MANILA, Philippines – The Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity of the UP College of Medicine successfully held MUtrition on Mu-Gawad Kalinga Sta. Rita, Barangay (village) Talon Uno, Las Piñas City Sunday, March 23. Anchored on the vision to address the community’s long-standing problem on malnutrition and food security, MUtrition featured a public health lecture, cooking demonstration, and launch of a community-managed Aquaponics Farm.
In partnership with Bahay Kubo Organics (BKO), Amici Mercantile, Inc., Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), and Dr. Bernardo Cruz, the Fraternity built a 25-square meter Aquaponics unit within the community that would allow residents to have a sustainable source of fruits, vegetables, and freshwater fish. They also designed a food distribution system that would allocate the produce of the farm to different families on a schedule basis.
The urban farming technology, specifically designed to accommodate space-limited areas, is a zero-waste, artificial fertilizer-free, and self-sustaining system that makes use of the fishes’ waste products as natural fertilizers to the plants, which act as bio-filters and recirculates clean water to the fish.
The official turnover of the farm was headed by the Fraternity’s GK consultant adviser Dr. Anthony H. Cordero and Vice President Jose Carlo R. Elises, ASSIST Coordinator Olga Babina, BKO co-founders Ryan Aguas and Enzo Pinga, GK Las Piñas President Emil Virtudes, Barangay Kagawad for Health Romy Clavecilla, GK Homeowners representative Louie Gasataya, Project Head Rey Benjamin I. Joson, and MUtrition Head John Paul Y. Reyes.
Fraternity alumni Dr. Reynaldo O. Joson and Dr. Ceferino A. Lustre II and representatives from the City Agriculture Office and Barangay Nutrition Office also attended the event.
A memorandum of agreement was previously signed between the parties to ensure active participation of the community to establish accountability, guarantee transparency, and safeguard sustainability to further expand the project.
Chef Cynthia Grace C. Gregorio, recipient of the 2014 President’s Medallion Award from the American Culinary Foundation, also taught the families on how to enhance the native dish Adobong Kangkong to encourage picky eaters, especially the children, to integrate vegetables on their daily food intake. She also shared some food handling and kitchen skills to make cooking an enjoyable experience for the mothers.
The interactive lecture, conducted by Gabriel Martin S. Ilustre, registered nutritionist and dietician and medical student of UP, focused on maintaining an ideal bodyweight guided by nutrition’s key concepts of the food-plate model and SaMBa, or sari-sari, moderasyon, at balanse. He emphasized the importance of eating a healthy diet, complemented by physical activity, in promoting good health and preventing communicable diseases.
With newly-acquired knowledge on cooking and basic nutrition and installation of an Aquaponics Farm, the residents of Mu-GK Sta. Rita are set to improve the overall quality of their health system, starting in their kitchen and dining tables.