Time Travelling has moved to a new home…

Hello readers,

After a month long deliberation, I decided to move time travelling to a new home, anthropology corner. The decision to move was spurred by a friend who helped defray the costs for building my own blog site. While the move is cumbersome, considering I have invested more than a year of effort for time travelling, I see this change as an opportunity to learn new skills–especially in website management. Of course, I do not know anything as of yet–errrr…. what’s a plug-in?–but I know I’ll get there once I get settled in my new home.

anthropology corner will still be discussing about anthropology, travel, primates, and personal stories about Puerto Rico and the Philippines. I wish you’ll follow me there too. For starters, here is the first post of anthropology corner about the Arecibo petroglyphs.



Click here to visit anthropology corner




Wilfredo Ronquillo on the Development of Philippine Archaeology (2001)

I came across an article by Wilfredo Ronquillo, National Scientist of the Philippines awardee, about the development of archaeology in the country. Although the article is rather dated, it is very instructive in locating the major theoretical trends and important personages in the growth of Philippine archaeology. Since the publication of this article (2001), major advances have been made in understanding the Paleolithic scene of the country. This is best exemplified by Armando Mijares’ report of a 67,000 year old human remains in Callao Cave in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan. The future of Philippine archaeology is bright.

SOURCE: Ronquillo, Wilfredo. 2001. Philippines in Encyclopedia of Archaeology: History and Discoveries. (ed.) Murray, Tim.  Tim Murray: Santa Barbara, California.

The Philippines, lying at the eastern margin of mainland Asia, has been a crossroad for the movements of peoples and ideas from the mainland to the Pacific islands since prehistoric times. Manila likewise has been the key entrepôt of maritime trade and commerce, notably during the almost 250 years (from 1564 to 1815) when the Manila galleons sailed the Pacific Ocean between Manila and Mexico.

Philippine archaeological resources, both on land and under water, are abundant and phenomenal. Archaeological sites range from the earliest indirect evidence for the presence of man in Cagayan Valley, northern Luzon, during the Middle Pleistocene to sixteenth-century dugout wooden coffin burials in northeastern Mindanao. Recent archaeological finds in the country also indicate the existence of complex societies in the northern, central, and southern Philippines, the latter dating as early as the ninth century A.D.

Important archaeological discoveries also include a flotilla of plank-built and edge-pegged wooden boats found in a waterlogged environment that range in date from the fourth to the thirteenth centuries a.d. Throughout Southeast Asia and, indeed, the world at this time, only in the Philippines are such prehistoric boats known to exist.

The history of archaeology in the Philippines elucidates the rich and varied archaeological wealth of the country, as well as the pivotal roles that pioneering individuals played in the evolution, history, and growth of archaeology in the country.

For convenience, this updated history is presented in periods that parallel the political administrations of the archipelago from the sixteenth century to the present: the Spanish Period (1521-1898); the American Period (1898-1946); the post-World War II era and the 1950s; the l960s; the 1970s; the 1980s; and the 1990s to the present. Space limitations allow the inclusion of only the most important archaeological discoveries since the 1960s.

The Spanish Period (1521-1898)

Although Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines on March 16, 1521, Spanish colonization of the archipelago did not begin in earnest until 1565. The Spanish explorers and colonizers noted the variety of Philippine cultures and languages. The early Spanish chroniclers of Philippine society and culture were generally members of religious orders; they primarily wrote ethnographic reports intended for Spain’s ruling monarch or their own religious superiors.

The early Spanish writings were mostly descriptive in character, depicting, in varying details, the physical appearances and lifeways of the Filipinos as observed by the writers. At a later time a great deal of linguistic studies were conducted and subsequently published together with the ethnographic reports.

Several chroniclers reported on archaeological discoveries, including Antonio de Morga, the vice-governor general of the Philippines in the seventeenth century who, in his Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, noted ancient artifacts found by farmers in Luzon.

The only recorded important archaeological reconnaisance undertaken in the archipelago during the Spanish period was conducted in 1881 by Alfred Marche, a French archaeologist who systematically explored the central Philippines and discovered numerous sites. He collected varied archaeological specimens, mainly porcelains and stonewares recovered primarily from burial caves. The majority of his collections are now kept at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. Marche’s exploration activities at Marinduque Island became “the most successful Philippine archaeological expedition recorded from Spanish times” (Beyer 1947, 260).

An Austrian, professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, also published a series of articles about the Philippines and its people around this time. Cursory exploration of caves and open archaeological sites were undertaken in several areas in the Philippines between 1860 and 1881, including those by the German traveler Feodor Jagor in 1860 and J. Montano and Paul Rey between 1879 and 1881.

The American Period (1898-1946)

The Philippines were occupied by the United States in 1898, and the U.S. administration of the archipelago began a year later. President William McKinley created the Taft Commission in 1900 in an attempt to craft proper legislation for the Philippines. The commission, in turn, established the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes. This bureau, which changed names through the years, was placed under different institutions and was eventually abolished.

In 1901 the first government museum was created, designated as the Insular Museum of Ethnology, Natural History, and Commerce, and was placed under the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes. In the course of its existence the museum went through various changes, but it was never abolished. Today, it isa government bureau within the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports and is now officially called the National Museum.

Considered the founder of Philippine archaeology, Henry Otley Beyer (1883-1966), an American from Iowa, arrived in Manila in 1905 to join the civil service. His pioneering works resulted in much of what was known about Philippine prehistory. Three years with the Philippine Bureau of Education found him among the Ifugao of northern Luzon, serving as a schoolteacher and documenting their lifeways. In 1914 he founded the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Philippines, and his first writing on Philippine archaeology came out in 1921. As head of the anthropology department, Beyer studied the racial and cultural history of the country.

From 1922 to 1925 Carl Guthe from the University of Michigan led an archaeological expedition to the central Philippines. Guthe was the first trained archaeologist to work in the archipelago, and his exploration activities focused on the collection of ceramics in the hope that these materials would shed light on the early maritime trade between the Philippines and mainland Southeast Asia. He identified 542 archaeological sites and collected more than 30 cubic tons of archaeological specimens, which are now are kept at the University Museum of the University of Michigan.

Early 1926 saw Beyer’s first involvement in field archaeology, via the accidental discovery of major prehistoric sites at Novaliches during the construction of a dam for the water supply of Manila. Beyer’s ensuing investigation was to be the start of the Rizal-Bulacan Archaeological Survey. By the middle of 1930 excavation activities had also reached Bulacan Province, and in five years of work a total of 120 sites had been identified, with the collection of almost half a million specimens.

Personnel of the National Museum conducted surveys and excavations during the 1930s. In 1934 Ricardo E. Galang, the first Filipino-trained archaeologist, spent two months excavating fourteenth- to fifteenth-century sites at Calatagan, Batangas. In 1938 he investigated a jar burial at San Narciso, Quezon. He recorded a total of six jar burial and midden sites in the area and recovered associated materials of shell bracelets, beads, and ceramics.

In 1938 Generoso Maceda, another staff member of the National Museum, identified a jar burial site in Pilar, Sorsogon Province, in southern Luzon. Twenty-four jars containing artifacts were excavated in three sites (Evangelista 1962, 21). In 1940 Olov Janse, a Swedish-American archaeologist with support from Harvard University, conducted archaeological excavations in the Calatagan sites. Working in three sites, he excavated a total of sixty-six graves, the results of which were published in the annual report of the Smithsonian Institution (Janse 1946).

There was a complete cessation of archaeological activities during the Japanese occupation of the archipelago (1941-1945). Beyer, who was under conditional internment, was assisted by Tadao Kano, a Japanese civilian assigned to protect museums in the Philippines. The Japanese allowed Beyer to continue working at the museum of the University of the Philippines and at the Institute of Ethnology and Archaeology, which enabled him to pursue his research writing and complete the final sections of his major postwar publications (Evangelista 1962; Jocano 1975; Solheim 1981).

