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PHL Team wins 1st International Borneo Bird Race

By ,
GMA NEWS June 11, 2013 12:30am

Beating seven teams from six other Asian countries, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) won the First International Borneo Bird Race held in the Brunei and Malaysia portions of the island.

The Philippine team, represented by WBCP members Adrian Constantino, Ivan Sarenas and Mark Villa, were crowned as over-all champions of the 10-day bird-watching race, held from May 31 to June 9. The Philippine team took home the coveted trophy known as the Bornean Bristlehead.

The WBCP team saw the most number of bird species during the 10-day race, catching a glimpse of some 148 birds in the island of Borneo. The score was just four birds more than Singapore’s Nature Society, which placed second.

According to WBCP member Ivan Sarenas, the group’s designated bird photographer, the win “came from behind.”

“We were behind by 18 birds after Brunei, but in Sabah in Mt. Kinabalu and Sepilok… By some luck or blessing, nakabawi kami sa Sabah [leg],” Sarenas told GMA News online in an interview on Tuesday.

He explained that the Borneo bird-watching race had two legs - the Brunei and Sabah Legs. The Brunei Leg was won by one of the Taiwanese team, while the Philippine group dominated the Sabah Leg. Borneo is an island divided among three countries: Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We were surprised [na nanalo kami]. We never thought na makakabawi pa...We just really worked hard,” he said.

Sarenas noted that the “highlight” of the event was when they saw the Whitehead Trogon, a bird species that can only be found in Mt. Kinabalu.

“There are only two teams that were able to see the Whitehead Trogon, the Philippine team and the Singapore team,” he explained. “Nakita lang namin sa side of the road when we were traveling.”

The other groups that joined the race were: Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Wild Bird Club of Japan, Hong Kong Bird watching Society, India’s Bird Society of Gujarat, Bird Society of Taiwan and Wild Bird Society of Taipei.

Apart from Brunei and Sabah, the next International Borneo Bird Race will also include the Indonesian portion of Borneo - Kalimantan. — DVM, GMA News