Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

The UP Asian Center and the UP Center for International Studies (CIS) hosted the Cultural Heritage Lecture: Heritage Law Vital Signs and Symbols last 24 October 2023 at the GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium in celebration of the 23rd anniversary of the UP CIS.
The public lecture featured Atty. Nicolas “Nick” B. Pichay, an award-winning playwright, lawyer, and the current Director of the Senate Legislative Library Services at the Senate of the Philippines. Atty. Pichay participated in the crafting of R.A. No. 10066 or National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
In his lecture, Atty. Pichay discussed key themes on the nature of cultural heritage and the significance of law in cultural work. He delved into the challenges faced in preserving heritage, such as controversies surrounding the protection of historical sites and the emerging threats due to modernization. Atty. Pichay also drew attention to the effects of environmental changes like the disappearance of rice fields, which can disrupt the proliferation of cultural traditions. Likewise, he discussed the current legal framework that governs cultural heritage, outlining the basic laws and principles that serve as the foundation for its preservation, as well as notable Supreme Court cases that illustrate the complexity of the legal aspects of heritage preservation.
The audience actively engaged in the open forum and posed questions on various topics, including the protection of structures that may not have historical significance in the conventional sense, amendments to the heritage law impacting preservation efforts, the significance of safeguarding intangible cultural traditions in the Philippines, and the vital role of local legislation in heritage preservation. Atty. Pichay, Dr. Amparo Adelina Umali III of the UP CIS, and Dr. Matthew M. Santamaria of the UP Asian Center offered their valuable insights in addressing questions from the attendees. Their expertise and experience added depth to the conversation and to the overall impact of the lecture.
Participants included students from SEA 30 (Asian Emporiums: Networks of Culture & Trade in Southeast Asia) offered by the UP CIS, as well as students from other disciplines such as law, architecture, and engineering.


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    The Asian Center, University of the Philippines Diliman offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The UP Asian Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. It also offers a Ph.D. program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. As an area studies institution, the Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website.