Heritage Conservation Advocates
Huluga Chronology
vis-à-vis Scientific Study, Preservation and Tragedy
By Lourd Ostique
Administrative Officer, Museo de Oro, Xavier University
Published August 13, 2003. Updated November 28, 2019, and August 25, 2023.
Obsidian Hill, Huluga Archaeological Complex
July 1, 2003
"Dongkoy: Oro Media Misquoted Statement", Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, July 1, 2003. 

Highlight: “I never said the bridge is more important than the cave mao nakurat ako pagawas niadto nga report gikan sa usa ka pamantalaan (which is why I was so shocked when that report came out on one of the papers),” he said during his Mayor’s Move program on DXCL Angel Radio last Saturday.
July 4, 5, 2003
"Open Letter To Director Pabayo", Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, July 4, 2003

Editor’s Note: We are printing in full a clarificatory letter sent by Antonio J. Montalván II, one of the arch critics of the Huluga Cave site case.

Highlight: "First of all, archaeological artifacts are not, as a strict rule, unearthed by bulldozers. Bulldozers scoop earth in volumes. At any rate, it would be impossible for people watching the earth movement from the sides to determine the presence of artifacts. Artifacts are unearthed over a tedious period of time using micro implements for the most part. Above all, they are also unearthed by archaeologists who have the trained eye for such endeavors, not by engineers nor by simple government functionaries …"
July 9, 2003
"U.P. Group Urges Halt To Oro Bridge Project", by Lizanilla J. Amarga, Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, July 9, 2003.

Highlight: A University of the Philippines (UP) archaeologist group in Manila is now calling for a stop on the construction of the Cagayan de Oro’s third bridge saying it is destroying a historical open site. The UP Archaeological Studies Program in Diliman, Quezon City is appealing to Mayor Vicente Emano and all other concerned government agencies to stop the construction of the P636 million bridge and road network.
July 10, 2003
"Desecration of Huluga Site" by Ellen Red, Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, Opinion, July 10, 2003, p. 4.

Highlight: The destruction of the Huluga Open Site is tragic. It just shows that majority of Kagayanons do not believe that history matters. By destroying the Huluga Open Site, we have turned our backs on the past.
July 10, 2003
"U.P. Group To Emano: Stop Bridge Work" by Herbie Gomez, The Mindanao Gold Star Daily, July 10, 2003.

Highlight: The Archaeological Studies Program of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) has called on the Cagayan de Oro government to order a halt to the construction of the controversial Taguanao-Balulang Bridge project even as it hurled brick-bats at local officials for their lack of “sensitivity and keenness to our collective cultural history.” In a statement, the faculty and students of the UP Archaeological Studies Program called on Mayor Vicente Emano to stop the further destruction of the famous Huluga “open site” in Barangay Indahag.
July 11, 2003
"City Hall Broke Own Policy" by Herbie Gomez, The Mindanao Gold Star Daily, July 11, 2003.

Highlight: When the Emano administration desecrated Cagayan de Oro’s heritage and history in the name of development, it also violated a policy laid out by the city council that, if only followed, would have prevented the wanton destruction of an important part of the Huluga Archaeological Site in Barangay Indahag. (A copy of the resolution no. 4433-99 dated Sept. 28, 1999 that bears the signature or Councilor President Elipe and attested by Teresita Bancoro is printed on p. 7 of this issue.)

July 11, 2003
"Schizophrenia and Huluga" by Ben Cyrus Ellorin, The Mindanao Gold Star Daily, July 11, 2003, pp. 6-7.

Highlight: Cagayan de Oro’s decision makers are ignorant on the importance of the Huluga archaeological sites in Taguanao and Indahag. They really are. It can even be said (even figuratively) that the people steering the city may be suffering from serious dementia (bungaw) or from split personality.

July 11, 2003

"Huluga Caves: City Hall Guilty of Violating Measure" by LJA, Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, July 11, 2003.

Eliza Romualdez Valtos in the office of Dr. Erlinda M. Burton, with Lourd Ostique and Antonio J. Montalvan II

July 7, 2003: After visiting the Huluga archaeological site, and finding some pottery sherds, Mrs. Romualdez Valtos visits Dr. Erlinda M. Burton in her office. Looking on are Museo de Oro administrative assistant Lourd Ostique and Antonio J. Montalvan II.


Highlight: The destruction of the Huluga Cave and Open Site here in Cagayan de Oro is snowballing into a national issues as archaeologists from Manila visited the historical site early this week… Mrs. Eliza Romualdez Valtos, formerly visible on nationwide television as anchor-person of ABS-CBN, arrived in town and visited the Huluga Open Site. She saw for herself the extent of the damage to the site and made surface scans of the area, collecting artifacts which she brought with her back to Manila for analysis at the National Museum …

Following the heels of Valtos, the HCA was also visited by Atty. Trixie Rose Cruz Angeles, one of only two heritage lawyers in Manila…While she was here last year to conduct a cultural seminar, Angeles recounted how she received an assurance from City Historical Commission head Nanette Roa that a “buffer zone” has already been instituted by the city to protect the Huluga area. Angeles, who has also visited the site, now questions that if this buffer zone was really true, then it would have already protected the Huluga Open Site. “It appears now that I was made to believe about the buffer zone in bad faith,” she said.

Added August 9, 2023
Meeting with Atty. Trixie Angeles

In 2003, National Museum lawyer Trixie Angeles (left) met with members of the Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) and expressed interest to file a case against mayor Vicente Y. Emano. She even suggested that the 4th Infantry Division be asked to guard Huluga.

In 2005, Angeles met historian Antonio J. Montalvan II in Manila. According to Montalvan, Angeles told professors Sandy Salcedo and Victor Paz that they had violated archaeological ethics in Cagayan de Oro because archaeological ethics dictates that local archaeologists always enjoy primary preference. Paz and Salcedo were members of a team from UP-Diliman Archaeological Studies Program (UP-ASP) that came to do research in Cagayan de Oro without involving Dr. Erlinda M. Burton, an archaeologist.


July 12, 2003
"Inspection Team Claims No Damage Done To Caves" by RBY, Sun Star Cagayan de Oro, July 12, 2003.

Highlight: A four-person team created by the City Council Committee on Public Works and Tourism said there was no disturbance made on the open site of the Huluga caves. Councilor and tourism committee chairperson Alvin Calingin said the team’s initial report showed that construction of the multi-million peso Taguanao-Balulang cargo bridge and diversion road didn’t damage the cave’s open site. The team is composed of City Engineer Jorie Bingona, City Planning and Development Coordinator Emmanuel Abejuela, City Tourism Officer Fanny Pabito and a City Local Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO) representative. They were tasked to come up their own findings on the case in 10 days.
September 15, 2003
The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) ordered city hall to pay P50,000 to the government for damaging the Huluga archaeological site.

Emano, however, did not pay this fine; he also disobeyed the other orders of EMB. End

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