Menu Close

WBCP Roundup of Club Activities: January to March 2024

Compiled by Mike Lu


January 6 – New Year Get-Together 2024

The annual New Year Get-Together was held at the residence of WBCP Past President Alice Villa-real in Quezon City.  Early arrivals browsed the merchandise table manned by Rose Lacson and partook of the much-awaited raffle manned by Tommy Tan.  With more than 50 attendees, VP Karen Ochavo and Secretary Nikki Realubit started the party with an ice-breaker game followed by a dinner buffet.  The activities resumed with a mini-tribute for the late Gina Mapua, past president and Execom member, with testimonials from Anna Gonzales, Mike Lu, Linda Gocon, Karen Ochavo, Juan Mesquida, and Nikki Realubit.  More games followed including a charade gamely participated by members. The party concluded with an exciting raffle. Many senior members stayed on to reminisce the last 20 years of the club.

Marites Falcon, Riza Melicor and Rich Pijuan at the raffle table manned by Tommy Tan with Rose Lacson manning the merchandise table.
(L-R) Nikki Realubit announcing the winners of the charade game, Patcha Pangatungan, Diuvs de Jesus, Luis Gomez, Mijon Cortez, Gab Opao, Tiane Oriana, Mark Maravilla 

January 7 to 27 – 2024 Asian Waterbird Census

Team Macabebe counting by the Pampanga River (L-R) Bom Gomez, Diuvs de Jesus, Mike Lu, Karen Ochavo, Weng and Anthony Custodio with Frances on January 14
Team Balanga assigned to the Puerto Rivas fishponds with Riza Herrera (4th from left), Michele Logarta (2nd from right) and Art Melicor (rightmost)

The WBCP assists the DENR in the conduct of the Asian Waterbird Census every January. Among the wetland sites around Manila Bay visited by WBCP were Candaba Marsh (Pampanga) on January 7, the Pampanga River in Macabebe (Pampanga) on January 14, Tanza Marine Tree Park (Navotas) and the Tagalag EcoPark (Valenzuela) on January 17, Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) on January 18 and the Balanga Nature Park and adjoining wetlands (Bataan) on January 27. WBCP volunteers also assisted Team Energy Foundation for the conduct of the Asian Waterbird Census in their power plants in Sual (Pangasinan) on January 10 and Pagbilao (Quezon) on January 11.    

Djop Tabaranza (2nd from left), Maia Tañedo (5th from left) and Vinz Pascua (rightmost) assisted the DENR at the Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park on January 18.
Assisting Team Energy Sual power plant were WBCP members Anne Cortez and Ana Alcantara shown here with TEFI staff and DENR Region 3 counters on January 10.

January 25 – Guided trip for French International School of Manila students @ LPPWP

Students birdwatching at the mangrove forest boardwalk.

A guided birdwatching trip and nature appreciation walk for 30 students from the French International School of Manila was held at the Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) in partnership with the Together Ensemble Foundation. The students gathered for an introductory birdwatching session at the Wetland Center and hiked the beach forest to reach the mangrove boardwalk and took part in a coastal clean-up.  To conclude the activity, a video presentation of the wetland park was held at the auditorium followed by question-and-answer by the students. This activity was led by Club members Mike Lu, Mylene Santos, and Gwen So.

Students listening to the video presentation of the Wetland Park.

January 27 – Guided trip for Home School Global @ Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park

WBCP member Caleb Ongtenco invited his classmates from Home School Global to a birdwatching trip to the Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) to see some migratory birds. The group, composed of 14 adults and 17 kids, got to see migratory birds such as Little and Great Egrets, Pacific Golden Plover, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, as well as resident species such as the Nankeen Night Heron, Collared Kingfisher, Spotted Dove.

Lead guide Gwen So started the activity with fun games for the homeschoolers. The group also hiked to the mangrove boardwalk where Camille Rivera gave a short talk about mangroves. Other WBCP members and volunteer guides were Moleen del Rosario, Jayanti Pandey, Joshua Cerdenia, Alfredo and Camille Rivera, Weng & Anthony Custodio with their daughter Frances, Larry Codiamat, Joemar de la Vega, Earl and Raj Tupas.   

Pacific Golden Plover, one of the migratory birds seen by the home schoolers.

January 27 to 30 – Ocular trip to Talabong Mangrove Park, Bais City (Negros Oriental)

Chinese Egret at Talabong Mangrove Park.

