Legacy Philippine World Heritage Site

December 14, 2017 | Author: No Name | Category: Coral Reef, Habitat, Ecology, Conservation, Systems Ecology
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Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Site

“Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Site” is a documentary film narrated by Mr. Augusto F. Villalon, a Filipino architect. The documentary film chronicles about his trips to the different Philippine world heritage sites as declared by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). The world holds so many wonders, from the natural landscapes to the remarkable structures built by man; nature and man working together. These wonders showcase marvels of nature and brilliance of human intellect. It’s our history and heritage. All hope to preserve these wonders for a chance for everyone and the future generations to behold these marvels. But sadly, there is a continuous deterioration and disappearances of our world’s natural and cultural heritage so the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the “World Heritage Convention”, a treaty whose goal is to protect and preserve the world heritage sites for all time . As of July 2002, there have been more than 750 sites on the world heritage list, 8 of which are in the Philippines. Mr. Villalon is a renowned Filipino architect. He is a lover old building, Filipino historical structures and landmarks and an advocate of heritage conservation. He has garnered many awards because of his works on the restoration of old buildings. This film recounts his journey as he travels to the eight Filipino world heritage sites. First on the list of Philippine World Heritage Sites is the Tubbataha Reef in Cagayancillo , Palawan. The Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park in Palawan is one of the marine environments so pristine that now, it can only be found on few places on Earth. It comprised by two coral atolls, the north atoll and the south atoll. These two atolls are separated by a small channel. A noticeable landmark in the north atoll is the ranger station. Military personnel periodically roam and patrol the area to monitor illegal entries. North of the ranger station is the bird islet. It’s a nesting place for birds and marine turtles. This place provides a safe haven for the land-laying birds and marine turtles some of which are globally threatened. This islet is said to be the largest assembly of birds in the Sulu Sea.

“In terms of biodiversity, the Philippines is at the top of the mountain, along with Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, the most diverse place in the entire world in the coral reefs and so, that is treasure the Philippines has.” -Douglas Fenner (Australian Institute of Marine Science) The Tubbataha reef is our country’s largest marine habitat. Though not as big as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Tubbataha’s underwater gardens shelters the diversity of life that would equal or surpass other reefs of same size in any part of the world. Though fishing is not allowed within its premises, the Tubbataha reef is a food basket as it serves as a source of fish larvae of the waters of Palawan and other neighboring islands. It’s one of the world’s foremost diving sites. Truly, the

Tubbataha reef is a paradise in the middle of the ocean and hopefully, this underwater paradise

remains as it is. Also in Palawan is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park. This National Park is a wide area of jungle and forest that goes all the way to the beach with its main attraction the subterranean river. Magnificant limestones and rockformations can be seen on the mountain sides that presents such colossal magnificence. This rich lush forest holds a wide array of ecosystem. According to Jayree Baldera, an ecological planner, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park represents almost all types of forest found in the Far East; the mountain forest, the lowland evergreen forest, the mangrove forest and the beach forest. It is because of this that the park possesses a diverse plant life and a lot of different vertebrates, some of which are endemic to Palawan and simply cannot be found anywhere else in the

world. The underground river houses marvelous stalactite and stalagmite formations. The underground river measures 8.2 km and emerges directly into the sea. “It is god’s gift to Palawan!” I concur. This park is truly god given, but not only to Palawan, but to the entire country. Such rich greenery is becoming rare these days. May this paradise garden continue to exist and be preserved for generations to come. Next on the list is the remarkable Rice Terraces of Cordillera. One of the world’s masterpieces, this majesty measures about 20,000 km2 and stretches across 5 provinces. According to archeologists, the building of the rice terraces involved centuries of hard physical labor using only the most basic of tools . Imagine centuries of hard physical labor, this shows the unity and hard work our forefathers exhibited. Ecologist and conservationists rank the terraces as one of the best soil and water conservation structure ever built by human communities. This only assesses our ancestor’s great knowledge to have developed an entire system of cultural, agricultural engineering and environmental practices to grow rice, our staple food. All these things shows that contrary to others belief, the Filipino people were educated even before colonists arrived. Our ancestors possessed a rich culture, values and brilliance for this Rice Terraces of Cordillera to have been created. Further more,

“The Rice Terraces of Cordillera gives us pride that the most outstanding monument of our country is one that is not a symbol of civic or religious authority, or one that commemorates a battle, or a victory against oppressor. The Rice Terraces symbolizes something more, the genius and soul of the people.”

The historic town of Vigan in Ilocus Sur is considered one of the eight as it has retained most of its colonial structure. Vigan, Ilocus Sur exhibits a wide array of structures that comes from the influences of the oppressors from the past and the traders which left an imprint in this little town. Most of it sprang up from other countries’ influences but it still leaves a feeling and a touch that makes it uniquely Filipino. The houses’ main idea comes from that of a bahay-kubo, the native Filipino house. Even if the image it shows are that of foreign ideas combined together, a touch of Filipino idea is blended in, like the idea of a ventinilla. These things make it unique and special as it shows our history. This also shows that as many cultures had already come and go and left big influences on our country and culture, we still have and retain our own identity as Filipinos.

Last but not the least on our list are the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines. These are the San Agustin Church in Paoy, Ilocos Norte, the Nuestra Seńora de la Assuncion Church, the Sta. Maria Church, and the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Iloilo. These churches were made in the image of the baroque churches in Spain. These churches were made from the memories of the catholic pastors of the images of churches in Spain and made by Filipino workers. Due to this, Filipino ideas were incorporated to the resulting churches, making the churches unique. But now as time pass, these sites are slowly crumbling down to ruin. As of now, we rely on donations for the restoration and preservation of these sites. This film is a wonderful documentary as it brings awareness, especially to the Filipino people, about the wonders the Philippines holds. It gives an awareness to help protect these treasures. It gives pride to us Filipinos to have this wonderful heritage. For eight of the world heritage site to exist in such a small country, this only shows that Philippines has truly been blessed. Treasures of our country you might say. Philippines has truly been blessed with pristine wildlife and natural environment, outstanding ideas and creativity, and a great and rich history. These sites make our heritage not only unique but universally outstanding. These sites are a proof, that we Filipinos have a rich country and culture that are not second to others and can never be belittled.

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