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WBCP Roundup of Club Activities: April – June 2023

Compiled by Mike Lu

APRIL 2023

April 1 – WANDERERS painting exhibit opening

Ribbon-cutting to open the second solo painting exhibit of Nathaniel San Pedro.

When painter Nathaniel San Pedro mentioned on WBCP’s Birdwatch Philippines Community FB that he paints birds from photos posted on the internet, WBCP president Mike Lu immediately arranged to take him to go birdwatching at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park. On April 1, Nathaniel San Pedro held his second one-man exhibit, entitled Wanderers, at the Artablado of Robinson’s Galleria and invited Mike Lu as one of the guests-of-honor to cut the ribbon to open the exhibit and also to give an inspirational talk to the guests.  In support of the WBCP, the artist plans to donate 10% from the sales of his artworks to the club.   

The Luzon Bleeding Heart was one of the Philippine endemic birds painted by the artist.

April 2 – Ocular trip @ Verdana Homes in Binan (Laguna)

Verdana Homes resident Josephine Yap invited Mike Lu for an ocular trip to their subdivision in Binan, Laguna as residents noticed many different bird species flying around.  A total of 23 bird species were seen on the property, but the highlight were the birds seen in the rice fields adjoining the property.  The highlight was a flock of 160 Black-winged Stilts, along with Wood Sandpipers, Cattle Egrets, and even a Yellow Wagtail.

Group photo with Verdana Homes residents, Yap family and Vicente family.
The rice fields adjoining the residential property hosted a flock of Black-winged Stilts.

April 10 – Interview with Taiwan News @ LPPWP

Taiwan News TV reporter Huang Ching Ying was doing a one-hour documentary on the Philippines and decided to include a segment on the state of Manila Bay after seeing a photo taken by WBCP member Diuvs de Jesus of a coastal clean-up in Navotas.  She got in touch with the WBCP and interviewed Club president Mike Lu on the effect of habitat degradation and destruction on migratory birds.  She also interviewed Diuvs de Jesus on the garbage problem and other threats to the rehabilitation efforts of Manila Bay. The interview was held at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.     

Diuvs de Jesus being interviewed on Freedom Island.

April 16 – Guided trip @ Ninoy Aquino Park (Quezon City)

Thirty participants signed up for WBCP’s monthly guided trip held at the Ninoy Aquino Park in Quezon City.  In under 2 hours, 20 resident and migrant bird species were seen by the group of first-time birders.  Highlights were a pair of Greater Painted Snipes and a Common Kingfisher, both species giving good views.  White-breasted Waterhen, Common Moorhen, Colasisi were among the other bird species seen. The trip was led by Tinggay Cinco, Jops Josef, Aly Kangleon, Mike Lu and Maia Tanedo.

Group photo after the birdwatching activity at Ninoy Aquino Park.
The sighting of a pair of Greater Painted Snipes was the highlight of the trip.

April 22 – Earth Day celebration at Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines celebrated Earth Day by conducting a guided birdwatching activity at the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.  A few of the migratory birds were still around, including a flock of 50+ Black-winged Stilts.  A freak one-hour thunderstorm occurred just as the group entered the mangrove forest and flooded parts of the hiking trail.

As it was also the 16th founding anniversary of the declaration of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, other activities happening simultaneously at the wetland park  include a coastal clean-up by environmental NGOs and college students, an art-from-waste contest and lectures on the wetland park and plastic pollution.

Participants from the guided birdwatching trip sheltering in the hut at the mangrove forest during the downpour.
Senator Mark Villar was the guest-of-honor at the Earth Day event.

April 30 – Club trip @ Mt. Makiling (Laguna)

A club trip was organized to the University of the Philippines – Los Banos campus, including the Makiling Botanic Garden, situated on the foothills of Mount Makiling in Laguna.  The resident species such as Purple-throated Sunbirds, Colasisis, Balicassiaos and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters gave a good show.  There were flybys of Luzon endemics such as Rough-crested Malkoha, Philippine Coucal and Yellow-wattled Bulbul. As the day wore on, it became hot and humid; nevertheless, the company of birders was worth the trip.  The tour leaders were Nikdye Realubit and JC Gonzalez.  Members who joined the trip were Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, Jayanti Pandey, Michele Logarta, Ana Alcantara, Dean Arcega, Nati Lacdan, Ria de la Cruz, Carmel Eje, Marielle Moralde, Nancy Dimayacyac, Tsarina and Ronnie Agcaoili with their daughters Johannah, Ysabel and Mikaela.  

