The 2008 Philippine Bird Festival themed: Aba, Kakaiba! will be held on September 12 and 13 in Puerto Princesa City. The event also marks the start of the annual winter migration of birds from mainland Asia and Japan.
Aba, Kakaiba! 4th Philippine Bird Festival, aims to raise public awareness about the diverse birdlife in Palawan and local efforts for the protection of the still pristine forest, wetland and coastal habitats of the country’s western-most province. This year’s festival logo features the Palawan Peacock Pheasant, a beautiful forest fowl found nowhere else in the world.
The 4th Philippine Bird Festival opens at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum on September 12 with an exhibition of rarely seen photos of Philippine birds, displays, lectures and film shows as well as art and fun activities for the kids. Admission is free and schools are encouraged to participate.
Puerto Princesa City will also host the 1st Bird Conservation Forum, a pre-event to the Philippine Bird Festival. The Bird Conservation Forum aims to bring bird-watching hobbyists, conservationists, eco tour promoters and local stakeholders together to discuss bird status and map plans for the protection of their critical habitats.
“The Philippine Bird Festival aims to get people excited about nature and conservation through recreational bird watching and bird photography,” says nature enthusiast Michael Lu, president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP). The WBCP, the country’s premier bird-watching society, initiated the first bird festival in 2004. “Habitat loss from ill-planned development and urban pressure is the greatest threat to bird populations and other wildlife.
The WBCP hopes to get communities and professional planners actively involved in developing ways to help wildlife through green spaces and nature-friendly property management.”
On September 13, delegates will also visit the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, followed by a trip to Rasa Island sponsored by the Katala Foundation, on September 14. The Subterranean River National Park along with Rasa Island, the last stronghold of the endemic and much-threatened Katala or Philippine Cockatoo, have been included as bird-watching hotspots in the Adventure Philippines program of Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX) and Department of Tourism.
The choice of Palawan to host the 4th Philippine Bird Festival received support and encouragement from local and international conservation organizations, public officials and the business sector.
Among the organizations that are participating in the Philippine Bird Festival are Katala Foundation, Birdwatch Palawan, WWF-Philippines, Conservation International, Cebu Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Isla Biodiversity Conservation, Tubbataha Reef Marine Natural Park Office, Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation, Philippine Butterfly Habitat Conservation Society, Western Philippines University, Artribe, My Zoo Foundation, Team Energy Foundation, the Municipality of Taytay, and the Municipality of Narra. International organizations such as the Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network, Wild Bird Society of Taipei, the Chinese Wild Bird Federation, Xiamen Birdwatching Society, Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Delhi Birds, Nature Society (Singapore) and the Nature Photographic Society (Singapore) have confirmed participation for this year’s project.
The 4th Philippine Bird Festival – Puerto Princesa is sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Puerto Princesa City, Team Energy Foundation, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Landco Pacific Corporation, Malampaya Joint Venture Partners, Katala Foundation, Birdwatch Palawan, Aigle and the Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX).