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WBCP 2008 Annual Report


Membership 2008
Group photo during the 5th Anniversary celebration at the residence of Robert Brinks.

It was a fitting way to end the Club’s 5th year with a record number of 214 members.

Membership outside of Metro Manila continued to grow with 46 members in the provinces and 26 members overseas. Cavite led with 6 members followed by Cebu and Agusan del Sur with 5 members each, Quezon Province with 4 members, Negros Occidental & Palawan with 3 members. Nueva Ecija, La Union, Batangas, Ilocos Norte, Negros Oriental, Davao have 2 members each and one member each from Benguet, Pampanga, Bataan, Mindoro Occidental, Laguna, Romblon, Leyte, and Camarines Sur.

Around Asia, we have members in Singapore (7), Hong Kong (2), Indonesia (2), Malaysia (1), Taiwan (1), & Japan(1). Elsewhere members can be found in United States (5), United Kingdom (3), Belgium (2), Italy (1), and Denmark (1).
Based on nationalities, Americans lead with 14 members followed by the British with 11 members. Other foreign nationalities are Indians (4), Singaporeans (4), Japanese (2), French (2), Dane (2), Belgian (1), Dutch (1), German (1), and Taiwanese (1).


Guided Trips – 57 trips

WBCP member Adri Constantino guiding
Philippine Marines at Caylabne Bay Resort
The Club invited the general public to (8) guided trips this year. These trips were conducted at the University of the Philippines – Diliman campus, the Manila Film Center (Pasay), Tambo mudflats, & Coastal Lagoon, both in Paranaque.

There was a huge surge in requests to conduct guided trips for different organizations. Candaba Marsh in Pampanga was the most requested site for these trips which started with the Club conducting a guide training for Candaba locals, and WBCP members volunteering during the 2-day Ibon Ebon Bird Festival. A guided trip was conducted for the Bataan Provincial Tourism Department led by Madame Vicky Garcia, wife of the Bataan Governor and the first ladies of different towns in Bataan. Likewise guided trips were held for the El Presidente Toastmasters Club and for the ROX Adventure Tours (2) and a private guided trip held at Bgy. Paralaya. In Metro Manila, Little Saint’s Academy requested for a guided trip at the University of the Philippines and the Maynilad Water Camera Club members were taken to the Manila Film Center and the Coastal Lagoon.

Danish ornithologist Arne Jensen conducts guided
trip at the Coastal Lagoon in Paranaque.

Different companies have asked the Club to conduct ocular and guided trips for their staff. Among these trips were for an abandoned quarry owned by CEMEX in Binangonan (Rizal), South Coast for Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu (Batangas), TeaM Energy for the TE Pagbilao Power Plant and the Mangrove Experimental Forest in Pagbilao (Quezon) and Marubeni for the San Roque Dam in San Mariano (Pangasinan).

Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite) also invited the Club to participate in their Preservation Day celebrations with guided birdwatching trips for Jaycees Club members and members of the Philippine Marines.

The Club was invited to conduct monthly bird surveys at the Southwoods Golf and Country Club in May and at the Orchard Golf Club in September. Real estate development Las Haciendas in Lemery (Batangas) also requested for an initial bird survey of their property.

Guided trips for delegates of the 4th Philippine Bird Festival – Puerto Princesa were conducted at St Paul’s Subterranean River National Park, Irawan Watershed, the Iwahig Penal Colony and the Macasaet farm all in Puerto Princesa. A day-trip to Rasa Island was sponsored by the Katala Foundation and a 5-day optional birdwatching trip within Puerto Princesa was led by bird guide Nicky Icarangal.

Poster announcement for the
ROX Adventure Tour to Candaba Marsh
The Club assisted the Department of Tourism on ocular inspections to sites included in the book project, Birdwatching in the Philippines, Volume 1. These sites were the Coastal Lagoon (Paranaque), Mt. Palay-Palay (Cavite), and Villa Escudero (Quezon), Olango Island (Cebu), Alcoy Forest (Cebu), Philippine Eagle Center (Davao), Balanga (Bataan), Subic Bay (Zambales), Alaminos (Pangasinan), Bani (Pangasinan) and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Palawan) & Rasa Island (Palawan).

The success of Volume 1 prompted the Dept of Tourism to initiate ocular trips to evaluate sites for Volume 2. Visits were conducted at the Rajah Sikatuna Park (Bohol), Lake Balinsasayao (Negros Oriental), Lake Paoay and Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte), Mt Kitanglad (Bukidnon).

Department of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano requested a guided trip to the Balanga wetlands (Bataan) and Subic Bay (Zambales). Balanga city officials led by Mayor Joet Garcia and Congressman Albert Garcia joined the guided trip at the Sibacan fishponds.

