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A useful guide to cultural mapping

NCCA publishes ‘Cultural Mapping Toolkit A Guide for Participatory Cultural Mapping in Local Communities.’ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NCCA

Ian Cook and Ken Taylor describe “cultural mapping” as a “term used to describe the set of activities and processes for exploring, discovering, documenting, examining, analyzing, interpreting, presenting and sharing information related to people, communities, societies, places and the materials products and practices associated with those people and places.”

Their 2013 book, A Contemporary Guide to Cultural Mapping: An ASEAN-Australia Perspective, published by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia, further notes that “a cultural map may be created as an end in itself or provide an input into another endeavor.”

It is perhaps in this spirit that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) publishes a cultural mapping guide in the local context.

The 246-page book, Cultural Mapping Toolkit: A Guide for Participatory Cultural Mapping in Local Communities, is authored by cultural experts and researchers Nestor O. Horfilla, Lutgardo Labad and Arvin Manuel Villalon. It is edited by historian Rolando Borrinaga.

The book “Cultural Mapping Toolkit” is authored by cultural experts and researchers Nestor O. Horfilla, Lutgardo Labad and Arvin Manuel Villalon.

The book “introduces some significant guidelines on the conduct of cultural mapping and profiling as well as its implications to institute a Heritage Management Program of a particular community” geared towards creating cultural properties lists and using the output in sustainable development projects.

It lays out the information needed and the tasks to be undertaken in the mapping of natural, cultural, movable and intangible heritages as well as civic heritage, cultural programs of local government units (LGU), and significant personalities and institutions.

The book also discusses the cultural mapping of Capiz in 2015, the first major cultural mapping project of the NCCA and has mapping samples and forms that would let LGU and mappers alike to easily understand and execute the process. It likewise explains a number of research methods in obtaining data such as ethnography, historical research and oral history.

The ethics on conducting cultural mapping activities are also applied, including obtaining consent from interviewees, proper behavior personal integrity and respect for local culture.

An important resource material for more participatory cultural mapping endeavors, Cultural Mapping Toolkit is a significant work in a field that is slowly but surely gaining traction in the country. The book should serve as a vital guide in the surveying and documentation of significant heritages in every nook and cranny of the country.


Sitel Academy provides students online training

Top global BPO offers educational modules through webinars, Facebook



21 mins ago


September 8, 2020 08:01 PM



The BPO skills development program offered for free for near-hires, far-hires, students, out-of-school youth and differently abled individuals. (Sitel image)

Sitel Group, a leading global business process outsourcing (BPO) company, reinforces its commitment to skills training and education by strengthening collaborative partnerships with universities, colleges and technical vocational institutions in the Philippines.

Through these partnerships, Sitel provides a variety of informative online classes to students via webinars and Facebook.

“As we continue to adjust to the current situation brought on by the pandemic, it has become vital for our programs to be more targeted and deliberate,” shared Fatima Tigas, Senior Manager of Sitel Academy. “We quickly transitioned to online learning and through Sitel’s University and Community Partnership program, engaged our educational partners to help bring these classes to their students.”

Sitel Academy is a pioneering BPO skills development program offered for free for near-hires, far-hires, students, out-of-school youth and differently abled individuals. The program has partnered with universities and colleges in Metro Manila and various provincial locations where Sitel operates. Partner schools include Polytechnic University of the Philippines, ABE International Business College, Cainta Catholic College, STI, Tarlac State University, Palawan State University, Western Palawan University and MFI Polytechnic Institute, Inc. to name a few.

The modules designed by Sitel are created to bolster existing school programs and prepare students for work after graduation.

“Before the pandemic, we had already been working closely with the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) to deploy the Service Management Program to schools in Palawan to help bridge the gap between what students learn in school and the additional skills they will need to succeed in the workplace,” explained Tigas. “The quarantine may have put this project on hold, but we have continued to pursue providing modules for these essential skills through online webinars and Facebook live events that are designed to give students proper guidance and expose them to actual work environments giving them the leg up they need to be competitive in the workforce.”