Birders scanning for birds at the vantage point at the Narra Bridge inside the UPLB campus.

May 2023        

May 6-7 @ Fisher Mall Malabon

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “More than a Maya” exhibit was led by Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines participated in the “More than a Maya” exhibit at Fisher Mall Malabon to raise awareness about the country’s avian biodiversity through an art and photo exhibit, and activities such as story-telling, coloring and face-painting. The club participated by providing bird tarps and framed photographs, and coloring sheets for the coloring station. The opening program started with a welcome talk by Moleen del Rosario of Fisher Mall (also a WBCP member) followed by inspirational talks by Malabon City Mayor Jeannie Sandoval, WBCP president Mike Lu, Wetland Philippines’ Danica Uy, and visual artist Celeste Lecaroz.  Katanghal, Inc. provided the bird-inspired dances to open and close the program.          

Happy faces at the coloring station.

May 7 – Guided trip at the Ninoy Aquino Park

Watching waterbirds under the shade of bamboo thickets.

A private guided birdwatching trip was organized for a group of 15 at the Ninoy Aquino Park.   In the midst of summer, the waters of the lagoon had receded and park management also eradicated the wild grass and other floating vegetation in the lagoon.  Nevertheless, the group had good views of the Common Moorhen, Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow Bittern, and even the Greater Painted Snipe.  Three species of kingfishers showed up, beginning with the resident Collared Kingfisher and the Brown-breasted Kingfisher, plus a surprise appearance of a late migrant, the tiny but colorful Common Kingfisher.  The 2-hour guided trip was led by Mike Lu and Djop Tabaranza, who also provided his photos here.   

Little Heron, also known as the Striated Heron, waiting to catch its prey.

May 13-14 – 7th Tacurong Bird Festival

The 7th Tacurong Bird Festival started with a street parade led by festive floats.
Street dancing competition participated by local schools.          

The City of Tacurong invited the WBCP – represented by Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, Mark Villa, and Carmela Espanola – to the 7th Tacurong Bird Festival.  The festival started with a festive street parade with bird-inspired floats by different government offices and the private sector, and street dancing by different local schools. The opening ceremony was held at the multi-purpose hall led by Tacurong City Mayor Joseph George Lechonsito and Vice Mayor Lina Montilla, as well as representatives from the provincial government.  WBCP president Mike Lu gave a speech of support for the festival and also presented the book, Wild Birds of the Philippines, to the mayor and vice mayor. The afternoon was allocated for the conservation forum where Carmela Espanola was one of the speakers on ecotourism.

WBCP members at the Baras Bird Sanctuary (L-R) Mark Villa, Karen Ochavo, Mike Lu, Carmela Espanola

The next morning was spent at the Baras Bird Sanctuary where WBCP members were present to guide visitors and train the volunteer bird guides.  The heronry now stands at an estimated 20,000 birds populated by Cattle Egrets, Great Egrets, Little Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Heron.  The afternoon activity included a bird-inspired ethnic dance competition and a well-applauded bird-inspired costume competition. 

Within Tacurong, the WBCP members were able to explore different rice fields and the recently-opened Palmas Resort.  They were also taken to the T’boli uplands prior to arriving in Tacurong and a post-festival visit to Buluan Lake in the municipality of Lutayen where hundreds of Javan Pond Herons were recorded.    

May 20 – Club trip to Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite)

WBCP members organized a club trip to Caylabne Bay Resort in Cavite.  The resort is situated on the foothills of Mt. Palay-Palay National Park on the southern rim of Manila Bay.  The resort itself is within a beach forest with a lagoon where a resident flock of Philippine Ducks have taken refuge, surrounded by lowland forest.  More than 30 species were seen by the members – Enrico Legaspi, Angel Chan, Tien Oriana and Ana Alcantara.  Among the highlights were Hooded Pitta, White-browed Shama, Red-crested Malkoha, and dozens of Philippine Duck.

