The realization of the vision will continue on: more sources of livelihood will be initiated, efforts to protect the environment will be strengthened, more needy Filipinos will be assisted, and more lives will be changed for the better. This year, Villar Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary. And this year, Las Piñas, which is the home of Villar Foundation, celebrates its 7th Water Lily Festival. Thanks to the attention gained by the livelihood enterprises including the Water Hyacinth Basket Weaving Enterprise of the Villar Foundation led by its Managing Director, Cynthia Villar, Former Representative of Las Piñas, the Las Piñas Water Lily Festival has never been more popular
Water lilies are known to thrive in bodies of water, growing up to a height of 40 inches. While they also provide useful organisms to underwater life, they multiply rather quickly and as such, clog waterways, block drainage systems, and cause floods. But these pesky water lilies, once seen as aquatic nuisances that would cause the Prinza River in Las Piñas to overflow now have an alternative use.
Under the Livelihood Skills Program of the “Water Lily Weaving Project” of the Villar Foundation, water lilies are being made into handicrafts, launch livelihood projects and used as an effective tool to rehabilitate the very communities it they once adversely affected.
The Water Lily festival aims to promote the water hyacinth-based livelihood enterprise. To clear the Las Piñas River of water lilies, residents harvest them and dry the stalks, which become the raw material for producing baskets, trays, slippers, and other functional and ornamental items.
How it works:
The recycling process is straightforward.
Once harvested, the plants are dried under the sun and then cured in an oven. Then they cut, and bent around a wire frame and dyed before they are woven into craft articles.
Step 1 Water Lily Stalk Harvesting
Step 2 Sun drying
Step 3 Oven drying
Step 4 Wire cutting
Step 5 Wire bending
Step 6 Wire frame welding
Step 7 Weaving
Step 8 Trimming
Step 9 Blow torching
Step 10 Glue application
Step 11 Varnishing
Step 12 Finished product
According to Mrs. Cynthia Villar, the Water Lily Festival was really conceptualized in order to highlight the products made out of water lilies, which were treated as aquatic pests before as they used to clog the Las Piñas River, but are now useful raw materials.
“Through this festival, we are able to help the water lily weavers to market their products by showcasing them throughout the day-long festival, from the beautiful gowns of the contestants in the Miss Water Lily and the costumes of the street dancers to the decorations of the boats in the fluvial parade,” said Villar, whose name has become synonymous with water lilies and green social enterprises.
The festival not only promotes Las Piñas as a city and draws the attention of the people to our environmental and livelihood programs.
“We are proud of the barangay-based livelihood projects that we have created, the raw materials of which all come from wastes. We have employed more than 500 families in our livelihood centers,” cited Mrs. Villar.
Las Piñas Representative Mark Villar said during the pre-pageat event:
“The contestants at the Miss Las Piñas Water Lily pageant prove that Las Piñeras are truly beautiful. The reigning Miss World 2012, Queenierich Rehman is from Las Piñas. On top of that, we also show that we are environmentally responsible citizens. For one, we have made something beautiful out of water lilies, otherwise treated as wastes.”
The winners of Miss Las Piñas Water Lily become ambassadresses of the city and will represent the beauty of the city as well as its environmental and livelihood programs such as the United Nations (UN) award-winning river rehabilitation or Sagip Ilog program—a brainchild of Mrs. Villar.
Other highlights of the 7th Water Lily Festival are 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.
People were very warm and happy with this celebration. I was able to witness their generosity in their participation on all the activities.
“We look forward to this celebration every year. This is something, people here are all excited. Everybody participates,” said Aling Mely, the mother of one of the contestants in street dancing.
It was really an honor to be able to witness this event personally. It just feels great to see everybody’s happy and celebrating and very grateful of what they have. Another amazing learning I got from this event is that Las Piñas already ran out of water lilies in their river and is currently getting their water lily supplies from other rivers in the metro. So nice that they are also helping the other cities to have a cleaner and fish-friendly river. 🙂
For more information, please contact:
The Villar Foundation, Inc.
Caroline Masibay Street,
BF Resort Village, Talon 2, Las Piñas City
Tel # 874-9238, 872-0735, 872-8540