Sitel Academy launched its first webinar on 1 May 2020, Labor Day, and discussed what it was like to work with Sitel and the customer experience industry.

This was followed by a webinar called “Destination New” giving students an overview of the BPO, hospitality, and management industries.

“The Web is Your Classroom” module delving into the online shift of education came next and had over 3,000 active participants. Modules on language skills, effective communication, and proper pronunciation followed.

For the City High School in Palawan, Sitel additionally launched the “Salamat sa K-12, Handa na Ako!” program for graduating senior high school students interested in the BPO industry. The class had over 80 participants who underwent training for a week. The program experienced a 100 percent pass rate and students who completed it and wanted to work were lined up for opportunities within the company.

“We’re thrilled at the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received so far,” Tigas said. “For Sitel Academy, our goal is not just to teach skills but also to create lifelong learners. The feedback we’ve received from students who have attended the webinars is that they want to attend more and learn more. Our partner institutions have also expressed their interest in creating even more learning programs together in the future.


Mulan movie boycott calls grow over scenes filmed in Xinjiang

Agence France-Presse


4 hours ago


September 8, 2020 04:30 PM

Disney’s “Mulan” remake is facing fresh boycott calls after it emerged some of the blockbuster’s scenes were filmed in China’s Xinjiang, where widespread rights abuses against the region’s Muslim population have been widely documented.

The lavish $200 million film about a legendary female Chinese warrior was already tangled in political controversy after star Liu Yifei voiced support for Hong Kong’s police as they cracked down on democracy protests last year.

But the latest furor exploded as soon as the credits stopped rolling after the movie began showing on the Disney+ channel last week.

Viewers spotted that Disney included “special thanks” to eight government entities in Xinjiang — including the public security bureau in Turpan, a city in eastern Xinjiang where multiple internment camps have been documented.

Another entity thanked was the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department in Xinjiang.

The revelation has sparked renewed anger at a time of heightened scrutiny over Hollywood’s willingness to bow to authoritarian China.

Rights groups, academics, and journalists have exposed a harsh crackdown against Uighur and Kazakh Muslims in Xinjiang, including mass internments, enforced sterilizations, forced labor as well as intense religious and movement restrictions.

Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society, said the film was now “arguably Disney’s most problematic movie” since “Song of the South” — a 1946 glorification of antebellum plantation life that the company has since pulled.

“It’s sufficiently astonishing that it bears repeating,” he wrote in a Washington Post column.

“Disney has thanked four propaganda departments and a public security bureau in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China that is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights abuses happening today.”

Badiucao, a dissident Chinese artist living in Melbourne, said he was currently working on a new cartoon portraying Mulan as a guard at one of the internment camps in Xinjiang to satirize Disney’s new film.

“It’s very problematic and there’s no excuse. I mean, it’s clear, we have all the evidence showing what is going on in Xinjiang,” he told AFP.

Coronavirus victim

Baduicao accused Disney of “double standards”, embracing western social justice movements such as MeToo and Black Lives Matter, while turning a blind eye to China’s rights abuses.

The live-action remake of Disney’s 1998 animation classic, “Mulan” has had a troubled release.

It was meant to hit global theatres in March but became an early victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, Disney rocked the industry — and its own cast — by announcing the film would in streamed into living rooms in many markets, including the United States, which it started Friday.

Hollywood has been increasingly accused of hypocrisy over its relationship with authoritarian China.

In August the anti-censorship group Pen America published a report which said screenwriters, producers, and directors often change scripts, delete scenes and alter content to avoid offending Chinese censors.

The actions include everything from deleting the Taiwanese flag from Tom Cruise’s bomber jacket in the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick,” to removing China as the source of a zombie virus in 2013’s “World War Z.”

