Saving our Kagay-anon heritage

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By A. Paulita Roa

Past Speaks

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


MANY individuals have pondered on the meaning of the word "heritage" and what it is for them aside from appreciating our Bisayan ‘balak’ or Tagalog ‘kundiman,’ or enjoying our Filipino dances and maintaining many time-honored local customs and traditions.

All these are part of our heritage.

The other word for heritage is inheritance.

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In our present context, this word implies that we have inherited from the generations that precede us, all products of our personal and collective pasts including our present physical, social and cultural environment.

What our forefathers did to this land that we now live is a result of how this was taken care of and developed during their watch.

There are three classes of heritage namely: the immovable heritage, like our landscapes, monuments, buildings and even fountains, the movable heritage like art works, jewelry, books, furniture and the like.

The intangible heritage consists of music, food, language, folk beliefs, customs and traditions.

From these three classes, we can glean another definition of heritage and that is – anything of value from the past that provides identity to the present and can give inspiration to future generations.

There are many good reasons why we need to preserve our heritage.

For example, part of the natural and immovable heritage are the seven rivers of our city, the most prominent is the Cagayan river that serves not only as a natural political boundary of the two Congressional Districts but is a famous for the whitewater rafting.

Then there are the Macahambus gorge and the Monigue caves with the Bayanga underground river.

These are not only part of our tourist attractions but it provide a wide range of environmental services that help to protect our city's aquifer and our ecosystem.

We need to remain vigilant in protecting these sites from the threats of industrial and urban development.

Cagayan de Oro is fortunate to be given five national historical markers from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly the National Historical Institute).

The installation of the five black cast iron markers in Gaston Park for the Battle of Cagayan de Misamis, in Barangay Bayanga for the Battle of Macahambus Hill, in Barangay Agusan for the Battle of Agusan Hill, the ancestral home of the Sia family in Velez and Hayes Sts. and at the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Macabalan Port – this means that the historical events in said sites are now a part of national history.

Also, these sites are included in the Registry of Heritage sites in the Philippines.

We also have three local markers located at the old City Hall building, the St. Agustin General Hospital and Puericulture Center that is across Gaston Park and the Plaza de los Heroes in Pueblo de Oro which is Mindanao's first Philippine-American War Memorial.

Then, we must not forget the monuments dedicated to our national and local heroes located in Plaza Divisoria.

All these help create public memory of our patriotic past and the preservation of the ideals of our revered heroes and leaders.

There is a great need for the public to know and appreciate our Kagay-anon heritage for this can generate a strong support towards its conservation.

We can do this in many ways – like supporting our local artists, being vigilant in how our local history and culture are being presented or written lest it will be bastardized that we lose part of the Kagay-anon soul.

We must take time to visit out local historical sites and the Cagayan de Oro City Museum that is located at the old ‘tangke’ or water tower across Gaston Park.

Let’s be proactive in heritage causes and issues and not leave this noble task to a few.

Overall, we need to care and save our past for the future.

If we don’t, nobody will!

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 11, 2014.

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