by Ricel Banayos
The University of the Philippines Los Baños-School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM) made a statement at the recent UPLB Feb Fair by setting up a free photo booth for the public to express their support for Project LEAD (Laguna Lake Ecotourism Advocacy for Development).
Implemented by UPLB-SESAM’s Ecosystem Services and Environmental Policy (ESEP) Laboratory headed by Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Project LEAD, funded by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), aims to promote ecotourism as a sustainable development solution for Laguna de Bay’s resource use and management.
The project also closely collaborates with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), the primary agency tasked with managing and protecting Laguna de Bay, as well as the Provinces of Laguna and Rizal. This collaboration aims to ensure comprehensive and coordinated efforts, as well as a more robust and impactful promotion of ecotourism.
The booth captured the attention of visitors with its interactive and informative display. Posters and banners highlighting the project’s objectives adorned the booth. Project personnels were also present to welcome visitors and provide them with a brief but comprehensive overview of the project, which served as a great platform for audiences to ask questions and provide suggestions.
Vice Chancellor Robert Cereno of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs, and Dr. Pamela Custodio of the College of Development Communication, project staff of Project LEAD, also made an appearance at the booth to show their support for the project and its initiatives.
The project personnel passionately discussed the importance of ecotourism in preserving Laguna de Bay’s natural resources, as well as how it can promote sustainable development and long-term benefits for the environment and local communities, through engaging conversations.
The centerpiece of the booth was the free photo booth, where visitors could take pictures with their friends and family, holding up signs expressing their support for Project LEAD. Visitors were encouraged to post their photos on social media, using the hashtag #UPLBProjectLEAD, to spread awareness and encourage others to support the cause.
Project LEAD booth also offered visitors a chance to take home some souvenirs. They gave out project merchandise such as tote bags and alcohol spray bottles, which not only served as practical items but also helped spread awareness about the project and its mission to promote sustainable development in Laguna de Bay. The merchandise were well-received by visitors, who appreciated the opportunity to take home a piece of the project and its cause.
Project LEAD aims to continue its efforts to promote ecotourism and sustainable development in Laguna de Bay beyond the UPLB Feb Fair. The project is planning to organize many more activities, including workshops and webinars, to spread awareness and push for the adoption of ecotourism in the area. On March 12, in partnership with the province of Laguna and in celebration of the Anilag Festival, the first Anilag Cycling Event titled “Ride to LEAD: Padyak Laguna para sa Lawa” will take place.
This event is part of Project LEAD’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the importance of ecotourism and sustainable practices in Laguna de Bay and to encourage more people to support the cause. To know more about their upcoming events, follow their Facebook page at @UPLBProjectLEAD.