But it also means completely avoiding sensitive issues including Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong politics, Xinjiang, and the portrayal of LGBTQ characters, the report said.

AFP contacted Disney for comment but has yet to hear back on the Labor Day holiday.

Xinjiang is a resource-rich region home to mostly Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs and boasts spectacular desert and mountain backdrops.

After sectarian unrest and attacks by Uighur militants, Beijing blanketed the region in a draconian security crackdown, building dozens of huge internment camps.

Initially, China denied the camps existed before switching to describing them as voluntary re-education centers.

Even before the latest Xinjiang controversy the hashtag #BoycottMulan has been trending in recent weeks Hong Kong, Thailand, and Taiwan.

Activists in all three places have launched multiple online campaigns critical of China’s authoritarianism.

Dubbed the “Milk Tea Alliance” — named after a shared love of the drink — they seized on social media comments made last year by actress Liu supporting Hong Kong’s police.

They have also noted the resemblance of actor Tzi Ma, who plays Mulan’s heroic father, to China’s leader Xi Jinping.

After her arrest last month under Beijing’s new security law, young Hong Kong dissident Agnes Chow was dubbed “the real Mulan” by supporters.


Traditional games on special stamps



19 hours ago


September 8, 2020 01:10 AM



The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) launched the “Larong Atin! Traditional Games” special stamps to promote Philippine heritage and culture.

The Larong Atin! se-tenant block of four stamps features bato-bato-pik/jack-en-poy (rock-paper-scissors), bahay-bahayan (playing house), luksong-tinik (thorn hurdles) and trumpo (spinning top). The souvenir sheet for Larong Atin! shows jolen (marbles), piko (hopscotch), tumbang preso (knock down the prisoner) and saranggola (kite). These Philippine traditional games sharpen problem-solving skills, promote teamwork and healthy competition, and encourage activities for youth from all walks of life. Each game has a story to tell about our values and traditions. More importantly, “these traditional Filipino indoor and outdoor activities promote physical well-being and strengthen family ties in preparation for the ‘new normal,’” PHLPost said.

“Parents and kids can stay active at home playing their all-time Pinoy favorites like bahay-bahayan and bato-bato-pik while ensuring a safer environment during this pandemic. We also share the advocacy of preserving Filipino heritage in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. (FHFI),” Postmaster General Joel Otarra said.

Philippine traditional games can be considered living intangible heritage, the preservation of which is supported by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Also called laro ng lahi, these games are recreational activities that introduce children to Filipino values such as pakikipagtulungan (helpfulness), pakikiisa (cooperation) and pakikisama (getting along well with people).

PHLPost has printed a total of 100,000 copies of the four different designs of the stamps sold for P12, P14, P15 and P17 each. A special 5,000 pieces of the limited collector souvenir sheet stamps were also printed to be sold at P100 each. The stamps were designed by in-house graphic artists Rodine C. Teodoro and Eunice Beatrix U. Dabu in coordination with Judith Neric of FHFI.

Stamps, souvenir sheets, and official first day covers are now available at the Philatelic Counter, Manila Central Post Office; all Mega Manila Post Offices; Postal Area 2, San Fernando, La Union; Postal Area 4, San Pablo; Postal Area 5, Mandaue; Postal Area 6, Iloilo; Postal Area 7, Davao; and Postal Area 8, Cagayan de Oro. Stamp collectors will have the option to purchase the stamps by ordering online ( or through telephone (8527-0132/852-70108). Specially designated postmen or “wheel riders” will deliver these stamps and collect payments through cash-on-delivery, a convenient method of payment upon receipt of items.


Filipino mother publishes sci-fi adventure novel



19 hours ago


September 8, 2020 01:00 AM



58 Minutes in Driftland, a new sci-fi adventure novel written by Filipino writer I.S.A. Crisostomo-Lopez is now available on Kindle books via

The book is about Alunsinag “Al” Bayani, a 17-year-old Filipino immigrant in the United States trying to find his place in the world. His mother is a nurse working at a community hospital in Los Angeles, while his father is a travel writer documenting endangered plants or animals.