The WBCP, represented by Mike Lu and Nikki Realubit, was invited by NGO Oceanus Conservation to conduct an ocular trip to Talabong Mangrove Park in preparation for a bird guiding training session for members of a fisherfolk community in Bais City. The amihan wind was blowing hard and bird species were few but noteworthy, including Chinese Egret, Philippine Duck, and Greater Crested Tern. Later on, Far Eastern Curlews were seen in the adjacent fishponds amongst other waders. The surrounding fishponds looked promising and probably more species may be seen when the group returns in March for the bird guide training.

Philippine Ducks at Talabong Mangrove Park.

January 28 – Movie night at The Lerato

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines held a movie night featuring “The Big Year.” The comedy highlighted the crazy antics of a group of birdwatchers trying to outdo each other in a competition to identify as many species of birds as possible by sight or sound, within a  year. WBCP members who enjoyed the movie were Bom Gomez, Gabby Gomez, Luis Gomez, Karen Ochavo, Diuvs De Jesus, Bambi Martinez, Aly Kangleon, Jennifer Ramos, Anna Gonzales, Chee Anne Guzman, and Krees Castañeda.


February 2 – World Wetlands Day at LPPWP

The ribbon-cutting was led by DENR-NCR Asst Regional Director Engr. Henry Pacis, Senator Cynthia Villar, Parañaque Mayor Eric Olivarez and Attorney Tony Oposa.

The Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) celebrated World Wetlands Day with the opening of the Wetland Museum at the Wetland Centre Strata.  The ribbon-cutting ceremony was headed by Senator Cynthia Villar, Parañaque Mayor Eric Olivarez, DENR-NCR Asst. Reg. Director for Technical Services Engr. Henry Pacis, and environment lawyer Atty. Antonio Oposa.  The ribbon-cutting was preceded by short speeches from the invited guests. The WBCP was represented by Mike Lu as a member of the PAMB.

Group photo of members of the Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park PAMB.

February 3 to 4 – Club trip to Baguio City

Chestnut-faced Babbler on a flowering Rarang Tree

Enrico Legaspi organized a weekend trip with Karen Ochavo, Rich King, Jayanti Pandey, Joshua Cerdenia, and met up with Rene Calado, Ebong Kangleon, and Ayla Elias in Baguio City.  The birders explored the Yellow Trail and the Eco Trail in Camp John Hay to encounter Turquoise Flycatchers, Citrine Canary Flycatchers, Olive-backed Pipit, Chestnut-faced Babbler among others plus a side trip to Tuba to see the Luzon Water-redstart.   

Baguio birders (L-R) Karen Ochavo, Joshua Cerdenia, Rene Calado, Jayanti Pandey, Enrico Legaspi, Ayla Elias, Ebony Kangleon, Rich King

February 10 – Guided trip for UPIS Alumni @ UP Diliman

UPIS ’84 celebrated their 40th anniversary with a Birdwatching and Nature Walk led by bird guides from the WBCP – Carmela Española, Nikki Realubit, Rene Calado, and UPIS’84 alumni Marites Falcon. The group started from the UPCS Library, then to the UP Biology Arboretum, and the wetland park near University Avenue. Resident species seen were Coppersmith Barbet, Long-tailed Shrike, Collared Kingfisher, Colasisi, Barred Rail, Yellow Bittern, Common Moorhen, and many more.

UPIS’84 alumna Marites Falcon takes a selfie with the group of birdwatchers.

February 11 – Guided trip @ Antipolo Valley

White-breasted Wood Swallow on a flowering Malabulak tree.

More than 40 first-time birders and WBCP bird guide volunteers participated in the first WBCP public guided trip in time for the Malabulak flowering season at Antipolo Valley.  The red Malabulak flowers attract many bird species to sip its nectar.  Among the birds seen were Coppersmith Barbet, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Black-naped Oriole, Large-billed Crow, Black-naped Monarch, Garden Sunbird, Golden-bellied Flyeater and more.  After the 2-hour birding session, participants brought out pandesal, tikoy, hopia, apples, pastries, and other goodies to share. WBCP bird guides were led by Linda Gocon, Rodec Santos, Anna Gonzales, Mike Lu, Enrico Legaspi, Ella Miranda, Jayanti Pandey, Irynn Abano, Joshua Cerdenia, Nikki Realubit, Irish Deocampo, Tsarina Agcaoilli, Alan Agcaoilli, Lolet Tan, Ally Kangleon, Maki Maravilla, and Princess del Castillo.     

