lifestyle

Himugso Festival Heritage Feature, Birthing A City: La Casa del Chino Ygua, the oldest house in Cagayan de Oro

June 7, 2019

At the corner of Don Apolinar Velez and Archbishop Santiago Hayes streets stands an unimposing two story brick building which has withstood ravages of time, the Philippine Revolution, the Filipino-American War, and World War II. It’s perhaps unfortunate how today, despite the quantum gains made by modern communications, few of Cagayan de Oro City’s growing populace are aware it’s now the city’s oldest surviving residence and has quite a history behind it. Known to local history buffs as La Casa del Chino Ygua*, it has been recognized as a historically significant structure by the National Historical Institute of the Philippines, as confirmed by the NHI marker installed there in April 7, 2000, the Centennial of the Battle of Cagayan, also known as Siete de Abril. According to local historian Antonio Julian Roa Montalvan II, the house was built by Sia Ygua, a resident of Amoy (present day Xiamen) a city in the province of Fukien (now Fujian). Ygua is recorded as the earliest Chinese to have settled in Cagayan. While Amoy was an exit port, most of the Chinese who migrated outside the region came from the Yueyang and Fujian but Ygua was really a native of Amoy. (Montalvan, 2004) In a manuscript transcribed from Sia family records by Johnson L. Sia, a 4th generation descendant of Ygua, he writes how his great grandfather arrived in Cagayan de Misamis (as Cagayan de Oro was then known) in 1854 and opened his business in 1857. Named “Tong Joo” after his second son, it was a typical trading post that dealt in indigenous products like copra, tobacco, abaca and the like. The business prospered and soon expanded to the nearby towns. In time it became one of the largest business establishments in the area (Sia, 2004) According to a short account of the house written by the late Fr. Francisco Demetrio, S.J. in his publication Cagayan (1971), Ygua became friends with the Recollect priests of the nearby San Agustin church. Due to his industry, and the help given him by the fathers, he gradually amassed a fortune. Like most Chinese who settled in Cagayan, he took active part in civic and public life. He was known for his good heartedness. It is said that when he died, practically everyone in Cagayan wore black in mourning (Demetrio, 1971). Ygua built his residence in 1882 at a time when the running conflicts between Moros in Sulu and Cotabato and the Spanish regime in Mindanao and the Visayas was beginning to affect his business. To better secure himself and his trade, Ygua had his house built of sturdy brick and stone which were shipped from Amoy (along with the builders) by Chinese junks in two boatloads. The original house was a two-storey structure constructed on an irregular shaped 2,000 square meter lot. It was located on the corner of what today is Archbishop Santiago Hayes (formerly Victoria) and Don Apolinar Velez (formerly Calle del Mar) streets, and extended all the way to Pabayo street.    The house had a floor area of 600 square meters and was built of brick and stone. In addition, its posts, beams, floors, door, and window jambs were sourced from two large old Molave trees. Alternating planks of 1” x 8” Molave and Balayon wood were used for the floor, while the roof was also made of bricks and stone. (Sia, 2004). In his account Johnston L. Sia claims La Casa del China Ygua was the first brick house in town, but according to Fr. Demetrio, it was the second ‘balay nga bato’(house of stone) in Cagayan, as houses made of brick and stone (which were status symbols then as they are now) were then known. “There were many houses of stone in old Cagayan, so we are not sure if the Sia house was the first. An old house in Burgos yielded 1800s adobe stones and bricks. In fact, nearby the Sia house, just across actually (the empty lot on the corner across it) used to be a big house of stone belonging to Consolacion Roa y Cases Abejuela,” Dr. Montalvan commented.   “Barring any hard evidence, we should deviate from the qualifier first.” The house is now not only the oldest surviving residence in Cagayan de Oro, but also holds an honored place in the country’s history. The NHI marker installed on its Hayes street side recounts how on January 10, 1899, patriotic Kagay-anons celebrated independence through a Fiesta Nacional as a sign of support for the Philippine revolutionary government headed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.  They gathered in front of Ygua’s house, marched around the poblacion playing music, made speeches at the Casa Real (the governor’s residence), fired cannons and raised the Philippine Flag for only the second time in Mindanao. (Montalvan, 2002) On April 7, 1900, Filipino revolucionarios of the Mindanao Battalion led by Gen. Nicolas Capistrano attacked the American garrison of the 40th Infantry Regiment, U.S. Volunteers near present day Gaston Park in the Battle of Cagayan. However, they suffered many casualties (U.S. records show 52 Filipinos killed, Filipino archives say 200) and were eventually beaten back by the American’s superior firepower. (ibid.) The remains of many fatalities were buried in the backyard of Ygua’s house. To appease the souls and spare the inhabitants from being disturbed, Ygua turned their burial place into a temporary cockpit. The blood from the fighting cocks was believed to appease the restless souls. Until 1971, candles were lighted along the house in memory of the dead soldiers during All Souls Day. (Demetrio, 1971)   When Sia Ygua passed away in Manila, his businesses were left to his managers. In time, two of his sons and a daughter came to the Philippines. The daughter, Sia Hong Moi, married a Manileño and stayed in the capital.  The sons, Sia Simeon Velez and Sia Tong Joo, came to Cagayan de Misamis and eventually took over his businesses. In 1936, Sia Simeon Velez and Sia Tong Joodivided the family property, and the brick house came into the possession of Sia Tong Joo. Sia Tong Joo married Lu Oh O and has six children who stayed in Cagayan: three sons (Sia Bon Din, Sia Bon Suan and Sia Bon Hiok) and three daughters (Sia Pian Tin, Sia Chay Oan and Sia Chay Pin).  They lived in the brick house, and even after the children had grown and had families of their own, the house remained as the center of family activities, being the venue for family gatherings and reunions during festivals like the Chinese New Year. The house suffered extensive damage during World War II. After the war, Sia Tong Joo renovated the house. Because of the shortage of materials, the roof had to be patched using nipa and the walls replaced by talisayan wood. Through these measures the house was given a semblance of its former appearance.  The first major renovation of the house was undertaken in 1948. The damaged bricks were replaced by cement while plywood and asbestos were used for the walls. The 1” x 8” planks were however so sturdy they remained intact. @ Sia Tong Joo left for China in 1948, but his wife and children remained in Cagayan. Eventually, the son Sia Bon Din left and engaged in business in Talakag, Bukidnon and his other son Sia Bon Hiok left for Hong Kong. Meanwhile, his three daughters got married and moved out as well. The house thus eventually passed on to Sia Bon Suan.   Sia Bon Suan married Betty Lim Siok Oan, and had 13 children: six sons (William, Henry, John, Augustin, Benjamin and Peter) and seven daughters (Ana, Corazon, Mely, Mary, Helen, Teresita and Shirley).  Sia Bon Suan and his wife passed away in 1981 and 1975, respectively, and in due time his properties were divided among his children. The brick house was passed on to his fifth son, Dr. Benjamin Sia.  The house was renovated for the second time in 1993 by Dr. Sia to how it looks today.  It has been  over a century and half since Sia Ygua came to the Philippines. His descendants have spanned five generations and have been completely assimilated into Philippine society. More than 200 descendants live all across the country, the majority of who remain in Cagayan de Oro.

