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Mabalacat City hosted the 2023 APHEN-ICH International Field School Intangible Cultural Heritage International Conference and Commencement Exercises

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MABALACAT CITY, Pampanga — The city of Mabalacat was chosen to host the International Field School Intangible Cultural Heritage International Conference and Graduation Ceremony through Asia-Pacific Higher Education Network for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage (APHEN-ICH) and The University of Santo Tomas Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET).

Pampanga, known for its title as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines,” and its living vibrant traditions and beliefs, showcased the intangible expression of the Philippines’ rich culture including the cuisine, music, dance, drama, skills, crafts, and festivals. These characteristics complemented the International Field School theme, “Manyaman: Culinary Culture, Identity, Diversity, and Sustainability.”

Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia Pacific Region (ICHCAP-Korea), an affiliate of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), created the APHEN ICH network in 2018. This group is made up of 22 universities in Asia Pacific that have strong and well-established ICH programs. Annually, a fieldwork is carried out to develop bright professionals, scholars, and researchers who can progress the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage from 2003.

Here in the Philippines, the APHEN-ICH Fieldwork was conducted outside of Korea for the first time in six days. The twenty (20) participants, as representatives of their nation and university, traveled in our country for this program to explore and share extensive cultural knowledge and appreciation of each other’s heritage. With their dedication and heart for history, they graduated with gratitude and encouragement to empower the safeguarding of Asia’s colorful culture.

“Masanting, Mayap, Manyaman, Dacal a salamat,” which mean, “Beautiful, Good, Delicious, Thank you so much.” These words were flamboyantly uttered during the Reflection Session of the graduates and observers as they expressed their joy and appreciativeness to Kapampangan’s hospitality, delightful food, pleasant accommodation, and lovely personality.

Prior to the program’s closing, the participants and the group enjoy their lunch in Lola Nor’s Meryendahan, Mabalacat City. Also, they were entertained through a Food Demonstration of Chef John Michael Ingar, featuring the Putong Babi or Porked Bread – a Kapampangan’s classic entrée which is made with ground pork or beef mixture, potatoes, peas, and carrots.

Present during the program on behalf of Mayor Crisostomo Garbo was City Administrator Franco Alejo Madlangbayan, City Tourism Officer Arwin Paul Lingat, Consultant of Mabalacat City Government Dr. Reiyen Clemente, UP-Visayas Professor Martin Genodepa, APHEN-ICH Secretariat Professor Neel Kamal Chapagain, ICHCAP Director Mr. Weonmo Park, UST International Relations and Program Director Dr. Lilian J. Sison, 2023 APHEN-ICH International Field School Convenor Dr. Eric Zerrudo, DepEd Representatives Ma’am Alma G. Pineda and Riza U. Policarpio, and City Tourism Office.

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