera from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Assoc Prof. Eric B. Zerrudo, Ph.D. of the USTGS-CCCPET, Mr. Raphael Emmanuelle Kalaw from UST College of Fine Arts and Design, and Dr. Lilian J. Sison the Director of UST International Relations and Programs.
The event received overwhelming support from various local government units of Pampanga. The Clark Development Corporation through Chairman Atty. Agnes VST Devanadera, and Dr. Anita G. David, the SUC President of Pampanga State Agricultural University, also played a supportive role in this initiative.