Al, along with his two best friends, Ming Ju-long, a Chinese immigrant from Hong Kong, and Tej Ondrej, an Indian immigrant from Bangalore, encounter an alternative world where childhood dreams and nightmares exist. The adventure begins when Alunsinag accidentally steps into Driftland and discovers he can switch places with his alternate, more efficient self for 58 minutes. The switch opens doors to discovering one’s strengths and regaining confidence in one’s abilities.

An allegory on a person’s journey to self-realization, 58 Minutes in Driftland is also a coming-of-age story which explores current issues involving young people today like belongingness and discrimination, standing up to bullies, discovering one’s potential and falling in love.

The book’s author is a stay-at-home mother. She composes story ideas in her mind while doing the laundry or mopping the floors. She is based in Biñan City, Laguna with her husband, four children and two dogs.

58 Minutes in Driftland is available in digital and paperback editions.


Project proposals for arts grants now accepted



19 hours ago


September 8, 2020 01:00 AM



Grants program aims to develop Philippine arts and culture. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NCCA

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is now accepting proposals for projects to be implemented in 2021 under its Competitive Grants Program. Deadline of submission is 30 September.

One of NCCA’s main functions is “to give grants to artists and cultural groups which contribute significantly to the Filipino’s cultural legacy as means to extend artistic achievement,” according to Section 12.a.4 of Republic Act 7356. It administers the National Endowment Fund for Culture and the Arts for the development, protection, preservation and dissemination of Philippine culture and arts.

The NCCA Competitive Grants Program is anchored on its vision — “A Filipino people with a strong sense of nationhood and deep respect for cultural diversity” — and is aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, particularly Chapter 7 on Culture: Promoting Philippine Culture and Values towards Bayanihan.

Proponents must be Filipino citizens based in the Philippines, local government units, state universities and colleges, public schools, indigenous peoples’ organizations, peoples’ organizations, government agencies and civil society organizations.

NCCA is now accepting arts and culture project proposal.


Project proposals will pass through a rigorous and confidential evaluation process, and will be judged based on merits such as quality and relevance to the Commission priorities. Approved projects are entitled to funding subject to applicable government accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

Interested organizations or individuals may submit only one project proposal. They must be accredited by the Commission as a prerequisite to the approval of their project proposal. Previous grantees must settle and complete all pending projects from 2019 and previous years, including the liquidation of such to be able to avail of 2021 grants.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all proposals must demonstrate adherence to minimum public health standards.

The proponent must fully accomplish the prescribed NCCA Project Proposal Form and indicate and identify the project’s category. They must also submit the documentary requirements.

All project proposals should be addressed and submitted to Policy/Plan Formulation and Programming Division, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Room 5-C, Fifth Floor, NCCA Building, 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila. For more information, call tel. no. 8527-2192 local 509; fax to 8527-2198, 8527-2209 or 8527-2194; or email to [email protected].

Projects must be implemented in 2021.



Russia offers scholarships to Filipino students



2 days ago


September 6, 2020 01:34 PM



Moscow, Russia.

The Russian government is inviting Filipino students and graduates to avail of its scholarship grants to its many universities.

This was revealed during the committee meeting of the Committee on People Participation chaired by Rep. Florida Robes of the lone district of San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

Robes said she called for the meeting to enable her colleagues in the House of Representatives to get hold of information on the scholarship grants being offered by the Russian government to Filipino students and graduates.

Denis Karenin, Second Secretary of the Russian Embassy in the Philippines, during the meeting held over the weekend, told the committee that the Russian government has been allotting scholarship slots for Filipinos every year but a small number had so far availed of the same.

Karenin said the Russian government gives scholarships to any field of study for both undergraduate and post-graduate courses. He added that application forms are available online in their embassy website.

Some of the courses available are in nuclear physics, agriculture, medicine, energy, railway management, among others.

