Exploring Philippines Heritages in Central Luzon
A SEACHA trip, jointly organised by the Heritage Conservation Society of the Philippines and The Siam Society.
In the central region of the island of Luzon lies the heart of the Philippines’ cultural heritage. This 5-day tour will allow visitors to experience the complex interweaving of indigenous Malay, Spanish and American colonial, and Chinese immigrant strands that are the roots of today’s vibrant and colourful Philippine culture and identity. We shall immerse ourselves in many aspects of Philippine culture during the tour—architecture, handicrafts, agricultural heritage, cuisine, and way of life – and learn about the local heritage conservation movement.
Our tour will take us to the Tagalog heartland provinces of Antipolo, Laguna and Bulacan, the culinary capital of Pampanga, and Manila, the Philippine capital since 1571, with its multiple layers of history and cultural influences.
The Heritage Conservation Society of the Philippines (HCS) is the prime mover and advocate for the preservation of Philippine-built heritage, through advocacy and volunteerism, project implementation, education and information, to contribute toward the establishment of a Society that preserves and values its cultural heritage.
The Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance (SEACHA) is a digital-based network of civil society organisations in ASEAN countries that are engaged in cultural heritage conservation work. It aims to promote effective government-community partnership in cultural heritage management in Southeast Asia, to strengthen the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community as a people-centred third pillar of ASEAN and serve both as a networking forum between ASEAN member organisations, with an aim to be a dialogue partner of ASEAN governments and the ASEAN secretariat further.
สยามสมาคมในพระบรมราชูปถัมภ์ is a Thai cultural non-profit organisation that promotes the study and knowledge-sharing of cultures, history, arts, and heritage conservation of Thailand and its neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. The Society’s activities are guided by its motto: “Knowledge Gives Rise to Friendship”.
Dr Ivan Anthony Henares is a Board Member of the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance (SEACHA) and Chairperson of the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS). He is also serving as Secretary-General, UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, Commissioner (Deputy Minister) for Cultural Heritage, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Assistant Professor, University of the Philippines, and Secretary General, ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee (ICTC).
Mr Jim Stent has been a member of The Siam Society since 1979. He had a career in banking in Asia until his retirement and has been a cultural heritage advocate for over 20 years. Serving on the board of Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, and as Chairperson of the Siamese Heritage Trust of The Siam Society from 2011 – 2019. He is a member of the Council of the Siam Society and an Advisor to the Executive Board of the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance.
The tentative programme will be as follows:
|Day 1: Wednesday, 6 March: Bangkok – Manila – Alabang|
|10:20||Meet at Don Mueang International Airport and check in at the AirAsia counter.|
|12:20||Depart Bangkok to Manila by AirAsia flight Z2 286|
|Arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport
* For those who will be flying from your country of origin, please choose a flight that will arrive before 17:00. Please be informed that you will have to travel to the hotel by yourself and you must meet the group at the Viere Hotel before 18:00 for dinner.
Proceed to Alabang, and check in at the Vivere Hotel.
There will be a trip briefing and Filipino Flair welcome dinner at the hotel’s Picasso Room on the 31st floor/ rooftop together with the guide and Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) Trustees. A member of HCS will provide a high-level introduction to highlights of Philippine history and culture.
|–||Overnight at the Vivere Hotel, Alabang|
|Day 2: Thursday, 7 March: Alabang – Pakil – Paete – Lumbun – Quezon City|
|Breakfast at the hotel
Check out of the hotel. We will head to Laguna Province, which lies in the south of Manila and is home to the biggest fresh-water lake in the county – Laguna de Bay. In the 16th century, Catholic Spanish Franciscan friars established colonial towns around the area.
|The group will visit one of the historic mission complexes as well as local ateliers of traditional crafts which Laguna is known for. The first stop is an 18th-century, richly decorated Catholic Church, San Pedro de Alcantara Church in Pakil, characteristic of Philippine culture.
The next town, Paete, is known around the country for its centuries-old tradition of woodcarving, which we will see in the Santiago Apostol Church. Also in the church are large wall paintings on wood panels by Luciano Dans: Heaven, Earth, Hell, and two large murals of San Cristobal. Dans used natural colour pigments mixed with volcanic ash and brushes made from cats’ hair to create the murals.