Post-World War II and the 1950s

An increased interest in the beginnings of Philippine society and culture developed in the years after World War II, and archaeology as a course was included in the curriculum at the University of the Philippines. Beyer’s research writings during the war years resulted in two important publications, his “Outline Review of Philippine Archaeology by Islands and Provinces” and his Philippine and East Asian Archaeology, and Its Relation to the Origin of the Pacific Islands Population (Beyer 1947, 1948). These major works are invaluable as references for archaeologists working in the Philippines to this date.

Archaeological exploration and excavation activities resumed in the l950s, led by two Americans, Wilhelm G. Solheim II and Robert B. Fox. Both were pivotal in arousing the interest of a number of Filipinos to pursue careers in archaeology. With an M.A. in anthropology from the University of California, Solheim published his first work on Philippine prehistory and archaeology in 1951. He conducted archaeological excavations from 1951 to 1953 in Masbate Island with two Filipino students, Alfredo E. Evangelista and E. Arsenio Manuel. Archaeological data generated from the excavations there were collated with the archaeological materials from the Guthe collection recovered in the 1920s from the central Philippines, resulting in The Archaeology of the Central Philippines: A Study Chiefly of the Iron Age and Its Relationships (Solheim 1964).

Fox (1918-1985) wrote avidly and extensively about Philippine ethnology, archaeology, and natural history from the late 1940s until 1973. He stayed in the Philippines after his service with the U.S. Navy during the war. With B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology, Fox was active in Philippine ethnography before focusing his attention on the archipelago’s prehistory.

Major fieldwork in the 1950s was undertaken through the National Museum under the direction of Fox, working with Evangelista and several other members of the museum staff. In 1956 Fox and Evangelista excavated the Sorsogon Province of southern Luzon. A jar burial/stone-tool assemblage was encountered; the sites range in date from 2900 to 2000 b.p.

The most extensive archaeological project in the middle of the 1950s was the Calatagan, Batangas, Archaeological Project south of Manila led by Fox. Over 500 pre-Spanish graves were excavated in a number of burial sites, resulting in the recovery of thousands of trade ceramics-Chinese and Siamese porcelains and stonewares of the late-fourteenth to early-sixteenth centuries a.d. Extended primary burials were revealed as well as secondary burials in jars, with some graves exhibiting evidence of teeth filing and ornamentations. It is unfortunate that the 1950s excavations at Calatagan would witness the start of widespread pothunting activities, which continue to this day.

The 1960s

Fox led major archaeological activities for the National Museum from 1962 to 1966 in a number of caves along the west coast of Palawan, known collectively as the Tabon Caves. Work in this area resulted in the discovery of late-Pleistocene human fossil remains and associated stone implements.

Going back to over 30,000 years ago, six successive periods of prehistoric occupation were found. The C-14 dates available for the Tabon Caves range from 30,500±1100 b.p. and 9250±250 b.p. At nearby Manunggul Cave an earthenware burial jar was found with incised and hematite-painted designs about the shoulder and cover (the latter having a ship-of-the-dead motif dating from 890 to 710 b.c.); it is now one of the country’s National Cultural Treasures.

The preliminary results of the archaeological work at the Tabon Caves were published by Fox in 1970. This work included information on human bone fragments that, although recovered from a disturbed area of the caves, have been dated from 22,000 to 24,000 years ago-still the earliest evidence for Homo sapiens in the Philippines.

In 1966 significant archaeological sites were discovered right in the city of Manila. Known as the Santa Ana Sites, they exhibited both habitations and burials that “date more than 400 years before the arrival of the Spaniards in Manila” (Fox and Legaspi 1977, 1). The main burial site excavated was originally an archaeological mound on which the present Santa Ana Church was built, and the associated tradeware ceramics recovered from the burials date from the late eleventh to the fourteenth centuries a.d.

In 1967 cursory underwater archaeological activities were undertaken by the National Museum and the Times-Mirror-Taliba, a now-defunct newspaper outfit, in Albay, 500 kilometers south of Manila. Believed to be a Spanish galleon, the ship was found 40 to 65 meters below the surface. In addition to two large designs. C-14 dating of shells recovered from this site resulted in dates ranging from 8000 to 6500 b.p.

Shell adzes were also noted from Duyong Cave, Palawan, in the Ryukus Islands, and on other Pacific islands.

The 1970s

The 1970s saw a profusion of archaeological research undertaken by both Filipino and foreign archaeologists. The elephant fossil sites in Cagayan Valley, northern Luzon, which had previously been reported, were explored and excavated in the 1970s by the National Museum. Led by Fox, the research uncovered hundreds of fossilized remains of mammals such as elephants, stegodon, rhinoceros, crocodile, giant tortoise, pig, and deer, as well as flaked and cobblestone tools (Fox and Peralta 1972).

The first three large mammals in this group are now extinct in the Philippines. Encumbered by geological problems in the open sites of Cagayan Valley, Richard Shutler Jr., then with the University of Iowa, was crucial in sending to the country a succession of geologists and geomorphologists from Iowa State University. Led by Carl Vondra in 1977, these researchers defined the Plio-Pleistocene terrestrial sequence in the Cagayan Valley basin, demonstrating the in situ association of artifacts and Pleistocene fauna, the age of artifacts, and the Plio-Pleistocene environments in the valley. Geological research has since solved the majority of the problems of the Pleistocene geology of the area, but the debate over the age of the artifacts still continues.

In 1972 Solheim and A. M. Legaspi led an archaeological survey of coastal southeastern Mindanao, a joint project of the National Museum and the University of Hawaii (Solheim, Legaspi, and Neri 1979). The Talikod rock-shelter sites, where flaked shell and stone tools were recovered, are the earliest sites recorded from the survey, with dates ranging from 7620 ±120 b.p. and 3950±90 b.p.

Two ethno-archaeology studies were undertaken in the 1970s. The first was conducted by Bion and Agnes Griffin among the Agta Negritos in the Sierra Madre range of northeastern Luzon from 1974 to 1976. With the goal of providing models for adjustments to hunting and gathering in wet and seasonal environments, the researchers hoped that the results of the study might be utilized for an archaeological understanding of hunters in tropical settings.

William Longacre of the University of Arizona directed an ethno-archaeological study in pottery-making villages in Kalinga Apayao, northern Luzon. Designed to provide data directly relevant to archaeological methods for inferring patterns of behavior and organization of peoples who lived in the past, the project, now in its third decade, has revealed significant insights into the manufacture, distribution, uses, breakages, and discarding of ceramics and how these and other material culture relate to human behavior.

From 1977 to 1978 archaeological surveys and limited excavations were undertaken in Iloilo Province, Panay, in the central Philippines. Australian archaeologists from the Victoria Archaeological Survey, led by Peter Coutts, focused their research on the establishment of a regional sequence, on the study of tradeware ceramics on Panay Island, on the recording of local pottery-making traditions and their trading networks, and on the collection of osteological materials for comparative studies.

While the geologists were working out the problems at the open sites at Cagayan Valley, the National Museum archaeologists concentrated their research activities in Penablanca, about 15 kilometers east of the Pleistocene open sites. Led by Wilfredo Ronquillo and R. A. Santiago, exploration activities in the limestone area resulted in the recording of over 100 caves and rock shelters, eight of which have since been excavated. Basically aimed at elucidating the structure and distribution of the stone-tool industries in the area, the technological and functional analyses of the lithic flaked tools and debitage recovered from the excavations of Rabel Cave (ranging from 4900 to 3000 b.p.) indicated the generalized functions of the flake tools, which made them ideal for use as maintenance tools; the manufacture of the stone flaked tools involved a percussion method without core preparation.

In 1977 Barbara Thiel, then a graduate student at the University of Illinois, excavated two caves at Penablanca, Cagayan Province-Arku by the recovery of cordage of palm fibers. Their presence indicates that an older ship-building method was used. The Butuan archaeological assemblage points to a complex society in this area, indicated by craft specialization (such as wood, bone, and shell working, pottery manufacture, bead reworking, and metallurgy-specifically gold working) and the capability to participate in long-distance trade.

