By: Gilbert P. Leopoldo
The FOCAS Management Committee (FMC) team and Lake Mainit Development Alliance (LMDA) Project Management Office team have made a successful Lakbay Aral on Lake Management and Development at the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) in Manila last September 16-19, 2008. The said activity was facilitated and funded by Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP). The FMC team are who participates the activity were Mr. Alberto M. Garrido, FMC Chairperson and Peoples Organization Representative of Agusan del Norte; Engr. Nivard S. Gonzales, Provincial Focal Person of Agusan del Norte; Engr. Emilio Pantejo Provincial Focal Person of Surigao del Norte; Mr. Felix Maglaque, People’s Organization Representative of Surigao del Norte; Mr. Carlos Dunque, Academe Representative from SNCAT; Mr. Emmanuel A. Miraballes, Project Officer of ALTERDEV; and Ms. Ann B. Jaquilmac, Representative of NEDA. Together also is the LMDA Program Management Office headed by LMDA Program Director Engr. Kaiser Recabo, Jr.; Forester Omar C. Barillo, the FOCAS Project Coordinator and the two (2) administrative staff Mr. Jonathan Natonio and Mr. Gilbert P. Leopoldo.
The Team billeted at the KABAYAN Hotel where both LLDA and LMDA presented and shared their Plans and Programs during the short program. The program was followed with and open discussion between the two parties. It was such a pleasure indeed that the LLDA mentor and Lake Mainit team sharing ample knowledge and experiences. In fact the LLDA General Manager Edgardo Manda quoted that “They see their past; and the Lake Mainit sees their future”.
The second day of the activity was scheduled for whole day tour of Lake Laguna. It was a wonderful moment that the team had experience the rich culture and beauty of the Laguna Lake. Ms. Monina G. Hernandez, the PACAP Provincial Project Officer led the visit to the recognized Solid Waste Management (SWM) best practices of Municipality of Teresa, Rizal. The team had a courtesy call with Hon. Mayor Rodel N. Dela Cruz, who personally brought the team to the municipal SWM site. The source said that it was previously featured in “Rated K” hosted by Miss Corina Sanchez of ABS-CBN as one of the cleanest Municipality of Laguna. The team had experienced and witnessed the area and so the operation on how the wastes recycled and turn into a valuable resources. It’s certainly a showcase.
After the Laguna Lake tour, the team travelled to University of Los Baños, Laguna for a stop over where the team find that the Splash Mountain Beach Resort was owned by a Surigaonon. The following morning the team proceeded to the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) Crop Science Cluster, College of Agriculture Los Baños for the proper care and management of various crops and also they introduced the latest technologies on crop management and pest management. It was facilitated by Dr. Jose Hernandez the director of Institute of Plant breeding, Crop science cluster, College of Agriculture. The team had also visited the preserved Botanical Garden and the well-known Philippines Raptors of University of Los Baños and it’s quite amazing where Trees and endangered species had been protected and cared of. One of the highlighted specie was the Philippine Eagle from Surigao area which died this year in the occurrence of strong typhoon.
In the afternoon, the team visited the Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) Animal & Dairy Sciences Cluster, College of Agriculture. Mr. Cesar C. Sevilla, animal Dairy Sciences Director gave a brief but interactive lecture presentation & discussion about DTRI. Then the team proceeded to the Dairy Processing Plant. The mentor brought us also to the Fresh Milk centre where some of us bought sort of fresh milk. After the whole day activity, the team returned to the Splash Mountain Resort where the team was lodged. The following day the team timely travelled to Manila to visit the La Mesa Watershed. It is said to be famous in rehabilitating and sustaining the Natural Ecosystem of the La Mesa Watershed after the human devastation of the area. Dr. Mendoza, the officer-in charge of the programme informed that it’s now attracts thousand of donors for the total protection and rehabilitation of the La Mesa Watershed.
Then the following hour the Team had decided to go to PACAP main office in Ortigas City and we were having our lunch. The team was delightful of the acquaintance made between the PACAP employees. Ms. Monina G. Hernandez suggested to go to Tagaytay before sunset. But it was really out of time and the team was so tired, where it decided to look for Hotels for our lodging for the night. Finally, were in the Boys Scout of Philippines Building which we know the only low budget place in the area and strategically located to other venues in Metro Manila and the airport. The Team packed up for the early departure on the next day home bound.