Fine Arts

Seminar and Workshop on Christian Art in Southeast Asia

12-20 March 2016

Manila &Vigan City, Philippines


  1. National Museum of the Philippines
  2. Local Official Authorities in Vigan City and the Provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.

Project Summary

The Project is an educational process for about 25 Southeast Asian participants working in the field of cultural heritage and education, as well as interested individuals. It comprises a 7-day intensive workshop which will include lectures, study visits, group activities and hands-on sessions, that will enhance the participants’ understanding of the different facets of Christian artistic expressions and traditions in Southeast Asia in general and the Philippines in particular. The activities will take place in Manila, in the UNESCO World Heritage City of Vigan and the northern Luzon Island’s provinces of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte where two UNESCO World Heritage Baroque churches will be visited.  Participants will gain new knowledge and insight on Christian heritage from 10 resource persons from the Philippines and Southeast Asia as well as unique personal experience from site visits of world significance.


A diverse region in terms of cultures, Southeast Asia is a big multicultural hub, integrating different beliefs and hosting some of the world’s dominant Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian states. According to the Pew Research Centre, the Philippines is the fifth largest Christian nation in the world and the third largest Roman Catholic, while Timor-Leste is Asia’s second predominantly Catholic country after the Philippines. Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam are also home to sizeable Christian populations. Overseas Christian communities from these nations have also brought attention to their rituals and practices of evangelization in their host countries. In addition, colonial influence in Southeast Asia resulted in the development of Christian architecture and material culture throughout the region.

Although Southeast Asia is home to such a large number of spiritual beliefs and customs, peaceful interactions and coexistence have been the norm until intolerance, secular values and misguided nationalism changed the moral landscape. The lack of cross-cultural understanding often results in cultural insensitivity, and leads to social conflicts. It is crucial, therefore, to promote inter-faith understanding and dialogue among Southeast Asians in order to achieve unity, peace, and sustainable social development. Countries in Southeast Asia are working to enhance mutual understanding and respect through political, social, and, most importantly, educational means.

Since spiritual beliefs are communicated through and expressed by arts, one way to gain a better understanding of a culture is by disseminating the knowledge about its arts, such as gaining appreciation for Christian iconography and traditions. As a result, institutions with educational mandates in the region, including schools, universities, and museums, are the providers of the knowledge on different cultures and beliefs. Museums usually display collections of different spiritual beliefs, and art history lessons are given at schools and universities along with other subjects.

However, it has been noted that the personnel working with spiritual/religious collections, and teaching spiritual/religious arts, sometimes lack the necessary knowledge and experiences to properly deal with the collections, or to disseminate the relevant information to the public. There is also a concern about the misinterpretation, misrepresentation, and mistreating of religious and spiritual heritage by cultural and educational institutions, which are possible causes of cultural and social conflicts.

In order to promote a better understanding of spiritual/religious arts in Southeast Asia, through its innovative ‘Sacred Universe’ Flagship Programme, SEAMEO SPAFA will conduct a series of regional workshops from 2012 to 2016 on the spiritual arts of the ASEAN region. They will encompass the study of the arts of the major religions and spiritual beliefs in the region with the aim of furthering cross-cultural understanding and exchanges of knowledge among participants, who will become part of a network of experts in Southeast Asian arts who share the spiritual values of these traditions as expressed through both old and new works of art.


The objectives of the workshop are:

  1. Advance cross-cultural understanding and mutual knowledge among Southeast Asian
  2. Introduce participants to fundamental knowledge on Christian Art, which will further
    their knowledge and skills in managing and conserving Christian artefacts and
    collections as well as in disseminating knowledge on the different facets of Christian     

   Art. This will include intangible Christian heritage that would enhance appreciation of

    the material culture.

  1. To promote dialogues between workshop participants that will create a platform for
    future regional collaboration.

Target Group/Beneficiaries

  1. 25 museum curators, heritage managers, art teachers, cultural workers from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
  2. Self-supporting interested members of the public.


  1. Ten academic lectures on Christian Art and Architecture in the Philippines and Southeast Asia
  2. Study visits to 11 Roman Catholic churches that include 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.
  3. Four museum visits.
  4. One attendance at a Roman Catholic service.
  5. Lectures on urban heritage conservation in Vigan City.  
  6. A publication of selected lectures at the workshop.


  1.  Participants will have a better understanding and knowledge in Christian Art of Southeast Asia and enhanced skills in their professions.
  2.  A network of ASEAN experts on shared heritage and a platform for future regional collaboration on Southeast Asian Arts will be established.
  3.  Strengthening ASEAN identity in diversity of beliefs and religions


Participants will be asked to complete an evaluation form for SEAMEO SPAFA to receive and review feedback to improve future projects. Post-workshop communication between SEAMEO SPAFA, participants and lectures will be maintained. For tracking professional advancement, SEAMEO SPAFA shall stay in touch with participants and support alumni in organizing their own workshops and passing on the knowledge they have obtained.

Tentative programme

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Arrival of participants.  

For self-paid participants, it is recommended that you should arrive Manila by 12 March 2016. The pick-up service from the airport to hotel by the National Museum of the Philippines will be available only on this day and up on requested.


Sunday, 13 March 2016

08.30 – 12.00 Attend Sunday Mass at the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception or Manila Cathedral and Tour/Visit of  Intramuros, a fortified city built by the Spanish in the 16th  century, San Agustin Church, one of the four Baroque Churches inscribed into the World Heritage List and the oldest church surviving from several earthquake in Intramuros and Museum of the church.