In 1979 an archaeological program led by Karl Hutterer of the University of Michigan started an interdisciplinary project focused on the prehistoric social and cultural development of a small geographical area in Negros Oriental. Known as the Bais Anthropological Project, the research, participated in by graduate students from Michigan, generated archaeological, ethnographic, biological, and geological data used to provide an overall understanding of prehistoric and present-day societies in Negros.

The 1980s

Archaeologists from the National Museum were busy during the 1980s. Although limited in manpower, the museum is the only institution that undertakes full-time archaeological research activities in the country. One of its priority activities is rescue archaeology, which involves the investigation of caves prior to the mining of bat droppings for use as fertilizer.

In 1981 archaeological exploration activities started at the limestone formation of Anda, in the island province of Bohol in the central Philippines. Designed to explicate the island adaptation of prehistoric man, this project, led by Santiago, resulted in the discovery of over 130 caves and rock shelters, the majority of which are archaeological sites. A number of caves exhibit wooden coffin burials as well as rich prehistoric habitation and burial sites.

Museum archaeologists were active in various areas in the country, such as Laurel, Batangas; Ma-ug, Prosperidad, Agusan del Norte; and Polillo Island, Quezon Province. Important archaeological data were generated from the continuation of the excavations at the Butuan sites in northeastern Mindanao, where primary extended burials indicate teeth filing and blackening.

Laura Junker, Hutterer’s former student and now a professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University, did research in Tanjay, Negros Oriental, in the central Philippines. Concentrating on the operation of control over the distribution of prestige goods, tradewares, and earthenware ceramics, Junker used archaeological and ethnohistoric data to test the hypothesis that early Philippine chiefdoms’ participation in Southeast Asian luxury goods trade during the tenth to the sixteenth centuries a.d. was strongly linked to centralized control of a complex intraregional system of production, exchange, and resource mobilization.

In the 1980s numerous underwater archaeological sites were worked by the National Museum. The various shipwrecks found in Philippine territorial waters include Spanish, English, American, and Asian craft, usually with portions of the cargo still intact. The tradeware ceramics help date the ships and cargo. The associated archaeological materials have added new insights into the history of the trade from the ninth to the eighteenth centuries, as well as the nature of the trade and the societies that produced, bartered, and used the goods.

In the majority of cases the sites explored and excavated were worked as joint ventures with private entities. The shipwrecks studied include: one believed to be a merchant boat, found in 1982 on the southeast coast of Marinduque Island, about 150 kilometers south of Manila; a probable local watercraft found in 1983 at Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island; and a sixteenth-century wreck found in 1985 at the Royal Captain Shoal, a coral reef west of Palawan Island. The archaeological materials recovered from this site include porcelain plates, saucers, bowls, cups; boxes and box covers; blue-and-white, pear-shaped, terra-cotta bottles; jarlets; jars; over 200 beads; 33 identical gongs; and bronze, iron, and copper objects. The tradewares recovered from the wreck point to the Wan Li period (1573-1620).

It was also in 1985 when the Griffin, an East India Company vessel, was excavated northwest of Basilan Island in the southern Philippines. Along with numerous Chinese tradeware ceramics, the few metal objects found include iron ingots used as ballast, iron tools in the form of adzes, cannonballs, lead sheets used to line the wooden tea crates, lead musketballs, teapots, a Chinese coin of copper alloy, shoes and belt buckles of copper alloy and gilt bronze, and other objects used for daily life on board the ship.

In 1986 the exploration for the sunken galleon San José was started off the waters of Lubang Island, Mindoro Province. Only portions of the ship’s planks, numerous shards of blue-and-white chocolate cups, and fragments of bronze, iron, and copper materials were recovered.

The 1990s to the Present

Important archaeological discoveries were made in the 1990s. In 1991 earthenware potteries with covers exhibiting anthropomorphic motifs were excavated at Ayub Cave, Pinol, Maitum, Sarangani Province. Led by E. Z. Dizon, the analysis of the potteries, designed and formed like human figures with varied and distinct facial expressions, indicates that they were used as covers for multiple secondary burial jars. Typologically the jars and the associated materials found date to the Metal Age period in the Philippines, around 500 b.c. to 500 a.d.

The year 1991 also marked the start of an archaeological survey for the Spanish warship San Diego, which sank off Fortune Island on December 14, 1600. A joint project of the National Museum and World Wide First, Inc., the excavation found the wreck at a depth of about 50 meters below the sea’s surface. Two seasons of underwater archaeological excavation were undertaken, resulting in the recovery of over 34,000 archaeological items, including tradeware porcelains and stonewares, earthenware vessels, metal artifacts, and various organic materials.

The archaeological materials recovered from the San Diego site include more than 500 blue-and-white Chinese ceramics in the form of plates, dishes, bottles, kendis (spouted water containers), and boxes that may be ascribed to the Ming dynasty, specifically to the Wan Li period; more than 750 Chinese, Thai, Burmese, and Spanish or Mexican stoneware jars; over seventy Philippine-made earthenware potteries influenced by European stylistic forms and types; parts of Japanese samurai swords; 14 bronze cannons of different types and sizes; parts of European muskets; stone and lead cannonballs; metal navigational instruments and implements; silver coins; 2 iron anchors; animal bones and the teeth of pigs and chickens; and seed and shell remains of prunes, chestnuts, and coconut.

Noteworthy among the metal finds are a navigational compass and a maritime astrolabe. Also retrieved from the site is a block of hardened resin that was noted in historical accounts to have been used for caulking and for making fire in stoves. A summary of the excavations and finds is presented in C. Valdes’s Saga of the San Diego, published in 1993.

In the northernmost islands of the Philippines, the Ijangs (megalithic structures situated in elevated hills, indicating evidence of fortification) were confirmed through archaeological explorations and limited excavations. Led by Dizon and Santiago, the cursory archaeological activities indicate that the structures closely resemble the castles reported from Okinawa and date to the twelfth century a.d. These recent finds may prove crucial in the understanding of the formation of sociopolitical complexities in the Philippines.

This concise history of archaeology in the Philippines records the fascinating story of the search for the prehistoric beginnings of the archipelago, which is inextricably linked with mainland Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. Although it may seem that archaeological activities in the country are adequate, there are still countless archaeological sites in the country that need proper assessment, excavation, and management. Unfortunately, these important and nonrenewable components of the country’s cultural resources are also subject to plunder, nearsighted exploitation, and vandalism. Properly managed and protected, these archaeological resources have educational, recreational, and tourism potential. Without doubt, they are worth protecting for the enrichment and enjoyment of succeeding generations.

Human remains from Zhirendong, South China, and modern human emergence in East Asia

Because it is not open access, we cannot make a blog post about this article just yet. But PNAS is kind enough to provide the abstract:

The 2007 discovery of fragmentary human remains (two molars and an anterior mandible) at Zhirendong (Zhiren Cave) in South China provides insight in the processes involved in the establishment of modern humans in eastern Eurasia. The human remains are securely dated by U-series on overlying flowstones and a rich associated faunal sample to the initial Late Pleistocene, >100 kya. As such, they are the oldest modern human fossils in East Asia and predate by >60,000 y the oldest previously known modern human remains in the region. The Zhiren 3 mandible in particular presents derived modern human anterior symphyseal morphology, with a projecting tuber symphyseos, distinct mental fossae, modest lateral tubercles, and a vertical symphysis; it is separate from any known late archaic human mandible. However, it also exhibits a lingual symphyseal morphology and corpus robustness that place it close to later Pleistocene archaic humans. The age and morphology of the Zhiren Cave human remains support a modern human emergence scenario for East Asia involving dispersal with assimilation or populational continuity with gene flow. It also places the Late Pleistocene Asian emergence of modern humans in a pre-Upper Paleolithic context and raises issues concerning the long-term Late Pleistocene coexistence of late archaic and early modern humans across Eurasia.



Text of the Philippine National Cultural Heritage Law

Republic of the Philippines


Metro Manila

Fourteenth Congress

Third Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-seventh day of July, two thousand nine.




Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Short Title. –  This Act shall be known as the “National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.”



