TACLOBAN CITY-National Artist for Literature Resil Mojares, along with other experts, will serve as keynote speakers during the “Pagsubay han Aton Kabilin: A Leyte-Samar History and Heritage Forum” organized by the Leyte-Samar Heritage Society, Inc. (LSHSI) on June 6-7, 2024, at the historic Hotel Alejandro, this city.

The event aims to reignite interest in the rich history and heritage of Eastern Visayas through a comprehensive program of panel discussions, cultural presentations, and expert talks.

“It’s high time that the stories of Leyte and Samar are brought to the forefront,” said Professor Joycie Dorado-Alegre, LSHSI president.

“Our history is rich, vibrant, and deeply intertwined with the nation’s past, yet it remains underrepresented in mainstream education,” added Dorado-Alegre, who is an associate professor of the Humanities Division at the University of the Philippines Tacloban College.
In a statement, LSHSI emphasized that the forum will address a critical gap in the current Philippine historical narrative, which often overlooks the significant events and cultural contributions of regions outside Metro Manila.

Aside from the arrival of Magellan in Homonhon on March 16, 1521, the First Mass in Limasawa on March 30, 1521, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Leyte Landing on October 20, 1944, no other historical events in Eastern Visayas are featured in basic and secondary education materials, the group said.

Even the 1901 victorious Battle of Balangiga, they added, fought by Samar freedom fighters, and the brutalities committed by the U.S. army against the people of Eastern Visayas are excluded from the mainstream historical narrative.

“Even more alarming is the absence of a discourse on culture and heritage in schools. Culture and arts activities are relegated to ‘intermission numbers’ and isolated to Buwan ng Wika programs. In effect, generations of formally educated Filipinos are unaware of our local history, heroes, and heritage,” Dorado-Alegre stated.

The forum seeks to correct these omissions by providing a platform for local historians and scholars to present their research and perspectives, ensuring that future generations understand and appreciate Eastern Visayas’ local history and heritage, she added.

Among the presenters at the forum are Rolando O. Borrinaga, Ph.D., retired professor, University of the Philippines-School of Health Sciences, Palo Main Campus; Emilio B. Justimbaste, Jr., editor, The Weekly Vanguard; Bernard Leo M. Karganilla, associate professor, University of the Philippines, Manila; Ma. Zenia C. Dulce, assistant professor, University of the Philippines Tacloban College; Eulogio “Gio” Plameran, Jr., dancer, choreographer, and technical director, Leyte Kalipayan Dancers; Jose “Joey” N. Lianza, founding director, Sirang Dance Ensemble, Leyte Normal University; and Maria Luz C. Vilches, Ph.D., associate professor and vice president for higher education, Ateneo de Manila University.(RONALD O.REYES)