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Between Heaven and Earth: Pangatlong Tanghalan sa Kampo Juan

May 23, 2019

After two glorious weekends of celebrating the Muses in Manolo Fortich’s version of the Garden of Eden, the first edition of  Tanghalan sa KampoJuan celebrates its grand finale with the Pangatlong Tanghalan this Saturday, May 25 featuring its eclectic mix of the culinary, visual and performance arts with artists from around the region. The evening aperitif will be served by Melbourne-educated and trained culinary enthusiast Jont Cabrera demonstrating his culinary chops in blending Filipino and classical Italian cooking. From L’antipasto to mains and dessert, this will be an exciting culinary adventure featuring local ingredients in Italian cuisine. This gastronomic feast will be followed by another feast for the senses with the Sustainable Design exhibit of Chris Gomez, a multidisciplinary creative and advocate showcasing his artworks and artistry through paintings, furniture, fashion and accessories. Chris is a multi-awarded artist and designer whose accolades include the 2014 Look of Style Awards by the British Council; Grand Prize (Water based Category) in the 2012 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence awards and finalist in the 2011 National Philippine Art Awards. He also became a finalist at the China ASEAN Youth Artwork Creativity Contest in 2008 at Nanning, China before finally bagging the Award of Excellence in 2016. Not the least, the evening and three weekend series will be capped by the celestial choral music of the Youth for Culture and Arts Project (YCAP) community choir, led by Ms Mercibelle Barroso Abejuela.  This Bukidnon-based chorale has performed in major cities in Europe, USA and Asia. A consistent grand slam winner in the Mindanao Association of State Tertiary School Chorale competitions, YCAP will perform a repertoire across many genres: ethnic/lumad, OPM/Original Pilipino Music, pop and classical. Last weekend’s Pangalawang Tanghalan featured French-trained Chef Maricar Urbano, Oro Teatro Bulawanon’s (OTB) premier performance of AngPaglaya, an original play by Maia Fortich Poblete and Bex Espino, and two dance suites by the celebrated Liceo Folkloric Dance Troupe under Artistic Director Roger E. Odron. Chef Maricar was mentored by Celebrity French Chef Herve’ Frerardand and vividly underscored the balance between the science and artistry of the culinary arts with her solid technique, balanced flavor, creativity and presentation. She prepared a 5-course meal straight out of her Don Narciso Restaurant in Claveria, Misamis Oriental.   Oro Teatro Bulawanon (OTB) Founder and Director Maia Fortich Poblete counted Chef Maricar’s amuse bouche Current State as the perfect starter along with Mocktail Drunken Nights and the Pesto-flavored Gail & Gaby. This was followed by her When September Ends salad with mushroom carpaccio, microgreens, and pickled mooli. Her entrée  Under Pressure consisted of  sous vide fish with pineapple-corn salsa, a trio of mashed tuber, and smokey atsal sauce. And for the digestif, there was her Bittersweet Symphony with a classic combination of tablea cake, local ice cream (from La Favorita), and rose crumbs. Thanks to Maia for the heads up! Oro Teatro Bulawanon’s premier presentation of  Maia’s play “AngPaglaya” proved community theatre is alive and kicking with Kagay-anon talents JC Salon, Christy Aboniawan, Leslie Encong-Yap, Kale “Bom” Ramos, Nicolas Salcedo, Mikay Abella, Maria Therese Palma, Allyza Buslon, Katleen Obsioma, Kent Irvin, and Zilpha Ybañez. The stage management was a family affair with Jean Jacques Agbon assisted by daughters Kendra and Nicky. Nico Salcedo used paper bags to create the forest backdrop with a nod to KampoJuan’s sustainability theme, while the costumes were created and styled by Kent Irvin, who also doubled with Nicolas for the players’ makeup. “AngPaglaya” was co-written by Maia Poblete with Bex Espino, and successfully  showcased the talents of Kagay-anons, particularly the youth, as majority of the cast members were senior high school students. Liceo Folkloric Dance Troupe  closed the Pangalawang Tanghalan with its award winning dance performances featuring two dance suites from the indigenous peoples of  Northern Mindanao. “The Bukidnon Suites featured the Dugso, Pimintok, Binaylan, Pig-agawan, Palaspas and Mangangayaw, while the Maranao Suites featured exotic dances as homage to the Sultan with very strong Indo-Malayan and Arabic influences including the Pangalay, Kapa Malong-malong, Kazilimut, Kuntao, Pag-apir andSingkil,” said artistic director Roger E. Odron. The troupe has been a catalyst in promoting the diverse cultures of Mindanao in the Philippines and abroad, representing the country with pride in the ASEAN Dance Festival Exposition in Brunei, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Today, it continues to share the wealth of Mindanao through its various road shows, and its captivating performances around the country and the world. For those who want to come earlier, you are welcome to enjoy Kampo Juan, named in honor of Dr. Juan Acosta – the patriarch of a patrician family who successfully navigated a career in politics, environment and scientific research. His wife Socorro served as mayor and representative of Bukidnon’s first district, while son Neric is one of the country’s leading environmentalists and daughterMalou has just earned a new mandate as steward of the same district her Nanay Coring used to serve. The Heritage House itself is worth the visit, and there are adventure sports galore also the young and young at heart can while away the time while waiting for the evening’s show. For those who want to immerse themselves in either one or all of these lifetime experiences, please contact Laclac Bongcawel at 09551539105 or email tanghalan.kampjuan@gmail.com. You can also buy your tickets at   Nanay Choleng's Muron kiosk at the ground floor of Ayala Centrio mall or at Kampo Juan Resort, Bgy. Dicklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Tickets are priced at P1,500/person. You can also follow the events through the Instagram account:"tanghalansakampj",   

