The Biodiversity Research Laboratory (BRL) of the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman (UP IB), together with the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), successfully launched on January 29, 2020 the book Wildlife Treasures at the UP IB Auditorium, while also celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Perry S. Ong.
Over the last ten years, UP IB through BRL and EDC have worked hand in hand to explore and understand the biodiversity around the five geothermal reservations operated by the latter. Wildlife Treasures is among the culminating outputs of this partnerships, “a collection of the natural wealth unearthed thus far – a treasure chest filled to the brim with a decade’s worth of wildlife discoveries.” The book features photos of Philippine native and endemic fauna and their habitats taken from EDC’s geothermal reservations by wildlife photographer Neon Tomas B. Rosell II and BRL’s past and present researchers, alongside short chapters on important facts and curious details about these myriad life forms.
The launch was attended by partners of both UP IB and EDC from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local government units, academe, and civil society organizations, as well as the family of Sir Perry. It was hosted by ABS-CBN journalist Abner Mercado and Ms. Ma. Luisa Sebastian of PAGEONE Group.
Institute of Biology Director Dr. Ian Kendrich C. Fontanilla gave the opening remarks, followed by messages from UP Diliman Chancellor Dr. Michael L. Tan, Assistant Secretary for Climate Change and Biodiversity Management Bureau Director For. Ricardo L. Calderon, and EDC President Mr. Richard B. Tantoco. All three paid tribute to the role Sir Perry has played in the biodiversity conservation movement in the Philippines and the need to continue his legacy to the future.
The messages were followed by an intermission number by Dr. Ong’s son Mr. Leandro Martin A. Ong on the classical guitar. A short audio-visual presentation then told the story of how Wildlife Treasures came about, from its roots in the Biodiversity Conservation and Monitoring Program Dr. Ong conceived for EDC, as told by Atty. Allan V. Barcena and Ms. Agnes C. de Jesus. The AVP continues to a tribute to the life lived by Sir Perry as a professor, mentor, administrator, husband, father, and scientist for the people.
After the AVP, the cover of the book was unveiled onstage and ceremonially offered to Dr. Susan Aquino-Ong, wife of Sir Perry, who then gave an emotional and inspiring acceptance message. Atty. Barcena then closed the program with an announcement that all audience members will be receiving a copy of the book.