Group photo during the 5th Anniversary celebration at the residence of Robert Brinks.
Membership surged during the second quarter
2008 with a total of 185 members, which represents an increase
of 18 members compared to the year-end total of 2007.
Outside of Metro Manila, membership continues to grow with
41 members in the provinces and 25 members overseas. Cavite
leads with 6 members followed by Cebu and Agusan del Sur with
5 members each, followed by Quezon with 4 members and Negros
Occidental with 3 members. Palawan, Nueva Ecija, La Union,
Batangas, Davao have 2 members each and one member each from
Ilocos Norte, Benguet, Pampanga, Bataan, Laguna, Negros Oriental,
Leyte, and Camarines Sur.
Around Asia, we have members in Singapore (7), Indonesia (2),
Malaysia (1), Taiwan (1), Japan(1) and Hong Kong (1). Elsewhere
members can be found in United States (5), United Kingdom
(3), Belgium (2), Italy (1), and Denmark (1).
Based on nationalities, Americans lead with
13 members followed by the British with 7 members. Other foreign
nationalities are Indians (4), Singaporeans (4), Belgian (1),
Danish (1), Dutch (1), German (1), Japanese (1) and Taiwanese
Guided Trips – 22 trips
Candaba Marsh in Pampanga was the most visited site
for guided trips in the 1st quarter with 6 visits.
These trips include a training for Candaba locals
as guides during the Ibon Ebon, even as WBCP members
volunteered as bird guides for the duration of the
2-day Ibon Ebon Bird Festival.
WBCP member Adri Constantino guiding Philippine Marines at Caylabne Bay Resort |
A guided trip was conducted for the
Bataan provincial tourism department led by Madame Vicky
Garcia, wife of the Bataan Governor and the first ladies
of the different towns in Bataan. Likewise guided trips
were held for the El Presidente Toastmasters Club and
for the ROX Adventure Tours (2).
Different organizations have asked the Club to conduct
ocular and guided trips for their staff. Among these
companies were CEMEX for an abandoned quarry in Binangonan
(Rizal), South Coast for Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu (Batangas),
TeaM Energy for the TE Pagbilao Power Plant and the
Mangrove Experimental Forest in Pagbilao (Quezon)
and Marubeni for the San Roque Dam in San Mariano
Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite) also invited
the Club to participate in their Preservation Day
celebrations with guided birdwatching trips for Jaycees
Club members and members of the Philippine Marines.
The Club resumed the monthly guided
trips for the general public with 2 trips to the University
of the Philippines – Diliman campus.
The Club signed an agreement with
Southwoods Golf and Country Club to conduct monthly
bird surveys in their golf course for 6 months starting
May 2008. Real estate development Las Haciendas in
Lemery (Batangas) also requested for an initial bird
survey of their property.
The Club assisted the Department
of Tourism on ocular inspections to the Coastal Lagoon,
Caylabne Bay, and Villa Escudero to support the department’s
project to write a book on birdwatching sites.
The Club assisted visiting Canadian
birders Terry Rutherford and Jacques Bel with a trip
to Candaba Marsh (Pampanga)
Members at Hamilo Coast
Club Trips – 9 trips
Monitoring waterbirds in Pagbilao
Bay during the
Asian Waterbird Census
Club members visited favorite birding
sites in the Coastal Road lagoon (Paranaque), Mt Makiling
(Laguna), the Talisay-side of Taal Lake (Batangas),
Candaba Marsh (Pampanga), Caylabne Bay Resort (Cavite)
and Quezon National Park (Quezon). A trip to Mt Palay-Palay
(Cavite) in early January and a subsequent trip in
late March alarmed the birders as they noticed the
quarry site expanding and the abandoned road that
cuts through the forest is being cemented. The Department
of Natural Resources Region IV-A admitted that they
do not know if the quarry is within the bounds of
the national park and yet gave permits for the company
New sites visited include Ayala Land
real estate development, Nuvali in Santa Rosa (Laguna)
to confirm sightings for assumed-to-be-extirpated
While a visit to the fields in Barangay
Paralaya in Candaba revealed a field of breeding Oriental
Pratincoles. Members Alice Villa-Real, Mike Lu and Robert
Brinks went to oft-birded sites in Iwahig Penal Coplony and
the Irawan Watershed in Puerto Princesa (Palawan) as well
as to new sites such as Simpocan on the West Coast and the
Macasaet Farm where a resident flock of Wandering Whistling
Ducks have established a colony.
