The University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) funded program “Tourism Studies on Island-Based Opportunities for Growth in Western Visayas – (TSIBOG)” commenced last July 2021 with seven research projects under its wing. One of these is the project “Bridging the Past, Sailing toward the Future: History to the (and by the People).” The project partnered with the Local Government Unit of Ibajay, Aklan and the Department of Education – Division of Aklan to train elementary and secondary teachers, tourism and planning officers, and people’s organizations in doing historical research and promoting cultural heritage tourism in the Municipality of Ibajay.
The project was officially launched on 3 November 2021 with TSIBOG Program Leader Dr. Ramer Bautista and Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Harold Monteclaro extending their welcome messages via Zoom. Hon. Jose Enrique Miraflores of LGU – Ibajay also conveyed his well wishes at the Ibajay Central School, while DepEd – Division of Aklan Superintendent Miguel Mac Aposin gave his message of support online.
The lectures were delivered by experts in the field of history, cultural heritage, education, and environmental management. Dr. Michael Pante, editor of the Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints of the Ateneo de Manila University, shared his knowledge on “Thinking Historically: Understanding the Community and its People.” During Day 2, UPV Chancellor Dr. Clement Camposano presented a comprehensive lecture on “Doing Fieldwork: Research and Methodology,” while National Museum of the Philippines Deputy Director-General Dr. Ana Maria Theresa Labrador discussed “Heritage Education and the Digital Space.” During Day 3, National Scientist Dr. Jurgenne Primavera shared her 30 years’ work in developing Ibajay’s Katunggan It Ibajay (KII) Ecotourism Park. One of the most diverse mangrove forests in Asia, the KII is home to 27 of the 35 mangrove species found in the country.
Meanwhile, workshops on documenting cultural heritage, creating learning modules, and producing promotional materials for education and tourism were conducted on Days 4-6. Prof. Marie Joy Sumagaysay of the Division of Humanities personally guided the participants in their food-mapping activities and culinary heritage exhibit. Mr. Joar Concha of Assumption San Lorenzo Makati and Mx. Yan Esquivel of the UPV TLRC, on the other hand, helped the participants in preparing their final outputs. The participants will utilize these outputs in teaching local history, promoting sustainable tourism, and catering to their community’s developmental needs.
Prof. Frances Anthea Redison, project leader of Bridging the Past, Sailing toward the Future and Division of Social Sciences faculty, remarked “The project hopes to bring together and involve different stakeholders so that the community will continue to take ownership of their history, culture, and heritage.” Together with Prof. Redison are Ms. Thania Margarrette Coronica of the Division of Social Sciences and Project Development Officer Ms. Febrey Bless Esclares.
(This article was first published in the UPV Website on November 15, 2021)