A learning source of green energy
Learning green practices has become interactive in Batangas City. The Batangas City government and the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) CEnergy (Climate Change and Clean Energy Project) have launched the “Bahay Kaalaman,” an interactive knowledge center-cum-museum to promote renewable energy sources, environmental codes and green practices.
Bahay Kaalaman or Knowledge House “is a repository of knowledge [and] a step toward our aspiration of a climate resilient community,” said Climate Change Commission Secretary Mary Ann Lucille Sering.
Sering came with USAID Philippines’ acting deputy mission director, Roger Carlson, for the launching of the educational facility on July 12, just in time for the city’s 44th foundation day on July 23.
Said to be the first of its kind in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon), the knowledge hub is a room filled with colorful e-learning materials, interactive games and audio-visual presentations powered by solar and biomass energy.
The museum is situated on the ground floor of the two-story Mabini Building inside the compound of Batangas National High School. It was recently restored from the original school building put up in 1902.
USAID partner, Team Energy Foundation Inc., provided solar-powered television sets, while Jollibee Foods Corp. set up a Jollibee corner that features TV shows about climate change.
“Information and education are the keys to address climate change challenges. The more we know and understand, the better we prepare and respond,” Sering said.
The museum’s first visitors were a group of 100 Grade 5 and Grade 6 pupils from Julian A. Pastor Memorial Elementary School (Japmes), a public school in Batangas City.
They were told two stories about renewable energy, both written and produced by CEnergy and Team Energy Foundation, during the Inquirer Read-Along session. USAID has been a partner of the Inquirer Read-Along since 2006.
“Reading to the kids reminded me how I used to read stories to my children when they were much younger,” said Vilma Dimacuha, wife of incumbent Mayor Eddie Dimacuha and a former mayor herself.
She read “The Eco Defenders, R.E. Troopers,” a story about the characters of Simon the Sun, Wendy the Wind Energy, Henry the Hydroelectric Energy, and Mikko the Corn, who represent sources of renewable energy.
Vanessah Castillo, a Development Communication professor at Batangas State University, read “Ilaw sa Isla” (Light in the Island).
“I never knew there are gadgets that could collect energy from the sun,” said 11-year-old Angela Palomino of the solar panels that story characters Lina and Resty introduced on Polillo
Island in Quezon province.
Ellaine Roque, a Grade 6 pupil who hopes to be an engineer someday, said the island story inspired her to develop technology that could improve lives in remote communities.
Japmes principal Prichy Fabonan said Bahay Kaalaman could provide a better way to draw the interest of students and even adults into environment conservation.
But what’s more to learn is that the Bahay itself is “environmentally” restored, using mostly original materials, according to the mayor’s son and city secretary Reginald Dimacuha.
Except for the glass windows and the baluster, “everything was the same,” he said.
The Mabini building had classrooms until the city engineer “condemned” it in 2009 and declared it unsafe for use.
Wanting to preserve the 111-year-old historic structure, the city government allocated P50 million for restoration work.
The city government would need only to undergo training for the maintenance of Bahay Kaalaman before it formally opens it to the public.
The city targets not only students as museum visitors but also tourists coming to the province.
PHOTOS BY MARICAR CINCO
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