Two rich learning experiences PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 11:54



In the last three weeks or so I have had the privilege of attending two ADZU-sponsored events which  I found mentally stimulating and provocative to more careful thinking.

The first one was a forum on the topic of the BBL  and organized for ADZU faculty,  staff and a number of selected students. The resource persons for the forum were well chosen: Atty. Antonio Lavina and Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR.  Atty. Lavina spoke mainly on the legal aspects of the BBL while Bro. Gaspar dealt with the historical background of the tri-people population of Mindanao, particularly those in the BASULTA  and in the Central Mindanao areas.  Because the speakers spoke with confidence on the topics within their own professional expertise with little of the emotional and intellectual baggage that many speakers usually project, I believe this led to a quicker understanding of the topics and more appreciation of how we need to  work together to promote the success of the Bangsamoro Entity.

The second event was a small forum that dealt with the topic of  heritage site conservation presented by Fr. Rene Javellana, a renowned Jesuit who is an art historian. He gave a down-to-earth presentation on the topic of  Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines.  The  topic  covered how these fortifications were constructed and naturally led to the matter of how these sites, some of which exist to this day and have become heritage sites, have to be conserved and/or restored. This touched on the matter of the recent issue of the conservation work on Fort Pilar  which stirred a hornet’s nest in our city recently.

The Q and A portion which followed Fr Javellana’s presentation demonstrated to me that many Zamboaguenos identify very strongly with Fort Pilar, not just as a religious shrine but also as a notable link with our history as a city.

If my recollection is correct the issue flared when one day it became evident that the walls of the buildings that make up the museum  inside the fort were white rather than the brick red that people had become accustomed to seeing. The reaction against this was strong and quick. Many  took to social media and expressed their reactions, many of which were hostile.

With Fr Javellana’s presentation of the practice of using paletada in the construction of forts and similar structures in times long past, and the use of this same technique in restoration and conservation of such structures, things became clearer. To me anyway who,  till the lecture, knows practically nothing of this matter.

I appreciate the privilege of having attended these two fora.  But I also have the disquieting feeling that this is something that should be carefully considered.  How can learning experiences like the BBL forum and the Fr. Javellana lecture be replicated so that more people can profit from the learning experience?