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WILD BIRD CLUB OF THE PHILIPPINES 2006
JANUARY-DECEMBER REPORT

MEMBERSHIP - 157 members

While the majority of WBCP members are from Metro Manila, members based outside Metro Manila have steadily increased. Membership distribution are as follows: Rizal (1), La Union (2), Nueva Ecija (2), Pampanga (1), Bataan (2), Cavite (9), Laguna (3), Camarines Sur (2), Palawan (4), Cebu (8), Iloilo (1), Davao (1) and Cotabato (2). Outside the country, members are in Malaysia (2), Singapore (3), Japan (1), United States (5), United Kingdom (4), Denmark (2), the Netherlands (1), Italy(1), and Belgium (1). Based on nationalities, Filipinos take the lead followed by the British (11), American (8), Singaporean (1), Belgian (1), Dutch (1), Swedish (1), Danish (1), German (1) and Indian (1).

Welcome Artwork WBCP members pose for a group photo in front of the house of Ixi Mapua in Calamba, Laguna
WBCP members pose for a group photo in front of the house of Ixi Mapua in Calamba, Laguna

GUIDED TRIPS - 45 trips

Our monthly guided trips remain a popular activity.

Private organizations that have requested guided trips were residents of Ayala Westgrove, WWF-Philippines, Maria Montessori Children School Foundation, Miriam College, Philippine Military Academy, St. Paul's College, Ateneo de Manila Journalism & Law class students and the UNICEF Avian Flu Communication committee staff and stakeholder represenatives. Birders also guided ABS-CBN cable program North Catch host Syril Amazona and TV producer Jatin Lucky from India. Cebu-based birders conducted a guided trip for photographers which was also attended by Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmena.

The club continues to render assistance to visiting birders. Birders from the region include Singapore-based birders Goh Yue Yun, Tai Ping Ling, Felix Wong, Martin Daniel, Iain Ewing, and Malaysian birder/photographer Joe Pan. Other visitors were American birders Ed Hagen, Al Menk and Tom Woodward, Canadian birder Yves Lafleur, British birders Fergus Crystal, Dr. David Lee, Dr. Philip Edwards, Ian Murray and Belgian couple Benedict & Leah de Laender.

WBCP members US-based couple Chuck Heikkinen & Delia Unson, and UK-based birder Desmond Allen came to visit and birded with the club members at a number of sites.

In the 4th quarter, WBCP led by Tim Fisher guided 38 foreign delegates to the 2nd Meeting of the AWC Country Coordinators meeting at the Candaba Marsh. After the meeting, WBCP members guided some of the delegates on separate trips: Enam Ul Haque (Bangladesh), Robert Kwak (Netherlands), and Yu Yat Tung (HK).

 
Kids enjoy guided trips at the American War Memorial (left) and PMA cadets birdwatching in Candaba Marsh (right)

Among the urban sites visited were the American Cemetery & Heritage Park (Taguig), Tambo grasslands and Coastal Lagoon (Paranaque), Manila Film Center (Pasay), University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College and Neapolitan Business Park (Quezon City). Sites outside of Manila include Candaba & Minalin (Pampanga), Subic Bay (Zambales), Mt. Mariveles (Bataan), Westgrove Hts, Corregidor Island, Mt Palay-Palay & Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite), Mt. Makiling (Laguna) and the South Reclamation Project in Cebu.

CLUB TRIPS - 47 trips

With the increase in members, more club trips were undertaken. Urban sites visited were Ateneo de Manila University & La Mesa Dam(QC), Asiaworld, Tambo, Coastal Lagoon and the Aseana Business Park (Paranaque), American Cemetery & Heritage Park, Fort Bonifacio grasslands (Taguig), & Ayala Alabang Village (Muntinlupa). Other sites visited were Angat Dam (Bulacan), Candaba (Pampanga), Mt. Makiling & Makiling Green Hts Village (Laguna), Napayung & Bubuin Islands, and Laurel (Batangas) Sta. Fe (Nueva Ecija), Tagaytay Highlands, Canyon Woods & Mt. Palay-Palay (Cavite), Hundred Islands (Pangasinan), Magarao, Calabanga and Barceloneta (Camarines Sur), the South Reclamation Project, Carmen, Buhisan Dam, Tabunan Forest, Tabor Hills, Olango Island (Cebu).