British MPs Graham Stuart, Mark Pritchard, Elliot Morley and with UK Amb. Peter Beckingham, Dutch Amb. Robert Brinks and Mike Lu
British MPs Graham Stuart, Mark Pritchard,
Elliot Morley and with UK Amb. Peter Beckingham,
Dutch Amb. Robert Brinks and Mike Lu

The Club welcomes the opportunity to go bird watching with visiting birders - Canadian birders Terry Rutherford and Jacques Bel with a trip to Candaba Marsh (Pampanga), American birder Jim Williams at the Tambo mudflats (Paranaque) and Wild Bird Society of Taipei birders Shih Jui Te & Hsu Yu Ming to Mt. Palay-Palay National Park (Cavite), and Australian Doug Laing (Coastal Lagoon and Balanga). The Department of Tourism requested the Club for a guided trip for visiting members of the British parliament led by Mark Pritchard, Elliot Morley, Graham Stuart. UK Ambassador Peter Beckingham and his wife Jill also joined the birdwatching trip inside Caylabne Bay and the trail at Mt Palay-Palay National Park.

Club Trips – 30 trips

Crossing streams in Simpocan, West Coast (Palawan)

Club members visited favorite birding sites in the Tambo mudflats & Coastal Road lagoon (Paranaque), Mt Makiling (Laguna), the Talisay-side of Taal Lake (Batangas), Bgy Simang and Bgy Paralaya both in Candaba Marsh (Pampanga), Sibacan fishponds and Tortugas, both in Balanga (Bataan), Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite) and Quezon National Park (Quezon).

A trip to Mt Palay-Palay (Cavite) in early January and subsequent trips alarmed the birders as they noticed the quarry site expanding and the abandoned road that cuts through the forest is being cemented. The Department of Natural Resources Region IV-A admitted that they do not know if the quarry is within the bounds of the national park and yet gave permits for the company to operate.

Likewise the Tambo mudflats (Paranaque) has been destroyed as the Philippine Amusement and Games Corporation has started groundwork for a mixed-use casino complex to be called Pagcor City.

New sites visited include Ayala Land real estate development, Nuvali in Santa Rosa (Laguna) where assumed-to-be-extirpated Chinese Francolins were sighted, Ipo Dam (Bulacan), and Mt Maculot (Batangas).

Members Alice Villa-Real, Mike Lu and Robert Brinks went to oft-birded sites in Iwahig Penal Colony and the Irawan Watershed in Puerto Princesa (Palawan) as well as to new sites such as Simpocan on the West Coast and the Macasaet Farm where a resident flock of Wandering Whistling Ducks have established a colony.

Asian Waterbird Census

Club members participated in the annual Asian Waterbird Census in January with a joint census with the Department of Environment –NCR at the Coastal Lagoon (Paranaque) and Tanza (Navotas). A very productive joint census with the DENR Region III in Candaba Marsh (Pampanga) generated a record 17,000+ count. With assistance from the Team Energy Foundation, data was also generated for Pagbilao Bay (Quezon) in Region IV-A.

Raptor Migration Monitoring

Spring migration monitoring started with the first trip in March to the Pag-Asa Radar Station in Tanay (Rizal).

Monitoring waterbirds in Pagbilao Bay during the
Asian Waterbird Census

Only 300+ birds were counted during this trip but 2 subsequent trips to the Santos Farm also in Tanay (Rizal) in April were more productive. Species seen include Chinese Goshawk, Grey-faced Buzzard and Oriental Honeybuzzard.

Upon encouragement from the Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network, the Club for the first time initiated 2 trips to monitor the fall migration. The Chinese Goshawks led the count. Resident raptor species of the Crested Serpent-Eagle and the Rufous-bellied Eagle were also recorded on these trips.

Club Activities

Lectures for Club members

The Recreational Outdoor Exchange at Bonifacio High Street offered the use of their venue for lectures.

The first educational lecture was given by visiting British birder Fergus Crystal on January 14. His talk centered on his trips around Luzon and Palawan and includes interesting feather samples and information sourced from trappers in Dalton Pass (Nueva Ecija) as well as unusual sightings during the Asian Waterbird Census in Candaba (Pampanga) and his hikes in the mountain trails in the Bataan Peninsula.

This was followed on March 12 with Cynthia Layusa of the Isla Foundation giving an update and overview about the continuing programs of their foundation after the discovery of the Calayan Rail four years ago.

On the afternoon of Labour Day, May 1, WBCP member and Philippine Butterfly Habitat Conservation Society founder Lydia Robledo showed us photos and video clips of butterflies and birds in her suburban garden in San Juan. On November 28, Nature Photographic Society (Singapore) president Con Foley gave a talk about his trip visiting different birding sites near Metro Manila.

Visiting members of the Nature Society of Singapore
Lim Kim Keang (Head of the Society's Bird Group)
and Jimmy Chew showed a video and gave a talk on
Southeast Asian Birds on April 5.

