By Shiena M. Barrameda
FROM THE RIVER. Fabrics and accessories made from water lilies and designed by local artists will also be featured in the fashion show. Photo by Shiena M. Barrameda
A lowly plant which has been dismissed as a nuisance in the normal course of the Naga River will finally become the centerpiece of a fashion show slated on July 30 in one of the more trendy hotels in this city.
The event, dubbed “Expro Fantasies in Fashion, an Eco-Friendly Regional Fashion Designers Competition,” is a joint project of the city government of Naga, Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) Camarines Sur provincial office, and Expro Events and Planning Services. It will feature creations made out of water lily (hyacinth) fabrics and other local raw materials at Avenue Plaza Hotel, Magsaysay Avenue, this city on July 30.
Roland Macaraig, spokesperson of Expro, explained that the event will involve ten local designers who will use processed water lilies harvested from Naga River as textile materials.
Director Edna Tejada of the DTI said the event is a good opportunity to spur new business opportunity out of the need to rid the Naga River of excessive growth of water lilies that have hampered the normal habitation of fish and other aquatic resources in the river.
Tejada stressed that this would mean extra income to those who make livelihood out of the aquatic plants through strong support by the city government which encouraged the barangays of Tinago and Mabulo in Naga City where water lilies abound to adopt them for their One Barangay, One Product program of the city.
Aside from the clothes, bags and accessories made out of water lily, the event will also feature trinkets and practical household or kitchen items made from local raw materials.
Exhibitor Jed Guinto, inventor and developer of the environment-friendly Holey Rocket Stove, along with other exhibitors, will also be a part of the event.
His creation, which he demonstrated before media at the Expro Press Conference last July 23 Saturday, is a mud stove that will be fired by recycled biodegradable materials, such as briquettes made of dried water lilies.
Macaraig, an experienced wedding and event organizer himself, said that he has high hopes with Bicolano designers whose creativity and ingenuity are at par with designers from Manila and even abroad.
He said that the Bicolano, being among the first people on earth to witness the sun rising every morning in the east because of our archipelago’s strategic location in the Pacific, normally draws inspiration from the colors and beauty of the sun which will be articulated during the fashion show.
He added that aside from being fearless and playful with bright colors, the Bicolano designer has the flair for design which make them equally competitive with other designers in the Philippines.
By Juan Escandor Jr.
GRANT. Karin Eberle of CDIA is flanked by Naga Mayor John Bongat and Vice Mayor Gabby Bordado during the presscon announcing the grant. (Photo by Juan Escandor Jr.)
Pushing a step further the multimillion-dollar revitalization project for Naga River, the city government here got US$321,000 grant as technical assistance by the Cities Development Initiatives to Asia (CDIA) in conducting pre-feasibility study.
Karin Eberle, CDIA team leader, said the approved grant for Naga City was the fastest approval so far since the funding agency was established in 2007 by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Germany, with additional funds from Sweden, Austria, Spain and Shanghai People’s Municipal Government.
“We’ve never experienced fast efficient process (but with Naga City),” Eberle mused, during a press conference last weekend at the Avenue Plaza Hotel here.
She mentioned Naga City’s track record in good governance and transparency practices with regards to the approval of the application for assistance to the revitalization project.
Eberle said the size of the city, city development plan, and disaster risk management plan were also considered in the approval of the application for technical assistance by the CDIA.
She also noted the importance of the river revitalization project to the cultural heritage of Naga City, one the five oldest settlements in the country established in 1575.
Eberle revealed, in a letter of approval sent to Mayor John Bongat dated Feb. 15, 2011, that the financing of the pre-feasibility study is covered by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammernarbeit (GIZ) funds at the disposal of CDIA.
She said the pre-feasibility study will deal with integrated concerns in river revitalization including drainage, solid waste disposal, water treatment facility and infrastructure.
Eberle disclosed the CDIA project assistance to Naga City is the second to be approved in the Philippines after Iloilo City which earned a similar assistance for its central terminal.
The pre-feasibility study of the Naga River revitalization project will be conducted by several foreign and local consultants who will finish the job within a six-month period.
Eberle pledged to continuously provide assistance to Naga City with regards to the financial component of the Naga River revitalization project.
It is expected that from the result of the pre-feasibility study specific concerns to revitalize Naga River can be packaged independently with detailed costing that can be offered to investors.
Covering a wide-range of concerns, the Naga River revitalization project aims to improve livelihood, reduce disaster casualties, promote environmental consciousness and tourism, enhance the river’s aesthetic and historical value and create alternative water-based transportation.