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Xavier Ateneo, Corpus Christi studes picked among Jr. NBA PH All-Stars

May 20, 2019

Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 presented by Alaska National Training Camp officially concluded yesterday, May 19, 2019.    Five girls and five boys bested their competition and were chosen by Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton, WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro together with Jr. NBA and Alaska coaches to be part of the Jr. NBA 2019 All-Star Team.    Among those chosen were Mikylla Taborada of Corpus Christi School, Cagayan de Oro and Zhan Paolo Moreno of Xavier Ateneo, who also won the Gatorade Hustle Award.        The newest batch of Jr. NBA All-Stars will  represent the country at the first Jr. NBA Global Championship Asia Pacific Selection Camp in Jakarta, Indonesia in June to train with top youth players from the region. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton and WNBA Champion Ticha Penicheiro joined Jr. NBA coaches Carlos Barroca and Natalia Andre and Alaska coaches Jeffrey Cariaso and Tony dela Cruz to help coach the 80 participants at the Gatorade Hoops Center and Don Bosco Technical Institute on May 18 and in the boys and girls exhibition game at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on May 19. The final day of the Jr. NBA National Training Camp hosted an exhibition game for former Jr. NBA All-Stars and was attended by notable alumni including collegiate players Thirdy Ravena and Janjan Jaboneta. Jr. NBA Philippines presented by Alaska is committed to improving youth health and wellness and addressing growing inactivity by highlighting the importance of proper nutrition and an active lifestyle to participants.  Since its launch in 2007, Jr. NBA Philippines has reached more than two million players, coaches and parents in over 190 cities and municipalities nationwide, teaching the fundamentals of basketball and the program’s core values of sportsmanship, teamwork, a positive attitude, and respect (S.T.A.R.). Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 is presented by Alaska, with AXA, Gatorade, Globe, Panasonic, Rexona and Vivo as official partners. ABS-CBN S+A, Basketball TV and NBA Premium TV are the official broadcasters of Jr. NBA Philippines. For all things NBA, fans can follow Jr. NBA on Facebook and the NBA at www.nba.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Fans can visit www.alaskamilk.com to learn more about the Alaska Milk Corporation, and follow Alaska Milk on Facebook for more information about Alaska Sports.   The following is a complete list of Jr. NBA Philippines 2019 All-Stars:   GIRLS ROSTER:   First Name Last Name Age School Dianne Camille Nolasco 14 Miriam College Karylle Sierba 13 Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation Mikylla Taborada 14 Corpus Christi School Cagayan de Oro Justine Mhyrra Vibangco 13 Saint Joseph Parish School Princess BJ Marie Villarin 13 De La Salle Zobel   BOYS ROSTER:   First Name Last Name Age School Henjz Gabriel Demisana 14 Bacolod Tay Tung High School Joshua Minguillo 13 - Zhan Paolo Moreno 14 Xavier University  (Ateneo de Cagayan) Sebastian Roy Reyes 14 Nazareth School of National University Lionel Metthew Rubico 14 De La Salle Lipa   List of Awards: Gatorade Hustle Awardees: Zhan Paolo Moreno and Franchesca Isabela Buenvenida Panasonic Rising Star Awardees: Zak Gumaya and Kaye Andrea Vivas Coaches of the Year: Orlando Estrelles and Precious Jimenez Alaska Ambassadors: Henjz Gabriel Demisana and Justine Mhyrra Vibangco MVPs: Sebastian Roy Reyes and Dianne Camille Nolasco About the NBA The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League.   The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.   NBA rosters at the start of the 2018-19 season featured 108 international players from 42 countries and territories.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.   The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.6 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes. About Alaska Milk Given the growing issues on health as well as the fast-changing technological environment, which leads to the change in children’s interests and behavior or sedentary lifestyle, Alaska believes that there is a need to reinforce its thrust in leading a healthy lifestyle not just by drinking milk but also by leading an active lifestyle. Alaska seeks to engage the youth, especially younger kids, in sports.                           Alaska Milk looks beyond selling milk – it sells nutrition and by doing so, the Company and brand Alaska is doing its part in nation-building.  Through youth sports development programs, Alaska is able to help nourish children for them to develop into champions in the field of interest and, in general, in life.   The overall objective of the Alaska Sports is to strengthen the brand’s equity in nutrition through sports.  To portray Alaska Fortified as a brand that helps instill the values of determination, discipline, teamwork, and hard work among the youth through sports.