SECTION 2. Declaration of Principles and Policies. – Sections 14, 15, 16, and 17, Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution declare that the State shall foster the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of a Filipino culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression. The Constitution likewise mandates the State to conserve, develop, promote and popularize the nation’s historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations. It further provides that, all the country’s artistic and historic wealth constitutes the cultural treasure of the nation and shall be under the protection of the State, which may regulate its disposition.

In the pursuit of cultural preservation as a strategy for maintaining Filipino identity, this Act shall pursue the following objectives:

(a)      Protect, preserve, conserve and promote the nation’s cultural heritage, its property and histories, and the ethnicity of local communities;

(b)     Establish and strengthen cultural institutions; and,

(c)      Protect cultural workers and ensure their professional development and well-being.

The State shall likewise endeavor to create a balanced atmosphere where the historic past co-exists in harmony with modern society. It shall approach the problem of conservation in an integrated and holistic manner, cutting across all relevant disciplines and technologies. The State shall further administer the heritage resources in a spirit of stewardship for the inspiration and benefit of the present and future generations.



SECTION 3. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

(a) “Adaptive Re-use” shall refers to the utilization of buildings, other built-structures, and sites of value for purposes other than that for which they were intended originally, in order to conserve the site, their engineering integrity and  authenticity of design;

(b) “Anthropological Area” shall refers to any place where studies of specific ethno-linguistic groups are undertaken, the properties of which are of value to our cultural heritage;

(c) “Antique” refers to a cultural property found locally which is one hundred (100) years in age, more or less, the production of which has ceased;

(d) “Archaeological Area” shall refers to any place, whether above or under ground, underwater or at sea level, containing fossils, artifacts, and other cultural, geological, botanical, zoological materials which depict and document culturally relevant paleontological, prehistoric and/or historic events;

(e) “Archives” shall refer to public and private records in any format which have been selected for permanent preservation because of their evidential, historical informational value; otherwise known as archival materials collections or archival holdings; the place (building/room/storage area) where archival materials are kept and preserved; and an organization or agency or part thereof whose main responsibility is to appraise, arrange, describe, conserve, promote and make archival materials available for reference and research, also known as archival agency;

(f) “Built Heritage” shall refers to architectural and engineering structures, such as but not limited to bridges, government buildings, houses of ancestry, traditional dwellings, quartels, train stations, lighthouses, small ports, educational technological and industrial complexes, and their settings, and landscapes with notable historical and cultural significance;

(g) “Collector” shall refers to any person who or institution that acquires cultural property for purposes other than sale;

(h) “Commission” shall refer to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA);

(i) “Conservation” shall refers to all the processes and measures of maintaining the cultural significance of a cultural property, including but not limited to, preservation, restoration, reconstruction, protection, adaptation or any combination thereof;

(j) “Cultural agencies” shall refer to the following national government agencies with their specific areas of responsibility: National Museum (cultural property); the National Library (books); National Historical Institute (Philippine history); National Archives (documents); Cultural Center of the Philippines (culture and the arts); and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (language).

(k) “Cultural Education” shall refer to the teaching and learning of cultural concepts and processes;

(l) “Cultural Heritage” shall refer to the totality of cultural property preserved and developed through time and passed on to posterity;

(m) “Cultural Heritage Worker” shall refer to an individual undertaking cultural heritage work;

(n) “Cultural Institution” shall refer to entities engaged primarily in cultural work;

(o) “Cultural Property” shall refer to all products of human creativity by which a people and a nation reveal their identity, including churches, mosques and other places of religious worship, schools and natural history specimens and sites, whether public or privately-owned, movable or immovable, and tangible or intangible;

(p) “Dealers” shall refer to natural or juridical persons who acquire cultural property for the purpose of engaging in the acquisition and disposition of the same;

(q) “Heritage Zone” shall refer to historical, anthropological, archaeological, artistic geographical areas and settings that are culturally significant to the country, as declared by the National Museum and/or the National Historical Institute.

(r) “History” shall refer to a written record of past events relating to Philippine history;

(s) “Historical Landmarks” shall refer to sites or structures that are associated with events or achievements significant to Philippine history as declared by the National Historical Institute;

(t) “Historical Monuments” shall refer to structures that honor illustrious persons or commemorate events of historical value as declared by the National Historical Institute;

(u) “Historical Shrines” shall refer to historical sites or structures hallowed and revered for their history or association as declared by the National Historical Institute;

(v) “Historical Street Name” shall refer to a street name which has been in existence for at least fifty (50) years and over time has been considered historic;

(w) “Important Cultural Property (ICP)” shall refer to a cultural property having exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance to the Philippines, as shall be determined by the National Museum and/or National Historical Institute.

(x) “Intangible Cultural Heritage” shall refers to the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects and artifacts associated therewith, that communities, groups and individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage, such as: (1) oral traditions, languages, and expressions; (2) performing arts; (3) social practices, rituals, and festive events; (4) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and (5) traditional craftsmanship;

(y) “Intangible cultural property” shall refer to the peoples’ learned processes along with the knowledge, skills and creativity that inform and are developed by them, the products they create and the resources, spaces and other aspects of social and natural context necessary for their sustainability.

(z) “Library” shall refer to an institution where the collection of books, manuscripts, computerized information, and other materials are organized to provide physical, bibliographic, and/or intellectual access to the public, with a librarian that is trained to provide services and programs related to the information needs of its clientele;

(aa) “Museum” shall refer to a permanent institution that researches, acquires, conserves, communicates, and exhibits the material evidence of humans and their environment for purposes of education or leisure;

(bb) “National Cultural Treasure” shall refer to a unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation, and officially declared as such by pertinent cultural agency;

(cc) “Nationally significant” shall refer to historical, aesthetic, scientific, technical, social and/or spiritual values that unify the nation by a deep sense of pride in their various yet common identities, cultural heritage and national patrimony.

(dd) “Natural Property of Cultural Significance” shall refer to areas possessing outstanding ecosystem with flora and fauna of national scientific importance under the National Integrated Protected Areas System ;

(ee) “NCCA Portal Cultural Databank” refers to the specific domain in the Commission’s intranet for cultural information that is accessed only internally with control and confidentiality. It includes the registry of national cultural property.

(ff) “Pre-history” shall refer to the period of human history before the introduction of the forms of writing;

(gg) “Registry” shall refer to the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property which is the registry of all cultural property of the country deemed of significant importance to our cultural heritage;

(hh) “Restoration” shall refer to the action taken or the technical intervention to correct deterioration and alterations.

(ii) “Tangible cultural property” shall refer to a cultural property with historical, archival, anthropological, archaeological, artistic and architectural value, and with exceptional or traditional production, whether of Philippine origin or not, including antiques and natural history specimens with significant value.



SECTION 4. Categories. – The Cultural Property of the country shall be categorized as follows:

(a)      National Cultural Treasures;

(b)     Important Cultural Property;

(c)      World Heritage Sites;

(d)     National historical shrine;

(e)      National Historical Monument; and,

(f)      National Historical Landmark;

SECTION 5. Cultural Property Considered Important Cultural Property. -For purposes of protecting a cultural property against exportation, modification or demolition, the following works shall be considered Important Cultural Property, unless declared otherwise by the pertinent cultural agency:

Unless declared by the Commission,

(a)    Works by a Manlilikha ng Bayan;

(b)   Works by a National Artist;

Unless declared by the National Museum,

(c) Archaeological and traditional ethnographic materials;

Unless declared by the National Historical Institute,

(d)   Works of national heroes;

(e)    Marked structure;

(f)    Structures dating at least fifty (50) years old; and

Unless declared by the National Archives,

(g)   Archival material/document dating at least fifty (50) years old.

The property owner may petition the appropriate cultural agency to remove the presumption of important cultural property which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

SECTION 6. World Heritage Sites (WHS). The appropriate cultural agency shall closely collaborate with United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines in ensuring the conservation and management of world heritage sites of cultural and mixed sites category, in the Philippines.

