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The feast day and traslacion ritual procession of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in September in Naga City. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NCCA/MAC DILLERA

The International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP), under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has recently launched 10 documentaries on some of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) elements of the Philippines.

Produced with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the documentaries feature the use of mud in traditional Ifugao dyeing (“Using Mud as Mordant in the Traditional Dyeing Process of the Ifugao of Northern Luzon”); piña weaving of Aklan (“Piña: The Pineapple Textile of Aklan, Western Visayas”); the traslacion procession of the Black Nazarene image of Quiapo, Manila (“Poong Nazareno: The Traslacion of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, Manila”); the moryonan Lenten penitential ritual in Marinduque (“Moryonan: A Lenten Tradition in Marinduque Island”); the craft of making moryonan masks (“Mukha ng Moryonan: Mask Making for Moryonan Lenten Tradition of Marinduque”); the giant Christmas lantern tradition of San Fernando, Pampanga (“Parul Sampernandu: The Giant Christmas Lantern Tradition of San Fernando City, Pampanga”); the feast of Our Lady Peñafrancia of Naga City, Bicol Region (“Ina: Our Lady of Peñafrancia”); the buklog ritual of the Subanen of the Zamboanga Peninsula (“Buklog: The Ritual System of the Subanen of Zamboanga Peninsula”); the igal of the Sama people of
Tawi-Tawi (“Igal: Traditional Dance of the Sama of Tawi-Tawi”); and the boat building practices of the Sama people of Tawi-Tawi (“Lepa and Other Watercrafts: Boat Building Traditions of the Sama of Tawi-Tawi”).

These 27-minute documentaries, subtitled in English and Korean, are products of the video documentation of Asia-Pacific ICH project of the ICHCAP, whose main office is in Jeonju, South Korea.

The project started in 2015 with stories from Central Asia. In 2017, it focused on Southeast Asia, beginning with four countries — Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Aside from documentation, the project’s objectives were to raise awareness and to increase the visibility for ICH in the Asia-Pacific region. It also aims to contribute to safeguarding the existing ICH elements, which are always in danger of vanishing.

 

ICHCAP’s main goal is to promote the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and contribute to its implementation in the Asia-Pacific region. UNESCO defines ICH as “traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants. These include oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.” On the other hand, buildings, historic places, monuments and artifacts and other material objects are part of tangible cultural heritage.

The Philippine ICH video documentation team is led by the NCCA Secretariat’s Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts Section headed by Renee Talavera; theater veteran and Mindanao culture expert, Nestor Horfilla as consultant for Mindanao and co-director of some of the documentaries; and journalist and cultural researcher Roel Hoang Manipon as main writer and researcher, and co-director of some of the documentaries.

Moryon mask maker Alexander Luna in Mogpog, Marinduque.

(First of a series)

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