14.00 – 14.30 Opening Ceremonies

National Museum Auditorium

National Museum of Fine Arts, Manila

Welcome Remarks Mr. Jeremy Barns, Director IV

National Museum, Philippines

Opening Address Dr. M.R. Rujaya Abhakorn,



14.30 – 16.00 National Museum tour of relevant galleries (including Bangsa Moro Art exhibition representing Muslim art in the Philippines to be presented by Ms. Marites Paz-Tauro)

16.15 – 17.00 Keynote Speeches

Historical Christian Art in Archives

Mr. Regalado Trota Jose

Archivist and Professor

University of Sto. Tomas, Philippines

Trade and Faith

Mr. Clement Onn


Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

17.00 – 18. 30 Sharing of experiences/impressions in attending the Sunday Mass and visit to San Agustin church and NM galleries/ Preparations for the trip to Laoag and Vigan City


Monday, 14 March 2016

09.30 – 13.30 Travel to City of Vigan by Philippines Airlines (Manila to Laoag)

13.30 – 15.00 Lunch at Herencia Cafe, Paoay, Ilocos Norte

15.00 –  16.00 Visit to San Agustin Church, Paoay, Ilocos Norte , one of the four Baroque Churches, inscribed into the World Heritage List.

16.00 – 17.30 Travel to Vigan City, Ilocos Sur and check in at Vigan Plaza Hotel or Felicidad Hotel, Vigan City, then dinner


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

National Museum Ilocos Regional Museum Complex, Vigan City

09.00 – 10.00 Lecture 1 Christian Practices and Art in Southeast Asia

Dr. Jayeel Cornelio

Director and Professor

Development Studies Department

Ateneo de Manila University,

10.15 – 11.15 Lecture 2 Christian/Catholic Iconography and Symbolism in Built


Fr. Rene Javellana, S.J.

Art Management Coordinator and Professor Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

11.15 – 12.15 Lecture 3 Conservation on Moveable Heritage in Colonial Churches

Dr. Nicole Tse

Lecturer and Conservator

Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials

Conservation, University of Melbourne

13.30 – 14.30 Lecture 4 Christian Art and Architecture in Indonesia

Dr. Gregorius Budi Subanar

Sanata Dharma University, Indonesia


14.30 –  15.30 Lecture 5 Christianity and Christian Art in Thailand Dr. Pattiya Jimreivat

Mahidol University

15.45 –  16.45 Lecture 6 Christian Architecture in Buddhism: A

Case Study of Niwet Thammaprawat Temple, Thailand

Assist. Prof. Dr. Pirasri  Povatong

Chulalongkorn University

16.45 – 17.00 Participants’ Photo Exhibition, Conference Room, NM Ilocos Regional Museum Complex

17.00 – 17.30 Lecture 7 Management of Church Heritage Fr. Milan Ted Torralba

Executive Secretary of the Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

09.00 – 12.00 Country Presentations

13.00 – 15.00 Workshop on Christian Art in the Philippines

Silversmithing (Eduardo Mutuc, GAMABA Awardee)

15.15 – 17.00 Workshop on Christian Art in the Philippines

Palaspas (woven palm leaves for Palm Sunday)

Remark – Dinner (participants are free to sample local cuisine in Vigan)


Thursday, 17 March 2016

08.00 – 12.00 Visit to the Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion/Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church, Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, one of the four Baroque Churches, inscribed into the World Heritage List

Overview Fr. Jerry Avisa, Parish Priest

Guided tour Mr. Ruben Avelino Peralta, Chairman, Finance Council Committee


14.45 – 15.45 Archbishop’s Palace / Palacio del Arzobispado, Museo Nueva Segovia and St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral

16.00 – 18.00 Tour of the Vigan Conservation Complex


Friday 18, March 2016

09.00 – 11.00 Concluding session and summary/Certificates Presentation / Closing Remarks / Group photos

  1. –  18.00 From Vigan City to:
  • Santo Cristo Milagroso, San Nicholas of Tolentino Parish Church, Sinait, Ilocos Sur;
  • La Virgen Milagrosa, St. John the Baptist Parish Church, Badoc, Ilocos Norte;
  • Sta. Monica Parish Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte; and
  • St. Joseph Parish Church, Dingras, Ilocos Norte

19.00 – 19.30 Back to Manila by Philippines Airlines

Dep 20.40 Arr 21.40

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Depart from Manila

Condition and Cancellation charges

A limited number of interested persons are welcomed to join this event. The expenses, which cover a return airfare between Manila and Laoag, accommodation for two persons per room, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners (with exemption on March 16) will be US$ 1,300. This excludes international airfare from the respective countries to Manila, visa fee (if any), personal expenses, etc. Single room surcharge is US$ 100. A deposit of US$ 400 and photocopy of passport must accompany the reservation booking, which must be made by 17 February 2016.  Payment in full is required by 24 February 2016.

Please pay by deposit/transfer the money to SEAMEO SPAFA’s bank account as shown in the following details:

Account Name: SPAFA Regional Centre
Account Number: 030-2-36891-0
Swift Code: KASITHBK
Bank Name: Kasikornbank Public Company Limited
Bank Branch: Theves
bank Address: 158 Krung Kasem Road, Bangkok 10200 THAILAND

Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us at fax number: +66(0)2 2804030,


Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellation after booking                                             Deposit forfeited
  • Cancellation after 2 March 2016                                    60% deduction of total expenses
  • Cancellation without notice                                           No refund

SEAMEO SPAFA reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. It is expected all participants, both sponsored and self-paid, will attend all activities in the programme.

For further information and bookings please contact Ms. Hatthaya at +66(0)2 2804022 to 29 ext. 119, +66(0)81 6824372 e-mail:

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