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The latest from the Philippines Largest Pirate Themed Water Park

May 16, 2019

Last Saturday, 11 May 2019, the CDO Bloggers were hosted by Seven Seas Waterpark in Barra, Opol, Misamis Oriental for our 2nd Quarter General Membership Meeting. Heartfelt thanks to Engr. Elpie Paras, president and CEO of UC-1 Corporation which owns and operates the waterpark for hosting our GMM. And taking time out of his busy schedule on top of that for a group interview with our members who attended to update us on recent and upcoming developments. “Our dream is to create a new tourist destination for Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao to put them in the world tourism map,” Elpie disclosed. “We want Seven Seas to be a world class destination, that is the idea.” “If we want to build something, is has to be up to par with other countries and that’s why we put in much detail in building our water park,” he added. Among its most popular attractions is the Cyclone, the green and blue funnel which is one of the biggest slides in the country today with a 20-meter diameter ride (bigger than Clark’s).  “We want our quality to be at par with other countries in safety standards and entertainment value.”   Great Expectations “So far I believe we have succeeded,” Paras said. “Even Dahilayan is now a mature tourism destination and we expect Seven Seas to follow suit and  become a major tourist node in Mindanao. Today most guests come not only for Cagayan de Oro but also from many cities in Mindanao.” He cited the very positive response to the recent foray of the Seven Seas marketing team in Davao recently to promote our two for P999 promo at SM. “For four straight days recently we had long queues in Limketkai and had to close early because we ran out of tickets!”   Bloggers He also cited how Bloggers are an important part of their marketing efforts and how totally sold UC-1 is to social media. “All our promos are always in social media and we will continue to do so not only because it is very inexpensive but is also viral in nature. One of our videos taken by Project Lupad already has over 5 million likes.”   Tour Packages. In addition to Seven Seas, Paras said UC-1 is now marketing its other tourism products and destinations: Great White Water Rafting Tours in the Cagayan River and Dahilayan Adventure Park together with  Seven Seas. You can book your tour packages at this site. “We are also encouraging companies to do their corporate team building here. This May 20 event with Concentrix will be good for 2,000 persons. That’s why they will have the whole park to themselves for the entire day and evening.”   Night Operations Social media has been abuzz lately about how Seven Seas could soon be open during evenings. “Since last year seniors and friends who do not like the heat of the sun have been requesting we open at night,” Paras admitted. “When we hosted a doctors’ convention recently we had to fast track  and re-outfit the park for night operations like installing more lights and safety features.” “We are planning to open for night operations very soon but don’t have a definite date yet. However, it will definitely be after Concentrix Family Day on May 20 which will be the entire day and evening and serve as a dry run  for our future night operations. Hopefully we can do this before the  end of the month.”   The Dream The pioneering entrepreneur who set up Cagayan de Oro’s first fast food burger shop, first Satellite TVRO (Television Receive Only), first cable TV network (among others) set up Seven Seas as another venue for guests and tourists to complete their weekend in Northern Mindanao. Billed as the first and largest Pirate themed water park in the Philippines, Seven Seas is also the 2nd biggest water park in the Philippines (after Clark) and can accommodate up to 2,000 visitors daily but already had crowds of up to 3,000 in 2018. A project of UC-1 Corporation, the holding company of the Paras Group of Companies including Dahilayan, Parasat, et al., it is the biggest investment so far for Paras group in terms of peso investments and total area.   