Kalesas (horse-drawn carriages) wait for tourists within the Vigan Heritage Village.

Kalesas (horse-drawn carriages) wait for tourists within the Vigan Heritage Village in front of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia. © Bettina Beer 2015

3 cultural and 2 natural world heritage sites are located in the Philippines. In 1999 UNESCO designated the town of Vigan a cultural world heritage site. Vigan is one of the oldest Spanish colonial cities in the Philippines. Today it is the capital of the Province of Ilocos Sur, about 400 km north of Manila. It is a highly relevant case from a rights-based perspective. The nomination process, including the consultation process between local government officials and stakeholders, alongside comprehensive heritage-based development planning is generally perceived as exemplary. The site was recently awarded the UNESCO best practices award. State party reflections include an emphasis on participative governance, ownership and empowerment central themes in rights-based approaches. The research team will focus on the implementation process and participation of different stakeholders, exploring areas of conflicts (over concepts, positions and interests) that involve or implicate rights issues.

An anthropological approach to thesequestions aims to facilitate the expression of the local communities’ perspectives to be rendered understandable across and between social groups, locally and internationally. In practical terms, knowledge production through this study is geared towards the process of translation into policy and easily understandable frameworks and guidelines for viability and implementation in the local and global continuum of agencies. Qualitative assessments will also be undertaken with key national actors in Manila and opportunities for collaboration on national round tables will be explored with the World Heritage Advisory Bodies.

© Bettina Beer 2015

Part of the housing project that was funded by a private donor, with the Rotary Club and City Government of Vigan as project implementors. © Bettina Beer 2015

Properties inscribed on the World Heritage List (6)

Bettina Beer (team leader), Malot Ingel (researcher), Kay Malilong-Isberto (legal specialist), Sara Dürr (research assistant)

Policy briefs can be accessed and downloaded here:

The Historic Town of Vigan: Preliminary Findings from the Case Study

World Heritage in Philippine Ancestral Domains: Negotiating Rights through Indigenous Heritage

© Bettina Beer 2015

C. Ablog of the coastal community of Mindoro, Vigan, working on the two-pedal wooden loom to create a textile with the kusikos (whirlpool) design. © Bettina Beer 2015