Taiwanese professor Dr Jason Ding Tzung-su
receives a t-shirt from Mike Lu

WBCP members with guests from Nature Society of Singapore,
Bird Group Chairperson Lim Kim Keang and Jimmy Chew

Aside from the ROX lecture series, visiting National Taiwan University professor, Dr. Jason Ding Tzung-su gave a talk about comparative diversity and endemism data among bird species in mainland and island groups at the Mundle residence on February 7.

5th Anniversary General Assembly

Dinner Party at the residence of Robert Brinks
The Club celebrated it's 5th Anniversary General Assembly and election of officers with a catered dinner held on July 12 at the residence of Robert Brinks with more than 80 members and guests in attendance.

Special guests were Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo and his Chief of Staff Leonardo Manalo, ROX sponsors Mr Jimmy & Mrs Susan Thai and Mr Johnny and Mrs. Evelyn Thai. Bird photographer JP Carino presented a framed photograph of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana to Mayor Pelayo.

The short program started with some members giving a talk about their experiences with the Club. Kitty Arce-Aspelin on behalf of the founding members, bird guide/author Tim Fisher on his experiences with Club members, Carmela Balcazar & Josef Sagemuller on behalf of new members.

JP Carino (in red) presents a framed photo to
Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo
Lala Espanola gave a short presentation on new species added to the Philippine bird list in the last 5 years.

Alice Villa-Real presented the 4th Philippine Bird Festival – Puerto Princesa to be held in Palawan. With the first public viewing of the Palawan bird tarps designed by Jon Villasper.

Ipat Luna and Felix Servita verified that the present set of officers were re-elected as the new set of officers for 2008-2009. With Mike Lu as President, Alice VIlla-Real as Vice-President, Trinket Canlas as Treasurer, Tintin Telesforo as Secretary and Anna Gonzales as the 5th Officer.

Christmas Party

The annual Christmas party at the residence of Robert Brinks on December 19 was attended by 88 members and guests including ROX bosses Jimmy Thai, Johnny Thai and Roel Chan and Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation ladies Stanie Soriano and Baby Landan.

The program hosted by Anna Gonzales and Ipat Luna started with members Ricky Nunez & Linda Gocon sharing their club experiences. Other members were asked to introduce themselves and talk about their favorite bird.

Mike Lu gave a short annual report and update of activities to come. Tere Cervero gave a short presentation about her trip to the Taipei International Birdwatching Fair.

A bird identification game followed which was actively participated by members of the Club.

Club in the News

On January 10, Studio 23’s News Central featured birdwatching with an interview with Drew Galano and Mike Lu at the ricefileds of Barangay Paralaya in Candaba.

On January 12, Mayor Jerry Pelayo of Candaba held a press conference to announce the results of the Asian Waterbird Census in Candaba. The presscon was well attended by the media including the Presidential Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.

Drew Galano being interviewed at Candaba Marsh
by Studio 23's News Central

The day after, Secretary Bunye wrote an article, “Birds in Candaba Swamp” on his regular column The View from the Palace which see print in the Manila Bulletin, People’s Tonight and Balita.

Front-page news on the January 14 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was the article New record for RP: 17,000 birds sighted in Candaba Swamp by Tonette Orejas.

The Sun Star Pampanga also published an interview with Mike Lu on January 22, entitled “Bird fanatics Visit Candaba’s Nests”

Mornings with M radio program host conducted an interview with Alice Villa-Real and Mike Lu that was broadcasted on January 25 on DWBR 104.3 FM and on January 26 on DYMR 576 in Cebu.

QTV’s Sapulso featured birdwatching and bird photography with Mike Lu, Alice Villa-Real and Alex Loinaz at the Coastal Road lagoon on January 28. A day later, Central Luzon cable channel CLTV-36 featured an interview with Mike Lu on birdwatching in Candaba and the upcoming Ibon Ebon Bird Festival.

Philippine Star writer Ding Cervantes featured Candaba Stages 1st Ibon-Ebon Festival on February 2.

TeaM Energy’s bird sanctuary was the topic in the article, Wild ducks find sanctuary inside power plant by Delfin Mallari, Jr, of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 12. A colony of Black-crowned Night-herons was featured on Birds find resting place in Valenzuela City by Nancy Carvajal on the March 3 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Alice Villa-Real being interviewed for QTV's Sapulso program

The first record of the Black-browed
Reed-Warbler in the country.

Celebrity host Romy Garduce followed birdwatchers as they watched a thousand Black-winged Stilts feeding in the mudflats of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area and to Candaba Marsh where hundreds of migratory wild ducks congregated on their northward journey. The segment was shown on GMA-7’s Born to be Wild program on on April 9.

The May 3 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer featured the article Keep your eye on the birdie on this southern sanctuary by writer Ross Harper-Alonso mentioning the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club’s intention ask assistance from the bird club to monitor the wild bird species found on their property.

