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Festival for the Birds

Going Out section
Business World
September 22, 2006

Festival for the Birds
By ANNA BARBARA L. LORENZO, Reporter

2006 Philippine Bird Festival - Endemik: Dito Lang sa Pinas
Sept. 22 and 23
Crossroad 77 Convenarium, Mother Ignacia Ave. cor. Scout Reyes St., QC
Free admission

It is probably the only festival where the main protagonists are physically absent. After all, the festival celebrates their life and their freedom.

For the second year, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) is holding the Philippine Bird Festival. This year, the group hooked up with various environmental organizations to campaign for the conservation of bird species endemic to the country.

Endemik: Dito Lang sa Pinas is a two-day event that will expose children and adults to the variety of birds unique to the Philippines.

"Essentially, the festival will educate the next generation of Filipinos about the beauty of the environment when it comes to birds. Most of us only know about the maya, when, in fact, we have 580 species of birds and 180 of these are endemic or indigenous to the Philippines," Bird Festival Committee Chairperson Alice Villa-Real said in an interview.

She said among the country's endemic birds are the Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker and the White-eared Brown Dove which may be found in parks and wooded areas right here in Metro Manila.

During the festival, the public will have an opportunity to try an introduction to the basics of bird watching. Bird optics, or the device similar to a telescope, will be placed in strategic locations for the public 's use. There are no real birds in the festival but the public may use the optics to search and observe five stuffed endemic birds which will be on display during the event.

Philippine Bird Photographers booth   Gerry de Villa and Students

Students at the Philippine Bird Photographers booth (Left) and Gerry de Villa introduces young student to the joy of birdwatching


"They can look at the bird, its plumage, color, beak, the size and the length, everything that is being observed on a real bird-watching event," Ms. Villa-Real said.

Aside from the stuffed birds, photos and paintings will also be on display to show the beauty of the birds found in the Philippines.

Nicky Icarangal and the little girl

Nicky Icarangal teaches little girl how to look through a scope

"We realized that most people do not really know what kinds of birds are in the Philippines. They know about the Philippine Eagle but they do not know what it looks like. Even the textbooks in high school do not say anything about the Philippine eagle because we still use imported books," said Wild Bird Club President Michael Lu. "If you know about the birds, then you would start caring about them and the environment."

This year's bird festival also features lectures on birds as well as documentaries which were shown in the recent Moonrise Film Festival. Kids can also enjoy face painting and drawing activities offered by conservation groups and social development foundations.

Participating groups include WWF-Philippines, Philippine Eagle Foundation, Haribon Foundation, Isla Biodiversity Conservation, Center for Environmental Awareness and Education, Conservation International, and the Environment and Natural Resources Department.