Jewel D. MercaderResearcher 1Anthropology Division National Museum of the Philippines Anthropology Division Padre Burgos st., Ermita, Manila Echo Seminar in the National Museum In pursuit to the National Museum‟s Vision-Mission to be the premiere institution andrepository of Philippine cultural heritage, collecting, preserving and studying artifacts anddisseminating these knowledge to the public, a seminar “Echo in the National Museum” washeld last August 30 in the National Art Gallery building. This became a venue for our selectedprofessionals from different divisions of the museum, who were sent out abroad to attendparticular and relevant seminars, to share their experiences and learning to the rest of theNational Museum body. First speaker was Mrs. Maritess Tauro from the Anthropology Division, who participatedin the SEAMEO SPAFA Workshop on Islamic Arts of Southeast Asia last February 20-24, 2012in Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In light with the persisting concernson the lack of cross-cultural understanding resulting in cultural sensitivity, and consequently,social conflicts, this workshop, for one, introduced the participants to the fundamentalbackground on Islamic Arts. Mrs. Tauro gave a brief yet comprehensive talk on the wholecourse of the workshop including: Introduction to Islam and Islamic Civilizations, Pillars of Islamand Faith, Arts of the Islamic World such as Calligraphy, Architecture, Textiles, Coinage andothers. She made a note on the difference between Islamic Art and Muslim Art wherein theformer one is an art which embodies the very essence of Islam while the latter is simply an artproduced by any Muslim. On the other hand, it was not cleared out if an art inspired by thevalues of Islam yet not made by a Muslim is also considered an Islamic art. It was highlighted aswell that the highest form and most revered form of Islamic Art is calligraphy, followed byarchitecture. At the tail-end of her talk, she showed their tour in the Islamic Arts Museum ofMalaysia. Mrs. Tauro mentioned that she saw a lot of similar collections of Muslim artifacts andspecimens here in National Museum of the Philippines from Malaysia‟s collection, in which sheadmitted that the latter is quite living up to a better and more consistent artifacts‟ conservationpractice. Nevertheless, she sincerely imparted that she had a better time imbibing the IslamicArts not merely through the lectures but also through experiencing and seeing the art itself. Next in line was Mr. Sheldon Clyde Jagoon who partook in the UNESCO 3rd FoundationConference on Underwater Cultural Heritage last February 14 to March 26, 2011 inChanthaburi, Thailand along with other delegates from the museum. This conference followedthe first two successful Norway-funded Foundation courses. Lectures and classrooms sessionswere held at the Asia-Pacific Regional Field Training Centre while the underwater survey fieldexercises took place at the Ruea Mail shipwreck site in Klend District, Rayong province. Still inthe context of the program, “Safeguarding the Underwater Cultural Heritage of Asia and thePacific”, the training course covered archaeological site inventory and mapping, non-invasivetechniques of site investigation, museological techniques and site monitoring and protection. Mr.Jagoon shared some of the challenges they encountered during the training course. Heunderscored some concerns during fieldwork proper, such as demands on diving expertise andon good body buoyancy control to have a near-precise capture of the material underwater. On abrighter note, Mr. Jagoon reassured that all activities went well. More importantly, therepresentatives, who share common interests, have established camaraderie and network with
Jewel D. MercaderResearcher 1Anthropology Divisionone another, looking forward to another yet to be successful convergence of interestedprofessionals in the field. Last to take the floor was Ms. Marie Grace Pamela Faylona from Archaeology Division.She attended the most recent Developing International Geoarchaeology (DIG) conference heldat the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, USA from September 20 to 24, 2011. DIG catersinternational conferences dwelling on the interdisciplinary field of geoarchaeology. This eventbrings together a crowd of researchers, practitioners and scholars from around the world toshare and discuss endeavors in geoarchaeology through paper presentations, field trips and thelike. Usual topics presented in the conference includes land use practice, trade and exchangewith geosciences and environmental based topics, human-environmental interactions,landscape reconstruction and site formation processes. Ms. Faylona mentioned that fromSeptember 20-22, they had a field trip based workshop to explore the geomorphology andarchaeology of the Tennesse River Valley and the last days of the conference were spent forthe general session and discussions. Our Archaeologist herself definitely made a job well donethat she was able to present her paper on the preservation of giant clam from the BalobokRockshelter archaeological site. During the question and answer portion, Ms. Faylona wasasked if it would be better in conferences as such to proceed first with the fieldwork then befollowed by discussions and lectures, as what was practiced in the event, as opposed to theconventional way. She said it works either way but particularly for this case, she happilyreasoned out that this „set-up‟ helped in building friendship and in getting to know theparticipants easily. Obviously the National Museum continues to live up to its duties and core values.Successful efforts of the institution clearly manifest on the achievements of the abovementioned speakers. They continue to inspire the rest of the museum‟s researchers andscholars. This is what we do in National Museum, we do not just educate and stand as apremiere institution for cultural heritage, but we also contribute in taking pride of Filipinos‟genius acknowledged internationally.