It was a fulfilling, though tiring and sleep-deprived 3 days from May 2-4 at the Wikimedia Philippines Cultural Heritage Mapping workshop that I was fortunate and privileged to attend. My thanks again to the people of Wikimedia Philippines, especially the people behind the Philippine Cultural Heritage Mapping project headed by Joel Aldor, for organizing this 1st ever workshop event.
Apart from learning about the technical matters regarding heritage identification, creating and editing content in Wikipedia and Wikipedia Commons, (the free media repository and sister site of Wikipedia, both under the Wikimedia banner) as workshop participants, we also participated in the first-ever WikiExpedition in the country as we were divided into groups who would be deployed to each of the 16 districts of the city.
Each group gathered as much information as possible on the landmarks found on each district gathered from research, interviews, as well as photographs taken by the participants. The result of these efforts are these new or updated articles about these landmarks on Wikipedia, as well as new photos of these landmarks uploaded in Wikimedia Commons (the free-license media repository under Wikimedia, which is also the same organization behind Wikipedia) which you can check out below:
In addition these sites have been added in the Philippine Heritage Map database, with their locations mapped as well. You can check them out and other landmarks (with more to be added in the future) at www.philippineheritagemap.org.
The workshop was also graced with the presence of notable personalities who shared their knowledge and experience to the volunteers regarding the work that they will be doing and how vital their work will be as it would actually be the first time that the Wikimedia platform (with Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons) will be utilized for heritage documentation.
There will be a four-week pre-certification assessment during which volunteers will be documenting heritage structures within or near their locality as new/updated Wikipedia articles/sub-articles, as well as new entries to the Philippine Heritage Map database before they will be duly certified by the Wikimedia Foundation and will be deployed to different parts of the country.
It cannot be stressed enough how important and monumental the Philippine Heritage Mapping project. Considering as well the challenges involved like the logistics in going around the country, gathering information which is not readily available, and the state of Philippine heritage today, this admittedly is not going to be an easy job and it is something that is going to take a long, long, long time for this project to be completed.
But as a popular proverb goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I am honored to be among those “pioneers” who will get to document our country’s heritage for posterity online. At the same time, I feel a bit nervous and challenged at the same time with what lies ahead for me as a volunteer. After all, I am doing this work not for myself but for a greater cause which is the country’s welfare. To be asked to do that is rare privilege that one should never ever mess up in doing.
Even we do not get to be volunteers, let us all still support this noble endeavor for Philippine heritage, for our country, and for the future generations of Filipinos to appreciate our rich heritage through the efforts of those who strive to make this happen.