Club members participated in the annual Asian Waterbird
Census in January by contributing data for the following
sites: Candaba Marsh (Pampanga), Puerto Rivas (Bataan),
Coastal Lagoon (Paranaque), Tanza (Navotas), Pagbilao
Raptor migration monitoring started with the first
trip in March to the Pag-Asa Radar Station in Tanay
(Rizal). Only 300+ birds were counted during this
trip but 2 subsequent trips to the Santos Farm also
in Tanay (Rizal) in April were more productive. Species
seen include Chinese Goshawk, Grey-faced Buzzard and
Crossing streams in Simpocan,
West Coast (Palawan)
Lectures for Club members
The Recreational Outdoor Exchange at Bonifacio
High Street offered the use of their venue for lectures.
The first educational lecture was given by
visiting British birder Fergus Crystal on January 14. His
talk centered on his trips around Luzon and Palawan and includes
interesting feather samples and information sourced from trappers
in Dalton Pass (Nueva Ecija) as well as unusual sightings
during the Asian Waterbird Census in Candaba (Pampanga) and
his hikes in the mountain trails in the Bataan Peninsula.
This was followed on March 12 with Cynthia
Layusa of the Isla Foundation giving an update and overview
about the continuing programs of their foundation after the
discovery of the Calayan Rail four years ago.
about birds and birdwatching was given by Mike Lu for
the Lantaka Boys Club on February 9, while another talk
entitled “Discover the Joys of Birdwatching”
was given by Alice Villa-Real and Mike Lu as part of
the Coffeehouse Environmental Series for Communications
Foundation Asia on February 29.
The Recreational Outdoor Exchange at Bonifacio High
Street offered the use of their venue for lectures.
The first educational lecture was given by visiting
British birder Fergus Crystal on January 14.
Visiting members of the Nature
Society of Singapore
Lim Kim Keang (Head of the Society's Bird Group)
and Jimmy Chew showed a video and gave a talk on
Southeast Asian Birds on April 5.
Taiwanese professor Dr Jason Ding
receives a t-shirt from Mike Lu
centered on his trips around Luzon and Palawan and includes
interesting feather samples and information sourced
from trappers in Dalton Pass (Nueva Ecija) as well as
unusual sightings during the Asian Waterbird Census
in Candaba (Pampanga) and his hikes in the mountain
trails in the Bataan Peninsula.
Visiting Taiwanese professor, Dr. Jason Ding Tzung-su
gave a talk entitled "Avian Hotspots in East Asia"
comparing diversity and endemism data among bird species
in mainland and island groups. The talk was held at
the Mundle residence on
Cynthia Layusa of the Isla Foundation gave an update
about the continuing programs of their foundation after
the discovery of the Calayan Rail four years ago.
As part of Earth Day celebrations, Starbucks
Coffee initiated the Dialogues at Starbucks talk and invited
WBCP and other NGOs to present environmental topics in their
stores. Alice Villa-Real enthusiastically presented the joys
of birdwatching to coffee drinkers at the Starbucks Rockwell
USAID’s Linking Initiative and Networking to Control
Tubercolosis (TBLINC) conducted a Provincial Avian Influenza
Partnership Summit on May 29 in San Fernando (Pampanga). WBCP
was represented by Mike Lu to give input to the workshop.
On the same day, he gave a talk about birdwatching and the
status of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism
Area to the Rotary Club - Metro South chapter in BF Homes
Mike Lu, Jhoel Jorda, Carmela Balcazar and Nestor Cortez participated
in the Adventure Tourism Summit held at the Hotel Stotsenburg
in Clark Field from June 3-4, 2008. Mike Lu gave a talk on
birdwatching and highlighted the 12 initial sites to be promoted
by the Department of Tourism. The summit was attended by more
than 2000 delegates from all over the country.
