Save the seas: ADB puts ocean health as an urgent priority.


Exceptionally rich in biodiversity, the oceans of the Asia and Pacific region support large and growing marine economies, and provide livelihoods and food security for millions of people. But oceans face major challenges, including climate change, pollution, unsustainable fishing, habitat degradation, and biodiversity loss.

With this undeniable reality, Asian Development Bank (ADB) put ocean health as an urgent priority. At the 52nd Annual Meeting of the ADB’s Board of Governors in Fiji, a panel of experts organized by the ADB Independent Evaluation Department discussed the urgency to manage natural resources and mitigate vulnerabilities as the only way to achieve sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific.

Sea Princess , Woochong Um and Vina Francisco

This session also focused on actions for ocean health and for developing sustainable ocean economies. The panel discussed the interconnectedness of oceans health and economic development; actions that can be taken to improve ocean health and promote sustainable ocean economies; and partnership, financing, and investment opportunities.

Amidst all the exchange of information, research and issues, I thought about doing our little share to keep the ocean, our “second home” alive and well.  My soul sister Vina Francisco, ADB’s principal human resources specialist connected me with possible resource persons to help start an advocacy project for my 25th wedding anniversary with my hubby, Dennis. 25 Reefs for 25 Years is a project that identifies and adopts 25 sites with coral reefs in need of protection and conservation – one for each year we are celebrating. 

Dennis and I met through scuba diving, and we want to give back to what brought us together. We are working with Save Philippine Seas, a marine conservation organization, to help us implement our project. In lieu of anniversary gifts, we asked guests to donate or make a pledge to Philippine Seatizens, Inc., the SEC-registered name of Save Philippine Seas.

Kaila Nicdao, Anna Oposa of SavePH Seas, Richard and Mond Gutierrez, Janeena Chan and Joan Hwang

Aquaman and Little Mermaid must have united forces to start this project swiftly because Anna Oposa, chief mermaid and head of Save Philippine Seas already had an anchor and mooring buoy project for Malapascua Island dive sites. No funding since 2015, this project is now full funded from donations raised at #DandTLove25.

The absence of mooring buoys impels boat crews to throw their anchors to the different substrata all throughout the dive sites.  Through these actions, increased substrate damage on coral reefs. There are 14 chosen dive sites. We hope to complete the 25 reefs before our next wedding anniversary.

For another reef, Save Philippine Seas recently partnered with Kiehl’s Philippines to fund the preservation of Anilao, which Kiehl’s Philippines is adopting as its island beneficiary. Kiehl’s Made Better was formally launched as part of a weeklong event at Greenbelt 5. Together with celebrity twins, Mond and Richard Gutierrez, Kiehl’s Philippines brought attention to the protection and conservation of marine life.

Made Better is a global campaign that spotlights environmental issues. It is Kiehl’s commitment to create products that are naturally derived, sustainably sourced, and responsibly packaged and manufactured.

Hosted by lifestyle maven, Janeena Chan, the event brought together different ocean lovers. Kiehl’s Brand Director Kaila Nicdao and Kiehl’s Senior Product Manager Joan Hwang welcomed guests and treated them to Kiehl’s products with Richard’s photograph on the label.

To support our anniversary project as well as Red Charity Gala, our Ninang Vicki Belo-Kho and Ninong Hayden Kho have pledged generous donations. The day after our anniversary celebration, Belo Medical Group presented 360-degree body sculpting liposuction. This is Belo’s signature way of doing minimally invasive laser liposuction.

Lipo 360 is a remarkable procedure, yielding unbelievable results that trim excess fat to achieve a more stunning and firmer looking balance and symmetry of the body. Also known as circumferential liposuction, 360-Degree Lipo can target more areas of the body. This procedure covers the whole midsection to accomplish a curvier shape from all angles. In other words, 360-degree liposuction targets various stubborn fat areas, particularly in the midsection.

At Belo, the fat is melted via laser and suctioned out when liquefied. The 360-degree approach means fat removal is not limited to one area. Procedure is done in a circumferential manner where parts surrounding the problem area are also targeted for a more streamlined look.

Events Host Bianca Valerio is the Face or should we say the Body of Belo’s latest campaign. She relates how she gained weight as she struggled with depression when her brother died. Bianca now boasts of her 34 -24- 38 curvaceous body; from a 30 inch waist line now to 24 inches. She credits beauty doctor Dr. Belo for giving her the kick-start she needed to get back in shape.

The VIP media event ended with a high note with Dr. Vicki raffling of designer loot she bought from her recent trip to Paris. Two luxury bags went to lucky winners; one was a special edition Louis Vuitton and the other the latest Dior saddle bag.

Now that #DandTLove25 is over, I can fully concentrate on this year’s edition of the Red Charity Gala (RCG). My co-chair Kaye Tinga and I are thrilled to bring back all our featured desingers in one show to celebrate our first 10 years as the most succesful fashion-charity event in the country. Slated on October 12 at the Grand Ballroom of Shangri-la at the Fort, this event that is presented by Bench will surely be monumnetal with an 8-piece collection from each of the RCG designer.

Seated Mons Romulo , Kaye Tinga Standing – Judith Barran , Sea Princess , Sheryl Songsong and Cyndi Fernandez

Several sponsors like Megaworld, Globe, Samsung, SunLife Financial, Ultherapy and more have pledged to be part of this worthy event. We are so happy that Uratex Premium is part of the RCG family. Congrats for bagging beautiful Heart Evangelista as your newest brand ambassador. See you all on October 12!

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