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Pres. Anna toasts WBCP founding members Mads Bajarias and Lu-Ann Fuentes as they get married in Cebu City.

by Anna Gonzales

It is often said that birdwatching can change people’s lives. Suddenly, what was unseen is recognized and appreciated, and over time yearned for and valued. For that matter, some people say seeing a special bird is a lot like being in love. One pursues the bird – the beloved – and could be frustrated when it eludes being spotted, but one glance, no matter how brief, can bring joy and gladness to the heart that lasts for days and days.
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) provides the opportunity for people to be transformed by the act of birdwatching. We members thank its founders for making birding accessible to more people. On December 30, 2011 we paid tribute to two founding members Mads Bajarias and Lu-Ann Fuentes who were joined in wedding rites at the Sacred Heart Church on Escario, Cebu City. Here are excerpts from my speech which I made both as a good friend to the couple and as a representative of WBCP.
Photo by Jun Osano.
I have a confession to make. I cannot remember when I first met Lu-Ann and Mads. Which is sort of a crime because birders often recall the time and place they see remarkable or unique birds. But I do have special memories of these two people. These memories involve Mt. Palay-Palay National Park in Cavite, a butterfly, a woodpecker and adventure. Mads will forever be etched in my mind as the person a butterfly chose to land on, and the guy who did not quit until we all saw the Flameback on that trip.
I cannot emphasize the importance of such a gesture enough, because in many cases, birders get too tired or too overwhelmed or no longer have the patience or stamina to keep looking for that elusive bird camouflaged by just too many leaves and branches. So his determination to have our group of tired birders to see the woodpecker was something that will always be appreciated.
 Lu-Ann,  I will always remember as the person who asked questions that would make me stop and think and would always offer a new perspective, another way to tell a story. Lu-Ann did not ever seem to get tired, or bored. I love her because she had this uncanny ability to always be amazed, to find the adventure in everything. This is such a great match – a man who doesn’t give up easily, and a woman with so much optimism!
When these two people write about  birds and travel and about almost anything, people are moved to want what they had written about. I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with Lu-Ann,  so sometimes looking at what she had written or posted is enough for me to get a fill and feel the thrill and the adventure. As for Mads, I have his poetry books (of which I am a big fan), and I cannot help thinking that perhaps poets do get first dibs at  butterfly landings. His poems also make me believe that they are the reason why this particular butterfly – Lu-ann – has chosen to land and stay.
Knowing how footloose and free these two are, I am quite sure this wedding is not a matter of someone being caught by someone. It took them so long to get married, and like most of you here, we also wonder why it took them so long to get here. But my guess is that they’ve been dancing around this institution for quite a while, so I don’t think this is the kind of marriage that can be described as “settling down.” I smell adventure in this marriage. More birdwatching, more new places, new experiences, more lifers, more poems. And perhaps if people would ask them why they got married, they’d simply answer “because it’s there.”
Congratulations dear Mads and Lu-Ann. We look forward to your new adventures, and may you have more lifers to come.

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