Happy birders (L-R) Enrico Legaspi, Ana Alcantara, Angel Chan, Tian Oriana
The resident Philippine Ducks.

JUNE 2023

June 3-4 – 3rd People’s Summit against Reclamation

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines was invited to be one of the panelists by the People’s NICHE forum for the Third People’s Summit against Reclamation held last June 3-4, 2023 at the Pope Pius Center Manila. The People’s NICHE is a coalition of environmental organizations, civil society groups and grassroots organizations campaigning against the damaging effects of coastal reclamation across the Philippines. The coalition has been in the fore front of anti reclamations projects along Manila Bay since 2012. Tinggay R. Cinco, WBCP Records Committee Chairperson, spoke in behalf of the WBCP as one of the panelists discussing the issues of migratory birds along the areas for reclamation in Manila Bay. Mike Lu, WBCP President also attended the summit. (Photo Credits: People’s NICHE)

Cristina Cinco with fellow panelists (from fet) Tabby Tabilog of Mangrove Matters PH and Mark De Guzman of One Pawikan.

June 15 –  Women’s Business Council Philippines

The Women Business Council Philippines, Inc (WomenBizPH) and its Climate Change Committed held a symposium entitled Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Climate Change, Sustainability and Impacts Solid Waste Management Biodiversity and Habitats. WomenBizPH is an organization composed of women business leaders and entrepreneurs who aims to empower women in the field of business being the lead private sector partner of government with regards to policies and solutions.

The event was held last June 15,2023 at the Meralco Tech, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The livesymposium was also broadcasted via Zoom and Facebook with over 500 participants, whose audience were composed mostly of students. Opening remarks was delivered with a pre recorded video message from Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Tinggay R. Cinco, Records Committee Chairperson was invited as a resource speaker for Birds, Biodiversity and Habitats in relation to Climate Change. Members of the panel also included Dr. Arlen Angelada Ancheta from Mother Earth Foundation who delivered a talk on waste management, while DENR Undersecretary Carlos Primo David discussed about reforestation management . (Photo Credits : WomenBizPH)

Tinggay Cinco, resource speaker for Birds, Biodiversity and Habitats 

June 17 – Environment Month @ LPPWP

In celebration of Environment Month, the DENR-NCR and the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park held a vlogging workshop for the youth representing the different barangays of Las Pinas and Paranaque.   Guest speaker was vlogger Jazz Torres of Wildlife Matters while Wild Bird Club of the Philippines’ president Mike Lu gave a presentation on the birds of the wetland park as well as environmental threats to the wetland park.  

June 17-18 – 34th Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race

Aly Kangleon, Chye Foong Yong and Linda Gocon signed up to represent the WBCP at the 2023 Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race from June 17-18. It was a new experience for all three participants as none of them had ever birded in Malaysia and none had ever participated in a bird race before.  Since Aly Kangleon only began birdwatching during the pandemic, the team was entered into the Novice category with the team name WBCP Quacklings (named by Aly). During the 2-day bird race, the team counted 29 species and came in 4th place ! Highlights were the Red-headed Trogon, Fire-tufted and Black-browed Barbets, Long-tailed Broadbill, Greater Yellownape, White-tailed Robin (male and female), Orange-bellied Leafbird and Rufous-browed flycatcher. 

WBCP Quacklings in brown (Aly Kangleon and Yong Chye Foong with Fraser’s Hill Bird Race organizers an sponsors.

June 24 – Club trip @ Victoria Valley

VP Karen Ochavo organized a club trip to one of the club’s favorite spots, Victoria Valley in Antipolo where a pair of Violet Cuckoos have been spotted recently.  The cuckoo pair did not disappoint as did a pair of Philippine Coucals flying out in the open.  Other birds seen were Lowland White-eye, Coppersmith Barbet, Black-naped Oriole, Yellow-vented and Philippine Bulbuls. Birders also spotted an active nest of a White-eared Brown Dove and heard a pair of Hooded Pittas calling. The big group of birders who took signed up for the trip were Rene Calado, Linda Gocon, Nikdye Realubit, Ruben Bala, Anna Melendez, Michele Logarta, Rodec de la Cruz, Ilang and King Quijano, Tsarina and Yanna Agcaoili.   