Safeguards & Safety “You will notice we have many lifeguards around, nurses on duty all the time, a standby vehicle ready to transport to hospital. It’s very important we secure our guests safety.”   Maintenance Breaks Although Seven Seas is open daily for two months this summer for the peak season, it was shut down in January for one month for maintenance and repair. This will  henceforth be conducted annually but announced in advance. “We also conduct daily maintenance, mostly from 3AM to 10AM which is why we only operate from 10AM to 6PM,” Paras disclosed. “Some procedures are not good for guests since they involve harsh chemicals like acids and chlorine.”   Hijab for Muslim Women In response to a member from Marawi’s query about the use of the hijab by Muslim women guests, Paras said they have had no problem with this so far since their suggested attire include full body dry fit suits. “I have not seen anyone wearing hijab in the pools so far,” he added. “For rides we discourage the use of hijab since this could get entangled in the slides and cause accidents to the user.” Paras said they also  discourage the use of cotton garments especially for the rides since cotton has a tendency to stick when wet and guests can find themselves stuck in the slides. “We have suits for sale in our gift shop for guests who may not have bought the appropriate attire.” There were more upcoming developments discussed but these will have to be kept under wraps for now at Engr. Paras’ request. Meantime, you can bring the family to enjoy Seven Seas while the summer lasts since June is just around the corner. Huling Hirit Araw-Araw sa Seven Seas! Ahoy Mateys!

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Phoenix targets 20% LPG sales growth in VisMin

March 29, 2019

DAVAO City — Phoenix LPG Philippines, Inc., the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) unit of Dennis A. Uy’s listed firm Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc., is aiming to increase its sales by about 20% this year in the Visayas and Mindanao with the expansion of retail outlets.     In a press conference over the weekend, Evelyn T. Gerodias, general manager for the Visayas-Mindanao market of the Phoenix Super LPG brand, said this year’s growth target is higher than the 14% increase in volume it recorded last year in Visayas and Mindanao.     “(The 20%) increase is possible,” said Ms. Gerodias, noting that they have already started with a more aggressive marketing campaign with celebrity Sarah Geronimo as brand ambassador along with saturating existing distribution networks with their product.    Phoenix’s marketing strategy also highlights the German technology used for its LPG tanks to ensure safety and provide a simple installation and operation system for consumers.     Ms. Gerodias said Phoenix will be increasing its Phoenix Super Hub stores, currently at 30 nationwide, to reach more buyers.     The LPG product is also sold at Phoenix Petroleum’s gasoline stations and Grainsmart stores.     “We are trying to reach all households in the market,” she said.    Ms. Gerodias also said that the company is open to dealership deals, which would require about P10 million in capital expenditure.     Phoenix Petroleum, headquartered in Davao City, started its LPG subsidiary in 2017 when it bought the LPG business of Petronas Energy Philippines, Inc., a subsidiary of the Petronas Dagangan Berhad of Malaysia.

