Iloilo architects lead environmental CSR initiatives for local governments

Cities and municipalities across Iloilo province are embracing various environmental projects spearheaded by architects to enhance site developments, boost tourism potential, and raise social awareness in their communities.

Leading these initiatives is the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Iloilo Bahandi chapter, which has distinguished itself through impactful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects for local governments.

One notable project is the Leganes Integrated Katunggan Eco Park in the Municipality of Leganes, which is currently under construction. This initiative has garnered support from several donors, including the Zoological Society of London, national and local government institutions, and various prominent establishments and personalities committed to nature preservation.

Three storey viewing tower (Artist’s rendition)

Katunggan Eco Park, home to diverse mangrove species and birds, is designed as a nature sanctuary with fishing trap structures called “taun” serving as man’s tower viewpoint shelters. Tourists can enjoy the mangrove forest by strolling along the circumferential boardwalk, moving from one “taun” to another. The park offers a chance to explore different mangrove species, experience the local flora and fauna, and breathe in the clean air of the nature reserve.

Another significant CSR project by the UAP Bahandi chapter is the Iloilo Tree Park for Iloilo City. With the support of Mayor Jerry Treñas, the project has identified a lot location and outlined site-development structures. These include the welcome marker “Gawang” (Ilonggo for “Welcome”), the Daw-on (Welcome Center), the Dungganon (Canopy Structures made of bamboo serving as the pavilion), the Dagyan (open amphitheater for entertainment), the Pangabuhian (Livelihood Center for job training), and the Handumanan (Market Display Center). The park aims to be an ecological urban space for community activities and an economic booster for locally grown produce. The site development is underway, with the tree-planting of various Philippine tree species already completed. The structures will incorporate steel, concrete, and indigenous materials like bamboo, stones, and native lumber.

UAP Iloilo Bahandi during the Leganes Integrated Katunggan EcoPark tunover and unveiling ceremony

Additionally, the UAP Bahandi chapter has proposed the Alameda de Dingle for the Municipality of Dingle, a town featuring the longest straight river in the province, the Jalaur River. The project envisions an esplanade, waterpark, and lagoon with free swimming pools, as well as a walkway along the river. The local government has embraced this proposal, and funding efforts are ongoing. The design team for this project includes architects Suarnava, Ajesta, Survisor, Gumban, Debaja, Corbal, Guerra II, Keng, and Darac.

Other projects in the pipeline include enhancements of nature areas such as Mt. Manyariya Eco Park and Alapasco Lake Batad Eco Park in Iloilo province.

The UAP Iloilo Bahandi chapter began its CSR efforts by building small community library shelters stocked with donated books for children in mountain communities. This project, “Libro Ko, Libro Mo” (My Book, Your Book), aimed to foster a love for reading and introduce architecture to young minds. Since then, their CSR initiatives have expanded, driven by the “Get an Architect” campaign, which promotes community-assisted projects in partnership with local governments, especially in remote areas.

Through these efforts, the UAP Iloilo Bahandi chapter has significantly contributed to the development and environmental preservation of Iloilo’s communities.

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Arch. Benjamin K. Panganiban, Jr. is the past national president of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) and the first national president from Mindanao. He has been in the private practice for more than 39 years and is a fellow of the UAP. He is also the first Asean and APEC architect from Davao City. He is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Mindanao, a doctor fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects Singapore, and a recipient of the European Business Assembly.