Saturday, September 10, 2011

Part 1: First National Biodiversity Meeting (BIOME 2010), Catanduanes Island, Philippines

Living with Nature - School on Blog

Dr Abe V Rotor

Save the environment is today's battle cry. It is the theme of the two-day conference.

The organizers believe that
Achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of Environmental Sustainability in the Countryside starts with one small step "towards one leap of mankind" to save Earth, his only home and only ship in the vastness of space.

Catanduanes, the most unlikely island province to hold such a major forum, stood out from the usual metropolis setting of media, shopping and convenience. Here, it is nature that prevails. Nature is
the alternative.

Here the air is pure, the forest still original, and the sea though restless after the wake of typhoon Juan had settled into peaceful cooperation with the participants who came from many parts of the country.

It was a period of respite, a break from boredom, the prosaic blossoming into a variety of scenery and folk events topped by the capital's festivities, highlighted by the traditional fiesta thought to have been swallowed up by cinema and telenobela.

Hospitality remains in its roots among the people who openly share it to any guest more than their own comfort. And simplicity to them is pride and contentment.

What is environment then in Catanduanes?

It is its mangrove that braces the shoreline against the forces of wave and tide, nipa palms that trap soil otherwise swept to sea, forest virtually untouched by human hands, coral reefs that make a perfect cradle of marine life, farming though subsistent, assures long term production of food for the family. Here learning is practical, utilitarian and functional more than theory and aristocratic tendencies. Here the standard of living is not measured by riches, but by access to the bounty of nature.

time - it is within the power of anyone to control it, to choose what to do according to his own priority - or just allowing nature to run its course - and not life to run the course of nature. Here silence is respected, day is work, night is sleep, solitude is unwritten poetry, and the passing wind music.

But more than what our senses perceive, lie the foundation of knowledge - science and philosophy of living, expressing themselves in technology, art, and ultimately wisdom that transcends through the ages and through man's quest for glory.

I cannot imagine how beauty melts down in our midst and before our eyes. Why the Philippine eagle no longer rules the sky, why typhoons are induced more by man than by the vagaries of nature, why monsoon brings floods kill and destroy rather than fill up the lakes and rivers and irrigate the fields. Where have all the fireflies gone?

The participants do not only wonder. They have done more than we have, and are doing. Because they are scientists, they are educators, they are practitioners, they are leaders. They have reached a level of consciousness arising from that gift of sensitivity, which is to feel for others, and for the environment, in selfless virtue . It is only through selflessness that compassion is built. And from compassion comes that great resolve to help, to be of service to fellowmen and country, to Mother Earth - and the Great Maker of all.

Welcome party Virac airport.

Organizers, speakers and local leaders open the conference. Prominent guests are Congressman Cesar V Sarmiento of Catanduanes (3rd from right). Vice-governor Jose J Teves, Catanduanes Srtate Colleges president, Dr Asuncion V Asetre, Dr Josette Biyo and Dr Rotor (right). Representatives of local officials attended the occasion.

Proudly, environmentalists - soldiers of Nature. Prof Manrico Masagca (2nd from left), and Dr. Asuncio Asetre (right) pose with presentors in the two-day conference. At the center is Dr Josette Biyo, keynote speaker

More environmentalists join the crusade - paper presentors and participants.

Dr La Rainne Abad-Sarmiento (2nd from right), Dr. Roger A Tabliza, (2nd from left) Ms Ivy Taroy and Atty Pamela Joy Herrera, and BIOME 2010 coordinator, pose with the author.

Ms Juliet Borlon-Aparicio, Dr Asuncion Asetre, Dr Marie
Christine Merca-Obusan and Mr Fer Ramirez with author

Lighter side of BIOME 2010. Biodiversity on the human
aspect includes preservation of culture and tradition.

Catanduanes State Colleges
Pacific Island Institute of Pedagogy, Technology, Arts and Sciences, Inc (Pacifictech)

with the support from
Hechanova and Co., Makati City
ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB)

21-22 October 2010
Capiotol Dome and CSC GymnasiumVirac, Catanduanes, Philippines


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