Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dimiao nature inspires
Visual on-spot painting 

TAGBILARAN CITY, April 8 (PIA)—Toting primed canvas, oil paint tubes in satchels, folding easels, carving tool kits, newly charged batteries and a choice of lenses, Bohol visual artists took Dam-agan Falls in Dimiao Bohol as inspirational subject for the Sunday Open Air painting session, April 2. 

The falls, or more appropriately a cascade lazily bursting out into an aquamarine pool is hidden in a pocket of forest in Barangay Catugasan, laso provides a space for swimming, before it continues its cascade to rock strewn spring bed before joining the sea vial barangay Balbalan.

The second of a series of outdoor painting sessions by a small group of visual artists in the oil and acrylic media, the plein air session is a recreation of the 19th century French impressionism which draws its inspiration from the open-air, explains oil painter Rhants Anunciado. 

The first plein air session happened in the down rivers of Lagtangan in Sevilla. 

Last Sunday, artists including St. Joseph Cathedral ceiling fresco restorer Joey Labrador, artists Glen Lumantao, Anunciado, Victor Bulala, Vincent Omar Dagdayan, Elvin Perocho Vitor, Emerald Marie Salipong, driftwood sculptor Gab CafĂ© and retablo restorer Jun Lagura ventured the arduous trek to the session location some 600 meters from the barangay road. 

The trek along a canal that supplied irrigation water to the blooming nearby rice fields prepared no one to the sight that revealed itself following a treacherous descent via carved steps to the cascade’s collecting pool. 

Screened by a thick forest and dense vegetation, the beauty of the cataract of bustling fresh water can only be appreciated when one stands before the large pool. The gush of gurgling to the roar of the falls fill the senses, inspiring artists senses. 

The outdoor painting session is Bohol visual artists’ effort to sustain the local visual arts industry by assuring continued production while announcing and promoting local places in Bohol with tourism potential, added Dimiao tourism Officer Virgilio Namalata. 

Namalata guided the visual artists to Dam-agan Falls and helped contextualize the session’s goals to the participating visual artists. 

Moments later, the artists picked their chosen spots to install their easels and worked on daubing paint in the blank canvas, their subjects: Dam-agan environment.

A place that feature the ideal bright and dark contrasts, the texture of flood mellowed rocks and the chiaroscuro of lights filtering through the leaves of forest canopy and the gnarled roots and vines climbing to the shades were in almost everyone’s canvas.

At the end of the session, the artists took time to pose with their outputs, while talking of initial plans of the next session. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Artist Joey Labrador as well as other artists set up easels on site at Dam-agan Falls and used its as subject for the open air painting session, a rising event set up by Bohol visual artists to sustain the local arts industry and promote tourism in Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Heritage experts learn from
Bohol’s conservation efforts 

TAGBILARAN CITY, APRIL 8 (PIA)—If there is anything that the earthquake of 2013 did good to Bohol, one of which is its fast becoming a learning area for conservation and its recognized people’s democratic forms of conservation mitigating the effects of tropical climate. 

No less than the Thai Center Director of the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO-SPAFA) Dr. Rujaya Abhakorn declared this during his message during the fifth gathering of the Asia Pacific Tropical Climate Conservation Art Research Network (APTC CARN5) April 4-6 in Maribojoc and Tagbilaran City, Bohol. 

The National Museum of the Philippines hosted the international forum here in Bohol which bannered Natural Disasters and Cultural Heritage in the Philippines: Knowledge Sharing, Decision Making and Conservation. 

Art conservateurs and heritage conservation experts from Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines met community knowledge holders and cultural heritage practitioners in a bid to deepen people-to-people linkages across a diverse range of skills, capabilities and experiences of cultural heritage recovery and disaster management in Bohol, as well as in southeast Asia and the Pacific, explains National Museum Assistant Director Dr. Ana Labrador. 

From its foundation, APTC CARN has already seen the need of geographically focused cultural materials conservation, and in 8 years, it has built a community of practice which has revealed important information about culture and the conservation challenging conditions in the region, she added. 

The Bohol forum focused on the effect of natural disasters on the build and movable cultural heritage, the people and places. 

While the forum participants saw the impacts of the 2013 earthquake, typhoon Haiyan proved to be the coup de grace for heritage structures and movable treasures surviving the tremor. 

During the forum’s site visits, participants and experts talked with local heritage keepers into salvage, rehabilitation and sustained management of Bohol’s cultural assets and heritage. 

This also presented to Dr Abhakorn the chance to see and hear the Philippine Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, who personally detailed how the crumbled church of his hometown in Maribojoc stood as a people’s identity. 

