MANGATAREM, Pangasinan – “It’s our turn to lead”. DENR-I employees including staff from PENROs and CENROs over the region recently gathered to vie for championship in the annual Eco Adventure Race held last April 30, 2015 at the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape (MSPL). As part of the month long activities for the World Earth Day Celebration, the said race sets everyone for a challenging yet informative and educational activity, promoting the idea of natural balance and as well as encouraging everyone to take care of the environment.

On its 2nd year, eight (8) mighty teams from DENR-I region wide actively participated and competed in the Relay Race which intends to further enhance the advocacy of DENR for biological diversity and natural conservation and be able to connect the participants to the importance of camaraderie and team building in the quest of saving Mother Earth. Likewise, the said activity seeks to promote MSPL as an ecological tourist attraction and raising the awareness on the benefits and importance of having protected areas as such in the area.

Represented through colors, the 8 teams composed of ten (10) members include the following, Office of the ARD for Technical Services (Red Team), PENRO Ilocos Sur (Light Green Team), PENRO La Union (Blue Team), PENRO Pangasinan (Apple Green Team), CENRO Alaminos (Violet Team), CENRO Dagupan (White Team), CENRO Urdaneta (Brown Team) and National Greening Program (Yellow Team).

Composed of 8 stations, the teams raced the 7.5 kilometers stretch starting from the Mangatarem National Highway junction to all the way to MSPL. The team relay race in various stations consists of series of running and walking, a navigation race to retrieve or surrender objects with the help of clues and the culmination of 80m swim race in the MSPL Olympic size swimming pool.

While waiting for the results and all the teams have finished and completed the race, everyone went to look out for mesmerizing and beautiful ladies in the Search for Binibining Kalikasan 2015. The said pageant was one of the highlights of the Eco Adventure Race where each team cheered for their respective representatives who showcased not just beauty and intelligence but also their concern for Mother Earth in the sportswear and question and answer portion. And among the 8 contestants from the different DENR Field Offices and Regional Office, Daisy Marie Ramos of CENRO Dagupan was announced as Binibing Kalikasan 2015 while Krizia Marie Flores of PENRO La Union was 1st Runner-Up and Jonalyn Eden of the Office of the ARD for Technical Services was 2nd Runner-Up.

“As part of the youth, I would like to encourage everyone to help save and protect Mother Earth; Let’s celebrate Earth Day everyday; make it a habit and not make it just a one day affair”, says Binibining Kalikasan 2015 winner Daisy Marie Ramos of CENRO Dagupan. She expressed her support of the action against climate change through increasing environmental awareness especially in the youth.

Team Yellow (NGP Group) emerged victorious as they bagged the Championship title and was awarded with a trophy and Php 10,000 prize money. While Team Violet from CENRO Alaminos went head to head in the race with a 6 second difference from the champion and finished off as 1st Runner-Up with a trophy and Php 8,000 cash prize. 2nd Runner-Up was awarded to Team Blue from PENRO La Union who received a trophy and prize money worth Php 5, 000.All other teams also received certificates of participation and cash as consolation prizes.

Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Gwendolyn C. Bambalan, congratulated and thanked everyone who participated and organized the said event. She expressed her appreciation for every team who exerted and extended their efforts not only to win but also in the promotion of the campaign towards environmental conservation and development. (Felisandelle C. De Vera - RPAO)