Cross-posted at kaigorotan.com
UPDATE: For pictures of this soon to be dismantled Ifugao hut, visit The Nashman’s blog.
Well, we don’t know much about this story. But here are the facts which we gleaned from the announcement here:
- The Ifugao hut is presently located at the Philippine embassy in London.
- It was brought all the way from Kiangan.
- The embassy is moving to a new address.
- They haven’t found a suitable new home for the Ifugao hut.
- So they are performing a “death” ritual for the hut on December 15, 2007 (10:00 am).
Now the question is, who brought the hut to London, the government? And did embassy officials have sufficient time to find a new place or a new custodian for the hut?
Because if the answers to both questions happen to be “Yes” then I think they should have done more (or should do more) than this “death” ritual they are planning.
And what exactly are they going to do to the hut? Burn it? Cannibalize it? That is its end after it served its purpose of “showcasing” our culture?
Should we be shocked? I am. You can dispose of your used tissue paper, old clothes, or relationships gone awry but you should not be disposing heritage objects like this Ifugao hut. Especially if you are the government that should have the resources to preserve these kinds of things.
I guess I’m a bit mad with what is going to happen to this Ifugao hut because the last time I was in my village back home, I noticed that the last inatep (Sagada traditional house) was no longer where it used to stand? Apparently, the owner found the inatep hard to maintain, decided to build a house with a GI roof, and sold the inatep to an antique buyer so he can use the money to buy GI sheets.
I was sad that we lost the last reminder of what houses were like in the old days. But I understand why the owner did what he did. You can say that his decision is excusable.
Now, it is hard to excuse this death ritual that the Philippine embassy is planning in London. They are going to destroy a heritage object just because they are moving to another address? How short-sighted is that? Did their landlord suddenly kick them out so they didn’t have enough time to think of more creative ways to save the hut.
I do not think any other nation will ever entertain the idea of doing something like this. But the Philippines, with its very bad sense of heritage conservation, not only entertains the idea. It continues to destroy its heritage mindlessly.