***Note: Reposted from the City Government of Bogo's Official Website www.cityofbogocebu.com
Written by SP Online
Friday, 28 August 2009
Amidst the very laudable flurry of establishing town/city museums in Cebu came more surprises as the Cebu provincial government, with the assistance of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. went into the final round of the eGwen (short for Expanded Green and Wholesome Environment that Nurtures) competition last week.
A province-wide contest, eGwen sought to scrutinize all towns and cities under the jurisdiction of the Cebu provincial government on a multitude of performance criteria that can be summed up in four overarching categories: environment, health, governance and heritage. The other night, three towns and cities and their corresponding selected barangay emerged winners from among ten of their counterparts that were also given citations for exemplary performance. San Francisco (Camotes) emerged victorious as grand champion, bagging a check for a million pesos handed over by Gov. Gwendolyn F. Garcia to Mayor Alfredo Arquillano. Tabuelan came in a close second with a check for P750,000 handed over by the governor to Vice Mayor Rex Gerona. The third place went to Bogo City, which came in full force not just with barangay officials but also city councilors and the vice mayor Santiago Sevilla.
The three barangays that emerged victorious were Sto. Rosario, Bogo City, the grand champion, followed by Poblacion, Tabuelan, and then by San Isidro, San Francisco (in Camotes). Of the three, Sto. Rosario and Poblacion Tabuelan were also cited by the Cebu Provincial Committee on Sites, Relics and Structures, along with barangay Perrelos, Carcar for leading the way in establishing barangay-level museums that are now considered models in community museum development.
The eGwen in effect was a culmination of sorts for the work done by the Provincial Committee on Sites, Relics and Structures to train local government units in participatory cultural mapping, conservation management planning and museum development. These winners not only fulfilled their end of the bargain by submitting to the committee the required cultural map with the inventory of their heritage sites, relics and structures, they also went further by replicating the process down to the barangay level and establishing community or barangay museums, making them effective models in the field of heritage conservation. These museums were a surprise, something that the committee did not expect would happen so soon.
In this regard, Tabuelan, came in first for producing the most successful application of cultural mapping down to the barangay level carried out by volunteers that represented a large cross-section of society. Bogo also provided an important model for replicating the inventory of cultural resources and the establishment of mini-museums in all of its barangays, with barangay Sto. Rosario as the grandest of them all.
I would like to mention here that other than the three local government units, three other municipalities were also given heritage awards by the province for best practices in heritage conservation. These are Alguinsan, Catmon, and Cordova . Aloguinsan harnessed its natural heritage to provide a seamless merger between economic development and eco-cultural tourism around its Bojo River, while incorporating town planning by experts from a local university and preparing their old municipal hall for conversion into a museum.
Catmon was cited by the committee for its all-male participation in a comprehensive documentation of its heritage resources which was eventually placed on a new website, perhaps the first among Cebu’s local government units. Cordova, on the other hand, was awarded for mobilizing its community college in the barangay level cultural mapping led and initiated by volunteers under an education program that integrates the teaching of local history, museum development and cultural performances.
Everyone in the heritage network is now excited to see the results of the next eGwen round, when all the other towns and cities that failed to make the mark shall have learned from this round. For now, I am imagining a Cebu sprouting with ecotourism projects, community museums, and cultural heritage performances. Congratulations to all!