Wednesday, May 25, 2016

SINoP celebrates Philippine National Heritage Month with a trip down memory lane

MANILA, Philippines—As part of its objective to promote continuing education and foster camaraderie among its members, the Society of IRRI Non-Research Professionals (SINoP) organized a heritage tour in celebration of Philippine National Heritage Month on 22 May.

The one-day activity started with a tour of the Intramuros Light and Sound Museum  in the city of Intramuros, the oldest district and historic core of Manila. Through the museum's visual display, sound effects, and animatronics, SINOP members were transported back in time from the precolonial period to the Spanish era and the martyrdom of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.  Afterwards, the group walked the streets of Intramuros and visited Casa Manila for a glimpse of how the residents of the walled city lived during Spanish times.

The group then proceeded to the nearby Binondo District, the world’s oldest Chinatown. Binondo was established by the Spaniards in the 1594 for Chinese Catholics. Apart from its historical significance, Binondo is a thriving commercial and cultural center that SINOP members experienced through the countless food stalls and restaurants offering classic Chinese cuisine and the busy street market scene.

From Chinatown, the historical tour headed to the Fine Arts Gallery of the Philippine National Museum where SINOP members learned more about history through the artworks of the masters. Of course, a trip to the museum will not be complete without visiting the IRRI Hall that features the institute’s Manansala murals and studies, The murals, on loan to the museum, were declared as National Cultural Treasures, the highest recognition for works of art that play a significant role in defining the identity of the Filipino people.

The final destination of the heritage tour was Rizal Park and the memorial of the Philippine national hero. Formerly called the Luneta National Park, Rizal Park is one of the largest urban parks in Asia. It is the site of Dr. Rizal’s execution in 1986, the declaration of the Philippine Independence from the United States in 1946, and the Quirino Grandstand where Philippine presidents take their oath of office.

Overall, the heritage tour gave SINoP members a better understanding of the present because of the new things they learned about the country’s past.

(This news item was written by Betty Sarah Carreon, IRRI.)

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