June 21, 2024

The importance of taking care of the environment for the younger generation is underscored with the setup of the first Luntiang Pook project in Tublay, Benguet. 
The project funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts was granted to Benguet Learning Center located in a one-hectare property at the Abong ni Tombilao (House of Music) Cultural Art Hub in Sitio Sayatan, Barangay Daclan.
Jedrik Nazarro, general manager of Abong and a member of the BLC board, said the project site has a nursery, vegetable garden, and landscape designs which are in progress.
They will incorporate the Luntiang Pook project in the school’s curriculum such as in Technology and Livelihood Education and Science and Technology.
“The learners will be immersed here as part of our curriculum in the various subjects,” Nazarro said.
To make the landscape of the learning site possible, personnel of the Philippine Association of Landscape Architects (PALA) met with the teachers of BLC on Jan. 17 to come up with a design for the learning hub. 
PALA project coordinator Pamela Sarunya Pagana said her group wanted to get the ideas of the teachers for they will be the ones who will use the facility.
“We wanted to know the needs of the end-users first, the ideas should come from them; we are here to assist them with our technical expertise but the design should come from them,” Pagana said. 
Pagana said PALA has been advocating for the development of open spaces through available resources and materials within the community.
“As much as possible, we do not encourage the use of concrete unless it is to strengthen the materials to be used. We wanted to preserve the natural beauty of the community,” she said.
Luntiang Pook project, which is also initiated by the PALA, is a capacity-building project in the community to help develop public or private open spaces into environmentally-friendly, green environments, but also with disaster-resilient features during natural calamities.
The Abong ni Tombilao, which was launched in 2020 through an earlier grant from NCCA, will also serve as a training area for the youth of Benguet to learn more about their culture and heritage through tutorials in weaving, basketry, and playing of traditional musical instruments.
Nazarro said they are still in the process of improving the art hub and learning site such as putting up 13 huts representing the municipalities of Benguet and developing the historical museum at the site. 
He said the site, which is also conceptualized for eco-tourism, is open to the community but will soon open for visitors upon approval of the provincial government.
Benguet remains closed to tourists outside of the province. – Ofelia C. Empian