National Museum, Baryo Balangaw promote biodiversity conservation through art

The National Museum of the Philippines – Western Visayas Regional Museum partnered with Baryo Balangaw Creative Initiatives to inspire support to biodiversity conservation, particularly in West Visayas Faunal Region.

A lecture on biodiversity conservation and the pressing issue of climate crisis was conducted to inspire support from Junior and Senior High School and College student-participants from the different schools and universities in Iloilo City. Merlyn Geromiano, museum researcher of NMP, explained how several plants and animals in West Visayas Faunal Region are threatened due to human activities like poaching, encroachments in forests or declining forest covers, among others. She reiterated that while Philippines is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, the country is also among the biodiversity hotspots due to declining populations of plant and animal species in the area.

On its part, Baryo Balangaw founder, Raz Salvarita, an environmental activist and artist, underscored the importance of “acting now and together” to address climate crisis. Strong on inspiring climate action through climate education and sustainable and community-based art initiatives, Raz called the participants to be mindful of their daily activities and its impact to planet. “Dropping single-use plastic from your daily activities can make a lot of impact in reducing carbon footprints,” he stressed.

To promote use of reusable bags, the National Museum and Baryo Balangaw led a demonstration and workshop on stencil art and silk-screen printing on naturally-dyed canvas tote bags, crafted with love by the members of Baryo Balangaw. The participants ‘painted’ their canvas bags. The designs made by Raz were of threatened animals and plants like Visayan leopard cat, Visayan spotted deer, Visayan warty pig, Negros bleeding heart pigeon, Tariktic and Dulungan hornbills, and Rafflesia. The participants were called to protect (amligan in Hiligaynon) these life forms by reporting to authorities poachers, planting trees to restore forests, and spreading the awareness of the animals’ importance to a balanced ecosystem.

The activity is part of the “WE Empower: Women, Science, Culture and Arts,” a Women’s Month culminating program of Western Visayas Regional Museum in Iloilo City.