Postscript to Gabii sa Kabilin
The 6th Gabii sa Kabilin was different from the previous ones because it did not only focus on museums. For the first time it involved historic buildings including academic buildings which played a role in World War II, historic sites, parks, monuments, plazas, and temples. With buses transporting visitors from one route to another and some came on foot, more people were aware of the event. Even the guards at UP Cebu observed the architecture and structure of the building not to mention the narration of the history of the building.
With the expanded scope of the Gabii sa Kabilin, it would be helpful if there is a coordination of all point persons of the historic venues. These would be people who know the historical background of the place, building or site, and can mobilize the community surrounding the place or building, and train tour guides from the community to tell the stories behind the heritage site or building. These can be students of the academic institutions. This would require a general training in tour guiding with substance – meaning, no invention of stories just to entertain the visitors. There are many young unemployed professionals or graduates waiting for job opportunities. Maybe the organizers can tap them for the Gabi sa Kabilin. Training could start in the first two weeks of May including the guided tour of all the places, sites, buildings, in the itinerary.
While the Gabii sa Kabilin takes place for one day in May, for the rest of the year, the Cebu city government could make representations with the universities located in areas that are very historical and attractive to tourists. For example, the University of San Jose-Recoletos could take the lead in the development of Carbon Market area extending to Pasil; the University of Cebu and the University of the Visayas can take charge of the development of Colon Area; while the Cebu Institute of Technology University can take charge of the area near the South Road Properties. What is common among these universities is that they have a tourism degree program.
Since classes for private schools will open next week, we suggest a few activities for the Social Studies or History classes to include tour guiding as part of the class activity. It will be more fun. This entails starting with the historic sites, building, or park monument or plaza just within the vicinity of the school. This also includes the streets where the schools are located. Then they can tell the story about their place, their school, etc. Students enjoy more if they are taught how to document. Its important for the teacher to know how to conduct a tour and how to control a group. What should not be forgotten is to evaluate the activities. Let them write about what they observe in the tour. In school, tap the very talented ones who are proficient in both English and Cebuano, not just the beauty queens on campus.
Media practitioners are not so keen about the extent of the Gabii sa Kabilin. Perhaps there should be more literature on the participating institutions and the communities. These participants should come more from the community. Maybe plan the activity with the communities involved. Holding a Gabii sa Kabilin in the towns is interesting, but it would be more meaningful and participatory if it is held in one of the evenings before the town fiesta because many town residents come home for the event.
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Now that the Cebu provincial town history project is finished, with only the printing and launching of the 55 volumes awaiting, there have been suggestions to organize a Cebu historical society for many reasons. Foremost is the need to write and clarify some historical issues on certain events in Cebu’s history. A few (the very conscientious ones) have been encouraged to do more research and write about their towns or cities.
The town history writing project is the first in the country. Some friends in the academe are awaiting the release so they could replicate the project in their province. But the historical society should not just be academic, it should be community oriented. I support the suggestion but I would be very particular about the composition of the historical society. Those who wish to join should have a passion for history, eager to do research, not hold on to their stock knowledge, be willing to present a lecture, publish articles or monographs or books, organize a lecture series, conduct a heritage and historical tour, and most of all attend all meetings and related activities.
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