By Christian Jay B. Quilo
Illustrations: Josua S. Cabrera
FOR us locals, it’s so easy to take our own heritage sites for granted because we think, “Nah, it’s just there. It’s not going anywhere” or “What’s so special about it anyway?” It’s ironic how foreigners and tourists have already been to these places yet some of us locals merely pass by them on a daily basis. But it’s time we changed these perspectives. Here are five reasons we should patronize our heritage sites:
1. We should be aware of our history and heritage.
For some, it may not be the most important thing in the world to know, but knowledge about one’s own heritage, like it or not, is essential. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know about important events in our history, make sense of our ancestry and heritage, and share all this treasure trove of information to others as well?
2. Visiting heritage sites boosts tourism.
It’s standard protocol to take photos when we visit heritage sites or tourist spots and post them on social media. Let’s spread the word about them! A friend will see it and then he or she shares it and friends of your friends see it — it creates a ripple effect. If we locals can’t support our own tourism, how can we expect tourists to do the same, right?
3. It won’t be long before they lose their original features.
Like all things in life, the wear and tear of our heritage sites are inevitable. And although efforts for preservation and renovation do give them a new lease on life, they can’t keep everything intact and unchanged. So, before they become completely unrecognizable, check them out.
4. The entrance fees we pay help maintain them.
The entrance fee at some of our heritage sites go to the regular maintenance and preservation of the place — and the entrance fee doesn’t even cost much. If admission is free, spare a little from your wallet. As cliché as it sounds, your donation, no matter how small or huge the amount, goes a long way.
5. They are part of the identity of our home.
Our heritage sites are more than just old structures and buildings. They represent our home’s rich history. They are concrete reminders of the past and stories of those who came before us. In one way or another, they are integral to our island’s identity.