Employees of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) tackled 20 flights of stairs plus a host of grueling physical and mental challenges in the annual BPI Vertical Race, which will fund an eco-friendly village in Guinhadap, Masbate.
Over 200 participants climbed to the top of the BPI headquarters in Makati last December 10, 2016, where top male athlete Jose Augurio de Vera Jr. finished in 4:42. Top female athlete Jules Villamor completed all challenges in 5:18, while fastest group ‘Team N’ breezed through the race in 4:24.
The Vertical Race is part of BPI’s employee donation campaign. Launched in October 2016, the move generated P250,000 to support the World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF’s Earth Hour Village in one of the poorest Philippine provinces, Masbate.
“WWF’s Earth Hour Village combines various WWF-tested technologies to provide food, water and energy for local communities,” explains WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma. Masbate’s Barangay Guindahap for instance, remains underdeveloped due to its remote location. Its people subsist mainly on fishing for food and on kerosene lamps for lighting, prompting WWF to deploy a host of measures to improve local people’s lives.
Light plays a vital role in the daily lives of people, yet over 15 million Filipinos have no regular access to electricity. WWF’s deployment of portable solar lamps are illuminating homes without the need for expensive, dirty and dangerous fuel.
As an island, Masbate lacks ample reserves of groundwater. Many residents must fetch water from wells as far as five kilometers from their homes. WWF’s rainwater harvesters allow residents to capture, store, filter and distribute rainwater – providing free, safe and clean water for households.
Like most islands, Masbate has traditionally relied on fish for protein – but what happens when fish become scarce? To augment local food supplies, WWF is teaching locals to grow food in container gardens, an excellent way to grow vegetables with minimal freshwater. Container gardening uses recycled plastic bottles as vessels for planting greens like lettuce. A 30-square meter container farm can generate upwards of 60-kilos of vegetables each month – producing food while reducing plastic waste!
WWF and the BPI Foundation are long-time partners, producing a multi-year study to prepare 16 Filipino cities for climate change. The two industry leaders are now working to bolster the resiliency of local farms to climate change. BPI recently launched an electronic donation platform to support WWF’s programmes, accessible here.