SECTION 7. Privileges for Cultural Property. – All cultural properties declared as National Cultural Treasures and national historical landmarks shall be entitled to the following privileges:

(a)      Priority government funding for protection, conservation and restoration;

(b)     Incentive for private support of conservation and restoration through the Commission’s Conservation Incentive Program for National Cultural treasures;

(c)      An official Heritage Marker placed by the cultural agency concerned indicating that the immovable cultural property has been identified as national cultural treasures; and/or national historical landmarks, sites or monuments; and,

(d)     In times of armed conflict, natural disasters, and other exceptional events that endanger the cultural heritage of the country, all National Cultural Treasures or national historical landmarks, sites or monuments shall be given priority protection by the Government.

All cultural properties declared as Important Cultural Property may also receive government funding for its protection, conservation, and restoration. An official Heritage Marker shall likewise be placed on an immovable cultural property to identify the same as important cultural property.

SECTION 8. Procedure for Declaration, or De-Listing of National Cultural Treasures or Important Cultural Property. The procedure in declaring as well as in delisting a National Cultural Property or an Important Cultural Property shall be as follows:

(a)      A declaration or a delisting of a cultural property as a National Cultural Treasure or an Important Cultural Property shall commence upon the filing of a petition by the owner, stakeholder or any interested person, with the Commission, which shall refer the matter to the appropriate cultural agency;

(b)     Upon verification of the suitability of the property as a national cultural treasure or an important cultural property, the cultural agency concerned shall send notice of hearing to the owner and stakeholders. Stakeholders, including but not limited to local government units, local culture and arts council, local tourism councils, non-government conservation organizations, and schools, may be allowed to file their support or opposition to the petition;

(c)      The owner and/or other stakeholders shall file their position paper within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice of hearing, furnishing all the parties, including the appropriate cultural agency, with such position paper. Extensions may be allowed, but in no case shall it exceed more than thirty (30) days; and

(d)     The petitioner/stakeholder shall give their answer within fifteen (15) days upon receipt of any position paper. Thereafter, no further submissions shall be allowed.

(e)      The appropriate cultural agency shall have a maximum of ninety (90) days from the deadline of the submission of all the answers within which to submit its resolutions and render its decision on the application.

SECTION 9. Right of First Refusal on the Sale of National Cultural Treasures (NCT).

The appropriate cultural agency shall be given the right of first refusal in the purchase of cultural properties declared as national cultural treasures. Prior to the finality of the sale, the appropriate cultural agency may likewise match any offer made for the purchase of national cultural property.

SECTION 10. Licensing of Dealers of Cultural Property. – All dealers of cultural property shall secure a license to operate as such from the appropriate cultural agency concerned.   They shall submit a quarterly inventory of items carried, which shall include a history of each item.   Failure to submit two (2) consecutive inventories shall be a ground for cancellation of the license.   All dealers of Cultural Property shall be subject to inspection of the concerned cultural agencies.

The cultural agencies may charge and collect fees for registration as well as for licenses, inspections, certifications, authorizations and permits that they issue and undertake in connection with the implementation of this Act.   Funds generated from these collections by cultural agencies shall be retained by the cultural agency concerned for its operations.

SECTION 11. Dealings of Cultural Property. No cultural property shall be sold, resold, or taken out of the country without first securing a clearance from the cultural agency concerned. In case the property shall be taken out of the country, it shall solely be for the purpose of scientific scrutiny or exhibit.



SECTION 12. Designation of Heritage Zones. The National Historical Institute and the National Museum in consultation with the Commission and, the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board or other concerned agencies, shall designate Heritage Zones to protect the historical and cultural integrity of a geographical area.

SECTION 13. Maintenance of Heritage Zones. A Heritage Zone shall be maintained by the local government unit concerned, in accordance with the following guidelines:

(a)      Implementation of adaptive re-use of cultural property;

(b)     Appearance of streets, parks, monuments, buildings, and natural bodies of water, canals, paths and Barangays within a locality shall be maintained as close to their appearance at the time the area was of most importance to Philippine History as determined by the National Historical Institute; and,

(c)      Local government units shall document and sustain all socio-cultural practices such as but not limited to traditional celebrations, historical battles, recreation of customs, and the re-enactment of battles and other local customs that are unique to a locality.



SECTION 14. Establishment of a Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP). All cultural property of the country deemed important to cultural heritage shall be registered in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property.

The Commission, through the appropriate cultural agencies and local government units, shall establish and maintain this Registry within three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act. The guidelines in the registration of cultural property are as follows:

(a)      All cultural agencies concerned shall individually maintain an inventory, evaluation and documentation of all cultural properties it has declared according to their category and shall submit the same to the Commission. For cultural property declared as Immovable Cultural Property, the appropriate cultural agency shall, after registration, give due notice to the Registry of Deeds having jurisdiction for annotation on the land titles pertaining to the same;

(b)     Local government units, through their cultural offices, shall likewise maintain an inventory of cultural property under its jurisdiction and shall furnish the Commission a copy of the same;

(c)      Both cultural agencies concerned and local government units shall continuously coordinate in making entries and in monitoring the various cultural properties in their respective inventory;

(d)     All government agencies and instrumentalities, government-owned and/or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries, including public and private educational institutions, shall report their ownership and/or possession of such items to the pertinent cultural agency and shall register such properties within three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act;

(e)      Private collectors and owners of cultural property shall register such properties, within three (3) years from the effectivity of this Act. The private collectors and owners of cultural property shall not be divested of their possession and ownership thereof even after registration of said property as herein required.

Information on registered cultural properties owned by private individuals shall remain confidential and may be given only upon prior consent of the private owner. The Commission shall operate the Registry in the NCCA portal cultural databank.

SECTION 15. Conservation of Cultural Property. All intervention works and measures on conservation of National Cultural Treasures, Important Cultural Property, as well as national historical landmarks, sites or monuments, and structures previously marked by the National Museum and/or National Historical Institute before the implementation of this Act shall be undertaken only upon prior approval of the Commission through the appropriate cultural agency which shall supervise the same.

The Commission shall approve only those methods and materials that strictly adhere to the accepted international standards of conservation.

SECTION 16. Documentation and Preservation of Traditional and Contemporary Arts. Local government units shall document traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, including their processes and makers, and sustain the sources of their raw materials. The local government units shall encourage and sustain traditional arts and crafts as active and viable sources of income for the community.

The Commission, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Tourism and other government agencies involved directly or indirectly in the production of goods shall assist the local government units in protecting their traditional and contemporary arts and crafts making them viable for current and future markets, with a view to encouraging and promoting the unique heritage and identities of the said communities.

The local government unit concerned shall submit an annual inventory of these documentations to the Commission, which will be included in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property, as established in Section 14 of this Act.

SECTION  17. Systematic Research in Natural History. – The National Museum shall have the authority to collect, maintain and develop the national reference collections of Philippine flora and fauna, rocks and minerals through research and field collection of specimens including Important Cultural Property within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines. It shall be exempt from any and all permit systems regulating the same.

The National Museum shall inform the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture of such collection. All type of specimens collected in the Philippine territory shall be deposited in the National Museum.

SECTION 18. Heritage Agreements. – The Commission, upon advice of the concerned cultural agency, may enter into agreements with private owners of cultural properties with regard to the preservation of said properties.

Such agreement shall be in the form of a contract, and may include such terms and conditions including, but not limited to:

(a)      Public access to the property;

(b)     Value of the encumbrance;

(c)      Duration of the servitude of the property;

(d)     Restriction of the right of the owner or occupant to perform acts on or near the place;

(e)      Maintenance and management of the property;

(f)      Provision of financial assistance for the conservation of the property;

(g)     Procedure for the resolution of any dispute arising out of the agreement.

Such agreement should be annotated in the land title to bind future owners and/or occupants of the immovable cultural property.

SECTION 19. National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. – The appropriate cultural agency shall closely collaborate with the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in the Philippines. The Philippine Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee established by the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines shall continue to take lead role in implementing the provisions of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural heritage with particular attention to Article 11 to 15 of the said Convention.

