Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sustainable Living & 3Rs Forum & Workshop

More than 500 students from the University of Northern Philippines and DepEd's Alternative Learning System joined the free Sustainable Living & 3Rs Forum & Workshop last December 6 held at the UNP Auditorium.

DepEd's ALS learners led by Mr Anselmo Aludino, teachers Julia Formoso, Bonifacio Balderosa, Silver Rabang, Joseph Obrero, Lawrence Agtutubo, Janet Bersamina, UNP's Mariquit Obrero (middle, in white ), Margaret Cruz (in black) and Cris Valmoja (in yellow). More photos here

 Resource speakers for the said forum includes women's right and environment advocate Professor Miriam Javier for Agenda 21, sustainability advocate Margaret T. Cruz on Global Trends in Sustainability, another environment advocate professor Engr. Nino Tablada and I-Save representative Cris Valmoja updated the audience about current situation of the Ilocos Sur environment.

The afternoon was spent on 3Rs projects including paper recycling, biodegradable waste recycling, container cans/plastic recycling, and container gardening.
The free forum-workshop is organized and sponsored by Bituen in cooperation with Ilocano Social Action and Vanguards of the Environment (I-Save), the UNP Office of External Affairs with support from DepEd Vigan, DepEd Ilocos Sur, and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office - Ilocos Sur.
Aside from the highlight on the dangers of black sand mining currently undertaken in Caoayan and San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, the speakers taught the students about organic practices, off-the-grid living, permaculture, natural building, free market, and cradle to grave practices. The students were also told about the futile practices of tree-planting projects used by politicians for photo opportunity purposes only, which " a big waste of government money and forester efforts," as Professor Javier emphasized. "These seedling are nurtured for about two years by foresters paid by our taxes, only to be left to die," she said. The students were also told that environmentalism is not about saving the earth and that the earth can survive without humans but it's humans that are being save through environmental advocacy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Towards Zero Waste: Workshops now Accepted

Bituen is currently accepting requests for workshops & trainings for  developing positive attitude towards sustainable living.
The workshop covers why we need to address waste management at the individual and home levels, with the following topics:
  1. What to do with biodegradable wastes.
  2. Container-gardening
  3. Paper, fabric, plastic & can upcycling.
  4. Sustainable lifestyle.
Please call (63)-2-9941372 or email for inquiry or details. Images shown are actual projects from waste materials tackled during workshops.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Who Says

"...the gargantuan challenge for Education Secretary Armin Luistro in realizing the value of the K to 12 Program includes ... above all, developing a culture of reading in Filipino children. There’s the rub. [It] might take 100 years or so..." Christopher Ryan Maboloc, The future of our children, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Saturday, June 30th, 2012."

The culture of reading is the biggest problem in Philippine education. This is compounded by the quality of books provided to public and even private school pupils which is abominable, to say the least... If children were provided books at all.
In the latest  Reading Caravan conducted at Pideg, Elementary School in Pugo, La Union, all children in the school in June 5, 2013 (about 200 pupils in all), received their own books for their own reading consumption. The actual photos provide an insight as to how the children feel about reading decent books.

We do not need to spell the obvious: enthusiasm and joy is painted all over their faces about the books they received.

The teachers acknowledged the difficulty in accessing books for the children's own consumption. "The nearest retailer of books here is in San Fernando or Baguio (which are both several hours by bus travel)," the teachers said. To have an idea what is going on with the kind and quality of books provided to children in public (and private schools) which papers are openly known as fit for packaging smoked fish (pinausukang galunggong), you only have to look at the photo above, or read this.

If the books had been an infra project, the equivalent cost for each could have been a few hundred thousand pesos (please read this) and their quality could have helped in DepEd's goal to improve a reading culture among pupils.

Another problem  seen by Bituen about this issue is the Philippine pop culture that places much importance and emphasis on television which is 24/7 promotional material for everything that spells profit for those who already have much. Every household tries to afford a television, but one can hardly see a single book, even in houses that are Mediterranean in style and obviously owned by OFWs.

The third problem, as already mentioned earlier is access to books. This is the main reason why Bituen opts to distribute the books to the children and encourage them to swap with their friends or classmates after reading. The teachers were also asked to assist in book swapping in order to further encourage the children.

Below are the donors in cooperation with Ian Baltazar of Tubao, La Union and his various groups...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sustainable Waste Management at Individual Level

 Aside  from increased literacy, Bituen have embarked on another critical issue in the country which is sustainable waste management through the publication of 3Rs of Fun in Waste currently available at Amazon and Etsy. The book, although still in its early release (October 2012) has sold more than a thousand copies and has been generating awareness through Inquirer and Philippine Star online and offline.
In a recent No Impact program of the Asian Development Bank through the assistance of Ms. Carolyn Cabrera and Ms. Rhea Reburiano of ADB, Dir. Emy Aguinaldo and Ms. Racquel Reyes of the National Solid Waste Management Commission secretariat, as well as the other officers of NSWMC and DENR, the book and the projects in the book were featured.
DENR officers, Ms. Reyes (in white) and Ms. Reburiano (in black) at ADB No impact Week.

Bituen hopes that through these exposures, waste management at individual level becomes more extensive and taken into consideration by everybody. The various officers of ADB also pitched-in their take on how each one of us should adopt sustainable lifestyles including less waste, less carbon usage, support for local products and food, use of less energy  (although personal physical energy is encouraged to be used in full) and use of less water. All of these are also tackled in the 3Rs of Fun in Waste.
On January 21-24, DENR will also be celebrating the anniversary of RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2001 which relevant sections were included in 3Rs of Fun in Waste. For inquiries about the book, please call (63)-2-9941372 or 0929-2870628. More images about the ADB No Impact Week here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

December 16 & 30 Reading Caravan @ San Vicente Magsingal & San Pedro, Vigan

The  December 16 Reading Caravan was conducted in San Vicente, Magsingal. The books were donated by Read Pilipinas, Ms. Carlotta Steven Fealy, Ms. Violet Whim Alderleaf, and Peace Corp. Support was also extended by the Office of Senator Bongbong Marcos. The Caravan was conducted with the help of Dr. Estrella Oliver Soria and her team of San Vicente Professionals' Association. The children are from daycare to Grade Six. In this program, we have introduced the book exchange wherein a volunteer coordinator will meet the children regularly to have their books swapped to maximize impact. We hope to partner again with the Association for more projects.

In December 30, the Reading Caravan was conducted in cooperation with the Saint Paul College of Ilocos Sur H.S. Batch '88 at San Pedro, Vigan City. It is said that San Pedro is a relocation site of marginalized urban poor in the country's World Heritage Site - Vigan city proper.
The books have been provided by Read Philippines, Ms. Carlotta Steven Fealy, Ms. Violet Whim Alderleaf, and with assistance from Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

Barangay San Pedro Officials led by Punong Barangay Magno led support to the book and school supplies distribution. The parents of the children danced with glee after the event.