Loren Wants Folk Art Museums in Every Province

March 4, 2013

Even in the midst of the campaign, reelectionist Senator Loren Legarda continues to give due importance to her cultural advocacy by exploring more ways to bring Filipinos closer to their heritage and forge stronger unity among citizens.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that she wants to have folk art museums in every province in the country.

“Cultural diplomacy is another advocacy I would want to pursue. It may seem too ideal to have museums in every province, but I think it is doable because we have been working on promoting our unique Filipino culture,” she said.

“Others might think that this is not important because our people need food on their tables, jobs, quality education, and healthcare coverage. We are working on these pressing needs, but we must not forget the things that contribute to our individuality and deepen our being Filipinos. I agree with National Artist for Literature, F. Sionil Jose, when he said that there is a need for an immersion in the folk arts, which develops craftsmanship and industry, national identity and pride, and will help unite Filipinos,” she explained.

Legarda said that she has sought the opinion of F. Sionil Jose, who suggested the showcasing of Philippine art from the ordinary folks of old.

The Senator said she would start this form of “cultural revolution” in areas where folk art is rich and thriving. These museums will feature not only the unique products of the provinces but also their cultural music and performing arts.

“The museums will also house shops where outstanding local products will be sold. Through this, we are not only creating food for the soul, but also providing opportunities for livelihood. The participation of the local people will be important in this program. They must make the project their own. They will need to have a stake on this for their museum to be self-sustaining,” Legarda stressed.

She will file a measure on this initiative along with the proposal to make skills training on industrial arts part of the school curriculum.

“We are such a gifted people. We have a very rich heritage, so rich that every province has its own unique tradition. We need a cultural renaissance; we have to understand the practices, traditions, and way of living of our ancestors; we have to embrace the culture that is unique to us, so we can have a better understanding of our roots and of who we are,” said Legarda.

Legarda has been taking initiatives to further promote Philippine culture to Filipinos and to foreign citizens. She has set-up several cultural exhibits at the Senate to showcase the exceptional skills and world-class products of indigenous peoples. She also authored the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law of 2004, which mandated the use of indigenous fibers for the official uniforms of government officials and employees, with the objective of strengthening the local fiber industry.

In 2011, she successfully organized regional assemblies—in Baguio City, Iloilo City, and in Tagum City—and the First National Indigenous Cultural Summit that served as avenues for dialogue with local and national policy-makers as well as international institutions.

In 2012, Legarda launched the country’s first permanent textile galleries called the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, organized the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, sponsored the documentation of indigenous knowledge systems and practices in the Cordilleras, and launched the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines that showcased weaving traditions and different products of various Schools of Living Traditions in the country.***