Friday, April 27, 2012

Coconut sugar and syrup are promising alternative sweeteners

Do you know that coconut sap, the fluid from coconut flowers that are cut
systematically can be turned into sugar or syrup? And do you know also that the
resulting sugar has a low Glycemic Index (or GI)? This is according to the Glycemic
Index of Commonly Consumed Carbohydrate Foods in the Philippines, a book
published in 2011 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department
of Science (or FNRI-DOST).

This has made coco sugar and syrup popular alternative sweeteners among a
growing number of diabetics and health buffs, but health and nutrition experts still
advise consumption of cocosap sugar and syrup be done in moderation under their

This message is brought to you by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of
the Department of Science and Technology, the government’s lead agency on food
and nutrition research and development. For more information, contact: Dr. Mario
V. Capanzana, Director, FNRI-DOST, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig
City; Telefax Numbers: 837-2934 and 837-3164; email:,; website: (FNRI-DOST S & T
Media Service/PIA Bulacan)

Pistang Balangueño captures tourists and businesses

CITY OF BALANGA, Bataan, April 27 (PIA) – The annual Pistang Balangueño of
this city has “evolved” not only into a tourism magnet but also as a lure to various
businesses in putting up shows to capture the masses, a top official disclosed.

“This festival in honor of St. Joseph is a promotion and advertisement of the city
itself and for the tourism likewise,” said city administrator Rudy De Mesa. He
explained that the real feast of the city’s patron is on March 19 but was moved to
April 28 as the former date occasionally concurs with Lent.

De Mesa said the residents of Balanga have started to get involved in the
celebration following the administration of Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III that
changed the former week-long celebration into a month-long extravaganza since

Various sectors were represented in the festival including the police, women,
market vendors and tricycle drivers among others who were given one night each
to perform.

Themed “Balik Saya Kada Dekada,” the Pistang Balangueño 2012 engaged the
sectors of bank, senior citizens, third sex, barangay enforcers, and businesses.

“The cooperation in the fiesta is great. The constituents are involved with the
activities they look up to yearly rather than going outside the city,” De Mesa said.

With this crowd support, De Mesa disclosed that business stakeholders have
continued rendering sponsorships to festival programs which minimized the cost of
operations and show prizes.

He said the “feeling of belongingness” was already established among private
businesses which provided shows like Gabi ng Ocampos Metromall, SMB Night and
Gabi ng Galeria Victoria.

“The festival draws up a lot of tourists. Bataan is a peninsula, covered with water.
So this festival should be the reason why they should come here,” he added.

Tonight, the coronation of the Mutya ng Lungsod ng Balanga will be held. On April
27, cultural shows La Torre and Serenata will be staged; on April 28, a battle of the
bands will be organized by UP Tangway and Republique Art; and on April 29 is the
Gabi ng Galeria Victoria. (CLJD/JMG-PIA 3)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bataan farmers bags UN award

Local farmers group bags award for forest restoration in Bataan

 CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- A local farmers group in Bataan received this year’s prestigious United Nations (UN) Edouard Saouma Award for Excellence for successfully implementing a low-cost forest restoration project in a forest village in Limay town, environment authorities announced recently.

Ricardo Calderon, executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon, said the 50-strong Alangan Farmers Producers Association, Inc. (AFPAI) received a plaque of recognition plus P75,000 cash from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, alongside two other people’s organizations implementing Community Based Forest Management Program (CBFMP), during the CBFM Practitioners Congress held recently at Clark Freeport here.

He said AFPAI successfully implemented a three-year Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) project over some 80 hectares of forests in the village of Alangan, which is one of only three pilot sites established nationwide in 2005.

“ANR is a cost-effective method of reforestation that nurtures and enhances forest tree wildlings already thriving in a forest area,” explained Calderon, adding that this technique has been useful in effectively implementing President Aquino’s National Greening Program (NGP) which aims to plant 1.5 billion trees in six years.

The Edouard Saouma Award for Excellence was named after Edouard Victor Saouma, the Lebanese Director General of the UNFAO who served for three consecutive terms from 1976 to 1993, and who was remembered for his efforts to establish a technical cooperation program that provides small-scale and short-term assistance to national or regional institutions.

The award was received by AFPAI President Rogelio Aucena who said the money shall be used to expand the group’s coconut midrib weaving and bamboo handicrafts enterprise which now earns an average of P24,000 a month for each active member of his group.

Calderon said AFPAI’s handicrafts project has been prominently featured in the newly released “Revised Guidebook on Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Community Enterprise Development and Management” published by the DENR Forest Management Bureau (FMB).

AFPAI’s coconut midrib and bamboo venture is a showcase for Limay’s “One Town, One Product”, with Aucena’s group doing the rounds for products display in malls and trade fairs, he added.

The two other recipients of the Edouard Saouma Award for Excellence are the San Miguel Association Resources Team of Bohol and the Balagunan Integrated Social Forestry Farmers Association of Davao del Norte.

The award-giving body was established in November 1993 and has since given recognition to groups which have implemented particularly successful projects funded by the UNFAO Technical Cooperation Program (TCP).