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(By: Mimi Cabate-Cabral of El Nido, Palawan)

            Traveling along Northwest of the Pacific, leaving Bainbridge with a very energetic tour guide and Driver (hanks to Lace) and Mr. Wade Trenbeath, who accompanied us there. I can’t explain how happy I was that day to see forest (of Big trees of evergreen and cedar). The world must see this part of the earth, here is the greenery protected by the tribe. It is indeed a living museum, a mute witness of the highly spirited Makah people who hunted animals for food, clothing and shelter.

                   At Makah Museum, we saw lots of interesting objects, or copies of artifacts, gathered by this wise, brave and strong Indian nation. The whaling scene featured a painting, with men enduring harsh wave and wind, paddling against sea current. They’d brave so dangerous task, like what the man did, by jumping out of the canoe with a cord a knife whale, to prevent the giant fish from submerging. On the other hand, you can think of how hard is the cedar wood, which made into a pointed paddle, useful to attack the animal. Even the canoe has the ability to stand against banging the mammal.

      Now, I understand why the ancient Europeans, brave the sea, and the wars of this challenging………New World……Because it has a promise of beautiful landscape, from rich land, forest to seas.

                All I can say is:”Museums of the Northwest are the best to see.”



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(By: Mimi Cabate-Cabral of El Nido, Palawan)

        In approaching the entrance to the Burke Museum, there are two handsomely sculpted TOTEM POLES, seems to greet every visitors. Inside we meet the curators and other staff: Peter Lape, Brooke and Mary. Ms. Lace Thornberg introduced us to them. Their displays of collections vary from small artifacts, photographs, canoe, fishing and agricultural skills and creativity….But wait ‘till you see the other parts of the edifice. With everything therein, you will hold your breath in amazement.

          Artifacts collections from the other parts of the world are arranged nicely and systematically, same as the ones collected from every parts of U.S. But for me, it was the history of the Indian Nations and everything about them that were the most interesting things. The photographs; “On the wall was the reminiscense of the once foreboding kingdoms, empire or village, under wise and strong leaders.” Who did were the great heroes in their country? (I got more answers upon reaching Suquamish Museum) Shamans in their ceremonial uniforms, rattle and medicine bag, headdress of feathered war bonnets or same thing that speaks of their ranks as warrior, or in the tribe. Chiefs and his family wore colorful clothing, adorned with beads and seashells, especially dentalia shells and their jewelries made out of twigs of silver and turquoise, all artistically crafted.

         There in the pictures of their houses you could see how women handled household chores, is hand task for family’s survival, Much more the time of freezing months. Tepees made of logs and hides of cow, hogan of logs, stone and earth, and the apartment kind of stone and sundried clay houses (adobe) of the prehistoric people who forged every kind of tools; from a variety of knives, arrowheads, hammers, scrappers, and spear points out of stones. This made me imagine their men, hauling whale or reindeer and bear etc, on their shoulder and on their backs. As the children and women meet them with joy. Then a few hours later, you’ll see Women busy in the fish and meat drying area.

        Then I realized how gracious is the supreme spirit being, who also gifted this nation with lakes and seas full of salmon, shrimps, clams and whale. Out of the forest; plants, trees like maples and cedars of different colors for foods and clothing.

        The canoe, which is used by family travels or fishing or war boats during enemy’s attempt of invasion. It show the patience of the builders, from cutting cedar, chopping and splitting with wedges, to form a tub in the inner portion, from the hull and the area where a man with a paddle used as rudder sit, to the front tip.

         About their colorful textile: Women are gathering roots, leaves and barks. These were extracted to collect the sap used to dye the fabrics  directly or the threads before it is being dried, after that it is rolled in a spool and set on their looms, to begin textile wearing. Indian women, I noticed, through their colorful dresses of other garments, and produced blankets and carpets, have the expertise in creating patterns of triangles and geometrical designs, while working (Spinning their looms). There’s art everywhere: The portion of the Burke Museum featuring needle works of artist who are members  of women.

          The exhibit “Empowering Women through Cooperatives” has also fascinating arts. You can see through it the broad imaginations of the artists, who made the quilt and other artworks, with finery. (Such masterpieces). In the Burke room, during our welcome reception, I was amazed with lots of stencils made by talented stencil painting artists.

          Our last visit in the museum is the highlight of our visiting Seattle. From weapons to shields, fine silk, baskets, etc. — name it and the museum is sure to have it. And the most exciting, holding our very own Philippines flag of 1899, for photographs.

           Thank you, American People, I was really so impressed.

