Former Diplomat Hotel eyed as museum, venue for the performing arts

Sep 18, 2017

Synonymous with its enduring reputation as the Summer Capital of the Philippines the City of Baguio has also been long known to be a haven to many visual and performing artists and home to world renowned and nationally awarded artists such as Benjamin “Bencab” Cabrera, the solar artist Jordan Mang–osan and Eric ‘Kidlat Tahimik’ De Guia . Also it is no surprise that the City of Baguio has been the venue of choice for the Baguio International Arts Festival, initiated by the Baguio Arts Guild and other groups such as the Tam-awan Village Artists due to its strategic location and a melting pot of cultures both from the highlands and the lowlands and where their talents and skills may be showcased. Thus apart from being known also as the Center of Education of the North, Baguio City may well be dubbed also as the Capital for the Arts.

This is the motivation behind the proposed legislative measure filed by City Councilor Lilia Fariñas which is entitled “Establishing Diplomat Hotel, known as the Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park as a Museum and Venue for Visual and Performing Arts, Creating an Ad Hoc Committee to Formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations Governing its Operations Thereby, and Appropriating the amount of Php 3 Million Pesos for its Implementation”.

In her proposed ordinance Councilor Fariñas cited the fact that the former Diplomat Hotel, which has now been renamed the Dominican Heritage Hill and Nature Park, has been declared as a National Historical Site through TCT No. T-85948 in April 5, 2005 and is currently under the supervision and maintenance of the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), hold much promise if converted into a museum and a venue for the visual and performing arts. She added that “by allowing for the establishment and conversion of the former Diplomat Hotel as a Museum and venue for the visual and performing arts, this will not only give local artists a place to showcase their work thru an exhibit but also an opportunity for the city to generate revenue which can be utilized for the rehabilitation and upkeep of the historical site.

Related to this, Councilor Fariñas pointed out that there is an impending need to formulate an effective set of implementing rules and regulations that will outline the use, maintenance and preservation of the former Diplomat Hotel and that the creation of an Ad Hoc committee as proposed is needed to oversee the operation of the facility.

As provided for in the proposed ordinance the CEPMO acting as the Museum Curator and lead agency shall (1) determine the possible areas of the former Diplomat Hotel which can be utilized for the exhibit of visual arts such as paintings, tapestries, sculptures and other works of art, as well as other areas that could be dedicated for the performing arts; (2) xxx, (3)xxx, (4) xxx, (5) Entertain, accept or reject prospective exhibitors for the display of their works, subject to the qualifications of their art, in accordance with the IRR created by virtue of the ordinance, (6) Determine the prices with regard to the use of the area, in part or in whole, the sharing scheme between the city government and the art exhibitor, duration of the art exhibit, and all other pertinent activities with regard to its functions as a museum and venue for the visual and performing arts.

Finally, in order to realize her proposal, Councilor Fariñas recommended in her proposed measure for the allocation of three million pesos to be utilized by the CEPMO for the purpose.

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