In celebration of the International Day of Forests on 21 March 2023, the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) launches its new Continuing Education Program (CEP) course on Permaculture Systems Design Thinking (PSDT) and the Perma G.A.R.D.E.N. (Growing Appreciation toward Resilience, Development, Entrepreneurship, and Nutrition) on 21 March 2023 at the Teaching and Learning Hub (TLH) Grounds, UPOU.

Current and former UPOU officials from left to right: Vice Chancellor Dr. Jean Saludadez, FMDS Dean Dr. Joane Serrano, Former Vice Chancellor Dr. Josefina Natividad, Former Chancellor Dr. Cristina Padolina, Chancellor Dr. Melinda Bandalaria, Former Chancellor Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso. Source: UPOU Office of Public Affairs

The celebration began with a ribbon cutting ceremony, led by UPOU Chancellor Dr. Melinda dP. Bandalaria and FMDS Dean Dr. Joane Serrano.

The launching was also graced by UP Staff Regent Hon. Victoria Canape-Belegal; UPOU Vice Chancellors Dr. Primo Garcia and Dr. Jean Saludadez; and former UPOU officials Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina, Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso, Dr. Josefina Natividad, and Dr. Melinda Lumanta; and University Student Council Chairperson Isaiah Crisanto.

Dr. Jabez Joshua Flores, permaculture expert and designer and  Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) alumnus and Senior Lecturer, gave a brief introduction on the PSDT course and the Perma G.A.R.D.E.N. 

This was followed by a tree planting activity to further emphasize the International Day of Forests. Philippine native trees — Katmon, Salingogon, Baguak Morado, Arius, and Bangkal — were planted in the UPOU Grounds. These trees were donated by Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina, former UPOU Chancellor; Dr. Consuelo Habito, MENRM Program Chair; and For. Karl Abelard Edberto Villegas, MENRM Program faculty.

Left: UP and UPOU officials harvest lettuce from the FMDS Perma GARDEN. Right: UPOU officials, faculty and staff plant Katmon tree in the TLH Grounds. Source: UPOU Office of Public Affairs

Elementary and high school students and teachers, as well as Barangay Women’s Group, were also present during the launching program. 

Dr. Flores gave a short introduction to permaculture to the students, teachers, and Women’s Group. This was followed by a brief interactive talk about the tour and its features to the students by Dr. Roberto Figueroa Jr.,  Immersive Open Pedagogies (IOP) Program Director.

Left: Dr. Flores introduces permaculture to K-12 students. Right: Dr. Figueroa gives a virtual tour of the G.A.R.D.E.N. to the students.

For more information on the PSDT course, please visit the FMDS website. To sign up for the course, click on the CEP Online Sign-Up Form or send an email to [email protected]

The virtual tour of the Perma G.A.R.D.E.N. is also available for viewing at

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Written by Rhea Ariele Pascua • Edited by Larry N. Cruz