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Hidden Philippine treasures, strengthening peace and nation-building


One interesting documentaries ever featured in Philippine Television was GMA networks Philippine Treasures aired last September 11, 2011. It was a two-hour documentary episode that enabled to present the reality of the country’s condition and whereabouts of the so-called hidden treasures of the country.

Baybayin, Agusan Golden Image, Gold earrings of Lapu-Lapu or Rajah Humabon, ancient potteries symbolizing earlier civilizations, Golden Tara and other significant possessions in the National museum of the Philippines gave a bright colour of the beauty of our country especially arts and science. The preservation of which was no longer put into great consideration by the Government and the Filipino People.

The reality of which, some of the mentioned items were no longer in the possession of the country to include the Golden Tara or Agusan Golden Image now in the Field Museum of Chicago in USA as well as other woven cloth of the Blaan and Manobo tribe. I remember an opportunity when I was in Chicago, though I did not have an actual encounter of the Golden Tara, Americans gives high priority in the preservation of treasures through exhibits and public displays. Thus, it boasts tourism and sense of nationalism as well as strengthening nation building through linkages of foreign deposits.

In the Philippines, I wonder if all of the places in the Philippines have a National Museum that caters hidden treasures of ones locality and community. It serves as the venue of showcasing the richness of our traditions and its preservations of the many treasures of the people- past and present.

Art. 439 of the Civil Code of the Philippines states that by treasure is understood, for legal purposes, any hidden and unknown deposit of money, jewelry or other precious objects, the lawful ownership of which does not appear. In addition, these hidden treasures, if found to be of interest to science or the arts, the State may acquire them at their just price, which shall be divided in conformity with the said rule as stated.

The highlight of beauty and richness of the cultures of the ancient Philippines through the various symbols, ancient artifacts, instruments, statues and other items of significant worth gave me more realization of how beautiful our country is.

On the other hand, as the show progresses, it features the other side of the country which is facing a great dilemma in the preservation of the hidden treasures that we have. It is best to also consider the status of our National Museums which is said to be the breeding place of our rich cultures and traditions.

Most of the items came from Mindanao. The land of Promise which had became the land of conflict and still tries to flourish its label into the Land of a beautiful tomorrow. Being the melting pot of cultures in the country, it can still be further improved as it marked a huge contribution to the arts industry which can be an element in peace and nation-building.

One of the significant advocacies of the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), leading peace movement in Zamboanga City is the Historical Journey and documentation of significant individuals from various communities, faith and tradition based groups. Last 2009, the movement went to Lintangan-Malayal in Zamboanga del Norte where  Subanon Tribe resides and have installed a peace marker as the symbol of the communities efforts in the preservation of their cultures- the living treasures of which are found in their living traditions. Interestingly, one tomb of a Muslim Caliphate was given great care by the local residents.

The following year, came a historical journey with the National Sama Badjao Movement at Arena Blanco. Being seafarers, the movement in their anniversary depicted their tradition as well as the local treasures symbolically through the Layag, the boat used by the residents. In the same way, the movement installed a peace marker as well.

This years effort in line with the celebration of the Mindanao week of peace, the IRSMP will visit the oldest Mosque though the community of Taluksangay anciently believed had been instrumental in the development of Zamboanga City of today. The community through the honourable family of the Nu?o, for sure can share to us the many other hidden treasures of ancient Samboangan.

The three communities had been awardees of the prestigious Peace Weaver Awards. IRSMP had been contributing a lot in the campaign to make the country’s state of peace and nation-building further be strengthened. The treasures of the three communities yielded peace pacts and eventually can inspire the national museums and our local people to have these possessions as part of how we integrate peace in our lives.

With the Philippines Hidden treasures, let us find the many other treasures that we have within our selves that might be helpful in bringing about greater development of our communities. In this way, we just not help our self but further contributes to the progress of our country.

By Aldrin B. Abdurahim

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