The University of Santo Tomas Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET) and the UST College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) closely collaborated with the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) to advance the USWAG Design and Development Project of the Third District of Leyte.
Under the vision of Congressman Vicente “Ching” Veloso of the Third District of Leyte, and the Leyte Provincial Board Member Ana Veloso-Tuason, the project envisions to harness the creativity of local artisans toward global designs that will generate revenues and livelihood for the community. “Uswag” is a Waray term that means ‘(move/come) forward.’
The DCP, through the leadership of Executive Director Rhea Matute and Consultant Milo Raval, mobilized design experts who engaged the community in capacity-building, hand-holding and exhibition display of the products.
The documentation synergy was a critical mass of knowledge and skills from the USTGS-CCCPET, CFAD, DCP, DTI-Leyte. The culminating activity was an exhibition in Robinsons in Marasbaras, Tacloban, Leyte, from Nov 25 to 29, 2021 and in Lolo Inting’s Heritage House in Villaba, Leyte, from December 1 to 14, 2021. The institutional buyers exhibition was held in Guinciaman, San Miguel, Leyte from December 15 to 25, 2021.
UST GS CCCPET’s Cultural Mapping Project in 2018 spawned the USWAG Project as a Continuing Cultural Mapping Activity. With documented natural resources, local skills inventory, manpower profiling, and community organizing, the stakeholders decided to advance towards skills upgrade and product upscale.
The project produced heritage-inspired designs of housewares and lighting accessories made out of local indigenous materials. This heritage utilization model is integral to CCCPET’s heritage conservation and sustainable development framework.
The USTGS-CCCPET team was composed of Assoc. Prof. Eric Babar Zerrudo, PhD and Ms. Beverly Bautista, while the UST-CFAD was led by CFAD Dean Assoc. Prof. Christie Que, and Industrial Design Department Chair Mr. Romano Macaisa. One of the DCP’s lead designers, Mr. Charles Boris Mañez, is a graduate student of UST Graduate School Cultural Heritage Studies.