UBC Museum celebrates Tecson Collection by Mel Tobias
UBC Museum celebrates Tecson Collection
by Mel Tobias
Dr. Miguel and the late Julia Gonzales Tecson were early Filipino immigrants to Vancouver. They arrived in the 60s when there were only 800 Filipinos in the province.
Last year, the couple was honored by the Asian Heritage Month Society as one of the “First Families” of the Asian community in Vancouver.
Julia and Miguel (Mike to friends) were both from San Miguel, Bulacan. Julia worked at the Philippine Pavilion in the 1962 Seattle World Fair Exposition in Washington State while Mike became the first licensed Filipino pyschiatrist in British Columbia. Julia was a member of the Philippine Pavillion-Diplomatic Staff together with Tessie Luz, Nena Gomez, Chiqui Eleizegui. Julia and Mike met again at UBC after a Bayanihan performance, fell in love and later married then decided to make Vancouver as their new home.
On May 24, 2015 University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology honored Miguel and Julia Tecson for the single biggest collection of artifacts from the Philippines. There are over 350 archeological and anthropological objects from Northern Luzon, Central Visayas, Mindanao and rare pottery and ceramics from different parts of Southeast Asia.
The collection includes rice granary gods (bulul) from the indigenous tribes of northern Philippines. Also donated are over 60 pieces of antique maps and print collections and ornate swords known as Kris.
Dr. Tecson said at an interview – “The idea of the collection is not to amass and accumulate things. The intention is to make it a study collection. We made sure that all the items have literature and archeological information so that after we gathered everything, we can put it in a museum where it is accessible to students and the general public. It is the best way to introduce Philippine culture and heritage to Canadians.”
Curator Dr. Carol Mayer of the UBC Museum of Anthropology made a successful application with the Canadian federal government to have the collection recognized as a cultural property of Canada. This means that the collection has been accepted as a Canadian treasure and is now recognized as an important Canadian heritage.
The event was organized by the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver, UBC-MOA and the Asian Heritage Month Society. Philippine Consul General Neil Ferrer invited the diplomatic corps, Filipino community leaders and prominent politicians. Invited were Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Roberston, and Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defense and Minister of Multiculturalism.
– “LIFE IN CANADA” Article reprinted with permission of author