Napayung Island 
Club members explore new sites such as Napayung Island on Taal Lake, Batangas (left)
and Imugan Falls in Sta. Fe, Nueva Ecija (right)

In January, the club took part in the Asian Waterbird Census by gathering data either independently or jointly with the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) in a number of selected sites. The wetlands were located in Manila Bay (Navotas & Paranaque), Laguna Lake (Taguig), Candaba Marsh (Pampanga), Caylabne Bay (Cavite), Buagsong & Day-as mudflats, Magellan Bay, & South Reclamation Project (Cebu). WBCP members also led the 3rd and 4th quarter census with the DENR-NCR in Paranaque and Navotas

Upon the prodding of Mike Chong of the Asian Raptor Research Center to monitor raptor migration, the club conducted 4 productive data-gathering trips in Tanay (Rizal) in March and April.

CLUB MATTERS

The Wild Bird Club is an honorary member of the Oriental Bird Club. This year, 2 WBCP co-founders, Arne Jensen and Carmela Espanola, were appointed as country representatives in the OBC Council.

Members at the Christmas Party
Members at the Christmas Party

On January 7, a General Assembly was held to discuss amendments to the club by-laws and on March 19, special elections were held to elect positions vacated when 2 officers emigrated abroad. The newly-elected officers are Ann Lim for Treasurer and Trinket Canlas for Club Secretary.

In February, Belgian birder Benedict de Laender handed over a CD of bird photographs taken in PICOP (Surigao del Sur) and St. Paul's Park (Palawan).

In April, visiting WBCP birders from the US, Chuck Heikkinen and Delia Unson donated their KOWA TSN-422 spotting scope, a Bogen tripod and bird photographs to the club.

April 21, 2006 was a sad day for the birders as we received news that Palawan bird guide Arnel Mallari suddenly passed away due to malaria. Arnel had been guiding the bird tours of Tim Fisher and Ben King, and was WBCP's main source of information for the monthly monitoring of the Black-faced Spoonbills in Puerto Princesa in 2004. WBCP members pooled together P 16,000.00 cash to help Arnel's family with funeral expenses.

On May 22, WBCP conducted a get-together for members to meet visiting birders Yong Ding Li & Andrew Tay (both from Singaopore), and UK, Desmond Allen (UK). The 3 birders gave a short and informative talk about their experiences in the Philippines, and UP Professor Ben Vallejo gave a lecture on bird density in urban areas.


Visiting member Yong Ding Li sharing his birding experience in the Philippines to attentive WBCP members

We celebrated the 3rd anniversary of WBCP on July 29 with the holding of a general election presided by Atty Ipat Luna. Voted to the Executive Committee 2006-07 were Michael Lu (president), Alice Villa-Real (Vice-president), Trinket Canlas (Secretary), Ann Lim (Treasurer) & Arne Jensen. As members of good standing, co-founders Ned Liuag and Jon Villasper remain on the Execom as advisers with voting rights. Special guests at the anniversary include former DENR Secretary Bebet Gozun, Leonard Manalo (Executive Secretary to the mayor of Candaba), Alain del Pascua (president of Kaakbay) and Henry Ocier (Tagaytay Highlands). A highlight of the anniversary was the launching of the Honey Lu Fund for Conservation and Exploration with initial pledges from members amounting to P 15,500.00.

A week later on August 8, WBCP members (Nilo Arribas, Bobby Kintanar, Raul Puentespina, Noel Dionson, Mike Lu, Philip Dee and Ivor Lee) celebrated the club anniversary by paying a courtesy call on Cebu mayor Tommy Osmena to discuss a proposed bird sanctuary in the South Reclamation Project. Other Manila-based members Tere Cervero, and Alex Tiongco joined the celebration at the Puentespina residence. Invited guests include artist Oscar Figuracion and Olango Island park rangers. The group also visited birding sites in Tabunan Forest, Tabor Hills and Olango Island.

