Bohol Province in the Philippines celebrated the 156th Foundation Day of the province on 22 July, and invited the Director Jakarta office, Hubert Gijzen, to participate in a series of cultural and tourism promotion events in the Province.
The events coincided with the Bohol Sandugo Festival, an annual celebration in the city of Tagbilaran in commemoration of the blood compact between Spanish Conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the native chief Datu Sikatuna. The province also was nominated ASEAN Cultural Capital for the Month of July. The series of cultural events were further complemented by the official launching of the UNESCO Dia del Galeon (Galleon Day), which commemorates the Galleon trade between the Philippines and Mexico, starting in 1565 and which continued for a period of 250 years. The Manila-Acapulco galleons linked Asia with the Americas, Europe and also with Africa, and served not only as carriers of trade, but also as transmitters of cultures. In light of the declaration of the year 2010 as the “International year for the Rapprochement of Cultures”, which highlights the important links amongst and the diversity of cultures, it is fitting to commemorate the beginnings of world trade and cross-cultural contacts as long as 450 years ago.
The celebrations of the Bohol Foundation Day were hosted by the Governor of Bohol, Hon. Edgar M Chatto, with participation of the Minister of Tourism, H.E. Alberto Lim, the under-Secretary of Education, Dr. Vilma Labrador, the Commissioner for Culture, Ms Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, and many other officials. During the celebrations the Governor symbolically handed over the key of the Province to the Director of UNESCO Jakarta Office, and invited him also to deliver a special message on the occasion of this commemorative programme.
The Minister and the Governor presented their vision and strategy for
tourism development, which was clearly built on the rich ecological and
cultural heritage of the province. In the evening the Abatan River
development Management Council showcased the “Teatro Abatan”,
an open air theatre on the river at the Cortes Pavillion, with a floating
stage in the river and the audience on the docking area. A spectacular
theatre show demonstrated the wealth of local talent and intangible
cultural heritage of the province, and managed to present a unique
linkage between the natural and ecological resources and diversity, the
people and communities, and the cultural diversity of the wider
In his final comments, Hubert Gijzen commended the Governor and his team for their vision and strategy and praised the communities for their talent and dedication in mobilizing their cultural and natural resources for sustained socio-economic development and attainment of the local MDGs.