National Heritage Month

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May is the National Heritage Month (or Filipino Heritage Month) with its month-long festival of exhibits, performances, tours, processions, paradises and poetical jousts celebrating our historical landmarks and traditions.

Proclamation 439

The National Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of May in accordance to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation No. 439 on 11 August 2003, “declaring the month of May of every year as National Heritage Month. The event is in recognition of the need to create among the people a consciousness, respect, and pride for the legacies of Filipino cultural history, and love of country.”

Annual Celebration

Every year, events organizers including the Filipino Heritage Festival, Inc. (FHFI) President Armita Rufino and Finance Officer Araceli Salas propose a set of cultural activities to make the Filipinos aware of the Philippine traditions, practices and other wonders. During the entire month, they try to feature as many barrios, towns and cities as possible, and the locals of these places are very much receptive towards the visitors who come and see their cultural treasures.

Preparation for the month-long event usually takes a year to organize and complete, with so many things to coordinate with the cultural groups and local government units.

The entire entire heritage month activities are conducted in participation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Department of Tourism. Other partners include Air Philippines, the Intercontinental Hotel, the Mandarin Hotel, Philippine Airlines, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Ayala Museum, Robinsons Malls, Rustan’s, Security Bank Corporation, Tanduay Distillers, Inc., and the local governments of the cities and provinces involved.

Aside from promoting the cultural and historical consciousness to the people and supporting the tourism industry, the celebration also aims to unite the Filipinos through various activities that will try to bridge the gaps and instill understanding and peace among them.

National Heritage Month 2009

The theme for 2009 was "Awit at Sayaw", which paid tribute to the country's rich heritage of festivals, dance and music. Naga City hosted the opening activities of the National Heritage Month. According to then Mayor Jesse M. Robredo of Naga, the city was chosen by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Filipino Heritage Festival, Inc. (FHFI) to be the kick-off venue of the nationwide festival.

The activities started last April 29, 2009 with the opening of Museo Seminario Conciliar for the Historico-Clerico Exhibits to the public. Other activities were held in Naga such as the production number that featured Bicol students performing artists from the cities of Naga and Iriga, dubbed “Bikol Cultural Night” with the theme “Awit at Sayaw sa Maogmang Lugar"; the Bicol Cultural Night; and the dubbed "Gubing Guibong Naga". After the activities in Naga, various events were also held in different parts of the country including Legazpi, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Pampanga, Bulacan, Ilocos, and Metro Manila.

The closing ceremonies on the month-long celebration were held at Antique on May 28 to 30. The locals of Antique had prepared activities including tours of heritage structures, a sampling of folk poetry, Visayan songs, traditional dance, indigenous food, and community theater.

Heritage Month 2009 List of Activities

National Heritage Month 2010

2010's theme for the National Heritage Month was “Preserving the Gift of Faith”. It was launched on 2 May 2010. The cultural activities aimed to promote the historical consciousness of Filipinos through dance, song, visual and culinary arts.

The opening of “Viva Intramuros” in Intramuros, Manila from 30 April to 2 May marked the month-long nationwide celebration. The Loboc's Children's Choir started the festivities with a Misa Baclayana, performed at the Manila Cathedral. Other showcases included the “Intramuros is Forever” photo exhibit and competition, and a Heritage Lecture for Public School Teachers which was presented by University of the Philippines Prof. Felipe de Leon, Jr.

National Heritage Month 2015

In line with the National Heritage Month, the National Museum offered free admission to the public.

The NCCA, together with the Department of Tourism (DOT), led the National Heritage Month celebration. Taoid (Ilocano word for heritage) Heritage Programs included educational tours, heritage pilgrimages, cleanup campaigns, heritage clinics, exhibits, and dance events at various cities and municipalities as well as schools and organizations in different regions. Taoid is the flagship program of the NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage (SCH) led by Fr. Harold Ll. Rentoria, OSA, who’s also commissioner of the NCCA. Local communities and indigenous groups receive assistance in the conservation of their historical, artistic, and architectural interests as well as in the unearthing of their cultural treasures.

Aside from cultural profiling and mapping around the country, the NCCA hosted a concert of various artists and performers in celebration of the National Heritage Month. NHM celebrations were spearheaded by NCCA chair Felipe M. de Leon Jr. and OIC-executive director Adelina M. Suemith. NHM 2015's theme was “Heritage: New Fruits, Ancient Roots.”

National Heritage Month 2021

The theme for 2021 is “Victory and Humanity: Upholding Filipino Heritage and Identity” in solidarity with the Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines or the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan and the anniversary of the Philiippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world.

This year’s event aims to strengthen public awareness and advocate for the conservation and promotion of Philiippine cultural heritage and Filipino identity even in the time of crisis.


For a complete list of National Heritage Month 2021, see this link.




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