 Cebu Mayor Tommy Osmena 
WBCP members pay a courtesy call to Cebu Mayor Tommy Osmena (left)
and celebrated the anniversary at the Puentespina residence (right)

WBCP celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 6 with dinner and games. On October 14, the club hosted dinner for HK-based International Black-faced Spoonbill Census coordinator Yu Yat Tung. Mr. Yu shared his experience on census-taking, and briefed members on the background and activities of the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society.

On November 12, new club members were guided by Mark Villa on bird identification and counting at the Coastal Lagoon. Two weeks later, Desmond Allen conducted a note-taking exercise at the Sutcliffe residence in Ayala Westgrove.

As a fitting end to the year, the club celebrated the annual potluck Christmas dinner party on December 15 with games and an exchange gift.

PRESS RELEASE

On January 12, WBCP led the Asian Waterbird Census with the DENR-NCR at the Coastal Lagoon and Tambo mudflats in Paranaque. The activity was attended by Paranaque Mayor Jun Bernabe, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau Director Mundita Lim and DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Cora Davis and was partly featured live over NBN Channel 4's The Morning Show.

On January 14, Candaba Mayor Gerry Pelayo invited the media people to cover the Asian Waterbird Census led by members of the Wild Bird Club, DENR-Region 3 and the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau led by AWC Country Coordinator Carlo Custodio. The Philippine Daily Inquirer writer Tonnette Orejas wrote an article "Rare Birds Sighted at Candaba". WBCP members were also interviewed by Reuters TV, ABS-CBN Channel 2 News Patrol and Pampanga local news station Infomax Channel 8.

In a follow-up article, the January 30 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer featured "Bird Census Key to Monitoring Disease, says Birdwatchers" written by Blanche Rivera and David Hayes.

On February 27, Business World featured an interview with WBCP Vice-President/UP Geography instructor Jonathan Villasper in an article entitled, "Birds find Haven in State University".

Birdwatching trips offered by WBCP in urban areas was featured on GMA Channel 7's show, "Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho" on the first week of April.

The May 8 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer featured an article by Amadis Ma. Guerrero entitled "82 Bird Species find Sanctuary in UP Campus." A day after, the Cebu Daily News published the article "Birds Place City in Dilemma" by Doris Bongac and Neil Iosif Ilagan.

"A Singaporean Birdwatcher in Mt. Kitanglad" by H. Marcus C. Mordeno focused on the visit of Singaporean WBCP member Yong Ding Li and featured on Mindanews on June 7. The WBCP was featured in the June issue newsletter of the Tagaytay Highlands Golf and Country Club and on the June edition of the FUDGE Magazine by Resty Odon. In the June 29 show of Studio 23's "The Good Life with Cory Quirino," the WBCP was interviewed on a segment on birdwatching sites in Paranaque.

Birdwatching and the bird club was featured on the July edition of Student Digest while the Philippine Daily Inquirer published the article, "Paranaque Protects the City's Winged Visitors" on July 31.

WBCP member Leni Sutcliffe spoke about birdwatching in her backyard on Philippine Star's August 26 article, Living in Westgrove is like always being on Vacation." A press release on the 2nd Philippine Bird Festival saw print in the article "Environmental Advocates to Hold Bird Fest" on the August 28 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

 DENR
WBCP officers Mike Lu and Alice Villa-Real pose with DENR
Sec. Angelo Reyes at the DENR booth during the 2nd Philippine Bird Festival

Business World featured "Festival for the Birds" on the first day of the Bird Festival in September 22 and WBCP member Nilo Arribas went on air for an interview on Radyo Kalikasan of Miriam College on September 24.

In the October 10 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the North Luzon section wrote about the visit of WBCP members Jerry de Villa and Jon Hornbuckle in "Hundred Islands: Bird's Haven" Meanwhile, "World's Wetland Saviors Visit Candaba" in the Philippine Daily Inquirer dated October 18, featured the birdwatching activity led by WBCP for Asian Waterbird Census country coordinators.

LECTURES AND OTHER ACTIVITIES

On January 27, the local government of the City of Makati formally declared the whole city as a bird sanctuary in simple rites where the Club President was invited as a guest speaker. The Club President was also a resource speaker at the NCR Regional Ecotourism Committee Meeting on February 28.

