Cebu sources feel betrayed by writer of NatGeo story


By Connie E. Fernandez
Inquirer Visayas
1:31 am | Saturday, September 29th, 2012

CEBU CITY—Heritage experts and conservationists cooperated with National Geographic writer Bryan Christy when he told them that he was writing about Cebu’s devotion to the Holy Child Jesus.

But they felt betrayed after they had read Christy’s article online linking the veneration of the Sto. Niño to the killing of elephants for their tusks, one of the sources of ivory.

“If we knew [that he was writing about ivory icons], we would not have cooperated with him,” said Trizer Dale Mansueto, a Cebu-based historian involved in heritage conservation.

“We cooperated because we thought the story was about the devotion,” he said. “He never mentioned that he was writing about ivory.”

Christy sent Mansueto an e-mail on Sept. 25, explaining that he did not seek to call attention to ivory smuggling in the Philippines, but to make readers think about the many kinds of devotion, including to wildlife.

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