Now on its 7th year, the Las Piñas Water Lily Festival has never been more popular. Livelihood opportunities from water hyacinths highlighted during the festival .Thanks to the attention gained by the livelihood enterprises including the Water Hyacinth Basket Weaving Enterprise of the Villar Foundation led by its Managing Director, Cynthia Villar, Former Representative of Las Piñas.
According to Villar, the Water Lily Festival was really conceptualized in order to highlight the products made out of water lilies, which were treated as aquatic pests before as they used to clog the Las Piñas River, but are now useful raw materials.
“Through this festival, we are able to help the water lily weavers to market their products by showcasing them throughout the day-long festival, from the beautiful gowns of the contestants in the Miss Water Lily to the decorations of the boats in the fluvial parade,” said Villar, whose name has become synonymous with water lilies and green social enterprises.
The Water Lily festival aims to promote the water hyacinth-based livelihood enterprise. To clear the Las Piñas River of water lilies, residents harvest them and dry the stalks, which become the raw material for producing baskets, trays, slippers, and other functional and ornamental items.
The festival not only promotes Las Piñas as a city and draws the attention of the people to our environmental and livelihood programs. “We are proud of the barangay-based livelihood projects that we have created, the raw materials of which all come from wastes. We have employed more than 500 families in our livelihood centers,” cited Mrs. Villar.
The highlight of the festival is the search for the year’s Miss Las Piñas Water Lily, a pre-pageant was held on Tuesday (July 17) and the winner was crowned on the festival day itself. Each of the 20 barangays of Las Piñas fielded its own candidate and the gowns were created by known designers such Noli Hans as well as the barangay residents themselves.
Las Piñas Representative Mark Villar said during the pre-pageat event: “The contestants at the Miss Las Piñas Water Lily pageant prove that Las Piñeras are truly beautiful. The reigning Miss World 2012, Queenierich Rehman is from Las Piñas. On top of that, we also show that we are environmentally responsible citizens. For one, we have made something beautiful out of water lilies, otherwise treated as wastes.”
The winners of Miss Las Piñas Water Lily become ambassadresses of the city, they get invited in various events and festivals all over the country to represent the beauty of the city as well as its environmental and livelihood programs such as the United Nations (UN) award-winning river rehabilitation or Sagip Ilog program—a brainchild of Mrs. Villar.
Other highlights of the 7th Water Lily Festival are fluvial parade, street dancing, musical performances from Manunugtog Kawayan and other local bands, water lily weaving demonstrations and of course, a display exhibit of various handicrafts made out of water lilies.I would have wanted to really join and be part of this event but the timing just wasn’t right as I was busy with the follow up on the Battery charger that I ordered online.