SECTION 20. Immovable National Cultural Treasures. – Immovable National Cultural Treasures shall not be relocated, rebuilt, defaced or otherwise changed in a manner, which would destroy the property’s dignity and authenticity, except to save such property from destruction due to natural causes.

The site referred to in this provision may only be moved after securing a permit from the Commission or the appropriate cultural agency.

SECTION 21. Indigenous properties. – The appropriate cultural agency in consultation with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples shall establish a program and promulgate regulations to assist indigenous people in preserving their particular cultural and historical properties.

SECTION 22. Renaming of Historical Streets, Buildings Designated as Cultural Treasure or Important Cultural Property. The names of historical streets, parks, buildings, shrines, landmarks, monuments and sites designated as National Cultural Treasures or Important Cultural Property shall not be allowed to be re-named by a local or national  legislation, unless approved by the National Historical Institute, and only after due hearing on the matter. Furthermore, for changes of  names done to historical streets, parks, buildings, shrines, landmarks, monuments, and sites prior to the effectivity of this act, the National Historical Institute may direct the local government units to restore their original names, also after due hearing.




SECTION 23.    Export of Cultural Property. – Whoever desires to export cultural property registered in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property shall adhere to the following requirements:

(a)      Authorization from the Commission through the appropriate cultural agencies;

(b)     Application for export permit shall be submitted thirty (30) days before the intended export from the Philippines; and

(c)      Application for export permit must include the following:  (1) the purpose of the temporary export; (2) the export date of the cultural property; (3) the repatriation date of the cultural property; (4) a description of the cultural property; and, (5) the inventory of the cultural property in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property.

The grant of export permit shall be based on the following conditions:  (i) the cultural property is exported on a temporary basis; and (ii) export of cultural property is necessary for scientific scrutiny or exhibit.

SECTION 24.    Repatriation Claims and Agreements. – Should the cultural property registered in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property be illicitly exported from the country, the Department of Foreign Affairs shall, upon the recommendation of the appropriate cultural agency, claim the right of repatriation vis-à-vis all other contracting States. Any compensation and costs shall be carried by the Philippine government.

For the protection of cultural and foreign affairs interests and to secure cultural heritage, the Philippines may conclude international treaties with contracting States on the import and repatriation of cultural property subject to the following conditions:

(a)      The scope of the agreement must be cultural property of significant importance to the cultural heritage of the contracting States;

(b)     The cultural property must be subject to the existing export policies for the purpose of protecting cultural heritage; and,

(c)      The contracting States shall grant reciprocal rights.



SECTION 25. Power to Issue a Cease and Desist Order. – When the physical integrity of the national cultural treasures or important cultural properties are found to be in danger of destruction or significant alteration from its original state, the appropriate cultural agency, shall immediately issue a Cease and Desist Order suspending all activities that will affect the cultural property. The local government unit which has the jurisdiction over the site where the immovable cultural property is located shall report the same to the appropriate cultural agency immediately upon discovery and shall promptly adopt measures to secure the integrity of such immovable cultural property. Thereafter, the appropriate cultural agency shall give notice to the owner or occupant of the cultural property and conduct hearing on the propriety of the issuance of the Cease and Desist Order. The suspension of the activities shall be lifted only upon the written authority of the appropriate cultural agency after due notice and hearing involving interested parties and stakeholders.

SECTION 26. Power to Issue Compulsory Repair Order. When a privately-owned heritage site cannot be maintained by the owner or has fallen into disrepair thru neglect to such an extent that it will lose its potential for conservation, the Commission, through the appropriate cultural agency, may serve on the owner or occupant of such property, an order to repair or maintain such site. If the owner fails to comply with said order within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days, repairs may be undertaken by the appropriate cultural agency for the account of the owner.

SECTION 27. Visitorial Powers. – The cultural agencies concerned, through the Commission, are hereby given the power to inspect National Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, and national historical landmarks, sites or monuments at any time to ensure the protection and integrity of such. They may also inspect public or private collections or objects that may be categorized as cultural property; Provided, That in the case of private collections or objects, the prior written consent of the owner shall be obtained.

SECTION 28. Power to Deputize Other Government Agencies. – The cultural agencies concerned, as well as the Commission, shall have the power to deputize the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Coast Guard, and other local or national law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Fisheries’ agents, the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources’ rangers, the Bureau of Customs and Immigrations agents, members of the Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crimes and other such agencies and their successors in interest, to enforce the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations. The said agencies shall immediately detail their respective personnel to protect the cultural items under the National Registry.

Failure to follow deputization order of the concerned cultural agency as well as the Commission shall be penalized in accordance with Section 49herein.

SECTION 29. Power to Recover Cultural Properties.  – The Commission is empowered to recover or retrieve cultural properties which are under the custody of foreign nationals or entities and to bring these properties back to Philippine custody.

SECTION 30. Anthropological Research and Archaeological Exploration/Excavation.

(a)      The National Museum with respect to cultural/ archaeological/ anthropological matters, and the National historical Institute, with respect to historical anthropological matters, shall regulate and control all   anthropological research conducted by foreigners; and all archaeological excavation or exploration. Pursuant to the foregoing, the National Museums or the National Historical Institute shall deputize other agencies to protect archaeological and anthropological sites.  It shall be guided by the following rules:

(1)     All cultural property found in terrestrial and / or underwater archaeological sites belong to the State.

(2)     No terrestrial and/or underwater archaeological explorations and excavations for the purposes of obtaining materials and data of cultural value shall be undertaken without written authority and direct site supervision by archaeologists and/or representatives of the National Museum;

(3)     All anthropological researches, for the purpose of obtaining materials and data of cultural value and where the principal proponent is a foreign national shall be undertaken only with the authority, and under the supervision of the National Museum or the National Historical Institute. Anthropological research by Philippine nationals, especially members of the indigenous communities shall be encouraged;

(4)     Archaeological or anthropological materials presumed as important cultural property shall be allowed to leave the country only upon proper evaluation and written permission of the National Museum or the National Historical Institute;

(5)     All explorations and excavations undertaken wherein the caves, rock shelters and their vicinities may have been used in the prehistoric past by man either for habitation, religious and/or sacred and burial purposes all over the country, shall be under the direct jurisdiction and supervision of archaeologists and/or other experts of the National Museum;

(6)     All mining activities inside caves, rock shelters and any such other areas shall require a written permit and clearance from the National Museum. An appropriate prior inspection by representatives of the National Museum, funded by the company applying for a mining right, shall be required to ensure that no archaeological materials are present and, possibly, destroyed;

(7)     Excavations in caves, rock shelters and other areas by laymen are prohibited by this Act. All earth-moving activities in these areas must have the proper permit and clearance from the National Museum and monitored by their representatives;

(8)     All treasure hunting permits and licenses shall be issued by the National Museum, which shall formulate the rules and regulations to adequately control, regulate and monitor all applicants for such undertakings; and

(9)     The provisions of this Act on explorations and excavations of terrestrial and underwater archaeological sites shall supersede all local, municipal, regional and autonomous regional governments’ resolutions and ordinances.

(b)     When the presence of any cultural or historical property is discovered, the National Museum or the National Historical Institute shall immediately suspend all activities that will affect the site and shall immediately notify the local government unit having jurisdiction of the place where the discovery was made. The local government shall promptly adopt measures to protect and safeguard the integrity of the cultural property so discovered and within five (5) days from the discovery shall report the same to the appropriate agency. The suspension of these activities shall be lifted only upon the written authority of the National Museum or the National Historical Institute and only after the systematic recovery of the archaeological materials.

(c)      The Commission, upon the recommendation of the appropriate cultural agency, shall provide incentives for persons who discover and report heretofore unknown archaeological sites, in accordance with its rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this Act.

(d)     Any government or non-government infrastructure project or architectural site development shall include anthropological, archaeological, and historical and heritage site conservation concerns in their Environmental Impact Assessment System.



