España, Manila – the University of Santo Tomas kickstarted the 20th anniversary of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention with a conference last August 1 and a field school in culinary arts by August 2 to 7 at Pampanga.

The ICH international conference with the theme 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention safeguarding identity, diversity and sustainability was hosted by UST last Tuesday with the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific region, under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP).

The lead convenor, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Eric Zerrudo presented the rationale and acknowledged the participants from and beyond the Philippines. The UST Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Dr. Cheryl Peralta also have a message with the UNESCO-ICHCAP director Mr. Weonmo Park along with the Secretariat APHEN-ICH Prof. Neel Kamal Chapagain. Likewise, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairperson Victorino Manalo and UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines secretary general Dr. Ivan Anthony Henares graced the occasion.

Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Aldrin Darilag stressed the role of higher education institutions for ICH Convention for safeguarding identity, diversity and sustainability. Moreover, Dr. Zerrudo also build on with tha previous talk with the intersections of ICH in the International Convention.

After a sumptuous lunch of Filipino cuisine like inasal, kaldereta and even halo-halo for dessert, Prof. Chapagain, Prof. Seongmi Jeong and Corazon Alvina presented their respective ICH talks on transmission, community participation and research with documentation respectively.

Due to inclement weather, the university tour and museum visit did not push through. Just the same, the field school in Pampanga ensued in partnership with Tourism office of Region 3, several municipalities in Pampanga and partner-institutions of UST in cultural heritage and conservation.

The next ICH conference is going to take place by September in celebration of the UST Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (UST CCCPET) 20 years of enabling heritage in the country.