In the same occasion, Mayor Bongat announced some P60M infrastructure commitment from the national government through the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Bongat said the Naga River revitalization project has already secured endorsement from the National Economic Development Administration (Neda) in which the infrastructure components are to be considered priority in the 2012 national budget.
He said the budget for the infrastructure components of the Naga River revitalization project will be sourced from the budget of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
A citywide planting of pili trees highlighting the city government’s formal launch of “Pilimania” will be held simultaneously at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, June 17, this year.
Naga City First Lady Farah R. Bongat who is also the chairperson of the Pilimania 2011 Executive Committee said the activities form part of a multi-pronged program to advance the local government’s environmental and economic targets by planting at least 30,000 pili trees throughout the city by December 2012 and getting people aware of the potentials of the indigenous Bicol-grown nut.
Drawing multi-sector participation, the mass planting will be mainly located in agricultural and residential zones of the city’s 27 barangays, including open spaces in urban poor sites, housing subdivisions and vacant school lots.
Pilimania is also one of the highlight activities of the city’s 63rd cityhood charter anniversary which as early as 3:00 p.m. yesterday, June 15, opened the Pilimania Gallery and Maogmang Naga Job and Trade Fair at Plaza Quezon amid fitting opening ceremonies. The ceremonial cutting of ribbon was led by City Mayor John Bongat, his wife Farah, DOLE Regional Director Alvin Villamor, DTI Provincial Director Edna Tejada, BIONET Deputy Executive Director Nenet Tanyag, and members of the Sangguniang Panglunsod led by Vice Mayor Gabriel Bordado.
Earlier at 1:00 p.m. yesterday, BIONET, DA, DOST and DTI jointly conducted a Pilimania talk on updates on the Pili Industry sector, also at Plaza Quezon at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon before the formal opening ceremonies.
The next day, on June 16, there will be another lecture at the same plaza on pili nutrinomics, particularly on livelihood and nutritional benefits of pili.
In the afternoon of June 17 will be the Pilimanialimpics at Plaza Quezon, a hodgepodge of games highlighting the various uses and benefits of the Pili nut such as search for the longest pili, sweet pili kiss, run to me pili, pili relay, pili basketball, and tiriladan pili. This will be conducted under the auspices of the Pilimania trade fair committee and the Ateneo Junior Marketing Association.
An advocacy concert dubbed Pilimania GrEET Jam featuring famous Manila-based and Naga City’s best artists and stage performers will rock Plaza Quezon in the evening of June 17 to stir up the youth’s awareness and participation towards environment protection and conservation. In the program will also be the formal induction of Pilimania Barangay Pili Patrollers by Mayor Bongat as inducting officer.
A colorful fireworks display will cap the night’s celebration, which is the eve of the city’s 63rd charter anniversary.
Farah said the planting of pili trees is expected to improve the city’s air-shed quality as it would lessen the ill effects of carbon monoxide since the plant exhibits a high carbon absorption rate.
Pilimania Project Officer Mike D. Rico said apart from the environmental gains, the city will also obtain bigger opportunities to enhance its One Barangay One Product (OBOP) program because the pili nut is now a fast becoming favorite delicacy among domestic and foreign tourists.
Also included in the Pilimania portfolio is the establishment of protected areas called “Protected Pili Green Spots” to be managed by barangay councils, Pilimania patrollers, civic groups and private corporations under a Public-Private Partnership.
Supported by Executive Order 2011-13, the Pilimania, as an economic greening movement, is being pushed under the city’s Green Environment, Entrepreneurship and Tourism (GrEET) Program.
Spearheading the management of the “green spots” are the City Agriculture Office and the Environment and Natural Resources Office along with corporate partners and volunteers.
Green spots planted with less than a hectare of pili trees will be managed by the barangay while those validated to be one hectare or more will be placed under the supervision of the city’s agriculture office.
Bongat is calling on different groups to volunteer as Pilimania patrollers who can adopt a site where they can plant and nurture pili trees, donate funds for grafted pili and pili seedling acquisition, or buy a Pilimania merchandise like t-shirt, keychain, car hanger, commemorative pin, bag-tag, mug, tumbler and others.
Pilimania, the first-ever in the city, is being co-presented by the following sponsors: BDO, Landbank, Camella Heights, Vista Land’s GreenViron, Pepsi, San Miguel Crop., Avon Naga Branch, Biggs, and the Department of Agriculture.