SECTION 31. Responsibilities of Cultural Agencies for Designation of Cultural Property. – The cultural agencies, in conformity with their respective charters, shall define and delineate their respective areas of responsibility with respect to cultural property and assessment of National Cultural Treasures and national historical landmarks, sites or monuments. These areas shall be subject to periodic re-assessment whenever necessary.

For purposes of this Act, the following shall be the responsibilities of cultural agencies in the categorization of cultural property:

(a)    The Cultural Center of the Philippines shall be responsible for significant cultural property pertaining to the performing arts;

(b)   The National Archives of the Philippines shall be responsible for significant archival materials;

(c)    The National Library shall be responsible for rare and significant contemporary books, manuscripts such as, but not limited to, presidential papers, periodicals, newspapers, singly or in collection, and libraries and electronic records;

(d)   The National Historical Institute shall be responsible for significant movable and immovable cultural property that pertains to Philippine History; heroes and the conservation of historical artifacts

(e)    The National Museum shall be responsible for significant movable and immovable cultural and natural property pertaining to collections of Fine Arts, Archaeology, Anthropology, Botany, Geology, Zoology and Astronomy, including its conservation aspect; and

(f)    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) shall be responsible for the dissemination, development, and the promotion of the Filipino national language and the conservation of ethnic languages;

SECTION 32. Institutional Linkages of the National Cultural Agencies. – The cultural agencies and other national government agencies, as listed below, shall consult, coordinate and work closely with the Commission in the implementation of their respective programs/projects in the context of this Act. Furthermore, the Commission may link up with other agencies and institutions, as it may deem appropriate, as a way of dealing with conservation on a holistic manner.

(a)      The Department of Tourism, and its attached agencies, which shall be responsible for cultural education among tourism services, and protection of cultural property supplemental to the jurisdiction of the cultural agencies as defined in this Act. The implementation and creation of a tourism master plan shall be consistent with this Act;

(b)     The Intramuros Administration which shall be responsible for the restoration and administration of the development in Intramuros;

(c)      The National Parks Development Committee as an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, which shall be responsible in supervising the development (beautification, preservation and maintenance) of Quezon Memorial, Fort Santiago, Luneta, Paco Park, Pook ni Maria Makiling and other national parks and satellite projects;

(d)     The Department of Education which shall be responsible in instituting the governance of basic education act, and the conservation and restoration of its built heritage such as the significant Gabaldon School buildings as determined by the National Historical Institute;

(e)      The Department of Public Works and Highways which shall be responsible in undertaking major infrastructure projects specifically in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of national roads and bridges as they impact on heritage structures or aspects of heritage conservation;

(f)      The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in behalf of the country’s indigenous cultural communities, which shall coordinate with the national agencies on matters pertaining to Cultural Property under its jurisdiction;

(g)     The Department of Environment and Natural Resources which shall be responsible for the establishment and management of the National Integrated Protected Areas System and the conservation of wildlife resources, including cave and cave resources and which shall coordinate with the National Commission on Indigenous peoples, the conservation of natural resources that are cultural sanctuaries of indigenous peoples;

(h)     The Department of the Interior and Local Government which shall coordinate with the national cultural agencies on matters pertaining to Cultural Properties under its jurisdiction, and ensure that the provisions of this Act is properly executed by the local government unit;

(i)       The Office of the Muslim Affairs which shall coordinate with the national cultural agencies on matters pertaining to Cultural Property under its jurisdiction;

(j)       The UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines which shall be responsible for providing the liaison between the cultural agencies of the Philippines and UNESCO as well as assist the national cultural agencies in implementing the agreements and conventions adopted by the UNESCO of which the Philippines has ratified or is in the process of ratification;

(k)     The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board which shall coordinate with the local government units and the Commission on matters pertaining to the establishment and maintenance of Heritage Zones;

(l)       The Autonomous Regional Government in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera Administrative Region which shall coordinate with the national cultural Agencies on matters pertaining to Cultural Property under their respective jurisdictions; and,

(m)   The Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crimes which shall have the oversight and operational capacity to go after illicitly trafficked and stolen cultural treasures.

SECTION 33. Incorporation of Cultural Property Programs in Local Government Units Budgets. – The local government units are encourage to incorporate programs and budgets for the conservation and preservation of Cultural Property in their environmental, educational and cultural activities.

SECTION 34. Training Programs. The Commission, in coordination with the appropriate cultural agencies shall provide general training programs on conservation to the local government units which have established cultural heritage programs and projects in their localities.



SECTION 35. Tax Exemption on Donations. All donations in any form to the Commission and its affiliated cultural agencies shall be exempt from the donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deduction form the gross income in the computation of the income tax of the donor, in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.

SECTION 36. National Heritage Resource Assistance Program. – The Commission may provide financial assistance in the form of a grant to historic, archaeological, architectural, artistic organizations for conservation or research on cultural property. No grant made pursuant to this Act shall be treated as taxable income.

SECTION 37. Awards and Citations. – To encourage preservation of the national heritage, the Commission shall establish an annual conservation recognition program under which monetary prizes, awards and citations will be given by the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Commission, for special achievements and important contributions and services in the area of heritage preservation and conservation efforts.



SECTION 38. Incorporation of National Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Property in the Basic Education System. – Within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, the Department of Education in coordination with the Commission’s Philippine Cultural Education Program shall formulate the cultural heritage education programs both for local and overseas Filipinos to be incorporated into the formal, alternative and informal education, with emphasis on the protection, conservation and preservation of cultural heritage property.

The Philippine Registry of Cultural Property shall likewise be incorporated into the formal, alternative, and informal education by the provincial and local governments.

SECTION 39. Cultural Heritage Education Program. – Within one (1) year from the effectivity of this Act, the Department of Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Commission on higher Education in consultation with the Commission shall set forth in its teaching programs nationwide the following cultural heritage education programs with emphasis at the provincial, city and municipal levels:

(a)      Protection, conservation and preservation of cultural heritage properties;

(b)     Instructional materials in prints, film and broadcast media on the cultural and historical significance of cultural properties; and

(c)      Visitation, public accessibility and information dissemination on designated local cultural properties.

SECTION 40. Public Accessibility. – Access to national historical landmarks, monuments and sites, whether designated as National Cultural Treasure, Important Cultural Property by the general public for visitation and information, and by government representatives for inspection, shall not be hindered except on reasonable cause. Fees, as prescribed by the cultural agency concerned, may in appropriate cases be charged to defray cost of conservation, inclusive of general maintenance and upkeep. In the case of privately owned monuments and sites, the National Historical Institute or the National Museum shall arrange with the owners the schedules of visits and regular inspection.



SECTION 41. Cultural Heritage Workers’ Incentives. The national cultural agencies, in coordination with the Commission on Higher Education shall initiate scholarships, educational training programs, and other measures to protect the well being of curators, conservators, authenticators and valuators/appraisers of cultural property. Such cultural workers shall be given grants, incentives and scholarships upon the endorsement by the head of the appropriate cultural agency.

(a)    Program for Cultural Heritage Workers. Within ninety (90) days from the effectivity of this Act, the Commission through the cultural agencies concerned shall come up with the following:

1)  An active Roster of Authenticators and Valuators/Appraisers;

2) An education and training plan for conservators, authenticators, valuators/appraisers, and other conservation related workers; and

3) A general training plan on conservation for local government units.

(b)   Application of Scientific Career Merit System. Cultural heritage workers in the Civil Service with a Doctorate, Master of Science, or Master of Arts Degree in fields related to cultural heritage promotion and conservation, shall be given the rank and benefits of Scientists, subject to qualifying standards equivalent to those prescribed in the scientific career merit system of the government.

A cultural heritage worker involved in science and technology in the government agencies shall be eligible for the benefits under Republic Act 8439 or the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other S&T Personnel in Government. The Commission shall likewise establish a merit award system for non-civil service cultural heritage workers.



SECTION 42. Creation of Sentro Rizal. – There is hereby created and established a Sentro Rizal whose main purpose is the promotion of Philippine arts, culture and language throughout the world.

SECTION 43.  Overseas Branches or Offices of Sentro Rizal.Sentro Rizal shall have branches or offices in countries where there are children of overseas Filipino workers who need to be educated about their roots, as well as developed countries where there are large Filipino communities.