“But students may choose any field of specialization in any university,” Karenin said.

He said the Russian government will provide free tuition and accommodation. The airfare, however, is not included and will have to be shouldered by the student.

Karenin also stated that local government units may also submit applications in behalf of their student-constituents for better coordination and facilitation.

Robes said she facilitated the submission of applications of some students from her district who have expressed their interest in availing of the scholarship in Russia.

“We are very fortunate that this kind of opportunity is being offered to us. This is the kind of partnership that we need in order to give our young students valuable education in their fields of interest,” Robes said.

p: wjg


Ethel Timbol writes 30



2 days ago


September 6, 2020 01:29 PM



Ethel Timbol, a former lifestyle editor of Manila Bulletin, passed away on Sunday morning at age 80, her daughter Bebeth said.

In a post by her former paper, Timbol was said to be in a hospital for pneumonia when she died in her sleep at dawn.

Timbol first covered the police beat starting in 1960 before transitioning to lifestyle in 1976 until her retirement in 2007.


Out of ‘Putik,’ BioPlastik



3 days ago


September 6, 2020 01:00 AM



Young Filipina fashion designer Erika Mae Ng highlights the beauty of Philippine landscapes — and the agricultural problems that go with it — in her sustainable collection as the lone Philippine representative to the prestigious Global Design Graduate Show 2020. This is an international competition that recognizes the journey of graduating art and design students from around the world.

The first-ever online edition of the event is hosted by i-D, a fashion and contemporary culture glossy magazine; and ARTSTHREAD, the leading digital platform and creative launchpad that represents over 300,000 students from around 850 design schools in approximately 100 countries.

Out of 4,482 submissions from different art disciplines, Putik, the graduation collection of the Fashion Design and Merchandising Program student from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, is among the shortlisted entries in the Fashion, Accessories and Textiles Category. This is in collaboration with luxury brand Gucci.

Putik aims to utilize the beauty of fashion to raise awareness on the current environmental problems of the country such as soil erosion caused by plastic and waste pollution.

With Filipino identity, ingenuity and craftsmanship in mind, Ng incorporated traditional hand embroidery techniques to represent the aerial view of Philippine agriculture and rice paddies with innovative yarn embroidery and sewing practices.

The collection likewise explores various handmade fabric manipulations such as beading and braiding with the use of the designer’s own BioPlastik made from natural raw materials such as water, glycerol and gelatin.

“My end goal is to create a new plastic material for a sustainable future, thus, BioPlastik,” Ng said. “Unlike mass-produced plastics, bioplastics help reduce the use of fossil fuels, which promotes sustainability as well as feedstock diversification.”

Ng decided to use her platform to tackle the environmental problems behind the glamorous fashion industry.

“BioPlastik aims to meet the challenges of the local fashion industry by developing innovative solutions for materials, which meets commercial success while still promoting social, ecological and cultural development,” she noted. “If we merely appreciate the surface without learning and understanding what goes on behind the scenes, then I don’t think we can fully come to be grateful for the beauty of things in life.”

Voting for Global Design Graduate Show 2020 is open until Monday, 14 September 2020.


Baking to keep busy—and earn a living

Care Balleras


3 days ago


September 6, 2020 01:00 AM

Pacaña experiments with trends like the ube-cheese pandesal to put them in cookie form. PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID JOHN CUBANGBANG FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

One of the good outcomes of the pandemic is that people turned to livelihoods that were once hobbies. Who would have thought that our aspirations for work promotion in the next few years would suddenly pivot into home-based businesses?

Transformations have characterized life under quarantine. Sofia Monica Magallanes-Pacaña recalls how baking became a source of income and allowed her to overcome internal battles and fulfill her advocacies.

Daily Tribune (DT): How have you been during the quarantine? What are you doing these days?