The group will walk around the town and visit Museo Ac-Ac, home to the works of one of the town’s foremost wood sculptors, Luisito Ac-Ac, and see him in action.
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant|
|The last stop in Laguna is the town of Lumban, known for its “calado” style of embroidery that dates to the Spanish colonial period, meticulously embroidered by hand on a variety of fabrics such as piña (pineapple), jusi, organza, and cotton. The group will learn about the intricacies of Lumban embroidery and the Barong Tagalog, the Philippine national dress for men.
Visit the Pinto Museum in Antipolo, Rizal, and we will be introduced to the vibrant contemporary and emerging art scene.
Late in the afternoon, we will arrive where we will stay in Quezon City, at the Seda Vertis North Hotel.
|Evening:||Dinner at own arrangement at the hotel or the nearby restaurants|
|–||Overnight at Seda Vertis North Hotel, Quezon City|
|Day 3: Friday, 8 March: Quezon City – Malolos – Pulilan – San Fernando|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel|
|Check out of the hotel. The group will head towards the north of Manila and will explore Bulacan province, with visits to Malolos, the historic revolutionary capital of 1899, and a community-based, artist-run, agri-educational farm in Pulilan.
In Malolos, we will visit the Barasoain Church. This church was the site of the First Philippine Congress, otherwise known as the Malalos Congress, which convened on 15 September 1898, to draft what would become the Malolos Constitution. On 21 January 1899, the Malolos Constitution was ratified. This inaugurated the First Philippine Republic in January.
Then visit the residence of Dr Luis Santos, a private heritage home that is considered one of the grandest Art Deco homes in the country. The group will also visit another private home, the heritage home of the Tiongson family repurposed into what is now the Museum of the Incarnation, to learn about Catholic Filipino Easter traditions. It houses some of the most stunning processional images and other ecclesiastical art pieces displayed using old mesa altars and antique reproductions of urnas, from his own commissioned collection, as well as centuries-old images of noted santero, Francsico Vecin.
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant at Museo Pulong Kabyawan, and explore the community-based, artist-run, eco-tourism farm to learn about the traditions, issues and challenges facing Bulacan’s agricultural heritage.|
|Proceed to the town of Pulilan. In the town of Pulilan, we will learn about the traditions and challenges of local agriculture in a private artist-run, eco-tourism farm in Lnaon Village, the brainchild of heritage conservationist, Andrew de Guzman.
After the farm experience, the group will proceed to San Fernando, Pampanga, and check in at Microtel Pampanga to freshen up before dinner.
|Dinner at Everybody’s Cafe, a culinary institution in Pampanga. Founded by Carmen “Indang” Mameng Santos back in 1967, the café is a turo-turo (point) style canteen. A variety of traditional Kapampangan food is on offer including their showcase dish, the morcon (meat roll), healthy pako (fiddlehead fern) salad, the exotic camaru (sauteed crickets), betute (deep-fried frog), and pindang damulag (carabao meat jerky).
Overnight at Microtel, San Fernando
|Day 4: Saturday, 9 March: San Fernando – Manila|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel|
|Check out of the hotel
At the heart of Central Luzon, the province of Pampanga was the region’s breadbasket for centuries. Among Filipinos, Kapampangans are known for their artistry and regional cuisine, an eclectic combination of indigenous Pampango and Spanish colonial flavours.
Visit a San Fernando Lantern Factory, and learn about the Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991 at the half-buried church of San Guillermo church in the town of Bacolor, and the Betis Church, a Baroque-style church located in the Betis District of Guagua.
|Noon:||A home-cooked lunch and lecture on Kapampangan culinary traditions will be experienced at Alviz Farm, a secret hideaway tucked in the suburbs of Santa Rita. In the centre of the sprawling farm is a wood and Capiz country villa overlooking a fishpond and rice fields. The place was intended as a family rest house, a venue for gatherings, but has now been opened to the public by reservation. When Martha Stewart visited the farm in 2019, the Alviz family brought out their heirloom dishes with matriarch, Trinidad Pascual Alviz, watching over the cooking.|
|Afternoon:||After a relaxing afternoon at the farm, the group will return to Manila and proceed to The Manila Hotel.|
|Dinner with HCS Trustees will be at the rooftop of the Bayleaf Hotel, which provides a sweeping view of the Manila skyline.