Evasco recalled how his massive centuries old church, now a pile of coral stone tablets stacked for restoration, has marked milestones in the life of Maribocjanons. 

Himself already counted as a community knowledge holder, Evasco along with Bohol cultural heritage practitioners see a brighter future for heritage conservation, despite the fact that the Philippines ranks high in its vulnerability to the impacts of tropical climate and climate change and natural hazards.

From the experience, Dr Abhakorn has declared that the country and the region would be looking at Bohol as a model for disaster management and teacher for cultural heritage conservation. 

“Here we have seen the birth of construction innovations and the rise of heritage consciousness,” the SPAFA Center director pointed out specifically hinting Rev. Fr. Milan Ted Torralba’s works.

Fr. Torralba, a Boholano chair of the Commission on the Cultural Heritage of the Church in the Diocese of Tagbilaran has long been sitting as executive secretary to the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission for the Cultural Heritage. 

Dr. Abhakorn, as well as the forum experts also interacted with Escuella Taller, an innovative initiative of the Spanish Embassy in coordination with the Philippine Government and Diocese of Tagbilaran. 

Escuela Taller is a program of retraining out of school youth on the lost arts of woodworks, stone masonry, painting and carpentry, in the long term vision of capacity building communities to help in the restoration and conservation of heritage structures. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
A team of international and local conservation experts from APTC CARN met Cortes Mayor Lynn Iven Lim in front of the wooden retablo of the old church. The retablo has been proposed for repainting but experts see a need for proper restoration to see the underlying paint, to see if like other antique retables, precious gold leaf has been used. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Recreating the lost art of wood carving, Escuella Taller brings back to Bohol’s out of school youth the skill and the capacity to earn a livelihood while bolstering the local talents in the future rebuilding, rehabilitation and restoration of churches altars and heritage structures. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Evasco affirms Philippines 
heritage conservation plan

MARIBOJOC BOHOL, April 4 (PIA)—The Philippine Government continues to affirm its commitment to the protection of the vitality of the country’s cultural heritage. 

The statement of affirmation came from no less than Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, who met international delegates and participants of the Asia Pacific Tropical Climate Conservation Art Research Network (APTC-CARN) meeting at the Holy Cross Parish in Maribojoc, Bohol April 4-6. 

Sec Evasco, who came in a rerouted flight from a late nigh cabinet meeting with the President said among their meeting agenda was preparing for the “big one,” a projected earthquake that could originate from the Marikina Valley Fault, that be devastating to Metro Manila. 

“If it will happen, it will hit our people and our cultural heritage,” Evasco, who delivered the government’s commitment to the emerging concern on heritage and natural resource protection against tropical climate and the effects of climate change. 

Truly a new challenge, heritage conservation and protection with the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters has put the government scrambling to put up the necessary steps to mitigate and project plans, Evasco hinted to the 45 participants during the first day of the international experts’ forum held in Maribojoc. 

Admitting that heritage conservation is not part of the educational curriculum for priests, Evasco said that many of the Bohol churches lay victim to the parish priests, who see conservation differently. 

“Everytime [you] see decay in the structures, [they] demolish and replace [them] with hollow blocks, the former priest who is not a key official of the Duterte Administration revealed. 

Now seeing the cultural and the emotional value of built heritage in centuries old coral stone churches, Evasco, called the magnificent structure now laid to ruins, a tangible repository of people’s fond memories.

The earthquake of 2013 however toppled the church and had many of its movable heritage including its priceless gothic retables, antique icons and rare archival books that detail the history of the town once called Karaang Dunggu-an. 

Before the community could dig through the pile of rubbles for the buried treasures, typhoon Haiyan ravished the region and sent pouring rains, further rendering the archival documents beyond salvage. 

Recalling how he played as a child in the ruined church courtyards of Maribojoc, admitted that the country has not been as bullish with heritage conservation until recently. 

In the Philippine Development Plan, we now have a separate chapter on culture and another separate chapter on mitigating the impacts of disaster, Evasco revealed to the delegates which included international conservation experts from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, The Philippines and Australia. 

Citing the importance of the APTC CARN to foster regional collaboration, Evasco also urged more proactive policies on the conservation of retables, heritage structures, antique canonical books and movable heritage against unfavorable weather, termite and insect infestation as well as property inventory and capacity building trainings for communities.

The APTC CARN in Bohol, hosted by the National Museum of the Philippines picks Natural Disasters and Cultural Heritage in the Philippines: Knowledge Sharing, Decision Making and Conservation as forum theme. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco with APTC CARN Officials including Dr. Rajuya Abhakorn, National Museum’s Jeremy Barns and CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for cultural Heritage Chair Fr. Milan Ted Torralba, during the recent international conference of heritage conservation experts in Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)