Mayani suppports Barako Publishing launch on the legacy book entitled Barako 77: The Story of Environmental Activism

Photo Credits: Tourism of San Juan, Batangas documentation team led by Jeffrey Sandoval.

About The Event

San Juan, Batangas — Barako Publishing proudly launched the legacy book entitled Barako 77: The Story of Environmental Activism in San Juan, Batangas last Earth Day, April 22-23, 2024 at Acuatico Beach Resort in Laiya, San Juan, Batangas. 

With the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines, the event took place in Acuatico Beach Resort, the launch venue partner, last Earth Day, April 22, 2024. The Acuatico Beach Resort team organized a coastal clean-up in the early morning. Speakers were Barako Publishing’s Ciara Marasigan Serumgard, Farrah Rodriguez, Horacio “Zaldy” Marasigan Jr., Felipe Horacio F. Marasigan III, Barako 77 co-editor and co-author Maria Karina Garilao, Batangas Culture and Arts Council President Sylvia Marasigan, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation’s Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, WWF-PH’s Dino Calderon, and Acuatico Beach Resort’s Patricia Gusi. A special sit-down session + Q&A with the editors and writers of the book culminated the program.

The following day, April 23, Barako Publishing also organized a heritage tour of four San Juan ancestral houses: Casa Leon (with owners, The Mayo Family), The Apolonio Marasigan House (with owners Sylvia Marasigan, Annick Bunuan and Silvana Peters), Casa Soledad (with owners Anna and Brando Tioseco), and The White House (with owner Neil Marundan). An exhibition by the San Juan Artists Group was held at the White House. Finally, the 2-day press launch culminated with a luncheon at El Jardin de Zaida. Cocktails were also served at Casa Molave of El Jardin de Zaida. Barako Publishing Executive Director Farrah Rodriguez shared that “with the 2-day launch, we hope to have showcased the best of San Juan: from our seas to our heritage & culture, what was saved from the events in our book, Barako 77.”

About The Book

In the seventies, San Juan, Batangas was set to be the location for the first copper smelter in Southeast Asia until a grassroots movement fought it to preserve the health of the citizenry and the natural resources of San Juan, Batangas. The book was written by historians Vincent Bernabe, Maria Karina Garilao, Katherine G. Lacson, as well as San Juaneños Felipe Horacio F. Marasigan III, Farrah Jem L. Rodriguez, and Ciara Marasigan Serumgard. The book also includes essay inserts from a powerhouse of contributing writers Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC, Sr. Mary John Mananzan, O.S.B., and Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan. Contributing photographers include Juan Miguel Marasigan, Mark Anthony Carranza, Penn De Los Santos, Marivic Verdadero Maramot, and Neon Rosell II. Additional illustrations by Bladimer Usi+ and Rory Morales-Gutierrez complete the book. The conceptualization of the book’s visual theme is by Studio 5 Designs’ Creative Director BG Hernandez. 

The book is now available on Barako Publishing’s website: and will soon be available on Barako Publishing’s Lazada page. It retails for P1,499.00.

Beyond The Book: The Ordinance

“This controversial but almost forgotten piece of our town’s environmental history is finally published. The manuscript is backed by ironclad research. We are honored to give the story of our ancestors the justice it deserves, and deliver the legacy,” Publisher Ciara Marasigan shares. Executive Director Farrah Rodriguez believes “This part of San Juan’s history must live on, not just as a published book, but as an annual celebration and community movement that will be a source of pride, identity, and inspiration for future generations of Batangueños.” Barako Publishing is proud to have successfully lobbied for an ordinance proclaiming every October 22 as “Araw ng Pagkakaisa para sa Kalikasan ng Bayan ng San Juan,” commemorating when nine out of ten San Juaneño residents voted against the copper smelter and fertilizer complex in a Diocesan Poll.  

Beyond The Book: The Barako Alliance

Barako Publishing is collaborating with WWF-PH to create an educational module to teach this inspiring story to the youth. 

Inspired by the History of the Seas of San Juan, Atelier 818’s sustainable jewelry collection from the repurposed gems of the late collector Itas Escudero Serumgard was displayed during the press launch. Designers Niña and Juan Miguel Cuenca weave in heirloom materials into the brand’s signature contemporary silhouettes, giving these old treasures a renewed sense of art appreciation. 

Consistent with the values of women-led Barako Publishing, Acuatico Beach Resort along coastal Laiya prides itself with strong San Juaneña women in leadership. Acuatico Beach Resort’s Simonette Gusi is also the President of the San Juan Resort Owners Association, the Municipal Tourism Council, and the Association of Hugom and Laiya Resort Owners. Her vision and outstanding achievements for the Province of Batangas is celebrated by the town. Acuatico Beach Resort’s General Manager Patricia Gusi and her team created an unforgettable premium and immersive experience for guests: excellent service and top notch amenities, the very best of San Juan, Batangas.

A barako coaster was provided by Delta Neo Solutions to shuttle guests during this two day press launch. Members of the press took home bayongs of produce from Mayani’s Batangueño Farmers and Cafeño.MNL Café’s specialties. 

Special thanks to our partners WWF-PH, Acuatico Beach Resort, Delta Neo Solutions, El Jardin de Zaida, Studio 5 Designs, Atelier 818, Mayani, Cafeño.MNL Café, Z Hostel, CSJ Events Management, La Salle Global, The Institute of Women’s Studies of St. Scholastica’s College, and Batangas Eastern Colleges. 

For more information, please check out:

Barako Publishing 


For further inquiries, referrals, or scheduling of interviews, please contact: 

Ciara Marasigan Serumgard Farrah Rodriguez

Publisher Executive Director

+63 945 867 7963 +63 917 879 0957