Thursday, August 7, 2008
National Museum Declares Maranao Torogan as National Cultural Treasure; Torogan Needs Immediate Rehabilitation
The National Museum has declared the Maranao torogan, specifically the Kawayan torogan as National Cultural Treasure through Museum Declaration No. 4-2008, announces Museum Director Corazon S. Alvina.
The National Museum is the agency of government that is tasked to declare national cultural treasures by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 374, which amends certain sections of R.A. 4846, otherwise known as "The Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act." National cultural treasures are defined as "unique objects found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value, which is significant and important to the country."
One of the panel of experts who signed the Declaration is Dr. Jesus T. Peralta, an anthropologist, and is also a consultant for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Dr. Peralta explains that a torogan is the "imposing stately house of the Maranao elite found in the province of Lanao del Sur in Mindanao, Philippines." He describes the torogan further as composed of a single cavernous hall under a widely flaring ridged, bonnet type roof.
What characterizes the torogan, he says, are the floor end beams (panolongs) that project frontally into butterfly shapes that are ornately carved and painted, alternately into the niaga/naga (serpent/dragon) and pako rabong armalis (assymetrical growing fern) with the facade panels and interior posts and sidings painted and carved.
The Declaration upholds that the Maranao torogan is the "last standing example of the finest of traditional vernacular architecture of the Philippines." Dr. Peralta further argues that the torogan is pre-Islamic, noting that its features have influences that trace back to India.
The only remaining habitable torogan is identified in the declaration as the one located in Bubung Malanding, Marantao, Lanao del Sur. The said torogan was built during the American period by Sultan sa Kawayan Makaantal. Many such torogans are said to have succumbed to decay and wear. The finest example of the torogan, cites Dr. Peralta, is the one in the municipality of Ganasi but has since been dismantled, hence he sees the rehabilitation of the Kawayan torogan of utmost urgency as parts of the house have already been reported to have collapsed.
The Museum itself has, through a funding from the NCCA, conducted an architectural documentation of the Kawayan torogan in 2006 to determine the amount needed to rehabilitate the Kawayan torogan. Engr. Orlando Abinion who headed the said documentation, placed the amount at P2.5 million to complete the rehabilitation of the said torogan.
Director Alvina said that Senator Angara has already pledged P1 million for the torogan. Dr. Peralta himself has written NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez on July 16, 2008 to update the latter on the status of the said situation. Dr. Peralta welcomes the declaration of the Kawayan torogan as a national cultural treasure as a big help in securing fund allocation from the NCCA.
For a targeted duration of one year, the scope of work to be done on the said structure would cover the following: conservation/restoration of wood; repair of roofing (using treated bamboo); replacement of termite infested wood; interior finishing and wood carving; re-touching of panolong pigment; repair of existing panolong and fabrication of the missing or deterioated ones; provision of a drainage system; perimeter fencing; and construction of a living quarter for a caretaker.
About the Author:
Reinerio A. Alba is a writer who hails from Gumaca, Quezon. He was a fellow for poetry at the Silliman National Writers Workshop in Dumaguete City in 1993 and Iyas National Writers Workshop in 2002.
Download Museum Declaration No.4-2008