Eco-Cultural Heritage Caravan taps media, bloggers

SAN FERNANDO CITY -- From April 26 to 29, an on-site immersion to the tangible culture, arts, and heritage sites tapped media practitioners and social network bloggers in promoting four regional heritage destinations: Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The activity dubbed as “Cultural Heritage Caravan cum Seminar” created awareness on stories about the heritage, the culture and arts in the Northern-Central Regions to participants from regions Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Bicol, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and CAR who shared their learning through print, radio broadcasts and real-time social media posts during the daily activities that took place.

“We, in the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), are very grateful for the support that the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) has given especially in enjoining their media partners to disseminate the programs of the agency about culture and arts,” said public relations and information officer and project head Rene Napeñas of NCCA during the closing ceremonies on April 29 at Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila.

“Most of you do not know the mandates of NCCA, but I hope through these media and bloggers who were very interested to join the caravan learned that the programs for culture and arts is important and is still very significant to us Filipinos, I hope you will continually support us,” added Napeñas, in his message.

Delegates started their fascination of the heritage sites in Cagayan Valley, considered as the Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines where century-old churches and ruins are located such as: the St. Peter Cathedral, the Ermita de San Jacinto and Our Lady of Chartres Chapel in Tuguegarao City; Old San Jacinto de Polonia Church and Sta. Maria Bell Tower in Camalaniugan and St. Dominic de Guzman Parish in Lal-lo.

In the Ilocos region, the 1.3 kilometer long coastal bridge Patapat viaduct in Pagudpud welcomed them followed by a quick visit to Bangui Windmills in Bangui and Cape Bojeador Lighthouse tour in Burgos, Ilocos Norte; the majestic church and Unesco heritage site of St. Augustin Church (Paoay Church); an interactive Conservatory Museum, dancing musical fountain at the Plaza and the marvelous and world famous Calle Crisologo Heritage Village in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur capped the second day of the caravan.

The Cordillerans showcased the following on the third day: Tam-awan Village; the Museo Kordilyera inside the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio; the historical Baguio Convention Center; Casa Vallejo; Session Road Rotunda; the Baden Powel Hotel, where the first session under the Taft Commission was held and the Baguio Museum.

In Central Luzon, the San Fernando Railway Station highlighted the tour in San Fernando, Pampanga with side trips on the heritage houses along Consunji St. in Barangay Sto. Rosario; Old Pampanga Hotel where Gen. Douglas McArthur stayed overnight; and the Metropolitan Cathedral which was burned by the Philippine Army on order of Gen. Antonio Luna on 1899.

Closing the caravan is a self-tour to the historical Intramuros, exploring Manila Metropolitan-Cathedral-Basilica, Fort Santiago, and the San Agustin Church which survived major earthquakes and battles that hit Manila.

Included on the short stops are the taste and flavors of the local food: Cagayan’s famous pansit batil patung (native noodle dish topped with pork liver, crispy fried pork skin, vegetables mixed with flavourful sauce and spices); iloco empanada (deep fried patty filled with garlicky ground meat, egg and vegetables) and the pinikpikan (cordilleran soup dish prepared by beating a live chicken with a stick prior to cooking).

Delegates brought home famous pasalubong (food souvenirs) for their families to taste: chicacorn (crunchy corn snack), chicharabao (crispy carabao skin), bibingka and suman (native rice cakes), longganisa (pork skin filled with garlicky pork meat), cheese bread rolls and other delicacies native to the regions.

“NCCA and PIA’s strategy on enjoining bloggers like us is very timely, this I believe is one way to strengthen the promotions of the culture and arts in the Philippines, using us as a medium of information dissemination,” said Pangasinan blogger Vanj Padilla, who joined the four-day caravan.

“We really appreciate the project and the efforts of the organizers, this is very meaningful to me, to connect with people as well as provide a sense of community and belongingness as Filipinos,” Padilla added.

A total of 30 local and national print and broadcast media and bloggers joined the caravan to target a total reach of 500,000 for the said event, with the assistance of the PIA regional offices involved.

Print and radio broadcasters interviewed the resource persons and aired live in their respective regions after each site visited.

In social media lingo, hashtags such as #DangalngLahi #PrideofRace and #ProudofHeritage were used to centralize the posts of the bloggers and PIA. Netizens could check out the heritage sites visited and by the participants thru these tags.

The caravan is the culminating activity of the 2016 project NCCA-PIA Luzonwide Promotion of Culture & Arts. (PIA-Ilocos Region)


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