LAST Nov. 22, 2022, Jonathan Balsamo, the top of the Valenzuela Metropolis Cultural Affairs and Tourism Improvement Workplace, advised me {that a} metropolis tourism officer is now a compulsory put up within the native authorities unit, as an alternative of being simply an non-obligatory one as per Civil Service Fee Memorandum Round (MC) 12, collection of 2022.

This has been a very long time coming for tourism advocates as a result of they know that tourism is necessary for any city or metropolis for it could generate a lot wanted further income to serve the individuals.

That is massive information to the tourism sector but in addition massive information for me as an advocate of public historical past.

In my expertise with some tourism officers, they see tourism solely as seashores, scenic spots, festivals, meals and sweetness pageants. They haven’t any inkling that they may also be specialists within the native historical past, tradition and heritage of their place. They don’t notice that they will generate sustainable revenue producing actions for the LGUs by using the narratives of the previous and the heritage of their ancestors.

We now have heard horror tales of how some heritage websites are uncared for, particularly within the provinces. Outdated municipios, heritage homes and Gabaldon faculty buildings have been being demolished with out session. Principally as a result of no authorities workplace within the native authorities is accountable for these sorts of points.

Get the most recent information

delivered to your inbox

Join The Manila Occasions’ each day newsletters

By signing up with an e mail handle, I acknowledge that I’ve learn and conform to the Phrases of Service and Privateness Coverage.

The Affiliation of Tourism Officers-NCR headed by its president Charlie Duñgo, vice chairman Ponchie Santos, secretary common Cathy Poblete, treasurer Gie Serrano, auditor Jonathan Capulas Balsamo and public relations officer Mel Alipo-on. PHOTO BY RIZZALYN CALCETAS

The Affiliation of Tourism Officers-NCR headed by its president Charlie Duñgo, vice chairman Ponchie Santos, secretary common Cathy Poblete, treasurer Gie Serrano, auditor Jonathan Capulas Balsamo and public relations officer Mel Alipo-on. PHOTO BY RIZZALYN CALCETAS

Balsamo stated: “In a means it is a welcome improvement, to strengthen the workplace that not directly can protect native historical past and heritage.” He hopes that the native executives, the mayors and the governors notice that “cultural heritage is a part of tourism.”

Individuals don’t simply go to Fort Santiago in Intramuros, in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, or Cebu province, simply to see the place. Individuals go there for the texture of the previous, which is enhanced by the tales that we inform of the place. It’s these tales that give magic to it. Festivals that have been created devoid of the experiences of individuals are those that weren’t sustained. Even meals must be contextualized utilizing historical past, identical to how Ilocano meals and industries have been a product of the onerous instances Spanish colonization had introduced by its financial insurance policies, which drove individuals to attempt to preserve no matter they may. Therefore, longganisa, sukang Ilokano, burnay and so forth.

In some LGUs, cultural heritage is underneath the tourism officer. Balsamo, for one, curated the 2 museums in Valenzuela Metropolis, the one in honor of Katipon Pio Valenzuela and the one for the town’s historical past. He additionally supervised the restoration of the Arkong Bato, the previous boundary between the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan, and in addition the previous home of Pio Valenzuela, which will likely be opened to the general public quickly. It helps lots that Balsamo is a historian.

I additionally am conversant in the work accomplished by the Biñan Metropolis Tradition, Historical past, Arts and Tourism Workplace (BChato), headed by Bryan Jayson Borja, in making an attempt to protect and doc this Laguna city’s landmarks, particularly people who relate to José Rizal’s formative years, and disseminate them in varied publications and cultural applications, to which they’ve invited me to talk twice already.

Then, there’s Manila Tourism & Cultural Affairs Bureau (MTCAB), headed by Charlie Duñgo, persevering with the initiatives to place a way of historical past to Manila because the capital metropolis began by the earlier administration.

It may be {that a} historic and cultural affairs workplace could also be put up individually from the tourism workplace like in Cebu Metropolis. They’ve their very own Cultural and Historic Affairs Workplace (CHAO), headed by its division chief Bryner L. Diaz who implements the suggestions of a council of specialists composed of native historians and cultural staff. Regardless of being perceived as a contemporary metropolis, the Cultural Planning, Museum and Cultural Affairs Workplace of the Metropolis of Makati, headed by Dwayne Samarista, is doing their greatest to focus on the older historical past and traditions of Makati primarily based on a earlier cultural mapping.

Even so, the tourism officers must be educated about historical past. Balsamo as soon as heard historian Aaron Mallari saying at a coaching sponsored by Nayong Pilipino” “Tourism officers are public historians.” Balsamo believes that with the brand new MC, we will push for the concept that “tourism officers may also be public historians as a result of they protect and promote the native historical past and heritage of their communities.”

It’s important {that a} certified particular person is positioned on this job. However if you’re not the proper particular person, then make your self one. You may enroll in a graduate course on historical past and heritage, and even cultural administration, you’ll be able to attend trainings and conferences, particularly with the Philippine Historic Affiliation, or higher but join with the proper individuals by becoming a member of organizations like Affiliation of Tourism Officers to check notes.

As a result of historical past is just too necessary to be left simply to historians. We’d like individuals in authorities to champion us.