(L-R) Nikdye Realubit, Michele Logarta, Tsarina and Yanna Agcaoili, Ruben Bala, daughter of neighbor Crissy), Anna Melendez, neighbor Crissy and her son, Rene Calado, King and Ilang Quijano. At the back, Linda Gocon. In front, Karen Ochavo.

June 25 – Coastal Clean-up @ LPPWP

As part of its CSR activities, the Standard Chartered Bank requested WBCP to organize a coastal clean-up and a birdwatching activity for the participating employees.  The activity started with an orientation about the wetland park and clean-up basics.  The group started the clean-up in front of the wetland center and proceeded to the beach on Long Island hauling an impressive 140 sacks weighing approximately 910 kgs.  After the clean-up, WBCP president Mike Lu gave an introduction to the birds of LPPWP and conducted a birdwatching session in front of the wetland center.  

June 27-30 – Regional Flyway Initiative Training Workshop

WBCP members at the Regional Flyways Initiative workshop representing different organizations:  (L-R) Karen Ochavo (Asian Development Bank), Carmela Española (University of the Philippines-Diliman), Arne Jensen (Wetlands International), Justin de Ramos (DENR-NCR), Mark Villa (WBCP).

WBCP represented by Mike Lu, Mark Villa and Jasmin Meren participated in the Regional Flyway Initiative workshop with the topic:  Regional Flyway Initiative: From Wetland Ecosystem Services to Nature-based Solutions at the ADB Headquarters (27-30 June).  The workshop was the initiative of the Asian Development Bank, Birdlife International and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Initiative and  convened in partnership with the DENR-Biodiversity Management Bureau and the US Department of the Interior. It aims to convene stakeholders from wetlands prioritized for the RFI in the Philippines on key elements of wetland management, capacity building, and ecosystem services assessment.

Regional Flyway Initiative workshop organizers with Balanga Wetland Park stakeholders.

Workshop participants went on a day trip to the Balanga Wetland Park in Balanga City (Bataan) to meet with local stakeholders.  Mike Lu gave a presentation on  WBCP’s partnership with Balanga City LGU for the development of the Balanga City Wetland and Nature Park and how the 5th Philippine Bird Festival initiated by WBCP in Balanga in 2009 led to the city’s very own annual Ibong Dayo Festival which greatly helps in advocating for the wetland and the migratory birds. Other WBCP members represented  their respective organizations: Arne Jensen – Wetlands International, Carmela Española – UP Diliman, and Justin De Ramos – DENR-NCR. 

June 28 – Club trip @ Subic Bay            

Taking advantage of the holiday, Enrico Legaspi organized another club trip this time to birding hotspot, Subic Bay.  The iconic endemics on Nabasan Trail  did not disappoint … Green Racket-tail, Rufous Coucal, Coleto, and 3 species of woodpeckers – Luzon Flameback, Northern Sooty Woodpecker and Philippine Pygmy Woodpeckers !  The birders who woke up early for this day trip include Tian Oriana, Ria Tagle, Camille King, Ana Alcantara, Aly Kangleon, and Dean Arcega.

Birders exploring Nabasan Trail.

June 30 – Consultation Meeting on the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is offering its loan facility to the Government of the Philippines for the implementation of its major project, the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge (BCIB) Project to be executed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). Although the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had already issued an Environmental Compliance Certificate, the ADB decided to conduct its own consultation with various environmental and social groups. Mike Lu, represented the WBCP at the meeting and raised concern that the safety of the terrestrial biodiversity of Corregidor Island, aside from Bataan and Cavite must be taken into account as well as fish migration routes during bridge construction since these may affect the food supply of birds in the bay. Concern was also raised as to the species of native trees that will be planted to replace the trees that have been cut and where they will be planted. It was agreed that the environmental organizations will be sent a copy of the EIA for comments.

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