The Philippines is full of historical sites --- from old churches, houses and buildings in the Manila area, to whole districts rich in history such as Ilocos, Batangas, and Iloilo. In fact, the entire country is rich in history and culture, but these sites are not as well-kept as they once were due to a lack of concern for its cultural value. And this love for culture and history are just two of the things that the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) wishes to share with other people.
HCS is a non-stock, non-profit organization that fights for the preservation of the country's built heritage and cultural and historical sights and settings. They believe that making sure that generations of people get to see and appreciate these things will result in a stronger national identity and love for country.
The group envisions a Filipino society that values and preserves this heritage for the sake of national pride and identity. Thus, HCS continues to advocate for this preservation and come up with projects that allow for the promotion of advocacy, volunteerism and information.
Recent projects of the organization include saving the El Hogar building in the Escolta area of Manila (an on-going project). Also, they have been involved in pushing for the city of Silay, Negros Occidental, to be declared a heritage city. Just this year, Silay passed an ordinance giving 100-percent tax exemption for owners of heritage structures who maintained and did adaptive reuse on their properties.
On a national scale, HCS has been pushing for a national heritage bill that will encourage owners of historical structures to preserve them. In an article from the Manila Times, HCS president Ivan Anthony Henares stated that tax incentives or exemptions could encourage the owners to take care of the heritage structures they buy or inherit. El Hogar is just one of the buildings that had to be sold by the owners due to high tax rates. Also, HCS wants the government to encourage businesses to relocate to heritage structures. This could prove to be a win-win situation for both the businesses and the country's heritage, according to Henares.
THE ROLE OF THE YOUTH
With travel becoming more popular and accessible nowadays, as well as the success of the historical film Heneral Luna, more and more Filipinos, especially the youth, are becoming acquainted with the national heritage and culture. All these historical sites, parks and beaches that the youth of today have visited or plan to visit could be more beautiful if more people worked and pushed for heritage conservation. The Heritage Conservation Society-Youth (HCS-Y) is the youth arm of the HCS specifically for heritage and culture advocates under the age of 30. Like its mother organization, it aims to promote the preservation of built heritage through adaptive reuse. HCS-Y focuses on educating young people on heritage awareness and preservation through projects, workshops, and talks among others. They have also partnered with the University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism for a National Service Training Program in 2014.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HCS
If you are interested in learning more about cultural and historical heritage, the HCS website and social media pages are filled with articles on recent developments in the field of heritage conservation, lists and laws regarding historical and cultural sites, and organizations and projects with similar thrust.
CONNECT WITH HERITAGE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Facebook: facebook.com/heritageconservation; facebook.com/HeritageConservationYouth
Office: Located inside the Museo Pambata, City of Manila