The first record of a Black-browed Reed-warbler caught during a survey in Candaba Marsh made local headlines with GMA TV News:
Group announces first Philippine sighting of bird species on May 5 and a comprehensive article written by Philippine Daily Inquirer writer Tonette Orejas on May 10 with the title: Rare bird visitor found in Candaba Swamp.

ABS-CBN’s Matang Lawin aired an interview with Mike Lu about the nocturnal habits of the Black-crowned Night-Heron on May 19.

Simple Living in the Hacienda mentioned the Villa Escudero bird list provided by members of the Club in an article by Lester Lopez Hallig on the Philippine Star dated July 17, 2008.

GMA-7's Born to be Wild featured two members of the WBCP on July 30. Program host Dr. Ferds Recio went birdwatching with Mike Lu, while mountaineer Romy Garduce interviewed Aldrin Mallari about the unique wildlife species found in Palawan.

GMA-7 News interview with Mike Lu during
the media launch of the 4th Philipppine Bird Festival
The media launching of the 4th Philippine Bird Festival spawned a series of articles. The videocast, Bird Festival focuses on RP's unique species, featured an interview of Birdfest Chairperson Alice VIlla-Real was uploaded on the on August 1. While Karla Maquiling wrote about the article, Philippine Bird Festival take flight in Palawan on on August 7. The Philippine Daily Inquirer came out with Bird Festival to focus on habitat protection on August 11, and another article by Tina Arceo-Dumlao on August 17 was entitled DOT on a campaign to make bird-watching tours fly.

The Daily Tribune came out with Wild about birds on August 15 and the Manila Bulletin had an article by Lucci C. Coral on August 9, The Quest for Aerial Sightings. The bird festival media launch was also featured on Net 25's TV program, Tribe on August 16.

Balanga City, newest RP Birdwatching site on the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 2 partly with aninterview with Dr. Joey Soriano, WBCP's lone member in Balanga City. Mike Lu was a guest on the TV program Show and Tell on August 22.

Extreme Birdwatching by Tara Sering was a feature story on the September issue of Cebu Pacific’s inflight magazine, Smile.

The club’s joint guide book project with the Department of Tourism and the Recreational Outdoor Exchange, Birdwatching in the Philippines, Volume 1 set-off a series of articles. Sun Star Cebu started with the article, Birdwatching guide features forest, wetlands in Cebu on October 10. The Philippines Star had This tourism is more than just for the birds by Joy Angelina Subido on October 11. DOT Region III released a press statement entitled Durano optimistic on birdwatching in the country on October 18. Columnist Mike Tan wrote about Bird Tourism in his column Pinoy Kasi on the Philippine Star on October 22.

Club in the News
DOT Secretary Ace Durano tries out
birdwatching in the Subic forest

More articles featured the international launching of the book in London on November 11. Manila Standard featured DOT takes flight in London by Gianna Maniego on November 20. Alex Vergara of the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote “Flying” tourism to new heights on November 23. Alex Icasiano III wrote Gone to the birds for Manila Bulletin’s Travel section. The press release of the Alaminos City LGU printed Hundred Islands tops birdwatching sites on the Phlippine Daily Inquirer on December 4.

Ross Harper-Alonso wrote an article about the Club and WBCP president Mike Lu on the November issue of the Reader’s Digest entitled Keeping an eye on the birds.

GMA News’ Unang Hirit and 24 Oras featured Migratory birds sighted in Las Pinas-Paranaque Lagoon about the Club’s guided trip on December 29.

Hunting Issue

In December 2007, we received an email from Bacolod resident Josef Sagemuller calling attention to the activities of the Bacolod Air Rifle Hunting Club. An email campaign led to a series of articles by columnist Juan Mercado on the Inquirer and a statement from Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.

In January 2008, an anonymous tip led us to the website made by a member of the Philippine National Shooting Team which showed photos of shooting team members happily raising up dead birds including the globally-threatened Philippine Mallard.

Jade & Mike de Guzman and Ed Mijares raising up
dead Philippine Mallards

On January 11, WBCP issued a statement on the hunting issue and released to the media during the press conference organized by Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo for the Asian Waterbird Census in Candaba. That same day, GMA News came out with a story on January 11, “Shooting Team may be in trouble for hunting near-extinct ducks”

The next day, National Shooting Team members Tet Lara, Jade and Mike de Guzman issued a statement explaining that the birds were already dead when recovered. Award-winning program, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, featured the hunting news that same evening, January 12, 2008.

On January 14, DENR Sec. Lito Atienza issued a statement warning the public about killing, collecting and haming wildlife. The statement was featured by GMA News in the story: DENR warns vs. wildlife species attackers.

On the same day, the Business Mirror published the article: Atienza “hunts” bird hunters while the India Times featured “Philippines warns hunters”.