A Day at Wing Luke Museum

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DSC_2775[ by Arvin L. Acosta, Participant, Tourism Officer of El Nido] Of all museums we visited in Seattle, Wing Luke Museum is the most interesting for me. Interesting because this museum talks more about the people, their struggle to make a living, their sufferings and their inspirations. It talks about the story of Asians, leaving their family to work abroad in order to feed them.

Archaeological and cultural artifacts at the Burke museum really amazed me, but Wing Luke touches the heart. It chose to talk more about persons than things. It could be a powerful tool to transform visitors and maybe the people living in the area.

It also talks about involvement of the community in deciding what to display and this model is all I want to happen in Sibaltan. I asked Jessica, the curator of the museum, if community-based curation is possible. Lace Thornberg, the project manager of “Ancient Shores, Changing Tides” museum connect project, gave her opinion. She disagreed with me citing that curation is both artistic and technical. Jessica agreed with her.

I felt sad sad upon hearing that. I reflected for days and said to myself, “We should sacrifice aesthetics for the sake of authenticity and community ownership.” I finally decided to ask the opinion of Dr. Peter Lape and was delighted by his reply, “Yes. It’s possible.” Upon hearing this, I asked Lace if we can conduct Community-Based Curation Training in Sibaltan. She agreed with me this time.

As I returned to the Philippines, I have plotted already in mind the training and workshop design. Lace and Peter already gave me the names of persons who can help us.

Certainly, Wing Luke will influence Sibaltan’s proposed Social Museum. However, Wing Luke will stay as one of the museums in Seattle with a soul of its own. Sibaltan museum on the other hand will learn from it and evolve on it’s own, with the community as  its own curators who will tell the story of the people awakened to love their way of life. I know visitors will love this story and they will love this more when they hear that these stories were made beautiful by the people themselves. But, the most beautiful thing i want to see is the pride of the people of Sibaltan that they can also be curators, just like the experts.

We are ready for the cold US trip

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We are ready for the cold US trip

From left: mimi, rico, robert, marelie and arvin

Team Philippines

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Team Philippines is composed of heritage advocates from the Sibaltan Heritage Council, El Nido, Palawan and the Palawan State University, Philippines. Our team members are:Image


Arvin is the tourism director for El Nido. Both personally and professionally, he is leading cultural tourism development projects in Sibaltan. He will convene the video conference calls and lead the tourism management workshops.  


Carmelita is the “barangay captain” of Sibaltan, El Nido, Palawan, which is the equivalent of the mayor. As such, she is responsible for all community betterment projects, including the “Balay Cuyonon” and the other cultural heritage projects in Sibaltan. She’s also Arvin’s mother, and, generally speaking, the community’s matriarch figure.  


Enrico is the president of the Sibaltan Heritage Council and a local community college instructor. He will ensure that the heritage council is involved in the logistics of setting up the heritage workshops and also attending them and journaling about the experience.  As president, he will head up the council’s work creating the exhibits.


Mimi is a longtime employee of the Palawan Island Paleohistoric Research Project and the local champion for the archaeology project in New Ibajay, Palawan. She is the unofficial/official Cuyonon tribal chief. She will provide a personal historical perspective on the Cuyonon settlement on Palawan Island. 


Robert is the secretary of the Sibaltan Heritage Council and a Filipino teacher at Sibaltan High School. He will be in charge of developing the exchange boxes that are sent to Suquamish.


Marelie is a college student at Palawan Sate University. She will serve as a project assistant for the Non-US Project Coordinator. Including her on the team helps us to fulfill our goal of exposing young students to the concepts of heritage management. She will assist with our social media and promotion on the PSU campus.  


Amid Three Empires: the Philippines Under Spain, the United States, and Japan (1565-1946), Vicente Rafael

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This looks like an interesting talk for people who want to learn more about the history of the Philippines.

Saturday University—Empires that Changed Asia 
Amid Three Empires: the Philippines Under Spain, the United States, and Japan (1565-1946), Vicente Rafael 
October 26, 2013
9:30–11 am
Stimson Auditorium, Seattle Asian Art Museum

Vicente Rafael, Professor of History, University of Washington, examines the emergence of the Philippine nation-state. How did its multi-lingual population and mixed race elites resist and accommodate the forces of imperial powers? The Philippines remains both central and peripheral to the globalized histories of Europe, North America and Northeast Asia.


Ille cave and rockshelter archaeological site, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

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habitation and burial sites
habitation and burial sites

The 9000 years old cremation burial is just one of the significant finds on this site. Our archaeological research also showed evidence that ancient human inhabited the cave as early as 12000 years ago.

The Ille cave and rockshelter site will be one of the venues  for our project’s  archaeological workshop.