TODAY, I am in Iloilo to represent Negros in the training and workshop entitled “Tuklas Kalikasan 2014: Iririmaw sa Pagtukib” (Together We Discover). It will be from May 20 to May 24. This is sponsored by the National Museum-Pambansang Museo in collaboration with the Municipality of Santa Barbara and the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association. The venues are in Iloilo and Guimaras.
I was requested to speak on the uniqueness of Negros Occidental as a province. The aim of the workshop is to disseminate knowledge and expertise in the area of natural history by providing experiential learning in an outdoor environment thereby encouraging better appreciation of nature, heritage conservation and cultural awareness.
The lecture series would feature varied speakers and topics relevant to the needs of Western Visayas. “The Cultural and Historical Importance of Sta. Barbara” will be tackled by Mayor Dennis S. Superficial. This town played an important role during the revolution. The topic “Sta. Barbara Church, a National Treasure” will be explained by Msgr. Juanito Ma. Tuvilla, parish priest.
In the afternoon of May 20, the representatives of other provinces will be delighting the audience with the flavors of their LGUs – Negros Occidental, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Iloilo. “Museum Design and Exhibition” will be handled by Marcelo Cercado, a senior museum researcher. “Laws on Natural History (Collection)” will be presented by Edwin de la Rosa, another senior museum researcher. The day will end with a cultural presentation tagged “Sta. Barbara Night.”
The venue for the next day (May 21) is Lambunao, Iloilo. Mayor Reynor R. Gonzales will welcome the participants in his town. “Wildlife Conservation and Protection” will be given details by Prof. Lucia L. Lastimosa, dean and campus administrator of Western Visayas State University-CAF. “Botanical Collection for Museum Exhibits” is designated to John Rey Callado, a researcher and an expert on this. “Zoological Collection for Museum Exhibits” will be elucidated by Perry Buenavente, another museum researcher.
“The Geological Perspective of Panay Island” will be illustrated by Maileen Rondal, a senior museum researcher. The whole afternoon will be on field activity and that includes photography and other related subjects. “Lambunao Night” features the best cultural presentation from the community.
On the third day (May 22), the participants will proceed to Taklong Island Marine Reserve in Guimaras. The journey to the other island will start at Ortiz Wharf to Jordan Wharf then to Barangay La Paz in Nueva Valencia. The cultural workers will proceed to Taklong Island Marine Reserve. Prof. Ma. Frances Nievales, the OIC of the UP Visayas Marine Reserve, will give the lecture.
The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-Guimaras will be fielding lecturers to talk on Protected Areas Management. “Marine (Botanical and Zoological) Collection for Museum Exhibit” will be discussed by Luisito Evangelista and Marivene Santos. The rest of the afternoon will be field work activities focused on marine resources. After dinner, the participants will process the specimens. Camping sites will have bonfire and each one will be given the opportunity to talk or give his impression of the past activities.
Day 4 will move the partakers to Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (Seafdec) in Tigbauan and then back to Sta. Barbara. In their journey back, they will again enjoy a pump boat ride from Taklong Island Marine Reserve to Barangay Tando in Nueva Valencia. Another see-saw ride will be experienced again in going back to Ortiz Wharf. At around 10 a.m., the tired explorers are expected to be in Seafdec. Dr. Teodora Bagarinao will give a tour and lecture at AQD Seafdec.
After lunch, the survivors (probably, all of them) will go back to Sta. Barbara Museum to prepare the exhibit. The preparation process is more challenging. This will identify the geniuses among the children. On May 24 (last day), the Sta. Barbara Exhibit proudly prepared by the participants will be opened to the public. The closing ceremony after lunch will be a testimony of the achievements and a sweet farewell. Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor will give his message.
The five-day event simply gathered the best men and women of Western Visayas in arts, culture, tourism, and biodiversity. We salute you. May your best efforts be duplicated in your respective communities. We cannot stop the good men (and women, too) like you from doing good. Kudos!