Heritage Conservation Advocates
Heritage Conservation Advocates. Font: Oz Handicraft.
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines
Photo of Huluga settlement site
Photo is artist's concept of Obsidian Hill in Huluga before the construction of the Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez bridge. Put mouse over to see the condition in 2003.

Huluga is an archaeological site in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. The place was discovered and studied in the 70s by scholars of Xavier University and the National Museum -- among them the archaeologist Dr. Erlinda M. Burton, who used to work with Dr. Louis S.B. Leakey in the Calico Archaeological Site.

Ming and Ching Dynasty pottery sherdsIn 1992, the National Museum gave Huluga accession numbers, giving it formal recognition as an archaeological site. Korean contractors hired by mayor Vicente Yap Emano left the area when they learned it was a cultural heritage.

In 2003, Emano and his new Filipino contractor, UKC Builders, Inc., bulldozed Obsidian Hill to give way to a road-and-bridge project. The damage, reported by local and national dailies, caused a national uproar and even reached South Korean officials and journalists, who were told of a visit by a "cultural terrorist" from Cagayan de Oro.

MORE DESTRUCTION. In 2007, a national report about quarrying in Obsidian Hill prompted mayor Constantino Jaraula to publicly acknowledge Huluga as a heritage site. But Jaraula broke his promise to fence the area. Instead, Jaraula went halfway around the globe to Norfolk, Virginia, USA to forge a sister-city agreement, citing historical tie with Gen. Douglas MacArthur.


DISCOVERY. In 2009, an ancient grave in Huluga and an archaeological site in Xavier Estates were found, the first by three residents who claimed to be hunting for bird's nests, and the other by an HCA member who was making pictures of the subdivision. A Brown Company, Inc. (ABCI), Xavier University, and Capitol University agreed to share in funding the excavation of the sites, as suggested by National Museum archaeologist Angel Bautista. ABCI board chairman Walter Brown expressed willingness to construct a museum in Xavier Estates if significant artifacts were retrieved. Brown even postponed earth-moving activities for three months there -- a financial sacrifice -- but the National Museum canceled the plan.


Dr. Erlinda Montillo Burton passed away in the morning of September 11, 2018. Articles about ma'am Linda may be sent to this email address. Please indicate if you wish to have your submission published in this website. Here's Dr. Burton's obituary in the website of the Philippine Social Science Council.

The Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) campaigns for the preservation and promotion of historical and archaeological sites in Cagayan de Oro and vicinities. In 2003, it filed and won an administrative case against former mayor Vicente Yap Emano for the destruction of Huluga. HCA today is inactive.

An image of a Hanunuo Mangyan is superimposed on Huluga, suggesting affinity with all tribes. | Website design and content are copyright properties of Elson T. Elizaga, unless otherwise indicated. Articles are owned by respective authors. | Published July 30, 2001. | Page revised December 27, 2023. | Please ask permission to use any content in this website by sending email. Research reports on subjects outside Cagayan de Oro are welcome. | We kindly ask the reader to consider allowing ads for our site. Thank you for your understanding.