CLARK FREEPORT― Remember the old Nayong Pilipino near the then Manila International Airport in Pasay City that packed in a small area a miniature landscape of touristic and cultural features of the Philippines?
With its cramped space taken over by terminals sprouting beside the old MIA, the theme park was transferred in 2002 to Clark Field in Pampanga behind the Centennial Expo Pilipino that was having difficulty attracting visitors.
The Nayong Pilipino Foundation, an enthusiastic group that believes in the park’s potential has decided to create an upgraded edition using fresh concepts and strategies — and re-launch it on Oct. 28 as “Nayon Clark Park.”
NPF Executive Director Michelle Aguilar-Ong unwrapped their plans in the last weekly forum at the Bale Balita (House of News) here of the Capampangan in Media Inc. (CAMI).
Referring to the new Nayon park as home of Filipino diversity, she said the project will be “a showcase and venue of expression for visual and performing arts, literature, culinary and other cultural interests.”
Ong said the park will be a home of young and talented artists in various fields, that it aims to enhance love of country and interest in Filipino heritage and tradition, as well as refocus on the 169 indigenous tribes in the nation.
The ongoing upgrading covers the theater area, ethnic villages, food park, man-made lagoon, and the galleries. Ong said the redesigned theater will be used for daily cultural shows, while the food park will offer souvenirs, novelty items and delicatessen.
The lagoon, one of the attractions of the Expo Pilipino when it was built in 1998, will also be used for entertainment, she added. The audience can watch fluvial pageants from any vantage around the lagoon.
The Nayon Clark Park logo will use the Vanda Sanderiana, an orchid commonly known in the Philippines as “waling-waling,” The rare orchid species, famous worldwide, is among the exotic items in Nayon’s garden.
The park does not depart completely from the old Nayong Pilipino concept. It will still have replicas or miniatures of important places and historical structures such as the Banaue rice terraces, the Barasoain Church in Malolos, the house of Jose Rizal, and tribal huts of the Kalingas, Ifugaos and Aetas.
Ong promised that a visit will be a learning and inspiring experience for youngsters and seniors alike, as well as foreigners wanting to know more about the Philippines and its people.
• Learning the lessons of overfishing
OUR “Postscript” last Sunday on the “verbal” fishing deal between Presidents Duterte and Xi warned that Philippine waters are overfished, that fewer and smaller fish are being caught, spawning areas are despoiled, and that the entry of more efficient Chinese commercial fishers may prove disastrous if not properly managed.
We suggested that the terms of the deal be disclosed and discussed with stakeholders to ensure fairness, reciprocity and security, so the agreement will not jeopardize Filipino fishermen and the national interest. https://tinyurl.com/yxga5yk5
Among the readers who reacted was Bob Flecknell, who shared valuable insight:
Living on the East Coast of Canada, I witnessed the annihilation of the codfish industry, the elimination of 40,000 jobs and a way of life which had endured for hundreds of years.
It appears that Philippines fishing industry, and the people involved, may be at risk in a similar fashion with respect to foreign fishing fleets’ access to our waters and resources. The other factors in my notes (excerpted below — fdp) may be also relevant.
Can Filipino bancas and trawlers compete?
For centuries the Grand Banks — waters off the east coast of Canada — were the world’s greatest fishing grounds. Salt codfish was a staple food for Europe and North America much like our Filipino dried fish. Cod was taken by the sailing fleets of many countries for hundreds of years, and the resource flourished.
Old timers related that “there were so many fish you could walk on their backs”! Fishing was the main industry and source of livelihood and economic contribution to that region of Canada.
But, that fishery is gone, along with 40,000 jobs in a total provincial population of 579,000, and a 500 years’ way of life. Government is paying unemployment benefits and young people are leaving to find jobs elsewhere. Small fishing villages are ghost towns.
What happened? The catch of codfish and other ground fish declined in the late 70s, which later led to an unexpected collapse in 1991. In 1977, the United Nations let Canada extend its control of its waters to 370 kms, to protect their fish stocks from foreign fishing fleets.
In the 1980s, fish that were caught were fewer and smaller. In 1992, the government took a stand and stopped all fishing for northern cod as well as making big cuts in the catches allowed for other ground fish species.
Factors that have been suggested are responsible for the collapse in the fishery:
*Overfishing. Sustained yield management did not occur. Young fish were caught before they reached adulthood.
*Improved fishing technology. Due to the development of more accurate fish location technology schools of fish could be located faster and less fish could escape the nets. This technology made overfishing easier.
*Destructive fishing practices. Immense factory ships with kilometers-wide nets and bottom trawls caught tons of fish in one sweep across the ocean floor. When trawlers try to catch one type of fish such as cod, many different other types get caught as well. These fish called “by catch” are mostly just thrown away.
*Changes in natural conditions. Water temperatures have dropped and the ocean salinity have changed since the 80s. Because of these changes, fish could have changed their migration routes to avoid areas where this has occurred.