WBCP participated in the 2nd Meeting of Asian Waterbird Census Country Coordinators held in Manila
WBCP participated in the 2nd Meeting of Asian Waterbird Census
Country Coordinators held in Manila

The club lead Science Week activities at St. Stephen's High School. From January 11-13, Alice Villa-Real and Rich Pijuan conducted lectures and film showing, while Robert Alejandro conducted a drawing session. Contests for coloring, drawing and essay-writing was held for 1500 grade school students. Mike Lu gave a talk on birds in the Philippines to SSHS Science Club members on March 1.

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, the club was invited by the Winner Foundation to participate in the launching of the Liwasang Kalikasan at the CCP complex (Pasay) and CEAE's environmental film showing at the Araneta Center (Cubao). In both events, WBCP donated bird stickers as prizes for children's coloring and poster-making contests. Before April ended, the club was invited to set up a booth at the Ninoy Aquino Park as part of My Zoo Foundation's anniversary celebrations. WBCP donated bird t-shirts as prizes for the children's contests.

In mid-May, Nature Society of Singapore (NSS) members Yong Ding Li and Andrew Tay visited Mt Kitanglad and conducted an art workshop for the kids in the communities of Malaybalay. From May 22-26, WBCP participated in the week-long celebration of International Day for Biodiversity conducted by the DENR at the Ninoy Aquino Park through an exhibit of bird photographs by Singaporean Ivor Lee and Belgian Benedict de Laender. Both bird photographers are members of the WBCP and have contributed the bird photographs to the club for educational purposes.

On May 30, Cebu-based birder Pastor Noel Dionson delivered a lecture on promoting environmental awareness through birdwatching at the Emmanuel Fellowship Youth Camp for 75 youth participants in Ubay (Bohol). The release of captive White-bellied Sea-eagles in Corregidor Island finally pushed through on May 31. WBCP had sponsored transport materials for the raptors and was on hand to witness the release of 11 birds.

CEAAF invited the club to participate in the 25th anniversary celebration of Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa on June 18. Birder/painter Rich Pijuan gamely conducted a lecture on wild birds and a coloring contest for the kids. WBCP sponsored bird stickers as part of the prizes for the contest. On June 23, WBCP conducted an orientation for potential exhibitors to the 2nd Philippine Bird Festival at the Crossroad Convenarium. Most of the invitees, including WWF-Phils, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Isla Biodiversity Conservation, DENR-NCR, PAWB, and others confirmed their participation.

The club was invited to participate in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Expo at the Market ! Market ! on July 5 by participating in the Learning Session 101 with a presentation by Michael Lu & Alice Villa-Real entitled Raising Environmental Awareness through Birdwatching. On July 7, WBCP was also invited to speak by De La Salle - Araneta University with a Talk on Wild Birds by Michael Lu and the Calayan Expedition by Carmela Espanola.

On July 11, WBCP reps (Mike Lu, Anna Gonzales, Arne Jensen & Leni Sutcliffe) met with Camarines Sur Governor L-Ray Villafuerte to discuss plans to assist the province's eco-tourism program through birdwatching. The Governor's office sponsored an ocular trip from August 17-19 led by Arne Jensen, Mads Bajarias and Anna Gonzales to sites in Barceloneta, Magarao and Calabanga yielded very encouraging results. A report with bird list and recommendations was submitted to the Governor's office thereafter. A follow-up club trip scheduled in November was cancelled due to the destruction caused by Typhoon Reming.

Activities in August include participation at Miriam College's Environment Week from August 8-11, a lecture by Alice Villa-Real at the Makati Garden Club on August 16 and a tree-planting/birdwatching activity for Ayala Westgrove residents on August 26.

Club members participated in the Asian Waterbird Census National Coordinators Workshop held at the PAWB on October 5-6, 2006. The following week, WBCP participated in the 2nd Meeting of AWC Country Coordinators with 40 foreign delegates. DENR-Region IV-A invited Michael Lu to give a talk at the Migratory Bird Monitoring and Avian Influenza Workshop. The Haribon Foundation invited Alice Villa-Real and Lydia Robledo to give a Birdwatching Basics lecture during the Haribon Forum in October and November.