Different blog sites also highlighted the issue. On Loving Animals: 3 members of the Philippine Shooting Team and the killing of protected Philippine wildlife, WWF: A Song for the Birds, and Wildlife Extra: Endangered Bird Hunting in the Philippines.

On January 15, the Philippine National Shooting Association president Art Macapagal issued a statement indicating that the PNSA board has nothing more to add to the statement previously issued by their members. That evening, GMA News featured the story: RP Shooting Team may be charged for shooting ducks.

Mike Lu and Presidential Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye
at the press conference in Candaba

The next day, Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo accompanied by students and teachers visited the DENR Secretary’s office with both ABS-CBN News and GMA News covering the event. GMA News came out with the story: Candaba mayor seeks help from DENR over shooting of birds. The DENR website posted this press release – “Atienza: Organize activities to better appreciate our natural heritage”.

Members of Philippine National Shooting Team
with dead "kanduro" or snipes

The media continued reporting on the hunting issue. On January 17, Jocelyn Uy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the article, “WWF sounds alarm on bird hunting”, while Raymund Garcia of the Sun Star Pampanga came out with “Wild Bird Club hits sports hunting.” On January 18, Malaya’s Jojo Due published, “Concern raised over the hunting of native ducks,” while Sun Star Pampanga had “Environment Chief seeks a stop to killing of birds.”

The continuous media coverage prompted the Philippine National Shooting Association president Art Macapagal on January 18 to send a letter to PAWB Director Lim to clarify that their organization does not promote hunting but nevertheless stood by the statement of their members that the birds were already dead when found.

The PNSA’s stand provoked more media coverage. The next day, January 19, On Loving Animals blog came out with “Bantay Dagat and 3 members of the Philippine Shooting Team” while the Journal Online published: “Stop killing birds – Rep. Romualdez”

WWF’s website,, posted on January 26, “Anger in the Philippines as hunters post pictures of killed threatened birds on their websites.” On January 26, Carla Gomez of the Visayan Daily Star came out with the article: Hunters still breaking chain of life for “fun” and two days later published the “Hunter’s response.”

On February 2, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published “Negros bird slaughter raises outcry” and on February 4, continued with “Hunter admits shooting birds considered pests.”

Jade and Mike de Guzman and Tet Lara with carcass
of Grey Heron with Bantay Dagat (Guardians of the Sea)
patrol boat

On February 12, an anonymous letter sent to Care2 Petition site threatened to file a suit against Josef Sagemuller and the petition site. Josef Sagemuller maintained his stand against and nothing else was heard again.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri delivers privilege speech on hunting

Members of the WBCP with Senators Aquilino Pimentel and
Juan Miguel Zubiri at the VIP section of the Senate hall

On February 27, Sen Juan Miguel Zubiri, co-author of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, delivered a privilege speech entitled “A Tale of 2 Hunters” that recommended action against the members of the Philippine National Shooting Team and the hunters in Bacolod. The recommendation has since been filed with the Committee of the Environment under Senator Pia Cayetano. Members of the WBCP and the New Zealand Ambassador David Pine were invited as special guests of Senator Zubiri during the delivery of the speech.

The complete list and full text of the above entries can be accessed on the website at:

Bird Festivals & other celebrations

Ibon Ebon Bird Festival, Candaba, Pampanga

MIke Lu shows Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
photos of birds

Spectacular local pageantry during the festival

The local government of Candaba launched the 1st Ibon Ebon Bird festival on February 1-2, 2008 to promote ecotourism through birdwatching (Ibon) and the agricultural products from the duck-egg industry (Ebon). The municipality organized an agricultural trade fair including a booth was dedicated to the educational bird tarps from the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and photographs of birds taken in Candaba by members of the Philippine Bird Photographers led by Romy Ocon, Tina Mallari and others.

Anna Gonzales, Rich Pijuan and Alice Villa-Real
conducts a program for children

The festival was graced by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo amidst great funfare with spectacular street dancing. Other guests include Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio and other local officials.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines participated by holding a program at the Ms Earth Park. Alice Villa-Real, Anna Gonzales and Rich Pijuan came up with a program that included a lecture on wild birds, games and coloring activities for 231 day-care children. Meanwhile, other members volunteered at the main bird watching site in Vizal San Pablo to guide visitors.

Love Affair with Nature, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

WBCP members Mike Lu, Alice Villa-Real and the Netherlands Ambassador Robert Brinks were guests of the Puerto Princesa City Mayor Ed Hagedorn to the Love Affair with Nature held on February 14 at Puerto Princesa City (Palawan). Upon arrival on February 13, the group was whisked to visit the Subterranean River at St Paul’s National Park, and participate in a prayer rally against mining later in the afternoon, and attended a Welcome Dinner hosted by Puerto Princesa City.

