These Islands’ Legacy #atozchallenge2014

How many ISLANDS does The Philippines have? Well, in the 1994 Miss Universe pageant Q&A portion, Miss Philippines Charlene Gonzales asked back, “High tide or low tide?” The Filipinos laughed, finding humor in it, but what she said was true — there were 7, 107 at high tide, and one more at low tide. Made sense. I suppose that in recent years, the numbers have changed although I doubt that there have been drastic changes in the numbers.

Our tiny country is surrounded by water. We still have rich flora and fauna that we have been able to preserve. Or maybe they were just able to survive us so far. History-wise, we were under Spanish rule for around 400 years, traded and co-existed with the Chinese for much longer, and followed the influence of the Americans these last decades of the century. Good or bad, all these have shaped what the Filipino is today.

Years ago, when I worked for a tertiary school, my bestfriend Jenny who worked for one of the colleges was sent to represent the school in a National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) event. She brought back a VCD given by NCCA to its guests. I forgot what the event was about but guests were given copies of the video done in-house titled Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Sites.

Of course, I got to watch her copy. I liked it and made my own copy — I wanted to preserve these “memories” that may one day be gone. However much I wanted to share it online, though, I couldn’t, due to copyrights. From what I remember, she said they were told never to distribute it. My copy has never been used for any purpose other than for my own viewing. I just felt it a waste that my fellowmen and the world could not see it.

That was years ago and I realized that perhaps the video is available already for everyone to see. Lo and behold! It is! There’s no better time than now to see these before more quakes and disasters, both natural (like earthquakes that destroyed several of Bohol’s heritage churches and that of neighboring places)  and man-made (like the US ship that accidentally destroyed miles of the much-revered Tubbataha Reef), totally rob us of our heritage. 2013 should be lessons for all of us.

Written and narrated by Filipino architect Augusto F. Villalon, the documentary follows him as he goes on trips to different places in the country. All these are considered Philippine world heritage sites, as declared by UNESCO. The film features “the 8 World Heritage sites in the Philippines: rice terraces of the Cordilleras; the city of Vigan; the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park; the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park; and four churches built in the Spanish colonial era: San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila; San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur; and Sto. Tomas de Villanueva in Miag-ao, Iloilo” (UW-Madison Libraries).

So to my online friends, Filipinos or otherwise, to you I share this video (you can find the next parts on YouTube). I am proud of my heritage, no matter what. I hope you are, too. Let us enjoy and protect our forefathers’ legacies and these 7,100 islands we call out home 🙂

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I hope you all found time to at least view this first part of the video. Please hit LIKE anytime now 😉 For comments, including negative ones, feel free to give your two-cents’ worth…or twenty-five centavos’ worth if you’re in the Philippines, he he…

This post, the first of two for today because I was unable to post last Friday, is a part of…

a-to-z-challenge

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