In November, WBCP members were invited by the UNICEF to the Stay Avian Flu-Free Communication Workshop and stay on as permanent members of the Communication Committee. The club signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the Integrated Environmental Monitoring Program (IEMP) for Manila Bay with DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes and other stakeholders.

 
Lecture at Monterey School of Learning in Talisay, Cebu

In December, Cebu-based members Nilo Arribas, Bobby Kintanar and Noel Dionson conducted a birdwatching lecture for 150+ students of the Monterey School of Learning in Talisay, Cebu. Alice Villa-Real conducted an orientation lecture for St. Paul's College students prior to their visit to Candaba. The club also participated in the Alternative Class program for Ateneo High School students.

BIRD FESTIVALS

From March 6-10, the bird club conducted a Bird Week at the SM City Fairview (Quezon City). Featured activities include film showing, story-telling, photo exhibit, coloring and drawing activities with Robert Alejandro, origami sessions by WWF-Philippines, film-showing by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, animal conservation show by the My Zoo Foundation and games by the Center for Environmental Awareness and Education. Other participating NGOs include Bantay Kalikasan and Miriam PEACE.

The highlight of the year is the 2nd Philippine Bird Festival held on September 22-23, 2006 at the Crossroad 77 Convention Center in Quezon City. The 2-day event was participated by 21 environmental organizations and attended by close to 3000 visitors. The opening ceremonies was led by DENR Secretary Angelo Reyes, former DENR Sec Elisea Gozun, Bukidnon Congressman Juan Miguel Zubiri and Mirant Foundation Executive Director Roberto Calingo, Jr. Other guests in attendance include PAWB Director Mundita Lim, WWF-President Lory Tan, Miriam PEACE director Angelina Galang, Haribon Foundation board members Blas Tabaranza and Belen King, Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza and Balanga City Mayor Melanio Banzon, Jr.

2nd Philippine Bird Festival 
Opening ceremony at the 2nd Philippine Bird festival with DENR Sec. Angelo Reyes as guest of honor.(left)
WBCP member Adri Constantino shows kids how to use the scope (right)

Activities at the festival include film-showing, lectures, animal-conservation show and activities like coloring, face-painting, story-telling, shadow puppetry and the popular Birdquest game. A forum on the conservation of the Philippine Duck was led by former DENR Sec. Angel Alcala, Tim Fisher, Blas Tabaranza and JC Gonzalez. The closing ceremonies was led by DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Cora Davis and Regional technical Director Pitay Hinojosa.

The Wild Bird Society of Taipei invited the club to participate in the 8th Taipei International Birdwatching Fair held at the Guan-Du Nature Park from November 11-12. The WBCP was represented by club president Mike Lu and his brother Ben. At the opening ceremonies, Mike Lu presented an endemic kingfisher print to the Deputy Mayor of Taipei and the president of the WBST. He also conducted a presentation about the background and activities of the WBCP at the lecture hall.

The attractive bird tarps with the free coloring activity and the merchandise sales (t-shirts, stickers and dried mangoes) made the WBCP booth a popular stop for the visitors. Other bird clubs at the fair include the Wild Bird Society of Japan, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Nature Society (Singapore), Cheng-du Bird watching Club (China), Hong Kong Birdwatching Society, Golden Gate Audubon (USA), Malaysian Nature Society.

 
WBCP President Mike Lu presents kingfisher print to WBST President Liu Thin-by (left)
and Coloring activity for free at the WBCP booth (right)

FUTURE PLANS

The Execom plans to hold regular club meetings to teach members basic bird watching and guiding techniques, conduct film-showing and lectures as well as host informal talks by visiting birdwatchers.

With the encouraging data gathered in the raptor watching activities, the club plans to hold regular raptor-watching trips during migration season. We envision the raptor watch to be an annual highlight event among the club's schedule of activities.

The successful holding of the 2nd Philippine Bird Festival opened more doors to the club. Invitations to schools and tie-ups with Science Clubs/Boy Scouts have to be carefully planned as the WBCP is entirely run by volunteers with no office nor paid personnel. Most of us have day jobs and school visits may conflict with our work schedules. We do plan on having mini-bird festivals for schools and local governments.

Other private organizations are negotiating with the bird club to develop birdwatching programs for their clients. We hope to launch at least one program within the next few months.