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Nurturing Cultural Heritage Tourism In The Philippines: Inspiration From Vigan, Filip + Inna, And Fundación Santiago

2299 words - 10 pages

I. What is the significance of heritage tourism?
The Philippines has an exceptional history, spanning pre-colonial era to Spanish, American, and Japanese occupations. These periods left their marks in various forms evident in the country’s culture. For example, the City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the few Hispanic towns reflecting a unique fusion of Philippine, Oriental, and colonial European architecture. In a country where history is kept alive, cultural heritage tourism means travelling to experience the places that represent the stories of the Filipino people (Einseidel, 2011). This creates the opportunities Einseidel (2011) enumerated: employment ...view middle of the document...

It was a substantial contributor in its evolution from a 2nd class municipality earning PHP 27 million (USD 0.6 million) in 1995 to a first class municipality earning PHP 329 million (USD 7 million) in 2013. Poverty rate in Vigan decreased from 45 percent in 1995 to 7 percent in 2013. To run the city tourism project, local government established partnerships with local organizations, businesses, and the Spanish government to protect the city’s cultural heritage. The following initiatives serve as guidance:
• To fortify the sense of identity and pride of the Biguenos4. Collaterals such as brochures, e-books, videos, websites, postal stamps, newsletters, and a coffee table book were developed.
• To institutionalize protective measures and development plans. The Vigan Conservation Council was organized to review applications for building permits in the core and buffer zones (Exhibit 1). Renovation of the ancestral houses used for souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotels are closely regulated and monitored
• To establish local and international linkages for conservation and development programs. In partnership with UNESCO, a heritage homeowner’s preservation manual was created. Sisterhood agreements have also been signed between Vigan and Barra de Navidad, Mexico; Makati, Philippines; Changsa, China; and Honolulu, Hawaii. To support the heritage master plan, a school for restorers of ancestral structures, loom weaving, and burnay making was established. The local government also partnered with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in organizing the cultural mapping workshop.
• To develop Vigan as a tourist destination to enhance Biguenos core values and economic conditions. Local government used its local industries and cultural heritage in organizing fiestas and festivals such as the Vigan City Fiesta and the Longganisa Festival. These provide tourists a unique historical and cultural experience when visiting Vigan.

Source: Singson-Medina (2014)
Exhibit 1. Process for securing building permit at the Historic District of Vigan

Cultural heritage tourism is a platform that can increase economic activities and social development, thus decreasing poverty (Miralao, 2014). With the strong leadership of the local government, Vigan is far from becoming an endangered cultural heritage site.
Filipino culture can also be found on the garments that people wear. As what Filip + Inna5 does, their garments utilize ancient techniques of weaving, embroidery, and beadwork from different indigenous groups in the Philippines. Introducing local products to the international fashion market contributes to the country’s economic and cultural growth. Cabili (2014) described how fabrics woven by various indigenous groups in the Philippines are slowly being recognized in the international fashion industry. It showcases not only the craftsmanship but also the story of the artisans behind the fabrics. Each item has an artisan tag that identifies the...

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