The main event next day, on Valentine’s Day, was the mangrove planting with mass wedding at the mudflats sponsored by the city government. Senator Loren Legarda, Ambassador Robert Brinks, Gina Lopez of Bantay Kalikasan and environmental lawyer Atty Tony Oposa acted as sponsors to the couples.

Mike Lu, Mayor Ed Hagedorn, Alice Villa-Real and Melissa Macasaet

Dinner meeting with Alice Villa-Real, Mike Lu, Rollie Concepcion,
Mayor Ed Hagedorn, and Ambassador Robert Brinks
Mike Lu, Alice Villa-Real, Nicky Icarangal and Melissa Macasaet also took the opportunity to meet up with members of Birdwatch Palawan to plan for the 4th Philippine Bird Festival to be held in Puerto Princesa in September.

A few days later, Ambassador Brinks tendered a dinner meeting at his residence in Makati where Mayor Ed Hagedorn gave word that he will sponsor the holding of the festival at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.

1st Balanga Bird Photo Exhibit, Balanga, Bataan

The City of Balanga hosted the 1st Balanga Bird Photo Exhibit as part of the Pistang Balangueno 2008 festivities. Members from the Philippine Bird Photography forum contributed photos while WBCP provided educational tarps on bird species found in the Balanga wetlands. The opening ceremonies held at the Balanga City Hall was attended by WBCP members Alice Villa-Real, Michael Lu, Joey Soriano and led by Balanga Mayor Joet Garcia. The mayor announced plans to bring the exhibit to the shopping areas and schools. He also announced plans to host the 5th Philippine Bird Festival next year. WBCP members also met with the provincial tourism and other stakeholders in preliminary talks about the potential of birdwatching as an ecotourism activity in the province.

Ribbon Cutting
Ribbon-cutting by Mike Lu and Alice Villa-Real
with Mayor Joet Garcia.

Team Energy Bird Race, Pagbilao, Quezon

WBCP organized a bird race for staff members of Team Energy Pagbilao plant on April 26-27. The sites covered include the power plant site and the mangrove experimental forest. The activity was part of an agreement signed between the WBCP and Team Energy to increase environmental awareness among plant personnel.

4th Philippine Bird Festival, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Group photo with Mayor Hagedorn at the Welcome Dinner
Aba Kakaiba ! the theme of the 4th Philippine Bird Festival describes the uniqueness of birdlife found in the island of Palawan but it might as well describe the how the bird festival was conducted this year.

Preparations for the festival started in February with a visit to Palawan to meet with co-sponsors Birdwatch Palawan and Katala Foundation. Mayor Edward Hagedorn warmly welcomed to host the festival at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.

On July 31, festival sponsor Recreational Outdoor Exchange organizedthe festival media launch at the Bonifacio High Street with guest-of-honor, Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano. Mayor Joet Garcia led the delegation from Balanga City, site of the next bird festival. Trinket Canlas gave a talk on Philippine birds while festival chair Alice Villa-Real gave a talk on birdwatching basics. The launching was covered by GMA 7 and Net 25, and was featured in the major dailies.

Schoolchildren participated in activities at the WBCP booth
The festival was held on September 12-13 and participated by the Katala Foundation, Birdwatch Palawan, WWF-Philippines, Conservation International, Cebu Biodiversity & Conservation Foundation, Isla Biodiversity Conservation, Negros Forest & Ecological Foundation, Tubbataha Reef Marine Natural Park Office, Western Philippines University, Art Thrive, Philippine Butterfly Habitat Conservation Society, My Zoo Foundation, Team Energy Foundation, the Municipality of Taytay. Foreign bird clubs include the Wild Bird Society of Taipei, Chinese Wild Bird Federation, Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network, Xiamen Birdwatching Society, Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Delhi Birds, Nature Society (Singapore), Nature Photographic Society (Singapore).

On September 11, the Club hosted a pre-festival Bird Conservation Forum that gathered local NGOs and different stakeholders to tackle the problems that threaten birdlife in Palawan. Mayor Hagedorn hosted a Welcome Dinner at the Asturias Hotel for delegates on the eve of the festival.

Obel Resurreccion of the WWF-Phils always
get the kids' attention
On festival day, more than 2500 students packed the Puerto Princesa Coliseum. The Opening ceremonies started with the parade of delegates, messages from Mayor Hagedorn, Team Energy Foundation chair Bobby Calingo, festival chair Alice Villa-Real and Melissa Macasaet. Interactive lectures by WWF, Birdwatch Palawan, WBCP, a puppet show by the Katala Foundation and games based on the lectures and exhibits. In the evening, festival sponsor ROX hosted a Fellowship Dinner at the Lotus Garden Asian Restaurant.

