The Philippine National Historical Society (PNHS), the oldest professional organization of historians and practitioners of history in the Philippines, held the 40th edition of the National Conference on Local and National History at the National Museum of Fine Arts Auditorium, National Museum of the Philippines, last October 24 to 26, 2019.

Co-sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts – Committee on Historical Research (NCCA-CHR), the National Museum of the Philippines, and the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC), the conference’s theme was “History, Culture, Heritage” with the aim of looking at neglected areas of historical research and provide vibrant exchanges from interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspectives.

Scholars presented studies and methodologies on tangible and intangible cultural heritage reflecting the complex history of the Philippines, using indigenous knowledge systems/practices and documentary heritage that gave coherence to the “collective destinies and splendid variety” of Philippine history and culture.

Participants queue on the registration table for their conference kits.

The speakers were food historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria – Food Literacy in Adult Education of the Philippine Commonwealth, 1937-1946); Ligaya S.P. Lacsina (National Museum of the Philippines) – “Southeast Asian Boat Construction in the Philippines at the End of the First Millennium: The Butuan Boats”; Allan S. Alvarez (National Museum of the Philippines ) – “Hibla ng Lahing Pilipino: A Peek on the Socio-Cultural Identity of the Filipino People”; Anthony D. Medrano (Yale-NUS College, Singapore) – “History from Below: The Economic Life of Philippine Pearls, 1870-1940”; Jomar G. Encila (Office of Historical Research, Taguig City) – “Reviving and Promoting a Town’s Local History Through Kwentong Bayan: The Experience of Taguig City”; Jose S. Buenconsejo (University of the Philippines Diliman) – “Filipino Heritage in the Popular: Examples from Villame’s Rhyming Songs to Max Surban’s “Kuradang”; George Emmanuel R. Borrinaga ( University of San Carlos, Ceu City) – “Jose Rizal in the Emotional Landscape of the 20th Century Samar and Leyte”; Maria Nela B. Florendo (University of the Philippines Baguio) – “Displaying Indigenous Filipinos: Historiographies of the 1904 St. Louis Fair and Beyond”; Jely A. Galang (University of the Philippines Diliman) – “Chinese Vagrants and Social Outcasts in the Nineteenth-Century Philippines”; Eri Kitada (Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA) – “Gendering a Japanese Pioneer Narrative of “Savagery: Violence Committed by Indigenous Peoples towards Japanese Settlers in Davao, 1918-1938”; Munap H. Hairulla (MSU-IIT Iigan) – “A Glimpse of Ilmu’Pagkausug in the Jawi Materials of Sulu”; Rolando O. Borrinaga (UP Manila at Palo, Leyte) – “Tandaya or Kandaya Puzzle: The Confusion Clarified and the Historical Site Located”; Marya Svetlana T. Camacho (University of Asia and the Pacific) – “Tagalog and Kapampangan Marriage Customs in the Spanish Colonial Legal Regime (17th-18th c.”; Nicholas Michael Chow Sy (University of the Philippines Diliman) – “Demographic Constraints to Parental Choice over Marriage Partners in Nineteenth Century San Pablo, Laguna”; Regalado Trota José (Archivo de la Universidad de Santo Tomas) – “Jean Paul G. Potet and His Work on the Philippines – Tribute to French Filipinist, Poet, and Author”; and Galileo S. Zafra (University of the Philippines Diliman), Vim Nadera (University of the Philippines Diliman); Michael M. Coroza (Ateneo de Manila University) – “Balagtasan: Kasaysayan at Transpormasyon ng Isang Anyo ng Pangangawitran.”

One of the Q&A sessions during the conference.

The Journal of History 2019 was also launched at the conference.

During the conference, prominent historian Samuel K. Tan, former Chair of the Department of History of the University of the Philippines – Diliman and Chairman of the then National Historical Institute (National Historical Commission of the Philippines), was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for History.

Tan’s “writings have long nurtured not only a spatial perspective and cultural sensibility reflective of his familial roots deeply sown in Siasi, but have also pioneered and sustained a new way of seeing and sensing the Muslim South as an integral part of the national narrative in modern Philippine history,” noted PNHS President Bernardita R. Churchill.

The author of more than 20 books on Philippine history, most from his native Sulu and Mindanao history, Tan “deserves due appreciation and recognition for a lifetime commitment to modern Philippine history, profoundly shaping the field as a scholar, mentor, and institutional leader.”

Two Metrobank Foundation 2019 Awardees for Outstanding Teachers and Outstanding Filipinos – Cristina R. Cristobal (Philippine Science High School, Main Campus, Quezon City) and Ricardo T. Jose (Department of History, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of the Philippines Diliman), were also recognized and honored.

A Photo and Art Exhibit of rare vintage photographs of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th Century (BRC Collection) on the theme of “Center and Periphery” was displayed during the conference. The exhibit was a fusion of history in photographs and art featuring the “spontaneous realism paintings” of artist Celeste Lecaroz.

Guided Tours of the three National Museum Buildings – National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Museum of Anthropology were scheduled for October 26.