First row, from left to right: SLT Palawan, SLT Ifugao, SLT Capiz; Second row, from left to right: SLT Aklan, SLT South Cotabato, SLT Agusan del Sur; Third row, from left to right: SLT Davao Occidental, SLT Kalinga, SLT Zamboanga del Sur. (Photos from NCCA-CCTAS SLT/ICH Photo archive)

PARIS, 20 December 2021 – The 16 th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) gave global recognition to the Philippines on 16 December 2021 in its virtual session by inscribing the School of Living Traditions (SLT) in the UNESCO Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.

SLT is a flagship programme of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts dedicated to safeguard and support the continued practice and passing on to the younger members of the community the indigenous and folk traditions, skills, and knowledge – cultural heritage elements that are manifestations and expressions of the creativity and ingenuity of the Philippine cultural communities. It harnesses the communities’ own ‘cultural masters’ to teach and guide its young members using their own approaches.

There are a total of 28 SLTs being implemented across three major island clusters in the Philippines: In Luzon – Benguet, Ifugao, Abra, Mountain Province, Kalinga, Bulacan, Nueva Vizcaya, Quezon, Palawan, Rizal; in Visayas – Aklan, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bohol, Capiz, Antique, Guimaras; and in Mindanao – Agusan del Sur, South Cotabato, Davao Occidental, Basilan, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Bukidnon, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, and North Cotabato.

Members of the Philippine Delegation to the 16th session of the ICH Committee led by H.E. Junever M. Mahilum-West, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO (second row, left).

During the Session, Head of Delegation H.E. Junever M. Mahilum-West, Philippine Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, thanked the members of the ICH Committee, as well as the Evaluation Body, and welcomed the recognition of SLT in the UNESCO ICH Representative List of Good Safeguarding Practices. “SLT ensures that indigenous knowledge, practices and living traditions continue to be safeguarded and revitalized by encouraging apprenticeship of the younger generation”, she added.

NCCA Chairperson Arsenio J. Lizaso, through NCCA Deputy Executive Director Marichu Tellano, also extended his gratitude for the inscription of SLT. “This honor is a profound recognition of our cultural communities to share to all cultural communities in the world! Mabuhay and mga katutubong kultura sa buong mundo!”

SLT is the Philippines’ fifth element to be inscribed in the Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage, others namely: the Hudhud chants of the Ifugao, the Darangen epic of the Manarano people of Lake Lanao, the Tugging rituals and games, and the Buklog – thanksgiving ritual system of the Subanen.

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