9th PHL Bird Fest set in Zambo Feb 28-Mar 1 PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 11:57

Local and international bird watchers will soon arrive in the city in droves for the upcoming 9th Philippine Bird Festival to be held from February 28 - March 01.

During the press conference yesterday morning in City Hall, Department of Tourism Regional Director Mary June Bugante proudly shared how Zamboanga City can be marketed as a prime destination for birdwatchers both from in and out of the country.

The press conference was preceded by a courtesy call of Dir. Bugante and the Officers of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines on Mayor Beng Climaco, who thanked the DOT for organizing the activity as she cited its impact on the city’s tourism industry.

According to the DOT’s project brief, Zamboanga is a prime destination for birding enthusiasts. Among the city’s identified birding sites are the Pasonanca Natural Park, the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) Fish Pond and the Bog in Barangay Calarian, all of which are hosts to a variety of bird species that are sure to appeal to birding enthusiasts.

“I would like to draw attention to the variety of birds that you can find in Zamboanga City,” Wild Bird Club of the Philippines president Gina Mapua said. “Within the city limits alone, there are a very amazing number of birds.”

Mapua cited in particular the swallows which she said the city should be famous for. “In fact, we chose the barn swallow as the bird mascot for the 9th Philippine Bird Fair.”

She likewise presented photo-documentary evidence of great egrets breeding in Zamboanga. According to Mapua, great egrets are migratory birds that are only in the country for a short period but breeds elsewhere. “But because of the very favorable conditions found in the ZSCMST fish pond, the great egrets stay all year round now and breeding.

The idea of hosting the bird festival in Zamboanga was first pitched when the DOT regional office participated in the 8th Philippine Bird Festival held in Manila in December 2012. It will help “promote birding in the city, to raise awareness on the importance of preservation and protection of different bird species found in the city; and to drum up positive activities geared towards improving the image of the city, especially to international birding enthusiasts who are regular delegates to the Philippine Bird Festival.”

The activity was originally scheduled as one of the highlights of the Hermosa Festival 2013. However, because of the Zamboanga siege, it did not push through.

Thankfully, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines – an organization of birding enthusiasts in the country and organizers of the annual bird festival – had decided to only postpone the event to a later date.

So far, Mapua shared, more than five international bird clubs have already confirmed their attendance to the 9th Philippine Bird Festival which will open at the Paseo del Mar.

The bird festival is one of the activities lined up to celebrate the city’s charter anniversary or Dia de Zamboanga on Feb. 26.

Aside from Dir. Bugante and Mapua, also present during the press conference were other officers of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines Michael Lu and Marites Falcon, who is also the president of the Nikon Camera Club of the Philippines and a bird photographer, and officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) among others. —Claudine Uniana