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Friday, June 17, 2011

Historical and Cultural Tourism: A youth's perspective

Friday, June 17, 2011 Posted by vernon go , , , , , , , ,

Recently, I got a heads up that the Write-up (About Culture and Heritage) I submitted to a NGO-Magazine was published! Wohoo! It was about the recent Gabii Sa Kabilin 2011, and it is in the Gabii sa Kabilin Magazine!

Please see below for the article:

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At 23, with roots that can be traced to my Filipino, Chinese and Spanish ancestors, I am only recently becoming more conscious about reconnecting with my Heritage. I had several exposures related to culture and heritage, such as, memorizing important dates in high school, random seminars in college, and then experiencing the 2010 Gabii sa Kabilin. By then, I was – and still am – an industrial engineer, blogger, volunteer and entrepreneur.

Culture and heritage related activities prompted me to seek help from my parents and elders whose tales are not enough to satisfy my thirst for knowledge. And what I learned in school is more on national history rather than Cebu’s past. I thought then, “What about the the local history that is just right outside our backyard?”

The Gabii sa Kabilin 2010 ignited a fire inside me – something unexplainable that continues to burn till now. Visiting nine museums in one night is really not enough since there is so much information to absorb. The good thing, though, is that it challenged one to ponder. For me, it made me reflect about our rich local culture; heritage, traditions, and how most probably every other youth must have had the same feeling as I did but did not realized it – this feeling of being “Disconnected”.

This feeling became more pronounced last year each time I interact with people from different cultures, such as Belgians, Dutch, Russians, British, Americans, Australians, French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thais, and Malaysians. From these short interactions, I found it amazing how they found so much connection to 600, 1,000 and 2,000-year old pieces of cultural traditions and historical facts and be able to apply its significance to their lives today.

“Weird” and “old” are probably the words most young people today use to describe a person who thirsts for books and knowledge about the past. We would rather go chat about fashion, tends, technology, and current events than go to a museum and discover our identity and significance.

Amid pessimism and dreams of leaving abroad to search for greener pastures among some or many of us, I find ways to kindle in me a deeper desire to reconnect with our past. From my short experience through the Gabii sa Kabilin, I have come to believe that museums can be a cure for our “amnesia” about our culture and heritage.

“The destiny of any nation depends on the opinions of its citizens under twenty-five.”
- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Neglecting the necessary training of our youth would not only condemn us, but the whole future of our nation. And perhaps we need more of Cultural Tourism for preparation of our future generation.

All these thoughts and more came about after joining a simple, unique event like the Gabii sa Kabilin. Hopefully this year, more young people will join, enjoy and ponder about where we came from, where we are today and probably what can we do about it.

Let me leave you with something to ponder on as well. These words were written more than a hundred years ago by our national hero but the irony is, these words still hold true today:

“Where are the youth who will consecrate their budding years, their idealism and enthusiasm to the welfare of their country? Where are the youth who will generously pour out their blood to wash away so much shame, so much crime, so much abomination? Pure and spotless must the victim be, that the sacrifice may be acceptable.
We await you, O youth! Come, for we await you!”
-El Filibusterismo, Jose Rizal

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This is taken and published in page 23, RAFI's Gabii sa Kabilin 2011 Magazine! (Special Thanks to RAFI Communications Department!)
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