Heritage Conservation Advocates
2001 Manifesto of Protest to Mayor Vicente Y. Emano Against the Planned Destruction of Huluga Site
Copies of the manifesto were signed by several concerned persons and submitted to the Office of the Vice-Mayor, Cagayan de Oro City, in September 2001.

The images of signatures are small, but large PDF files are available: 1.6MB and 7MB.

PHILIPPINE LAWS PROVIDE for the protection and conservation of archaeological sites and artifacts. But the Cagayan de Oro government is constructing a new bridge and road that could destroy the Huluga Site, an area recognized by the National Museum as an important historical and archaeological discovery.

Huluga is in Sitio Taguanao, Cagayan de Oro City. It basically has two areas: the Open Site and the Caves. Both areas show indications of ancient human occupation. Human skeletons retrieved from one of the caves were traced to 350 AD* by a reputable geochronological laboratory at the University of California, San Diego.

Huluga, therefore, is the home of the original people of Cagayan de Oro. It is a sacred spot and deserves to be protected. But early this year, the City Engineer expressed admission before heritage conservation advocates that the Open Site of Huluga could be destroyed by a private construction firm awarded by the City Government of Cagayan de Oro. The firm -- White Horse Trading, Development, and Construction, Inc. -- has already started construction activities at the site for a new bridge and diversion road.

Alarmed by the possibility that even the Huluga Caves would be damaged, heritage conservation advocates -- composed of local historians, cultural workers, teachers, tourism officials, and other citizens -- have met with local and regional officials about the issue, and discovered several anomalies:

  • The present initial construction of White Horse Trading does not have an Environmental Clearance Certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
  • The present initial construction of White Horse Trading violates the Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act (RA 4846), which renders unlawful the destruction of archeological or historical sites identified by the National Museum.
  • The present initial contraction of White Horse Trading violates PD 105, which makes it unlawful to change the features of existing historical landmarks.

Despite these anomalies, however, and despite the call of the National Museum for Cagayan de Oro mayor Vicente Y. Emano to stop the construction, Emano has made moves through the City Council to rush the project.

In response to Emano's persistence, therefore, we, the members and supporters of the Heritage Conservation Advocates, hereby state that though we favor the improvement of infrastructure in Cagayan de Oro City, such must be done without destroying our priceless heritage. Thus, we call on Mayor Vicente Y. Emano to give the following orders:

  • Postpone the construction of the bridge and road.
  • Consult the National Museum regarding the placement of the planned bridge and road so that the construction will not destroy the Huluga Site.
  • Consult the National Museum in the production of a map showing the revised location of planned bridge and road.
  • Publish the revised map in our local papers so that the public may know the circumstances and consequences of the project.

Such moves would ensure the necessary conservation of the Huluga Sites even as the project meets the infrastructural needs of this growing city of Cagayan de Oro.

Signed this 8th day of September, in the year 2001, by members and supporters of the Heritage Conservation Advocates.

Print signatories
Signatures of the manifesto
Online Signatories
Carolyn O. Arguillas, Nov. 6, 2001 MindaNews  
Shelby Payne,
Jan. 12, 2002

106 Don Campos Avenue, Damariñas, Cavite 4114
Phone: 09188094382

I'm an American who used to live in Cagayan de Oro from l999 to 2000. Let's palihog save the caves NOW for our future generations. Stop this needless destruction.
* The person who analyzed the Huluga bone fragment was Dr. Jeffrey Bada of the The Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His letter to Dr. Erlinda Burton indicated that the age of the fragment was "1,600". This was erroneously interpreted to mean "1, 600 BC" by non-archaeologist writers. Before present in science is 1950. So, 1950 minus 1600 is 350.
Published by the Heritage Conservation Advocates, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, August 9, 2001. Updated August 3, 2003. Date of bone sample changed from the erroneous "377 AD" to "350 AD" on February 9, 2009. PDF files added November 27, 2019.