500 mangrove seedlings planted in NYC-supported project

Protecting and conserving the environment in the province of Pangasinan.

In a dispatch from New York City and Bolinao, Pangasinan, Frenz4hope has announced that it planted 500 mangrove seedlings in the province of Pangasinan on April 7.

The planting activity — in partnership with the Provincial Agriculture Field Office through the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPAg) – was to support the environmental protection and coastal resource management program of Governor Amado Espino III. It was initiated by Frenz4hope’s Filipino American sponsor and executive director Roberto Villanueva, a Manhattan resident and arts philanthropist, and Provincial Agriculturist Dalisay Moya.

The event was jointly coordinated by Frenz4hope program director and Pangasinan resident Roman Dela Cruz with OPAg Bolinao Center Chief Dr. Alvin Soriano. According to the organizers, the mangrove forest not only provides a breeding ground for various fish species and birds, and protection against tidal surge and land erosion, it also acts as carbon sink—absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

Villanueva was very proud of this particular partnership and community program because of its immense positive impact. He said, “I want Frenz4hope to be part of the worldwide environmental movement.”

For this event, Dela Cruz mobilized 16 volunteers that included four 4th year students working on their theses for the Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences program at the Pangasinan State University—namely Christopher Bautista, Jamaica De Guzman, Mark Delos Reyes, and Vincent John Velasco. The other volunteers were Ma. Bernadette Caronongan, Olivia M. Catalan, Dian C. Dela Cruz, Frenz4hope member Arjay Bautista, April Joy Joaquin, Mark Anthony   Manghi, Gila DG. Sevidal, Mel James Tomelden, Norlyn Tomelden, Mary Catherine   Ulanday, Hendrex Velasco, and Hannah Velasco.

Manhattan dance artist and philanthropist Roberto Villanueva

After the planting, Elmer  Abarra, Philippine’s top examinee of the 2018 Fishery Technologist Licensure Exam and graduate of the Pangasinan State University, further informed the participants about the work of their field office and gave them a tour of the Eco Park.

Frenz4hope member Arjay Bautista said “The experience was exciting. It was my first time participating in an environmental activity. It made me happy. I look forward to more activities.”

The mangrove seedlings were provided by Soriano’s office at OPAg. After the event, Villanueva’s support provided the meals for all the participants/volunteers. He knew planting 500 seedlings was not an easy task.

Later, Soriano sent a message thanking all the participants. “We would like to extend our sincerest congratulations and gratitude for being one of our dynamic partners in protecting and conserving our environment in the province of Pangasinan.”

Frenz4hope is a community group created by close friends from different hometowns who met in Lingayen, Pangasinan. Their group members hold positions in public and private sectors including hospitality, tourism, telecommunication and government. The group’s goal is to use their friendship as a way to help their community.  

Roberto Villanueva currently holds a position as an administrator at the world-renowned Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (NYC). He is also the executive & artistic director of BalaSole Dance and the executive director of Frenz4hope. He has 28 years of professional background in financial management, operations and strategic planning, as well over 30 years of experience as an arts producer, administrator, educator, performer, choreographer, and adjudicator in North America, Europe and Asia.

As a philanthropist, Villanueva has funded programs that help marginalized and overlooked artists, financially disadvantaged children, and under-served seniors citizens through his own non-profit organization BalaSole Dance and Frenz4hope.

© The FilAm 2022

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