More than 40 participants learning, guiding and sharing the joy of birdwatching.

February 16 – Guided trip @ Antipolo Valley

Fiery red blooms dot the Malabulak tree during its blooming season from February to April. 
Happy birders pose for a group photo.

Twenty five (25) participants, composed of parents and children, of the Books in the Park Homeschool Community experienced a guided birdwatching activity at Antipolo Valley. Among the birds seen were Garden Sunbird, Elegant Tit, Black-naped Oriole, Coppersmith Barbet, and White-breasted Wood Swallow.  WBCP members who led the group were Bambi Martinez, Gwen So, Sanne Unson, Mariel Uyquiengco, Ronnie and Tsarina Agacaoli with daughters Yana and Ysa.    

February 18 – Guided trip at Ninoy Aquino Park

Group photo with happy birders of the Sibulan Living Learning Homeschool.

WBCP member Weng Custodio requested for a guided birdwatching trip for the Sibulan Homeschool Rizal cluster. With a total of 30 participants composed of young families, the birdwatching activity was held at the Ninoy Aquino Park in Quezon City. The birding site was on the boardwalk beside the lagoon where more than 20 species were recorded including the resident Brown Breasted Kingfisher and Purple Heron.  WBCP volunteer guides were Tinggay Cinco, Sanne Unson, Irynn Abano, Sophia Bantillan, and Mike Lu.

A Yellow Bittern waits patiently by the edge of the lagoon for fish to surface.

February 20 – DENR-NCR Annual Stakeholders and Partners Forum

Third from left: DENR-NCR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan, with Cristina Cinco and Maia Tañedo.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines was invited by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) to the Annual Stakeholders and Partners forum in pursuit of sustainable development in the context of environment preservation and conservation. Represented by Cristina Cinco and Maia Tañedo, the WBCP was given an award in recognition of the club as one of the valued partners of the DENR-NCR in the conduct bird counts, surveying areas such as the Las Pinas Paranaque Wetland Park- a Ramsar Site of international importance, the Tanza Marine Tree Park (Navotas) and Tagalag Eco Park (Valenzuela).  Justin de Ramos, WBCP member, also attended as a representative of the DENR-NCR.

February 20 – Guided trip for students of the French International School Manila at the Las Piñas Parañaque Wetland Park

Hubert D’aboville of the Together Ensemble Foundation answering questions from the students.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines led by Mike Lu, in partnership with the Together Ensemble Foundation led by Hurbert D’aboville with assistance from 7 teachers, conducted a nature awareness trip for 66 grade school students of the Lycée Français de Manille (French International School Manila) at the Las Piñas Parañaque Wetland Park on February 20, 2024. The activities included birdwatching, hiking to the mangrove forest, film showing, a visit to the wetland museum, and a coastal clean-up. The grade schoolers were introduced to the commonly-seen migrant bird species such as Little Egret, Great Egret, and Whiskered Tern.  

A Little Egret, one of the most commonly-seen migrant bird species at the wetland park.

February 23 – 4th Wetland Center Design Competition @ the LPPWP  

Mike Lu giving an introduction to the birdwatching sites along the Pampanga River in Macabebe.

The Society for the Conservation of Philippines invited different schools to participate in the 4th Wetland Center Design Competition for the envisioned Macabebe Wetland Center complex in Pampanga. WBCP president Mike Lu was invited as a resource person to provide information on the site and give guidance to the participants for the architectural design of the facilities that would take into consideration the birds and their habitats.

February 26 to 27Storytellers for Wetlands: A Media Tour of the Balanga Wetlands and Nature Park

WBCP VP Karen Ochavo was one of the resource speakers during the knowledge building session.

Wetlands International (WI) Philippines held a media Tour of the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park (BWNP) in Bataan last 26-27 February 2024. On the first day, the media participants attended a knowledge-building session where WBCP Vice President Karen Ochavo gave an introduction to the importance of wetlands to migratory waterbirds, alongside speakers from WI and journalists. Other topics discussed during the session included the threats to wetland habitats, challenges in conserving wetlands, and storytelling for the environment. On the second day, Karen led the birdwatching activity at the BWNP where the participants watched in awe at the hundreds of egrets flying out to feed from their roost in the mangroves. Other bird species seen were Little Grebes, Purple Herons, and Black-winged Stilts.