The office or branch shall be repository, inter alia, of the following materials on Philippine art, culture and language: books, digital video discs, compact discs, films, magazines, artworks, tourism promotion materials, information materials, etc.  all these shall be made available to the public both Filipino and foreign.

SECTION 44.  Coordination and Supervision with Philippine Schools. – The Sentro Rizal shall coordinate and supervise the Philippine Schools for Filipino children overseas.

SECTION 45.  Services Offered. –The Sentro Rizal shall offer Filipino language courses for children and adults, as well as exhibits, small concerts, poetry reading, Philippine cuisine lessons in all Sentro Rizal branches.

SECTION 46.  Provision of Tourism, Trade and Investment Materials to the Sentro Rizal. The Department of Tourism, as well as the Department of Education, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Commission on Higher Education, National Historical Institute, National Archives, National Library, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, shall provide tourism promotion materials to the Sentro Rizal overseas branches. In the same manner, the Department of Trade and Industry will also provide trade and investments materials.

SECTION 47.  Appropriation. –  The amount of One hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00) necessary to carry out the provisions of this article shall be appropriated immediately to be generated from whatever source that are available in the National Treasury.



SECTION 48. Prohibited Acts. – To the extent that the offense is not punishable by a higher punishment under another provision of law, violations of this Act may be made by whoever intentionally:

(a)      Destroys, demolishes, mutilates or damages any world heritage site national cultural treasures important cultural property, and archaeological and anthropological sites;

(b)     Modifies, alters, or destroys the original features of or undertakes construction or real state development in any national shrine, monument, landmark and other historic edifices and structures, declared, classified, and marked by the National Historical Institute as such, without the prior written permission from the Commission. This includes the designated security or buffer zone, extending five (5) meters from the visible perimeter of the monument or site;

(c)      Explores, excavates or undertakes diggings for the purpose of obtaining   materials of cultural historical value without prior written authority from the National Museum. No excavation or diggings shall be permitted without the supervision of a certified archaeologist;

(d)     Appropriates excavation finds contrary to the provisions of the New Civil Code and other pertinent laws;

(e)      Imports, sells, distributes, procures, acquires, or exports cultural property stolen, or otherwise lost against the will of the lawful owner;

(f)      Illicitly exports cultural property listed in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property or those that may be categorized as such upon visitation or incorrectly declares the same during transit; and,

(g)     Deals in cultural property without proper registration and license issued by the cultural agency concerned.

SECTION 49. Penal Provisions. – Upon conviction, the offender shall be subject to a fine of not less than Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) or imprisonment for a term of not less than ten (10) years, or both upon the discretion of the Court: Provided, That any cultural property attempted to be concealed from registration or those intended to be encumbered or excavated in violation of this Act shall be summarily confiscated and forfeited in favor of the Commission: Provided further, That if the violation is committed by a juridical person, the president, manager, representative, director, agent or employee of said juridical person responsible for the act shall also be liable for the penalties provided herein: Provided furthermore, That if the acts are committed by dealers, they shall suffer, in addition to the penalties provide herein, the automatic revocation of their license to operate: Provided finally, That if the offender is an alien, he shall be placed under the custody of the Bureau of Immigration for the appropriate proceedings under this Act, and shall be summarily deported after serving his/her sentence.

Heads of departments, commissions, bureaus, agencies or offices, officers and/or agents found to have intentionally failed to perform their required duty as prescribed by the deputization order under Section  28 of this Act shall be liable for nonfeasance and shall be penalized in accordance with applicable laws.

If the offense involves the non-registration of a cultural property such as those referred to in Section 14, and the non-registration occurs upon or after proper notification by the Commission or the cultural agency concerned, the offender shall be subject to a fine of not less than ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000).

The concerned head of agency, officer and/or employee of the government entities mentioned in Section 31 shall be held liable for failure to consult and coordinate with the Commission for the damage to the cultural property resulting from the implementation of the entity’s program/project, and shall be meted the penalty mentioned in the first paragraph of this section:  Provided, That the offender/s shall likewise be asked to pay for the repair or rebuilding of what has been damaged.



SECTION 50. National Endowment for Culture and the Arts. The sum of Five hundred million pesos (P500,000,000.00) shall be contributed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and/or General Appropriations at the minimum rate of One hundred million pesos (P100,000,000.00) per year for five years, towards the establishment of a National Endowment for Culture and the Arts. Said amount shall be kept separate and deposited in a special account in the Bureau of Treasury specifically earmarked for culture and the arts.



SECTION 51.    Implementing Rules and Regulations. – The Commission, in consultation with other government agencies mentioned in this Act, shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations within ninety (90) days after the effectivity of this Act.

SECTION 52.    Repealing Clause. – Pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 7356, the “Law Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts”; Republic Act No. 8492, the “National Museum Act of 1998”; Republic Act No. 9072, the “National Caves and Cave Resources Management and Protection Act”; and Republic Act No. 7942, the “Philippine Mining Act of 1995”; and all other laws, presidential decrees, executive orders and rules and regulations inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SECTION 53.    Separability Clause. – Any portion or provision of this Act that may be declared unconstitutional shall not have the effect of nullifying other portions or provisions hereof as long as such remaining provisions can still subsist  and be given effect.

SECTION 54.    Effectivity Clause. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.


PROSPERO C. NOGRALESSpeaker of the House of Representatives JUAN PONCE ENRILEPresident of the Senate

This Act which is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3014 and House Bill No. 6733 was finally passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on December 14, 2009 and December 16, 2009, respectively.

MARILYN B. BARUA-YAPSecretary general

House of Representatives

EMMA LIRIO-REYESSecretary of the Senate

Approved:                             March 26, 2010


President of the Philippines

Where are the Potsherds? The Kids Got Them.

ResearchBlogging.orgMichael Schiffer emphasized the importance of the study of formation processes to better understand people-object interactions through time. In his book, natural and cultural processes (n-transforms and c-transforms as he called them) should be understood if we were to interpret the archaeological record.

The natural processes (or n-transforms) include weathering, erosion, natural disasters, chemical and biotic agents which structures the archaeological deposit. These natural processes need to be understood well because this has a bearing on the state of the archaeological record. For example, Schiffer mentioned that warmer and humid temperatures are conducive to bacterial and fungi growth, thus making certain artifacts in these contexts disintegrate faster.

C-transforms are transformations in the archaeological record brought about by human action. Examples of c-transforms are the following: discarding, recycling, heirlooms, and deliberate and accidental destruction. Some archaeologists, like William Walker, studied ceremonial trash to follow the material remains of religious behavior, suggesting that votive artifacts go through a different life history.

For this blogpost, I will be showing pictures of a children’s game that could perhaps be the reason why potsherds are seldom seen in some sites (OK, potsherds are the most visible of all artifacts. But please bear with me and hear my story on how kids may have reduced potsherd frequency in the archaeological record). I played this game as a kid with other children from the neighborhood (and so did my parents, grandparents, and perhaps several generations before). Until now, this nail-shining game is still played in some parts of my town.

The game starts with the collection of potsherds from the field. Usually, redder potsherds are preferred more because of the orange tinge it leaves on the nails. These sherds are then grounded to fine dust by pounding with a heavier rock. The small pile of finely grounded earth are then rubbed on the nails until it leaves a distinctive shine. This game can go on and on for several months in various households in Leyte. So, the next time Philippine archaeologists ask where the potsherds are, tell them the kids got to them first.

Below are photos of my cousins’ children playing the same game we played as kids:

Step 1. It starts with a broken pot and nail-conscious kids.

2. Pounding the Potsherd to Pieces

3. More pounding

4. Grinding to get the fine earth (used for rubbing on the nails)

5. After the rubbing, nice shiny nails.

6. Look! Shiny Happy Nails!

Walker, W. (1995). Ceremonial Trash? In Expanding Archaeology, edited by J. Skibo, W.H.. Walker, and A.E. Nielsen, pp. 67–79.