Saturday, July 21, 2012

Las Piñas Water Lily Festival on Its 7th Year

Event covered by Angelyn Demo

It was a Thursday Morning and thank God it wasn't raining. The day was just right for the event and for travel but as usual traffic has always been there that caused me to be late on the designated meeting place! Then were off to the festival.

It was the celebration of Las Piñas' 7th Water Lily Festival. A celebration that has become more popular every year because of the livelihood products produced out of Water Hyacinth led by the Managing Director of the the Villar Foundation, Cynthia Villar.

We arrived early but it seems that the celebration started much earlier. The festivity commenced already and people are in tune with the celebration. People were pretty eager to watch the pageant perhaps because of their bet candidates and of course most of them are really lovely. Many people were present during the festivity and the only thing that is not pleasant was the weather. Though it was not raining it made a not so good condition because it made us look tired and haggard because of that hot weather. Perhaps the heat also flared up because of the number of guests and participants present.

I did try to ask people around to know what they think of the celebration and one of the person I've interviewed was a “kagawad” (councilor) of the barangay. She said that they were lucky that projects like these were conceptualized and helped the communities a lot. After the interview she even introduced me to their barangay captain.

The Water Lily Festival was conceptualized in order to promote the water hyacinth-based livelihood products made by the residents of Las Piñas living along the river. Before these water lilies or water hyacints were treated as aquatic pests that clog the river but now are useful raw materials. Products made from these water lilies are baskets, trays, slippers and other functional and ornamental items.

The festival highlighted for this year the Miss Las Piñas Water Lily which was a pre-pageant that was held on Tuesday (July 17) and last Thursday (July 19) the winner was crowned as this year's Miss Las Piñas Water Lily. Since the water lily is the highlighted ingredient of this festival, gowns made of this material were created by known designers like Noli Hans and as well the barangay residents themeselves. Other highlights of the 7th Water Lily Festival are the fluvial parade, street dancing, musical performances from Manunugtog Kawayan and other local bands, water lily weaving demonstrations and of course, a display exhibit of various handicrafts made out of water lilies.

According to Mrs. Villar “We can do it if we want to”, she also explained that there are lots of improvements needed for next year's festival like the cheering squads should train hard and they were also planning to conceptualize a river cruise in Las Piñas. Mrs. Villar also mentioned that “cleaning a river is really a challenge and the Las Piñas was praised for cleaning the river.” It is indeed one of the good efforts that the Villar Foundation have done to Las Piñas and to its communities.

This festivity is really good in promoting local tourism and locally made products. Other places should also strive to do the same for the future generation. Just what Mrs. Villar said “we can do it if we want to”.

Do you want to visit this festivity next year? If you're planning to, just visit the Villar Foundation website to see the details of their programs and activities.

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