MEND Sugat Eco-Festival

The VSU Department of Development Communication (DevCom) with the University Integrated Media Center (UIMC) joined forces with Music for the Environment and Nation Development (MEND), Inc. for the inaugural SUGAT: Eco-Festival in Limasawa in Southern Leyte.

The successful eco-festival aimed to showcase Limasawa's talent, culture, and creativity while addressing local environmental issues and promoting sustainable tourism. 

Fr. Dennis M. Cagantas, a local priest here in Leyte and the founder of MEND shared that the framework of the organization is a social innovation influenced by the teachings of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si, which is a global call to take care of our common home – the Earth. 

MEND partnered with the local government of Limasawa and organized the eco-festival underscoring the community's commitment to climate resilience and environmental sustainability. 

During the introductory and preparatory meeting before the main event, Fr. Cagantas explained to the DevCom volunteers that the eco-festival’s theme was anchored on the two distinct meanings of the word sugat in the Filipino and Bisaya languages.

In Filipino, it means wound, and in Bisaya, it conveys an encounter. Hence, created the theme, "SUGAT: Healing the Earth and Nurturing Encounters," which encapsulated its mission to initiate meaningful and creative engagements for environmental healing.

The event ran from April 20 to 22 in time for the celebration of Earth Day.


Dr. Ulderico B. Alviola, Head of the DevCom Department and UIMC, with Dr. Christina A. Gabrillo, brought selected DevCom students and the VSU Media Team to help MEND organize the different activities of the eco-festival.

This is to engage the students in community service and inspire them to take part in development projects like this.

MEND’s Framework: “To mend a broken Earth, through music and arts.”

Since August 2022, MEND has been conducting music and arts workshops in Limasawa to foster a creative strategy for environmental stewardship. One of the outcomes of these workshops was the inception of an annual event to showcase Limasawa's unique contribution to eco-tourism.


MEND's holistic framework, reflected in the PEACE process (Present, Educate, Activate, Collaborate, Enable), emphasizes a collaborative and co-creative approach in designing and implementing programs with the local governments and communities towards creative economic growth, sustainable tourism, and climate adaptation and resilience.


MEND partnered with esteemed organizations such as the University of the Philippines Junior Philippine Conductors Association, KUNST Filipino, Art'e Bauan, Art'e Likha, Douglas Nierras Powerdance, Los Compadres Del Bigote Band, and including the three iconic Chefs from Manila namely Glenda Barretto, Jessie Sincioco, and Myrna Segismundo, to empower communities through immersive and transformative arts-based workshops, promoting environmental advocacy and sustainable development.

The eco-festival served as a platform for the island to engage in creative encounters to establish social coherence further.


Through workshops and exhibitions, participants gained valuable insights into community engagement methods and the role of the creative arts in nurturing liberty, prosperity, and sustainability. 

“We believed in the power of giftedness. If every one of us looks into our different gifts and we bring our giftedness into something larger than just self-pursuit then we can create a world that would honor God, his creation, and humanity,” Fr. Cagantas highlighted.

Among the festival's activities, included free art workshops on visual arts, dance, choral, instrumental/band, and culinary. The Sugat Concert featured major performances by Limasawa Youth Artists, Los Compadres Del Bigote Band, Imusicapella, Douglas Nierras Powerdance, and KUNST Filipino.

There was also a visual art exhibition showcasing works of KUNST Filipino, Art’e Bauan, Art’e Likha, and Limasawa Youth Artists. And the competitions on boat design, food showdown, and the most strategic and innovative zero-waste plan pitched by the six barangays of Limasawa.


“As we reflect on the success of the inaugural SUGAT Eco-Festival, we are reminded of the transformative power of creative encounters in healing our planet and nurturing a more sustainable future. This event, organized by MEND, marks the beginning of a journey towards environmental stewardship and community resilience in Limasawa,” Fr. Cagantas concluded.

Recently, the Limasawa National High School awarded MEND for its role as an outstanding external partner for the Adopt-a-School program.

[With reports from Mr. Jacob Barbosa of MEND]

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