Sofia Monica Magallanes-Pacaña (SP): Quarantine was okay. It gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my family. But on other hand, I was also looking for something to do. These days, I enjoy taking care of plants, walking my dogs and, of course, baking.

Sofia Pacaña overcomes internal battles by baking.


DT: They say that baking is good for mental health. Is this true for you?

SP: This is true. There was a time when I felt like I was stuck in a routine of waking up, eating, checking the news and then sleeping and doing it again the next day. I felt like I was very unproductive. When I started baking, I became busy with research, looking for inspiration, experimenting with things, and this really took up my time. I started selling in our village, as well as on Instagram, and I felt so fulfilled every time I looked at the finished product.

DT: Apart from baking, what else makes you feel good?

SP: Planting. Our room is filled with plants. I also enjoy embroidery and painting.

DT: Were you really into baking before going into business? Are there family members or friends who inspired you to pursue baking?

SP: I wasn’t really into baking. I was more into the crafts (repurposing woodwork and furniture, painting, soap making). It was easy to get baked goods pre-quarantine, so I didn’t really think of baking. Although I would join bazaars or fairs when I was in school and bake here and there when I was working at the office, it wasn’t something that I did regularly. I dreamt of having my own café since I was a kid, and I was about to go into it and set up this year, but COVID-19 happened.

Initially I was thinking how to earn extra (money) during the quarantine. My mother-in-law told me to join the village food Facebook page… My mom encouraged me to try baking to keep me busy. I saw that there were many talented cooks and bakers in our village and I wanted to contribute something.

I also thought it would be nice to have a proper menu for myw café, if I decide to set it up one day.

DT: What really made you try baking for a living? Why did you name your business 2020 Village?

SP: I saw the need to have access to food inside the village. It was hard to get food from outside. I saw that there was a need to support the community as well. I also purchased from sellers. I felt like I was in a safe space to try out something new.

Sofia in an interview with Komfie Manalo for TribuneNOW’s ‘Kalingang Katribu.’


I was also thinking about a way to give back. I set aside P20 from each product as a donation fund. If there is someone in need, I take from the box and give what I can. As you grow, you also need to help others grow.

The reason I called it 2

WHITE and dark chocolate chip cookie.

020 Village is because it was set up this year, 2020, in our village. My logo has the Dove holding a leaf like the one in the great flood which was God’s symbol of Hope. When I started this business, I wanted it to be a reminder for me in the future. When I see the logo and name, I will be reminded of the Pandemic (like the Great Flood) and how God gave me the opportunity to start something. I plan to set up a café that gives back to society.

DT: Since home-based baking businesses have emerged, what do you think is your edge? What is special about your products?

SP: More than the products, I’m proud of what I stand for. I want to be able to help people in the long run. In terms of products, I try to come up with other versions of trendy products. People were coming up with ube-cheese pandesal, so I started experimenting on how to put it in cookie form (ube-cheese crinkle). I also wanted to try to combine a crème brulee and cheese tart. I try to mix things up. I also do not overprice. After computing costs, I do market study and check how much these products are selling. It is important to be fair in pricing.

Sofia dreams of building her own café soon.


DT: How do you cope with demand, given that you are almost a one-man team?

SP: Actually, I am a one-woman team at the moment. I get some help from my cousin and my husband when the orders are overwhelming. I prepare some ingredients in advanced.

DT: When the pandemic eases, do you still see your business thriving?

SP: I plan to set up my dream café to carry my products, so I see it thriving.

DT: Do you also dream of putting up a physical shop?

SP: Yes! Super excited to set up a physical shop. I have the layout and theme all planned out. This has been my dream for so long.

DT: What’s your advice to people who have second thoughts of putting up a homebased business?

SP: When I was younger, during one of our travels, I was staring at a fountain with lights at the bottom, and I wanted to touch the water but was afraid I might get electrocuted. A stranger sat beside me and whispered, “If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” This has been my motto. The most important thing is to pray. God’s guidance is always the best guidance.

Credit belongs to :


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