When this is all over, we can look forward to a Nayong Pilipino as we had envisioned it: a world-class tourism hub and a platform for reimagining the nation.
A Nayon for Healing
Last October 2019, the Cabinet approved the development of the Nayong Pilipino Cultural Park and Creative Hub at the Entertainment City, New Seaside Road, in Parañaque, Metro Manila.
The site is the property of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF), one identified with high cultural, historical, heritage and eco-tourism values because of its proximity to the Las Piñas–Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA). The NPF Cultural Park and Creative Hub was intended not only as a place to learn about our natural and cultural heritage but also as a venue for promoting sustainable tourism.
Under Presidential Decree No. 37, the NPF is mandated to promote, encourage, and initiate research and development projects and activities in social sciences and the humanities. NPF’s purpose, among others, is to establish parks and recreation centers for the promotion of sustainable tourism in the Philippines and generate opportunities for creating vibrant and empowered communities. Nayong Pilipino’s original mandate, through Presidential Decree No. 37, has always been the preservation of Filipino culture and heritage, yet it is little known that the mandate also includes implementing welfare programs for social improvement, upliftment, and amelioration.
We also recognize that many Filipinos have been looking forward to its inevitable resurgence because the Nayong Pilipino was home to countless memories with Filipino families, friends, and visitors in our country.
However, following the announcement of Republic Act 11469 Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, we must temporarily suspend the implementation of the project and direct all our efforts in averting the public health and economic crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NPF’s land in Entertainment City, Paranaque, has been delegated as the site of one of many new quarantine facilities to be raised in the following months, and the largest in Metro Manila. It was only this January when we announced the vision for the Cultural Park and Creative Hub, which is to be the home to permanent and temporary exhibitions, performances, multimedia content, and other activities that would highlight various facets of the country’s cultural heritage.
Parks and gardens have been considered as spaces of peace and healing, where we can be one with nature and its growth. In the midst of a metropolitan region, parks provide the benefits of nature to our physical, emotional, and mental health. The Nayong Pilipino Foundation Cultural Park and Creative Hub, while initially planned and designed for a different purpose, will therefore still remain true to its mandate by providing a place of healing for the people and the preservation of our heritage. A nation’s heritage includes its people. As the world continues to battle this pandemic and transmission in the Philippines is still rising, our priority is to ensure the health of our citizens. We have to work together to make sure that everyone has access to testing and treatment so that we can finally control the contagion that has ravaged our economy for months.
One day, the future NPF Cultural Park shall be a heritage space for the benefit of the public. We shall stroll along paths in our urban forest and pocket gardens, learn about Philippine flora, and watch children run free in open spaces. A library shall be built as a repository of knowledge products free and open to the public. We shall share meaningful conversations about our future museum with a permanent collection of ethnographic objects. The NPF Cultural Park shall also be a venue for training future cultural leaders. It shall be a place that enshrines inclusivity, creativity, collaboration, and innovation.
When this is all over, we can look forward to a Nayong Pilipino as we had envisioned it: a world-class tourism hub and a platform for reimagining the nation. That reimagining begins here, as we become the nation that overcomes these great challenges through our uniquely Filipino spirit of Bayanihan.
Our Nayong Pilipino shall be a Nayon for all.
Thank you and Mabuhay.