May 15-17, 2009; Setubal, Portugal
I. COMING TOGETHER IS A BEGINNING…
Friday, May 15, 2009-
The sum of small efforts, taken as one, equaled to and meant a big success for us. In nexus, the totality of the thinking or planning, sensing or feeling, acting and manipulating coastal and environmental activities, giving attention to details- collectively and proudly uttered the achievement of the Philippine Delegation to the 5th World Congress of “The Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club (or in short, WMBB Club)”, which was held recently, last May 14-17, 2009 in Estalagem do Sado, Setubal, Portugal. The World Congress Theme was “United By Oceans” (Oceanos Que Nos Unem).
Perhaps for some people, our advocacy could be just a drop in the ocean but for us it was really a great success. We experienced this successful endeavor definitely because of the long yet smart preparations done by the officers, members, organizers and nature advocates of the WMBB club. For the Philippines, this was spearheaded by Mr. Hubert D’Aboville and wife Ara, with other delegates, to wit- Dr. Alberto Fenix, Jr. and his wife, Isabel, Ex-Councilor Daniel Enriquez, Mrs. Luz E. Lombos and Ms. Therese Goldenaire E. Lombos, the Champion in the Worldwide Essay Writing Contest. Her entry was about the Puerto Galera Bay of our country.
As the famous saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Our trip first to Amsterdam albeit it was a long and tedious one was safe and enjoyable. Oh, it was an experience of a 12-hour, butt-aching travel aboard the Air France-KLM airplane! There was no ennui but excitement and enthusiasm to represent and bring the pride and beauty of our country, particularly the Puerto Galera Bay. Moreover, it was the friendly people and their warm reception who made the event awesome plus the fact that nature was indeed breathtaking, most especially the beautiful Setubal Bay, the clean Setubal City itself and its cold climate, and the historical Lisbon City and other suburban areas of Portugal.
At the outset, there was a registration which took almost an hour. We were given our I.D.’s, WMBB official pins and bags where we found the packet of information necessary for the 3-day sessions. The opening session of the first day started a bit late but it was superimposed by the presence and wonderful messages of the following dignitaries—
· Maria das Dores Meira, the Mayor of Setubal
· Jerome Bignon, President of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World
· Jose Manuel Parreira, Tourism Portugal I.P.
Later after the coffee break, we heard speakers from different countries—
· Mario Ruivo- President of the National Council of the Environment and Sustainable Development
· Nancy Hochstrasser-Castillo- representing the Tadoussac Bay (Canada) and Banderas Bay (Mexico)
· Hong, Jong Uk- Ambassade De Coree Premier Secretaire, Korea-Expo 2012-Yeosu “The Living Ocean and Coast”; The Organizing Committee presented Expo 2012 and they received a round of warm applause.
Ms. Therese Goldenaire E. Lombos, 18 years old from the Philippines stole the scene because aside from being the youngest, she was awarded and recognized for being the First-Prized Winner in the Worldwide Essay Writing Contest which was entitled as “Here Is My Bay”. This was participated by many students- imagine just in Nah Trang, Vietnam, Therese Goldenaire defeated 200 Vietnamese students as reported, and many more from different countries. She accepted the certificates both in English and French translations. Well, she was admired by everyone for her great feat. Hence, she received the accolades from the participants of the World Congress.
The second session (afternoon) —
· The first talk was given by Carlos Sousa Reis, representing the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and Permanent Forum for the Affairs of the Sea (Ministry of National Defense).
· This was followed by another talk entitled, “The Elimination of Plastic Bags” by Eric Lore.
· The second message was delivered by Jerome Bignon, President of the WMBB Club and moderator of the session with Andre Martins as Co-Moderator & Chairman of the Setubal Bay Association.
· Common Bottlenose Dolphin’s Population in Sado Estuary- Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity/Department of Management of Classified Areas-Wetlands- was discussed by Marina Sequeira and Joao Carlos Farinha.
· The topic- Oceans: diversity, management and future, Sub-Honorary Director of College of France, Scientific Committee—was led and explained by Daniel Jouvance and Yves Le Gal.
The session was closed by Tito Rosa, President of the Institute for Nature Conservation and Biodiversity at around 7:00 p.m.
Cheery lunch and dinner were served with their delicious and exotic culinary specialties. Bottles of wine were plenty. White wines and red wines did match with sardines, grilled fish and grilled spare ribs. By the way, fishing is their prominent industry. The fado, classical music added fun and romantic ambience, too.
II. KEEPING TOGETHER IS PROGRESS…
Saturday, May 16, 2009-
Just like a ladder with ascending steps, this event was likened to a commensurable increasing success, there were rungs of opportunities in order to reach its highest level by way of expressing and pronouncing reports, opinions, and resolutions; and by imparting and sharing a wealth of information and concepts.
The General Assembly of the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Session reserved for members of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club…T’is the reason why they were in an open, semi-circled formation. Members had the chance to talk and report the progress of the bay whereupon they represent. Mr. Hubert d’Aboville reported to the club that Puerto Galera Bay has established its own website and presently working to make the town as the first plastic free municipality in the Philippines. Mr. Alberto Fenix proposed many inputs during the deliberation on club’s charter amendments which were unanimously approved by the body. Mr. Danny Enriquez who will report on the environmental projects/activities at Puerto Galera Bay such as mangrove tree planting, underwater clean up etc. was not able to report due to limited time. An election was also held this session. Jerome Bignon and Bruno Bodard were reelected as president and secretary general of the club respectively.
III. WORKING TOGETHER IS SUCCESS…
Sunday, May 17, 2009-
The much-awaited tour around the Setubal Bay was participated by almost of the attendees of the 5th World Congress. This fun was continued in the evening when there were much revels and when gastronomic dinner was served to us. Each deserved this treat after working together.
Coming home, everyone became ideal in every respect. We became dreamers. We were urged to dream more for our beloved country and put this into action. The wonderful experiences would link us not by just being “United by Oceans” but by being connected with immediate actions towards our vision. Conclusively, the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.” are proper for this special environmental event.
Written by: Edited by :
Luz E. Lombos Danny Enriquez
June 1, 2009
Additional Note: Environmental Impression on Setubal Bay
1. The City is very clean. You cannot see litters around the city.
2. Despite it is a big city with multiple use of the bay, e.g. yatch moorings, tourism, fishing industry, ship yard etc., they are able to maintain the cleanliness of the bay and the water quality. You can’t smell foul odor from the water of the bay.
3. The height of the building is almost the same usually 2-3 story building with uniform roof color- brick red and brown.