Sugar trail in Panay, Negros eyes inclusion in World Heritage List

Posted by watchmen
March 14, 2024


The sugar heritage trail in Panay and Negros Islands is now on the tentative list of the World Heritage List following its nomination by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Philippines.

Entitled “The Sugar Cultural Landscape of Negros and Panay Islands,” it was submitted under the cultural category with seven areas and properties as components, including the Calle Real in Iloilo City; and the historic center of Silay City, Hawaiian-Philippine Company, Victorias Milling Company, Hacienda Santa Rosalia, Balay ni Tana Dicang, and Aniceto Lacson Mansion, all in Negros.

“The Sugar Cultural Landscape of Negros and Panay Island showcases the legacy of the sugar industry brought by the industrialization of sugar production in the late 18th century, such as mills, factories, plantations, buildings, and mansions that reflect the social and economic dynamics of the late Spanish-colonial and American-colonial eras,” said the narrative posted in the Unesco World Heritage Convention website.

Calle Real is a heritage zone designated by the Iloilo City government and declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) as a district and heritage zone.

The Historic Center of Silay City, with its collection of preserved heritage houses, is part of the Silay National Historical Landmark as declared by the NHCP.

Other parts of the trail are privately owned, consisting of two operating sugar centrals, one as a private home, a museum, and one for reuse by the National Museum of the Philippines.

The entry is now on the tentative list, which needs to submit substantive documents to prove that it is of “outstanding universal value” before the September 14, 2024 deliberation.

“I am very happy. We might be the first city with a Calle Real identified in the Unesco World Heritage List,” said Mayor Jerry P. Treñas in a statement.

The Department of Tourism Western Visayas in 2023 commissioned a study to explore the possibility of establishing a Western Visayas Sugar Heritage Trail to better understand the industrial heritage and identify the opportunity for sugar heritage tourism products in the region.

Initially, the study identified 127 trails or remnants and landmarks of the industry; 87 are in Negros Occidental, 25 in Iloilo, five in Guimaras, seven in Capiz, and three in Antique.

The Miagao Church in Miagao, Iloilo, built by Spanish Augustinian missionaries in 1786, is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site “Baroque Churches of the Philippines.” (PNA)


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