9th Philippine Bird Festival - Birding in Zamboanga City PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00

When the news came out that the 9th Philippine Bird Festival will be in our city  from Feb. 28 to March 1,honestly, it didn’t catch much the interests of most locals. I asked around and local folks thought that it will be a showcase of live birds, watch birds do some tricks, or an opportunity to buy birds as pets at Paseo del Mar where it will be held. Maybe only people who are bird lovers, those who takes care of birds as pets or those who loves taking pictures of birds, and add to that, students who are required to attend will be there.

Since I was not invited in the media conference they had, I really don’t know what is the purpose of the festival. I do praise, though, our Department of Tourism-9 Regional Director Mary June Bugante, whose office is spearheading this event. She believes that this event can help build a positive vibe for Zamboanga City as a tourism destination, at the same time, minimize the negative impact of the Zamboanga September siege of 2013.

Birds for tourism?  Laudable. 

Bird watchers, enthusiasts and conservationists from other cities and countries will be flying in to see, learn, update each other, and appreciate bird species of Zamboanga City. And as tourists bringing money, they will be spending, staying in our hotels and enjoying our delicacies. This is tourism economy. And it will be at its best, when they come back to their places and will recommend Zamboanga City to others.

Yesterday, out of curiosity, I went to Paseo to see what’s happening on the first day. Seminars are being held.  And I learned that the festival aims to educate people to appreciate birds in their natural environment in an activity called Bird Watching or simply Birding. Those who do this are called Birders. They observe wild birds in their natural habitat, observe bird in actions, and identify the bird specie. They do this without disrupting the bird’s normal activities and with minimal impact on the environment. “How big is the bird? What are its colors? Over-all shape? What the beak look like? How it behaves?,”  are some of the questions birders ask. It develops a camaraderie among birders, as well, make birders appreciate birds in their environment.

I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Michael Lu, the president of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. I asked him what benefits can the whole community, let’s say Zamboanga City, can get from bird watching.  Lu said when people appreciate and love birds in their habitats.  These people will be nature lovers and will do everything to protect natural environment because of birds. This is wonderful!

I hope that after this festival a local bird watching group will be formed and organized to imbibe people to be birdies, learn to love their environment, and protect it.

Want to be a birdie? Come and visit the last day of the bird festival today. Bird seminars, bird pictures and booths about birds are on displayed.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines is an established and well-connected organization of bird lovers, enthusiasts, and conservationists. They have chosen Zamboanga City as the venue of its 9th festival because of our rich natural resources and the abundance of different wild species of birds which most Zamboangueños are not aware of. The festival's theme is “Pajaros: Bula Sin Miedo, Sin Lingasa” which means “Birds: Fly Without Fear, Without Worries.”

For one, the daily migration of barn and pacitic swallows in the center of our business district is amazing to them. It has attracted the attention of bird watchers from our country and from abroad. Borneo Bird Club, Asian Raptor Research, Wild Bird Society of Taipei, the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Malaysian Nature Society, and Tourism Malaysia are here.

Aside from DOT, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-9 is also a major partner of this festival. It is only now I found out that the great Philippine eagle also thrives in our Pasonanca Natural Park.

Visit www.birdwatch.ph and learn more about this nature adventure.

By Dante Corteza

Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”