UST College of Architecture faculty member Asst. Prof. Felicisimo A. Tejuco, Jr. proposed a digital tour of the Escolta area of the City of Manila by tapping the affected transportation sector. This was one of the two papers that he presented during the 2021 Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society (IACSS) virtual Conference held recently in Singapore.
Through a community-based tourism framework and mobile technology, Tejuco proposed multiple strategies to encourage digital tours of Escolta. These include multi-sectoral and phasing projects like ongoing streets improvements, developing an online visitor application, and skills training of displaced and affected residents as tour guides.
The conference theme was “Creative Cultural Industries: Responses to COVID-19,” and Tejuco presented this digital tour of Escolta titled “Reviving the Tourism Sector of Manila through a Preliminary Tourism Trail as Part of its Comprehensive Tourism Plan Vis-à-vis Community-based Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Under the sub-theme “Changing Spaces: Home, Institution, Diaspora and Empire,” Tejuco presented his second paper “Documenting the Spirit of the Place of the UST Arch of the Centuries through its Tangible and Intangible Features in the Digital Platform of Minecraft.”
Tejuco discussed how an online game can be used to promote the heritage structures and events of the University. The study was inspired by the Minecraft version of the UST campus, which was planned and developed by College of Information and Computing Sciences student Charles Nobleza, president of the Thomasian Gaming Society.
The digital recreation of UST allowed new Thomasian students to virtually experience the Thomasian Welcome Walk, a UST tradition. In his research, Tejuco explained that the digital translation of sites and structures like the UST Arch of the Centuries can be developed as “alternative” platforms to promote tourism. For heritage sites, he noted the importance of capturing the “spirit of place,” or the iconic design of the Arch; and the “sense of place” or the symbolism of the Arch as an entry and exit portal
The first paper was a collaboration between Tejuco and his former students, Kristine L. Manzano, Christian Paul R. Ramos, Buena Mai C. Tunac, Iain Rafel N. Tyapon, and Ar. Nathan Arman T. Sario.
The second paper was co-authored by Tejuco and his adviser, University of the Philippines College of Architecture Dean Grace Ramos, where he is a student under the Doctor of Philosophy in Designed and Built Environment program.