National Heritage Month

National Heritage Month, also called Pambansang Buwan ng Pamana, is celebrated in the Philippines for the entire month of May. This observance was established through a presidential order that was passed in 2003. Since then, it has been staged annually by the government and private sector to promote awareness and respect for the country’s rich cultural heritage.

History of National Heritage Month

National Heritage Month was institutionalized by virtue of Proclamation No. 439 that was signed by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on August 11, 2003. It is aimed to “create in the people a consciousness, respect and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and to raise material support for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage”

The issuance gave the task of leading the activities of this nationwide event to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Through the NCCA, it encourages government agencies, local government units, educational institutions, foreign diplomatic missions, public libraries, and the private sector to come up with activities consistent with the goals outlined in the proclamation.

This month-long event is a celebration of the country’s tangible and intangible heritage as found in culture, tradition, history, architecture (monuments, historic structures, and colonial churches), peoples (aborigines, Muslims, Christians, Chinese), arts, etc. It is also an opportunity to instill awareness and deep respect, to protect, and to preserve them for future generations of Filipinos.

Moreover its schedule is set in the entire month of May, which is generally the time of the year when religious fiestas and festivals are held across the country. Coincidentally, the International Museum Day falls on every 18th of May.

National Heritage Month Activities

More importantly, the National Heritage Month is focused in cultivating participation among the general public. Activities can include various talks, forums, and seminars delivered by experts in their respective fields that are made available for online streaming.

Participation may also be other events such as the arts, exhibits, cultural shows and presentations, contests, and tributes.

Aside from the activities that are organized by museums, libraries, local government units, and the government through its many agencies such as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the National Museum, and the National Library, here are some activities during the National Heritage Month.

  • Gabii sa Kabilin, which translates to Night of Heritage, is an annual event in Cebu organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. With a purchase of one ticket, the general public can access participating museums, colonial churches, and collections within metropolitan Cebu from evening until midnight.
  • Filipino Heritage Festival is organized by NCCA and private sector through Filipino Heritage Festival Inc. It holds cultural shows, exhibits, and events in chosen historic locations and malls.


National Heritage Month Summary

NameNational Heritage Month
CelebrationCulture, Heritage, Indigenous People, Tradition
Duration1 month
EstablishedAugust 11, 2003
FounderGloria Macapagal Arroyo
OrganizerNational Commission on Culture and the Arts
Other NamesPambansang Buwan ng Pamana
Simultaneous eventInternational Museum Day