The event was made possible through the funding of the Ramsar Regional Center-East Asia and support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Biodiversity Management Bureau, Provincial Government of Bataan, City Government of Balanga, Bataan Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Office, and the Balanga City Tourism Office. (Photos from Wetlands International Philippines)

WBCP VP Karen Ochavo led the birdwatching session at the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park.

February 29 – 10th Ibong Dayo Festival (Balanga)

Balanga City Mayor Francis Garcia delivering the welcome speech at the 10th Ibong Dayo Festival.  

Balanga City’s awarding-winning Ibong Dayo Festival finally made a comeback with its 10th edition after the lull of the pandemic. The festival started with a street parade from the Plaza Mayor de Balanga to the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park. The program started with speeches from the local authorities including Balanga City Mayor Francis Garcia and WBCP president Mike Lu as the guest speaker. The program continued with Ibong Dayo street dance, bird costume, and bird float competitions.  There were also stands selling food, drinks and local crafts and merchandise.  The city tourism plans to hold an even bigger festival next year.

MARCH 2024

March 8 to 9 – Training on Bird Identification for Ecotourism and Conservation @ Bais City (Negros Oriental)

Group photo of participants of the bird identification training with Oceanus and WBCP representatives

Oceanus Conservation invited WBCP, represented by VP Karen Ochavo and Secretary Nikdye Realubit to conduct a training on bird identification for ecotourism and conservation in Bais City (Negros Oriental) as part of Oceanus’ Community-led Mangrove and Migratory Birds Conservation Project. Fifteen members of the United Fisherfolk Association of Barangay Capiñahan participated in the training, which covered topics on the basics of birdwatching, bird identification, and the importance of a variety of wetland habitats for migratory waterbirds. The participants then proceeded to the Looc fishponds to practice what they learned; while there were a few birds, there were enough species that allowed them to differentiate between waders such as Black-winged Stilts, Grey-tailed Tattler, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, and the many species egrets. The next day, the participants, together with Oceanus Conservation Co-founder and Director Camille Rivera and Project officer Vicross Yumol, who are also new members of WBCP, took boats to Talabong Island to further allow the participants, mostly Bantay Dagat or Marine Rangers, to practice spotting and identifying waterbirds. Plovers, egrets, herons, kingfishers, and a solitary Philippine Duck flying out of the mangrove lagoon, were seen. The training will continue as Oceanus Conservation acquires more binoculars and a new spotting scope to develop birdwatching as one of the ecotourism activities in Talabong Island. Photos provided by Oceanus Conservation.

Onsite training on the coral flats of Talabong Island

March 10 – Guided trip @ Tagalag Eco Park (Valenzuela)

The endemic Philippine Swamphen found a safe refuge at the Tagalag Eco Park.

WBCP’s public guided trip this month was held at Tagalag Eco Park with 20 participants.  Although this is a smaller group that in the previous trips, some of the participants came from outside Metro Manila ie Bulacan, Tarlac, Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya.  The resident birds such as Eurasian Moorhen, Philippine Swamphen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana as well as migrant Whiskered Tern, Black-headed Gull and Common Kingfisher delighted the first-time birders.  WBCP volunteer guides were Mike Lu, Rene Calado, Ebony Kangleon, Ayla Ellis, and Princess del Castillo.

Happy birders pose for a group photo.

March 10 – Guided trip @ Heritage Park (Taguig)

Former WBCP member Charlie Fernandez making sure the kids see the birds through the scope.

A guided trip was organized upon request by the Living Learning Homeschool – Kalikasan cluster at the Heritage Park in Taguig.  30 students and parents joined the activity held in the late afternoon.  Resident birds such as Eurasian Moorhen, Cattle Egret, Spotted Dove were the most common bird species seen.  A flock of around 70 Chestnut Munias feeding on the grass showed up to the amazement of  the participants.  Among the WBCP volunteer guides were Mike Lu, Tommy Tan, Rose Lacson, Anthony, Weng and Frances Custodio, Tsarina and Yna Agcaoili.      

A solitary Javan Pond Heron was a welcome surprise!

March 13 – Workshop on the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Balanga Wetland Park

WBCP President Mike Lu seated second from left, Dr. Richard Daenos (Regional Director,DOT-R3), Mr. Warner M. Andrada (OIC- Assistant Secretary for Tourism Development), and Mr. Raul Mamac (PENRO Bataan)

WBCP President Mike Lu attended the consultative workshop on the finalization of the draft Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11365 or the Balanga Wetland and Nature Park Responsible Ecotourism Act in Balanga City.  The workshop was presided the Biodiversity Management Bureau with representatives from Balanga City LGU and private sector, and representatives from Region III offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism with the special participation of DOT OIC-Asec for Tourism Development Warner Andrada.      

