The NEDA Regional Office VI and the Regional Culture, Heritage and the Arts Committee (RCHAC) of the Regional Development Council VI (RDC) conducted last May 27 a virtual celebration of the 2021 National Heritage Month (NHM) on Zoom platform.  The event was dubbed as “Tukibon Paranublion” – a combination of the Hiligaynon word “tukibon” (discover) and Kinaray-a word “paranublion” (heritage).

The event, which adopted the NHM theme “Victory and Humanity: Upholding Filipino Heritage and Identity”, was fully supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Tukibon Paranublion was designed to discover and re-discover the rich culture and heritage of Western Visayas through a virtual presentation of the varied culture and arts collections and diverse exhibitions of the region’s museums, galleries and heritage tourism sites as well as heritage and cultural performances in various cultural spaces.

A special component of the event was the identification of cultural indicators as baseline data for the regional cultural statistics through a focus group discussion/workshop.  It was  actively participated in  by a total of 32 participants composed of various cultural workers, artists, artisans, and culture sector focal persons of regional line agencies, LGUs, the academe, and NEDA VII and VIII.

In his message during the FGD, NEDA VI Assistant Regional Director Arecio A. Casing Jr. emphasized the importance of identifying common and relevant regional cultural indicators for the Western Visayas Cultural Statistics that will be the basis for a more culture-responsive regional and local development plans, programs and projects.

On behalf of RCHAC Chairperson, Governor Esteban Evan B. Contreras of the Province of Capiz, Mr. Alphonsus D. Tesoro gave a brief message highlighting the LGU’s initiative in promoting culture, heritage and the arts. He also stressed how culture can be a very influential factor in influencing regional and local development as it interfaces with other sectors such as economics, social, infrastructure, governance and others.

The FGD and workshop started with the presentation of the rationale of the activity as well as the mechanics in the conduct of the FGD by Ms. Maria Lourdes B. Miado, Chief Economic Development Specialist of NEDA VI.  NCCA Culture and Arts Officer, Mr. Arli Joshua Atienza, presented a review on the UNESCO and Philippine Cultural Statistics Framework while EnP. August Melody A. Andong, Senior Economic Development Specialist of NEDA VI, discussed the general culture indicators as identified in the SDGs, the culture-related core indicators in the Philippine and Regional Development Plans, and the international culture indicators provided in UNESCO’s framework.

A 30-minute online workshop exercise followed the presentations wherein the participants were able to confirm that out of 34 pre-identified culture indicators, 23 indicators were deemed important and relevant in establishing the regional culture statistics. These indicators were clustered as culture and arts human resource indicators and indicators according to domains such as culture and natural heritage, performance and celebration, visual arts and crafts, books and press, audio-visual and interactive media, and the design and creative services. The participants also recommended cross-cutting culture indicators that are important to achieve the sustainable development goals.

The FGD culminated with the agreement that survey questionnaire on regional culture indicators will be distributed to the members of Culture Committees of Central and Eastern Visayas for their reference. Also, inputs will be gathered from cultural workers, artists and artisans of the said regions. The results of the FGD and survey will be integrated by the RCHAC-VI Technical Working Group for Cultural Statistics and these will be presented in the second semester meeting of RCHAC for approval.

In the evening of the same day, the Tukibon Paranublion activity continued with the virtual showcasing of the region’s heritage tourism sites, traditional knowledge and creative expressions as well as performances through live streaming via Streamyard platform and Facebook pages of RCHAC and NEDA VI.  Governor Contreras and NEDA VI OIC-Regional Director Meylene Rosales delivered their messages highlighting the importance of observing the NHM to commence the program. These were followed with the streamlining of a series of videos featuring the culture and natural heritage of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

In particular, the virtual activity featured the works of India Dela Cruz-Legaspi, a visual artist and one of the pioneers of piña weaving in Kalibo, Karay-a Writer and Poet Alex Delos Santos and emerging pianist Vinson Josiah Palomar Kasilag from Antique, known music artist Armor Jan Rapista of Iloilo, and the Kawilihan Dance Troupe of the University of San Agustin also of Iloilo. The cultural pieces/collections displayed in Negros Museum in Bacolod City and the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Arts in Iloilo City were also featured in the virtual showcase.

Tukibon Paranublion’s virtual heritage showcase and performances can be viewed in the RCHAC Facebook page./AMAAndong, PFPD, NEDA-VI