The Philippine Delegation headed by Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, H.E. Maria Theresa Lazaro (second from right) together with (L-R) Ms. Pisces Joy Razon, Attaché from the Philippine Delegation, Mr. Hendrik Garcia, Philippine Deputy Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Ms. Renee Talavera from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
10 December 2019 – The 14th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Bogota, Colombia honored the Philippines today by inscribing Buklog, thanksgiving ritual system of the Subanen on the UNESCO List of ICH in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.
Buklog is an elaborate thanksgiving ritual system of the Subanen indigenous people in the Zamboanga Peninsula. Noted as a ceremonial platform and a sacred social space for rituals, Buklog is performed to appease and express gratitude to the spirits for many reasons such as a bountiful harvest, recovery from sickness or calamity, or acknowledgement of a new leader.
Due to social, political and economic threats, the practice of Buklog has diminished over the years. Thanks to the UNESCO inscription, the Subanen can strengthen measures to safeguard the ritual and its continued practice, in cooperation with national agencies, local government units, civil society organizations and international organizations/entities.
Head of Delegation H.E. Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, thanked the members of the Committee, as well as the Evaluation Body, and welcomed the recognition of Buklog as intangible cultural heritage of humanity. “As a part of the social fabric of Mindanao in the southern Philippines, we see this inscription as strengthening the bonds of fraternity and solidarity among indigenous people, christians and muslims in a resilient region that seeks to permanently replace conflict and discontent, with peace, hope and sustainable development” she added.
Hon. Virgilio Almario, Chairperson of the National Commission for Cultural and the Arts (NCCA) and National Artist for Literature, through Ms. Renee Talavera, Head of the Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts of NCCA, extended his gratitude for the invaluable participation and support of all the Subanen communities and municipalities in the nomination process. He conveyed hope that the inscription of Buklog will serve as inspiration to other communities to continuously promote and safeguard intangible cultural heritage in the Philippines.
The Subanen celebrating Buklog community dance called g’bat
Buklog, thanksgiving ritual system of the Subanen is the first element of the Philippines to be inscribed on the List of ICH in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The Philippines has three elements inscribed on the Representative List of the ICH of Humanity namely the Darangen Epic, Hudhud Chants, and the Punnuk tugging ritual. The last time the Philippines has a successful ICH inscription was in 2015.
The Intergovernmental Committee, which meets annually, provides guidance on best practices and makes recommendations on measures for the safeguarding of the ICH. It also examines requests submitted by States Parties for the inscription of intangible heritage, as well as proposals for programmes and projects.
The Philippines serves as one of the Vice Presidents of the Committee. Other Committee members are Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Cyprus, Djibouti, Guatemala, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Mauritius, Netherlands, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Togo and Zambia.
States Parties congratulate and celebrate with the Philippine Delegation after the inscription of Buklog