Heritage Conservation Advocates
The Heritage Conservation Advocates

Photo of HCA members at Kros Rockshelter.HCA members at Kros Rockshelter, Balulang, Cagayan de Oro, Sept. 16, 2001.

THE HERITAGE CONSERVATION ADVOCATES (HCA) is a multi-sectoral group that campaigns for the preservation and promotion of Cagayan de Oro historical and archaeological sites.

It was organized in July 2001 by Antonio J. Montalván II after he learned that a city government bridge-and-road project could destroy Huluga, the home of the original people of Cagayan de Oro. Members also discovered that other archaeological sites were under threat. Prior to the organization of HCA, several groups had already met with local and regional officials, and launched a signature campaign to protect Huluga. The National Museum wrote to the mayor, and later, the HCA composed a Manifesto of Protest. Then the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a cease-and-desist order.

Photo of Huluga Open Site.On June 7, 2003, however, HCA members were horrified to discover that a large portion of the Huluga Open Site -- where artifacts are still being found -- has been destroyed. A road now cuts through it, leading to the bridge. The caves are spared, but remain unprotected. On June 23, 2003, Dr. Burton and other HCA visited the area, accompanied by journalists. [See more photos and article by Antonio J. Montalván II. See also the primer on Huluga.]

Help protect our heritagePhoto of pot.

Archaeological research made in Cagayan de Oro and vicinities reveal the removal of ancients pots and other artifacts, like the one shown here. Wrenched from their context, many of these objects become isolated, generic antiques. People who sell and buy them cannot tell how they were used, who used them, and where they come from. The story about these objects are often lost forever.

If you find what you suspect is a fossil or an artifact, refrain from touching the item and its surrounding. Even the positioning of these materials will affect scientific analysis and interpretation. They must be seen in relation to the soil, ashes, bones, water, and other materials nearby. Even if the date of a skull is determined in a laboratory, the date could be meaningless if scientists do not know exactly where the object was found. Removal and possession of artifacts and fossils are also illegal and punishable by law.

Some people collect, buy, and sell these objects as "antiques", but these items are transformed to simply old objects if details about them are unknown.

Make a difference in the life of our nation by helping preserve our heritage. Encourage your local officials to protect heritage sites and objects, to put up a museum, or help an existing museum. End

Published by the Heritage Conservation Advocates, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, August 25, 2001. Updated February 5, 2006. Updated October 12, 2020.