March 16 – 11th RAMSAR anniversary celebration of the Las Piñas–Parañaque Wetland Park

In celebration of the 11th anniversary of being listed as a RAMSAR wetland of international importance, students and environmental groups from the Las Piñas & Parañaque were invited to talks by members of the PAMB, Senator Cynthia Villar, Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands Executive Director Amy Lecciones, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines President Mike Lu.  The event also served as the launching for the LPPWP Be a Wetland Hero Facebook Reels Making Contest with the theme: A wetland we treasure, a future we ensure.  

March 17 – Birding & Breakfast for Storytellers @ Masungi Georeserve (Rizal)

Birding and Breakfast for Storytellers was organized for media practitioners and other influencers to highlight the biodiversity and beauty of the Masungi Georeserve.  The Masungi team highlighted the uniquel flora thriving at the georeserve while the WBCP team led by Mike Lu, Nikki Realubit, Ravi Iyengar, Dindo Malonzo, Linda Gocon, Des Cambaliza pointed out the forest bird species. The activity conclud6 ed with native breakfast fare prepared by the local community and a briefing on the threat of a wind farm being built inside the georeserve. 

March 24 – Ocular trip at Toyota Batangas Vehicle Center

Hundreds of migrant Barn Swallows made the Toyota Batangas Vehicle Center their winter home.

The General Services Department of Toyota Motors Philippines Corporation led by Mark Marcelo and Michelle Castejon invited the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines to conduct an ocular visit to record the bird species and give suggestions for the mini-forest at the Toyota Batangas Vehicle Center in Batangas City. WBCP President Mike Lu with Yani Barcenas and Krees Castaneda headed the team and recorded 26 grassland species at the site.  Notable among the migrant species is a flock of at least 200 Barn Swallows and a seldom-seen Siberian Rubythroat.

Birdwatching at the mini-forest.

March 24 – Guided trip @ Ninoy Aquino Park

A guided birdwatching trip was organized for the UP Diliman Pathfinder’s Club at the Ninoy Aquino Park.  Led by Diuvs de Jesus and Nikki Realubit, the registered 30 participants (maximum number the club imposes) swelled closer to 60, as kids were accompanied by parents who also participated in the activity.  Some of the resident species seen were Pacific Swallow and Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker while migrant species were Little Egret, Common Kingfisher and Brown Shrike.

Diuvs de Jesus briefing the participants of the guided birdwatching trip.

March 24 – Game Night @ Lerato Tower 1 (Makati)

Bom Gomez hosted another fun social event for members at Lerato Tower One in Makati City.  Execom members Karen Ochavo, Nikki Realubit and Mike Lu gave tips on the dos and don’ts when leading and assisting guided birding trips. The game portion started with the Gomez siblings, Gabby and Luis, giving an orientation on the Wingspan board game.  Two tables were set up with Yana Agcaoili coaching the participants in the original game while Gabby and Luis coached the extension game.  It took some time for players to get used to playing the game but they eventually got used to strategizing.  Timmy Romero was declared winner fo the original game while Dindo Malonzo emerged as winner of the extension game.

A total 24 members attended the Game Night and brought food and drinks for the gathering.  Aside from Execom members Karen Ochavo, Nikki Realubit and Mike Lu, other members present were Tsarina Agcaoili, Yana Agcaoili, Angel Chan, Isobelle Camacho, Liam Camacho, Eire Daproza-Rivera, Ayla Ellis, Bom Gomez, Gabby Gomez, Luis Gomez, Anna Gonzales, Diuvs de Jesus, Aly Kangleon, Eby Kangleon, Camille King, Lisa Kircher, Lowell Lorenzo, Dindo Malonzo,  Bambi Martinez, Penelope Poole, Timothy Romero.

March 28 – Club trip @ Subic Bay

Club members organized a day trip to Subic Bay on the first day of the long Holy Week holidays.  Club members Karen Ochavo and Des Cambaliza (on vacation from Canada) led first-time Subic birders Jessa Ochavo, Dindo Malonzo and Ria Tagle to their favorite birding trails to show Subic’s avian treasures.  Highlight species for the group were  Blue-naped Parrot, Philippine Falconet, Sooty Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Great-eared Nightjar.

VP Karen Ochavo brought the first-time Subic birders to her favorite sites.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *