Feb 2, 2016
On the five-day state visit of Japan`s Emperor and Empress to the Philippines from January 26-30, 2016, Director Shigemi Watanabe and wife Thelma of OISCA Bago Training Center along with the other 100 distinguished guests are one of the privileged few who were invited in the dinner party hosted by H.E. Mr. Kazuhide Ishikawa- Ambassador –designate of Japan to the Philippines on January 28 in Manila.
Director Watanabe took the opportunity to report to their Majesties the current progress of OISCA activities such as sericulture, environmental conservation and other development projects in the Philippines. Their Majesties encouraged Director Watanabe to further promote silk production which is providing income among the 195 local residents of Negros Island including the sericulture farmers, mulberry field workers and weavers.
Director Watanabe first met and mentioned about the sericulture project of OISCA to Their Majesties during the OISCA International`s 50th Anniversary Celebration held in Tokyo, Japan in 2011. At that time, the Empress had taken a strong interest in the OISCA Bago Silk Production. OISCA presented the Empress a hand-woven silk cloth from OISCA Bago.
The Sericulture Project in Negros Occidental started in 1999. Currently, it annually produces 1.5 tons of silk yarn accounting for the 90% of silk produced in the Philippines. The silk produced in OISCA Bago was used in weaving the Barong Tagalogs, Philippine traditional dress worn by the national leaders and their spouses during the APEC Summit Meeting in Manila last November.