April 20, 2024

The city government, spearheaded by the City Planning, Development and Sustainability Office under Arch. Donna Tabangin, is currently undertaking the completion of book 2 of a three-volume cultural mapping project in collaboration with specialists from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and other stakeholders.

Tabangin said the book 1 of the project that aims to identify the city’s unique cultural properties was launched and submitted to the NCCA on Sept. 1 last year during the Baguio Day program.

She said the cultural mapping project aims to raise people’s awareness on the importance of safeguarding living heritage, tangible and intangible, and that the registry of cultural properties contained in the books will help the city government in determining its direction in preserving its cultural heritage.

Tabangin said out of the estimated 600 cultural properties in the city, 216 have been documented in the first volume and classified into six categories: tangible immovable heritage with 77 sites; tangible movable heritage, 28; intangible cultural heritage, 48; natural heritage, 42; significant personalities with five; and cultural institutions with 16 sites.

Tangible immovable heritage properties included in book 1 are the Baguio City Hall, Baguio Convention Center, Casa Vallejo, and post office; natural heritage like the aba, alnus, Baguio beans, bayabas, the Busol and Buyog watersheds; while intangible cultural heritage properties include bad-iw, badarong, tayaw, kadang-kadang, and the Cordillera Hymn.

The cultural mapping process was done with the help of a cultural mapping toolkit designed by the NCCA.

In an earlier online forum, NCCA Commissioner Arvin Villalon said the inclusion of a particular private structure in the list of mapped cultural properties will only recognize its historical value but will not prevent the owner from developing or changing its features.

“Cultural mapping is not inimical to the interests of development. But what the heritage law (Republic Act 1066) presupposes is that at least there is a basis for listing so that we become more careful and study closely the impact of our actions on our heritage properties, and practices,” he said. – Gaby B. Keith