Bird festival delegates enroute
to Rasa Island
On September 13, WBCP organized birdwatching trips for delegates to different sites: Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Irawan Watershed, Iwahig Penal Colony, and the Macasaet Farm. In the evening the Department of Tourism hosted a Farewell Dinner for the delegates at the Badjao Restaurant. In simple ceremonies, WBCP thanked all the sponsors and delegates, and the delegates likewise expressed their appreciation.

The next day, the Katala Foundation sponsored a visit to Rasa Island, the last stronghold of the Philippine Cockatoo while bird guide Nicky Icarangal organized an optional 5-day birdwatching trip for some delegates.

Festival sponsors were Team Energy Foundation, Department of Tourism, Puerto Princesa City, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Landco Pacific, Malampaya Venture Partners, Recreational Outdoor Exchange, Aigle, Katala Foundation, Birdwatch Palawan.

10th Taipei International Birdwatching Fair, Taipei, Taiwan

This is the 4th consecutive year that WBCP participated in the Taipei International Birdwatching Festival. Organized by the Wild Bird Society of Taipei and the Taipei City government and held from November 2-3 at the Guandu Nature Park, this year's theme was "Global Warming."

WBCP members present a copy of the book, Birdwatching in the Philippines, Vol 1 to the Taipei City Deputy Mayor
WBCP members present a copy of the book,
Birdwatching in the Philippines,
Vol 1 to the Taipei City Deputy Mayor

Exhibitors included birding equipment suppliers such as Nikon, Swarovski, local bird clubs as well as international bird clubs - Hong Kong Birdwatching Society, Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Nature Society of Singapore, Malaysian Nature Society, Wild Bird Society of Japan, Birdlife South Africa, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Wild Bird Society of Shanghai, and the sabah Nature Tours. WBCP sent the largest delegation - Alex Tiongco, Tere Cervero, Mel Tan, Nicky Icarangal, Goh Yue Yun, Ricardo Pronove and his wife, Alma.

During the welcome dinner at the Taipei City Hall, WBCP presented a copy of the book, Birdwatching in the Philippines, Vol. 1 to the Taipei Deputy Mayor as well as to the participating exhibitors.

The 2-day festival was overcast and rainy but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the organizers, exhibitors and festival visitors as they tried the activities such as “paint-a frog on a rock”, face-painting of Taiwan birds; stamp mark collection; watch the exhibits and listen to the talks, look at the birds from the viewing deck and hides with spotting scopes.

As part of the activities, Nicky Icarangal gave a brief talk about "birds and birdwatching in the Philippines" After the fair, some members of the WBCP joined the optional 5-day birdwatching trip organized by the WBST.

Balanga Cityhood Foundation Day, Balanga City, Bataan

WBCP members represented by Mike Lu, Robert Brinks, Peter and Leni Sutcliffe Tere Cervero, Felix Servita and Joey Soriano were special guests of the City of Balanga on it’s 8th Cityhood Foundation Day celebrations held at the Balanga City Plaza on December 30, 2009.

The Governor Enrique Garcia & Congressman Albert Garcia delivered short speeches before the State of the City address of the mayor. The achievement report by Mayor Joet Garcia included the role of the WBCP in including their city as one of the birdwatching sites promoted by the DOT and the visit of DOT Secretary Ace Durano to go birdwatching. He also announced that Balanga will be hosting the 5th Philippine Bird Festival in October 2009.

Talks, Workshops, Meetings and other Activities outside the Club

A talk about birds and birdwatching was given by Mike Lu for the Lantaka Boys Club on February 9, while another talk entitled “Discover the Joys of Birdwatching” was given by Alice Villa-Real and Mike Lu as part of the Coffeehouse Environmental Series for Communications Foundation Asia on February 29.

Birdwatch report

As part of Earth Day celebrations, Starbucks Coffee initiated the Dialogues at Starbucks talk and invited WBCP and other NGOs to present environmental topics in their stores. Alice Villa-Real enthusiastically presented the joys of birdwatching to coffee drinkers at the Starbucks Rockwell Center outlet.

USAID’s Linking Initiative and Networking to Control Tubercolosis (TBLINC) conducted a Provincial Avian Influenza Partnership Summit on May 29 in San Fernando (Pampanga). WBCP was represented by Mike Lu to give input to the workshop. On the same day, he gave a talk about birdwatching and the status of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area to the Rotary Club - Metro South chapter in BF Homes Paranaque.

Founding member Carmela Espanola represented the WBCP at the Surveillance for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds Workshop on 4/21-24 at the Linden Suites and at the Flyway Partnership Workshop held at the Camelot Hotel on 5/14-16.

Environmental lawyer Ipat Luna represented the Club at the Manila Bay Critical Habitat Management Council Meeting on June 18.

Mike Lu with newly-elected OBC Chairperson
Brian Sykes and his wife, Margaret.

The Asian Raptor Research & Conservation Network (ARRCN) sponsored a trip for WBCP rep Dr. Nielsen Donato to attend a Workshop on Raptors in VIetnam held at the Bavi National Park in Vietnam from October 24-28.

