Philippine Embassy, Canberra
1 Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600
www.philembassy.org.au *Tel. No. 02-6273-2535*
PH and AU Governments work on return of Igorot Axe
Top: Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega received the Igorot steel and wood axe from Office for the Arts First Assistant Secretary Greg Cox at a ceremony held on 19 November in Canberra.
Bottom: Ms. Fredeliza Campos demonstrated how the kulintang is played. Kulintang is an indigenous percussion instrument from Mindanao.
22 November 2021, CANBERRA – The Australian Government returned to Philippine Ambassador to Australia H.E. Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega a mid-20th century axe used for woodcarving and hunting in the Ifugao communities in northern Luzon.
In a ceremony held on 19 November in Canberra, Acting First Assistant Secretary Greg Cox of the Office for the Arts returned the axe to Ambassador De La Vega that was intercepted by the Australian Border Force (ABF) upon entry into Australia from the United States. The Office for the Arts undertook the investigation and worked with the Embassy of the Philippines towards the return of the axe to the Philippines. Through the guidance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Museum of the Philippines as provided by the Philippines’ Heritage Law (Republic Act 10066), the Embassy facilitated the restitution of the cultural artefact to the Philippines.
In a message read by the Ambassador, NCCA Chairman Arsenio Lizaso said, “Cultural heritage is priceless. It is a reflection of the value systems and traditions transmitted from generation to generation. It helps us understand who we were, who we are and who we may become.”
During the ceremony, Ms. Fredeliza Campos, PhD student at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Music, gave a presentation on Music and Materiality of Philippine Culture. Ms. Campos is a field archaeologist and ethnomusicologist affiliated with the ANU.
Ambassador De La Vega thanked the Australian Government for its efforts and noted that 2021 marks the Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors. She added that both the Philippines and Australia, which celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations this year, have a rich indigenous heritage that continues to shape and influence our people and our future. – END
Mid-20th century Igorot steel and wood axe recovered by Australian authorities