PHILIPPINE NATIONAL COMMITTEE
Industrial heritage scholars and advocates in the Philippines organized TICCIH Philippines in November 2020. While the Philippines has many industrial heritage sites, such as the historic Manila-Dagupan Railroad and sugar centrals in Luzon and Negros Islands, raising awareness about the sites needs much support. By organizing the national committee, TICCIH members in the Philippines hope to raise the profile of Philippine industrial heritage in TICCIH, as well as within the country. An agreement was signed by TICCIH Philippines and TICCIH President Dr. Miles Oglethorpe in November 2020 formalizing the recognition of the national committee.
The national committee is headed by Dr. Ivan Anthony Henares, Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines, who has done work with the San Fernando Train Station and the Sugar Cultural Landscape of Negros Island. Joining him are Neil Solomon Locsin of the Negros Occidental Historical Council, Ryan Palad of ATAGAN (Tayabas Studies and Creative Writing Center) which has been safeguarding the stone arch bridges of Tayabas, Quezon; Ivan Man Dy of the Heritage Conservation Society, Dr. Robby Galang, who taught Philippine economic history at the Ateneo de Manila University before joining the World Bank Group, Dr. Minerva Chaloping-March of La Trobe University, an expert on the mining heritage of the Philippine Cordilleras, Dr. Jobers Bersales of the University of San Carlos and the Carmen Copper Heritage Center, and cultural researchers Edgar Sembrano, Estan Cabigas, Georgia Sagum (Erasmus Mundus DYCLAM+), and Fung Yu.
Looking at the Philippines Registry of Cultural Property, Dr. Henares notes, "While there are several lighthouses and bridges, other categories have not been represented." He adds, "The all-steel San Sebastian Basilica is also in the registry. Recently, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines opened a museum at the aqueduct tunnels of El Deposito, the first water reservoir in the Philippines, which was part of the Carriedo waterworks system. And the Negros Occidental Provincial Government was able to get the Chapel of Saint Joseph the Worker of the Victorias Milling Company, Ma-ao Sugar Central, and the Sugar Simborios (Smokestacks) of Negros Occidental declared as Important Cultural Properties."
A former member of the Silay City Council, Locsin shares, "The sugar industry has always been part of the city of Silay's historical, cultural and economic identity. Protecting this heritage acknowledges the industry's role in the long line of statesmen, industrialists, and artists who traced their roots to the industry whose sugar centrals like Hawaiian-Philippine Company are tangible reminders of our rich heritage."
"Various local governments along the Manila-Dagupan Railroad are working hard to protect their historic train stations. There are also the historic mines of Benguet and Lepanto, we have not even looked into that and what remains of mining heritage sites," Prof. Henares points out.
"The Philippines' industrial heritage is a vast, untapped resource," according to Architect Michael Manalo, Commissioner at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He adds, "This is why the establishment of a Philippine committee for TICCIH is important, as it can foster the much-needed dialogue on industrial heritage in the country. TICCIH can open the doors to a wider understanding of this important area of heritage in the Philippines."