05/1/14

Heritage Month and the Philippine Cultural Heritage Mapping Project

And just like that, the month of May has arrived. While there is Labor Day, the Maytime festivals, and summer that this month is known for, not many people know that May is also the month for Philippine Heritage as the country celebrates National Heritage Month at this time of the year.

the Romualdez house in Pandacan (from the Urban Roamer archives)

First decreed to be celebrated by Presidential Proclamation No, 439 on August 11, 2003, the celebration of the National Heritage Month aims to raise awareness on the country’s heritage and instill a sense of pride, respect, and appreciation for our heritage. With these values instilled in our people, it is hoped that through this celebration, there will be more efforts that will be made to preserve and promote the country’s heritage as priceless links to our past as well as a source of livelihood being attractions visited by many who come from different parts of the country and the world as well.

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04/25/14

A US President In Manila

As the Philippines’ capital and seat of government, Manila has seen various heads of state and government who have come here for state or working visits in the country. However, for many Filipinos, there is no greater impact of such visits than that of the President of the United States. Then again, that should come as no surprise given the United States’ position today as  a global superpower and more importantly, the historical ties that existed ever since the Philippines first became an American colony in 1898.

Thus, the high level of anticipation being seen at this time for the upcoming state visit of US President Barack Obama on April 28. It will be a given that the visit will be about strengthening US-PH ties, (something that is being stressed out as of late due to those issues we are having with China over disputed areas in the country) but it will be interesting to find out what else will be on the table when Obama and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III meet. Will we get back the Balangiga Bells?  Will Obama announce new investments in the Philippines? Will Obama get to wear and barong and how will he look with it? On another note, will Obama get to try balut or other Filipino delicacies?

As we await and see what history will be made, if any, from the upcoming Obama state visit, let us look back at the US presidents who came before him who visited Manila in the past through this new edition of the Urban Roamer’s Guide. We will deal here strictly with those who visited the country in their official capacity as President of the United States. Thus, we will not be counting William Howard Taft, (who was here from 1900-1904 as US civil governor before he became president) Ronald Reagan, (governor of California state when he visited here in 1969) George Bush, (who came here in 1981 as US Vice President) and Jimmy Carter. (no longer president when he came here in 1999)

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03/29/14

Internet in the Philippines: 20 Years Online

This is somewhat of an off-topic entry, but today is a momentous occasion, not only for me but for all of us who are reading this or some other website, connecting to people via email or social media, posting or reacting to memes and other viral messages or posts, streaming or uploading online media, among many, many others we have been doing in cyberspace for the past 20 years.

It should be, because on this day 20 years ago, the Philippines went online, making that historic entry in the young but growing Internet landscape thanks to the efforts of the Philnet project, which was a collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the academic community.

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