Heritage and Cultural Advocate

May 3, 1935 – January 8, 2021

There are many ways a person can help preserve the culture of their birthplace. Alejandro “Alex” Maralit chose to uphold his beloved city’s traditions by supporting its museums and tourism efforts. He devoted his remaining years to making sure Filipinos—and the rest of the world—know about the glorious history and customs of Lipa City, Batangas.

Perhaps unwittingly, he began training for this humongous task back in school. He pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of the East Manila. Further cementing his passion, he then completed his Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

To say that his degrees came in handy would be an understatement. After graduation, he went on to work as a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) programme officer. This role would be his main focus throughout his professional life.

Once he retired, it was finally time for him to shift his attention closer to home. He eventually became president of the Lipa City Tourism and Museum Council. Under his leadership, the Council became legally recognized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He also used his years of training in urban planning to come up with a solid tourism and cultural plan for Lipa. It helped that he also served as president of the Southern Luzon Association of Museums, representing the Association in events organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

“Alex was creative, diplomatic, and reserved,” says Lucila “Luchi” Reyes-Resurreccion, past officer and board member of the Lipa City Tourism and Museum Council. “He spoke with a kind of decency that you’ll respect. He conversed with people of all ages, from all fields. He was endearing, relaxed, and comfortable to be with. Alex carried a good grip when it came to leading the Lipa City Tourism and Museum Council.”

To immortalize the ways of Lipa, Mr. Maralit provided illustrations about provincial folklore and humor for the coffee table book Peaks & Valleys: The Story of Lipa. He also encouraged the younger members of the Council to join cultural events at Villa Escudero and take part in special Kundiman concerts. A distant relative, Renz Katigbak, remembers how he and his Tito Alex shared the same interest in Lipa genealogy. Together, they traced their family’s history, eventually giving birth to a blog and social media page that promotes Lipa history.

Although his passion for Lipa’s culture must have occupied much of his time, Mr. Maralit made sure to be with his family, too. A father of six, he left fun memories of shared lunches, day trips, and getting extremely sunburnt that he needed to trudge to a drugstore to buy cold cream for relief.

Advocates of culture and history, like Mr. Maralit, are diamonds in the rough. They hold the keys to the past so that doors to the future open to a world that is rich in heritage. Such is the legacy of Mr. Maralit.

Categories: Obituaries


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