TWENTY-EIGHT members of the media from print, radio and TV in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental attended the 1st Media Energy Camp of the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) at the Southern Negros Geothermal project in Valencia, Negros Oriental from May 29 to 31.

The three-day camp taught us more knowledge and skills on

geothermal energy, environment, disaster-preparedness and survival.

Training us campers were EDC officials led by Erwin Avante, head of the Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit (NIGBU); John Arnaldo, vice president for Corporate Affairs; and Dr. Ted Esguerra, a member of the Philippine Mt. Everest team who is now EDC’s Disaster and Crisis team head.

EDC is the country’s leading producer of geothermal energy and a multi-awarded Filipino company in the areas of geothermal development, environmental excellence, corporate governance, and corporate social responsibility.

Also called eCamp, it is EDC’s 11-year old summer camp originally designed to provide a productive, educational and enjoyable activity for the youth living in the company’s host communities who usually do not have access to these activities.

Where most summer camps focus on sports and physical development, the eCamp combines classroom and outdoor activities, addressing the need to develop a person’s whole being -both mind and body.

While learning about the importance and benefits of geothermal energy and environmental protection, the media eCampers engaged in survival training and other physical activities.

Dr. Esguerra gave us tips on how to prevent disasters and accidents and how to deal with them.

On the first day, Esguerra whistled at 6 a.m. to signal the start of exercise. The exercise was about self-defense done in a manner as if you’re doing it naturally and not a martial art form. It is important that you stay focused when somebody attempts to assault you, he stressed.

He also taught us what to do in a stampede, a gun battle, an explosion, an earthquake, and a vehicular accident.

On Day 2, we learned more about EDC’s Health, Education, Livelihood and Environment programs (HELEn) and BINHI, its greening legacy reforestation program.

We also planted premium, indigenous tree species as a testament to our commitment to care for the environment.

“Our aim is to provide the same experiential learning environment to the Negros media who have been covering EDC and the Energy Camp all these years,” said Arnaldo.

Amazing Race

The highlight of the camp was an adapted version of the “Amazing Race,” where participants apply everything they learned while working together and competing against other teams.

There were four teams that competed in the Amazing Race - namely NIGBU, Helen, BINHI and GCGI.

The race involved exciting competitions: bakya walking, rappelling, wall-climbing, Slide for Life (zipline), puzzle, chant and Negros Media Got Talent.

Most of the participants were first-timers in rappeling, wall-climbing and the Amazing Race itself where each team where given a time to finish this particular game.

We all sweated it out and pushed ourselves to the limits. I realized that if I am put in such a situation, I am amazed at what I can do.

Here are the winners of the competition:

Mr. & Ms. Congeniality: Buddy Ferrer and Alaine Borja; Best Team Leader: Buddy Ferrer; Never Say Die team: Team BINHI; Best in Sportsmanship: Alaine Borja and Babes Gantalao

Mr./Ms. Energy (Bibong-bibo Boy/Girl): Team GCGI: Alaine Borja; Team BINHI: Babes Gantalao; Team HELEn: Carla Cañet

Mr./Ms. EDC (Most Knowledgeable About EDC): Team GCGI: Judy Partlow;

Team BINHI: Sherlyn Abella; Team HELEn: Carla Cañet

Team NIGBU: Alex Pal

Best Cheer: Team GCGI; Negros Media Got Talent Champion: Team GCGI; Amazing Race Champion: Team NIGBU

The eCamp was brought to life by EDC employees and volunteers who served as camp facilitators.

Lasting friendships have been formed in the 11 years of eCamp, with many past participants expressing their gratitude for having met peers from different places and backgrounds.

Last weekend, it was the Negros media’s turn to experience all these as they bonded with new and old friends from both sides of the Negros island.

While the One-Island Region for Negros is still on the drawing board, the media practitioners in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental were already able to bond and enjoy the eCamp.