Overnight at Manila Hotel in Manila
|Day 5: Sunday, 10 March: Manila – Bangkok|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel|
|Early check out. Manila, the capital of the Philippines for over four centuries, is a melting pot of communities and cultures that weave together the native Tagalog, Chinese immigrant, Spanish colonial, and American legacies.
A tour of the nearby Museum of Fine Arts and a tour of Intramuros the old Spanish colonial walled city, in a horse-drawn calesa can cap the day’s activities.
Lunch at your own arrangement at Illustrado or Barbara’s
Transfer to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
Depart Manila to Bangkok by AirAsia flight Z2 288
Arrive Don Mueang International Airport
The organisers reserve the right to change the programme as necessary.
Please be informed that the contribution should be made to the SEACHA account, kindly follow the payment instructions below. Contribution of THB 63,000, Single room surcharge of THB 9,500. A deposit of THB 25,000 and a photocopy of the identification page on your passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. The final payment will be required 30 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Tuesday, 6 February 2024). Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance”. Transfer or remittance can be made to the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance account at TMBThanachart Bank (ttb), saving account no. 909-2-19074-4. SWIFT Code TMBKTHBK. Kindly note that the foreign bank charges or bank remittance fees should be paid by the Applicant/Sender, the deposit and final payment should be in full amount with “Thai Baht” only. Once payment has been made, please send the deposit or transfer docket to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please always check the email address before you reply, if it is reply to email@example.com, kindly change the address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The contribution includes accommodation (double sharing basis), meals as mentioned in the programme, transportation and sightseeing cars, entrance fees, gratuities, basic accident insurance and other costs incurred to make this trip possible.
- The contribution excludes all air tickets from the country of origin, foreign bank charges or bank remittance fees, Visa fees, 2 meals as mentioned in the programme (dinner on day 2 and lunch on day 5), personal expenses, personal food and beverage consumptions, etc.
Please note that the flight itinerary between Bangkok – Manila – Bangkok mentioned in the programme only serves as a suggestion for those who will travel from Bangkok. Trip participants can travel with their airlines of choice from their country of origin for their journey to Manila and their return.
Tourist Visa Policy
For ASEAN, Japan, EU, UK and US passport holders, no visa is required for a stay not exceeding 21 days. Travellers must hold a valid ticket for the return journey to their country of origin or the next country of destination and a passport valid for a period of at least six (6) months beyond the stay in the Philippines.
The Philippines visa policy is quite lenient. Passport holders from several countries can travel to the Philippines visa-free. Additionally, nearly everyone can get a Philippines Visa on Arrival.
However, unless you are from one of the countries that can travel to the Philippines visa-free, you have to apply for a visa before you enter. Please check your visa policy by the link: https://visaguide.world/asia/philippines-visa/who-needs-philippines-visa/
To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies and to facilitate smooth working conditions between The Siam Society and the tour agencies, please carefully read the revised cancellation policies stated below:
|50 days before the start of the trip:||Deposit forfeited|
|35 days before the start of the trip:||50% of the tour cost|
|Less than 20 days or cancellation without notice:||No refund|
Due to a lower number of worldwide infections, many countries have relaxed their travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in regard to Covid-19.
Nevertheless, when traveling as a group, The Siam Society would like to remind you of the following measures that we have put in place:
– We kindly ask that our trip participants perform a self-administered ATK test prior to the commencement of the trip. Participants are also asked to carry along with them multiple sets of ATK test kits, along with their preferred set of medicines (for consumption if infected with Covid-19).
– In the event that trip participants are tested positive during the trip, the group will continue to follow the planned itinerary. To ensure the health and safety of all trip participants, those who tested positive shall adhere to appropriate self-isolation measures as directed by the trip leader.
– Those tested positive with severe symptoms shall be treated in accordance with the health measures stipulated by the local government. Medical costs in excess of the insurance coverage shall be at the expense of the trip participant(s).
– Our staff and local tour operators will constantly provide you with the latest updates on local health and safety regulations.
For further information and bookings, please contact Khun Thun at 02-661-6470-3 ext. 205 or email@example.com. The Society office is open from 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Saturday.