Sun Star Cebu
October 10, 2008
Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
A LITTLE bird did it. Or several kinds of
birds and one whose popularity has grown so that it’s
got a mascot and a festival in its honor.
The Black Shama and about 20 other bird species,
including the elusive Cebu Flowerpecker, placed the Nug-as
Forest in the southern town of Alcoy in the guidebook, “Birdwatching
in the Philippines” (Volume 1), published by the Department
of Tourism and the Recreational Outdooor Exchange.
Released last month, the book lists different
places in the country where various bird species—some
rare, endangered or threatened endemic species as well as
migratory species—can be found.
In Nug-as, the book which serves as guide
for birdwatchers, also features the bird sanctuary in Olango
Island, off Lapu-Lapu City, where migratory birds—escaping
the winter in other parts of the world—feed and seek
The book, co-published by the Wild Bird Club
of the Philippines, provides information such as how to get
to the site, species of birds found there, time of the day
to best observe the feathered creatures and basic provisions
Nug-As Forest in Alcoy
Aside from Alcoy and Olango, birdwatching
sites included in the book are: Rasa Island and Puerto Princesa
Subterranean River National Park, Palawan; Candaba Wildlife
Conservation Park, Pampanga; Mt. Palay-Palay National Park
in Ternate, Cavite; Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical
Habitat; Alaminos and Bani, Pangasinan; Subic Bay Rainforest;
Puerto Rivas in Balanga, Bataan; Villa Escudero in Tiaong,
Quezon; and the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City.
Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano described
birdwatching as the “next big tourist draw.” The
activity is part of the DOT’s promotion of adventure
tourism in the country.
Durano said in an earlier interview that
adventure tourism, even with the United States as the only
market and in the present financial conditions, has potential
revenues amounting to $450 million.
“Every market has an adventure tourism
segment. The market and the demand is there; it’s just
a matter of the size and capacity of the site,” he said.
He said adventure tourism would result in
the development of tourism outside the urban centers in Cebu.
But while adventure tourism does not require
more than basic infrastructure and facilities, Durano raised
the need for communities and local governments to protect
natural resources and wildlife habitats in their areas.
In Nug-as, some local residents are being
trained by the Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Foundation (CBCF)
to become bird-watchers’ guides.
Godfrey Jakosalem of CBCF said eight local
residents had completed a three-day training last week. The
eight will undergo practical training later this month.
Jakosalem said there will be another training
for other residents who are interested to learn and become
The Alcoy Municipal Government provided funding
for the Nug-as Forest training center and birdwatchers’
CBCF, together with the Kapunungan sa mga
Mag-uuma sa Yutang Lasangnon sa Bulalacao, is also constructing
a research center in the area. (LAP)