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DENR leads World Water Day 2019 celebrations

March 29, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is raising calls for greater water security for the country’s future needs, as it leads a weeklong activity to highlight the celebration of the 2019 World Water Day (WWD) on March 22 with focus on accessibility to clean water and sanitation as a basic human right.     This year’s WWD celebration will adopt the objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (ASD) which calls for concerted actions both on rich and poor countries to end poverty and tackle climate change while leaving no one behind.     A series of activities have been lined up nationwide from March 15- 31 to raise awareness about the importance of water and sustainable development, highlighting the 6th of the 17 Sustainable Goals of the 2030 ASD which is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030.     The activities center around the local theme “Hawak-Kamay, Tubig-Kaagapay” in support of the 2019 WWD’s international theme “Leaving No One Behind” which forms the core of the 2030 ASD.     Topping the weeklong celebration is the holding of the World Water Day Awards on March 22 and the launching of “The Battle for Esteros” on March 31 which will be highlighted by the simultaneous massive cleanup of some 65 esteros and waterways within the National Capital Region.     At the forefront of the cleanup are concerned barangay executives and their constituents linking up with officials and employees of the DENR, including those of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Tourism, who will be deployed for the cleanup.     The award-giving event will honor some 20 individuals, institutions, and programs that made strides in achieving water and environment sustainability in the Philippines. It is to take place at the Novotel Manila Araneta Center, Quezon City.     Since 2015, a total of 54 “water champions” have been recognized which include leaders of indigenous peoples, community workers, media personalities, local government units and academe based organizations.     The following are the awards to be given out this year: KAVANTOG DO’T AWED (OvuManubo term for “Hero of the Water”); KaagapaysaTubigKanlungan; Kampeon ng Lawa; HuwarangLingkodTubig; Kampeon ng Katubigan; HuwarangLingkod; Planet-Wise Organization; Water Leadership Award; HuwarangAlagad ng Ilog Pasig; and Water Warrior Award for Advocacy Leadership and for Water Education.; and KaagapaysaTubigKanlungan.     Other activities lined up include launch of “Tubig Para saLahat”, a coffee table book and an exhibit at the DILG Central Office (March 18-22); Water Philippines 2019 Expo and Conference at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay (March 20-22); DPWH Cleanup and Hiking Activity in Mount Pulag National Park in Benguet (March 23-24) and 20-kilometer bike tour and cleanup “Padyak Para saKatubigan” from the DENR Central office in Quezon City to the Navotas Centennial Park in Navotas City.    The 2019 WWD kicked-off with Water Fair and SiningIpoSungka Tournament held in Taytay, Rizal last March 15.     Meanwhile, other activities already conducted in various parts of the country in consonance with WWD include the following: DILG and NWRB information and education campaign dubbed “Nangangalaga ng Water Resources ng Bansa in Lipa, Batangas on March 18;“PistasaTubig: Water and Green Enterprises Fair in Gen. Nakar, Quezon last March 19;Mangrove Planting and Cleanup in Kawit, Cavite and Pututan, Muntinlupa, March 16 and 19;“DaloyDunong + BuhayKyut” in Ramos, Tarlac and Baliuag, Bulacan; ARTIVISM at the DENR Central Office; Forum on “The Philippines Water Sector: Gaps and Opportunities at Joy Nastalg Hotel Manila in Pasig, March 20; and “National Water Summit at Novotel Manila Araneta Center Hotel in Quezon City, March 21.

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