Mark Villa conducted a training on waterbird identification during the Training in Water Quality & Avifauna Monitoring organized by the DENR-NCR on October 28-29, and gave a talk and conducted a birdwatching activity for delegates of the TB-LINC Avian Influenza Project organized by the Philippine Business for Social Progress in San Fernando (Pampanga).

WBCP president Mike Lu attended the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Oriental Bird Club (OBC) in Cambrdige (United Kingdom) on November 8, 2008. Mike donated a set of Philippine kingfisher prints for the OBC's 25th anniversary auction in November 2009 and contributed Philippine bird festival souvenir programs and dvds for the OBC library as well as gave all participants Palawan bird stickers designed by Jon Villasper. On the other hand, OBC donated three copies of the Complete Guide to Birds of the Philippines.

Philip Round during the survey at the Candaba Marsh

Streaked Reed Warbler Preliminary Survey, Candaba, Pampanga

The Wetland Trust and the WBCP conducted a preliminary survey for the Streaked Reed-Warbler in Candaba Marsh, Pampanga with Philip Round and Mads Bajarias on April 21-24. Although the survey found no signs of the Streaked Reed- Warbler, a Black-browed Reed-Warbler caught in a mist-net was considered a first record in the country. The main survey will be carried out later in the year or early next year.

Adventure Philippines campaign

Birdwatching in the Philippines, Volume 1
The Department of Tourism and the Recreational Outdoor Exchange launched the Adventure Philippines campaign to highlight the country as an outdoor adventure destination. Among the adventure activities, birdwatching caught the eye of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano. During the soft launching in February, Secretary Durano intimated to WBCP president Mike Lu that the department can sponsor a guide book to birdwatching sites in the Philippines to promote the activity.

A month later, the Philippine Convention & Visitors Convention called for a meeting to work out a plan to promote birdwatching in the Philippines which included participation in an Adventure Summit, publishing of a book on birdwatching sites and sponsorship of the 4th Philippine Bird Festival.

The Adventure Tourism summit was held at the Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark Field (Pampanga) on June 3-5 with over 300 delegates in attendance. Mike Lu gave a short introduction to birdwatching and identified the 13 sites to be promoted by the DOT namely, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Rasa Island, Hundred Islands National Park, Bangrin Marine Protected Area, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Balanga City, Candaba Marsh, Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat & Ecotourism Zone, Mt. Palay-Palay National Park, Villa Escudero, Alcoy Forest, Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Philippine Eagle Center.

WBCP members present a token of appreciation
to DOT Sec Ace Durano and ROX chair Jimmy Thai
at the book launching at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza
In June 26-28, birdwatching was promoted as part of the Adventure Philippines campaign at the Philippine International Trade Fair held at the Cebu International Convention Center. Anna Gonzales and Lisa Paguntalan of the CBCF gave a brief talk on birdwatching and it's potentials as an ecotourism activity.

Ocular visits to the birdwatching sites were conducted in July with the book project team and a representative from the WBCP.

The book, Birdwatching in the Philippines, Volume One was launched on September 10 at the Xperience Xtreme Welcome Dinner of the Philippine Travel Exchange 2008 at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza with 500 local and foreign tour operators in attendance. WBCP members and foreign delegates to the 4th Philippine Bird Festival were also invited.

WBCP members with DOT Sec. Ace Durano
at the London Marriot Hotel

The international launch was held at the London Marriot Hotel on Grosvenor Square in the United Kingdom on November 11 with Secretary Ace Durano leading the delegation composed of the book project team and representatives of the 13 sites inclduing Alaminos Mayor Hernani Braganza, Balanga Mayor Jose Enriquez Garcia III, and Alcoy Mayor Nicomedes de los Santos.

The affair was graced by Philippine Ambassador Edgardo Espiritu, Rt. Hon. Lord Thomas McNally, leader of the Social democrats in the House of Lords and Mr Paul Dimond, Chairman of Friends Philippines.

As part of the campaign, 25 double decker buses plying the main routes in London advertised the book with a number to call for a free copy. The DOT gave out the book to the first 1000 texters. The book was also advertised on the Sunday Telegraph for 3 consecutive Sundays.

Philippine delegation in front of the London double-decker bus

The delegation visited the London Wetland Center for an educational tour where the Department of Tourism signed up as a patron by donating 5000 sterling pounds. The ceremonial signing of the Patron Partnership Program with the Waterfowl and Wetland Trust was witnessed by Secretary Ace Durano and Philippine Tourism Authority General Manager Mark Lapid.

Secretary Durano also met up with UK Bird Fair organizers Tim Appleton and Martin Davies to discuss the participation of the Philippines in the 2009 UK Bird Fair where volume 2 of the book will be launched.