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Home NEWS Filipiniana Ulahingan Project set to digitize major cultural treasure

Ulahingan Project set to digitize major cultural treasure

It is said that the “Ulahingan” is so huge -- a never-ending story for as long as there are singers.

Ulahingan comes from the word “ulahing,” meaning to sing and chant. A major epic of the Manobo indigenous group in Mindanao, Philippines, it contains 4,000-6,000 lines per episode and 79 episodes on average.  This tradition is orally passed from one generation to the next, often taking several days of continuous chanting while in trance.

The epic has been orally recorded in over 1,200 items of reels and cassette tapes. But there is a high risk of deterioration of the recordings in its current state. The materials, though physically sound, are in danger of losing its contents as these are stored in old media storage formats that are estimated to last only 2-3 years more at the maximum.  A loss of content which will eventually lead to a loss of heritage. In this modern age, oral traditions and epics such as these are hardly known and appreciated anymore. Access to the materials for research and general use may be limited, and worse, discontinued, especially for future generations.

Thus, there is an urgent need to revive interest in this cultural heritage. The Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) recognizes the need to digitally preserve these traditions as part of its mission to preserve and promote accessibility to learning resources on Philippine culture and heritage for the present and future generations. FHL learned about the recordings through Mr. Roderick Hall, a World War II survivor and FHL benefactor, who traveled to Dumaguete and found out about the collection. He recognized the value of the recordings and the need to preserve and digitize them. Thus, he initiated and ardently supported the digitization project. The project’s main activity would be the conversion of an estimated 1,200 audio reels, tapes, and other materials into playable digital sound files.

These recordings contain generations of oral traditions that may not be recreated again. These contain histories of a communion of people from long ago that has been passed on to their descendants and succeeding generations. As today's world is characterized by globalization and Filipino diaspora that pose a challenge to a nation's character, this project will serve as an instrument to protect and uphold the Filipino identity.

Filipinas Heritage Library seeks to preserve the Ulahingan through a massive digitization project with possible funding by the EMC Corporation, a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology as a service (ITaaS). The library's Ulahingan Project is in the running to win a grant from EMC Corporation's Heritage Trust contest.

To vote:
1. Like the EMC2 page: https://www.facebook.com/emccorp/app_1416254715287343
2. Click on the Heritage Trust Project 'Learn More' button to see the nominees.
3. Select Ulahingan Chronicles Digitization. On the Ulahingan page, enter your email address and cast your vote!


Voting is until 5:00 PM ET on August 20, 2015 (5:00 AM on August 21, 2015 Manila time). Help FHL preserve this sacred story of the Filipino!