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Mayor Ronald Guaren of Oslob is to be congratulated after the town entered the record books as the first in Cebu (and maybe in the entire country?) to have put up official historical markers in two of its many cultural and natural heritage resources, namely: the Oslob Cuartel and the Baluarte or watchtower, structures that form part of the Oslob Heritage Park. I understand that the unveiling of the markers, made of wood and fiberplast, also coincided with the unveiling of the planned Oslob Museum.

I missed yesterday’s unveiling by Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia because I was in a meeting with the heritage council members of 22 southern towns. We were all in the Capitol to finally put into a guidebook the Southern Heritage Trail, one of the clusters under the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo program of the governor, which has brought tourism to the countryside. We were also there to finalize the nominations for the provincial heritage registry markers that will be submitted to the governor and the Provincial Board for their approval.

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It may be good to recall that in 2008, the Provincial Board created a mechanism to register and mark the remaining natural and cultural heritage resources of Cebu in order to protect and preserve them. The marking will begin in August during the celebrations for the 442nd anniversary of the province.

It is also important to note that the other day, the governor met with representatives of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) in the province’s desire to protect and preserve American-era school buildings called Gabaldon Schools, which were designed by the American architect William E. Parsons. A preliminary meeting was in fact attended by Architect Veronica Dado of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly National Historical Institute) in Manila who brought along the national guidelines for the restoration of these schools. (She e-mailed me a copy of the guidelines and those who wish to ask for it, may simply send me an e-mail message.)

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Things are moving fast in the tourism front also as the different towns and cities under the jurisdiction of the province have already been clustered after attending a seminar on the packaging of tourism destinations last March 30 and again a week later. No longer will local government units be just silent partners in the tourism business largely dominated by the private sector, they too will now promote their own destinations and synergize with adjacent towns to provide visitors with different kinds of tourist experiences. After all, I am sure the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo phenomenon has taught them a lot of lessons in terms of preparing for visitor arrivals and providing the necessary facilities.

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My heartfelt condolences to the family of the late Vice-Gov. Greg Sanchez who passed away last Friday at the age of 68. I never had the chance to know the vice governor personally but I have friends who knew him and were quite close to him especially in Tuburan. I am sure he will be sorely missed.

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TAGS: Culture (general), history, Monuments & Heritage Sites
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