As part of the ROX lecture series, Nature Society of Singapore
members Lim Kim Keang and Jimmy Chew showed a video and gave
a talk on Southeast Asian Birds on April 5, while WBCP member
and Philippine Butterfly Habitat Conservation Society founder
Lydia Robledo showed us photos and clips of butterflies and
birds in her garden on May 1.
Founding member Carmela Espanola represented the WBCP at the
Surveillance for Avian Influenza in Wild Birds Workshop on
4/21-24 at the Linden Suites and at the Flyway Partnership
Workshop held at the Camelot Hotel on 5/14-16.
Environmental lawyer Ipat Luna represented the Club at the
Manila Bay Critical Habitat Management Council Meeting on
Club in the News
On January 10, Studio 23’s News Central featured birdwatching
with an interview with Drew Galano and Mike Lu at the ricefileds
of Barangay Paralaya in Candaba.
On January 12, Mayor Jerry Pelayo of Candaba held a press
conference to announce the results of the Asian Waterbird
Census in Candaba.
Drew Galano being interviewed
at Candaba Marsh
by Studio 23's News Central
The presscon was well attended by the media including
the Presidential Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.
The day after, Secretary Bunye wrote an article,
“Birds in Candaba Swamp” on his regular
column The View from the Palace which see print in
the Manila Bulletin, People’s Tonight and Balita.
Front-page news on the January 14 issue of the Philippine
Daily Inquirer was the article “New record for
RP: 17,000 birds sighted in Candaba Swamp” by
The Sun Star Pampanga also published an interview
with Mike Lu on January 22, entitled “Bird fanatics
Visit Candaba’s Nests”
Mornings with M radio program host conducted
an interview with Alice Villa-Real and Mike Lu that was broadcasted
on January 25 on DWBR 104.3 FM and on January 26 on DYMR 576
QTV’s Sapulso featured birdwatching
and bird photography with Mike Lu, Alice Villa-Real
and Alex Loinaz at the Coastal Road lagoon on January
28. A day later, Central Luzon cable channel CLTV-36
featured an interview with Mike Lu on birdwatching in
Candaba and the upcoming Ibon Ebon Bird Festival.
Philippine Star writer Ding Cervantes
featured “Candaba Stages 1st Ibon-Ebon Festival”
on February 2.
TeaM Energy’s bird sanctuary was the topic in
the article, “Wild ducks find sanctuary inside
power plant” By Delfin Mallari, Jr, of the Philippine
Daily Inquirer on February 12. A colony of Black-crowned
Night-herons was featured on “Birds find resting
place in Valenzuela City” by Nancy Carvajal on
the March 3 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Alice Villa-Real being interviewed
for QTV's Sapulso program
The first record of the Black-browed
Reed-Warbler in the country.
host Romy Garduce followed birdwatchers as they watched
a thousand Black-winged Stilts feeding in the mudflats
of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism
Area and to Candaba Marsh where hundreds of migratory
wild ducks congregated on their northward journey. The
segment was shown on GMA-7’s Born to be Wild program
on on April 9.
The May 3 issue of the Philippine Daily
Inquirer featured the article “Keep your eye on
the birdie on this southern sanctuary” by writer
Ross Harper-Alonso mentioning the Manila Southwoods
Golf and Country Club’s intention ask assistance
from the bird club to monitor the wild bird species
found on their property.
The first record of a Black-browed
Reed-warbler caught during a survey in Candaba Marsh
made local headlines with GMA TV News:
“Group announces first Philippine sighting of
bird species” on May 5 and a comprehensive article
written by Philippine Daily Inquirer writer Tonette
Orejas on May 10 with the title: Rare bird visitor found
in Candaba Swamp.
ABS-CBN’s Matang Lawin aired an interview with
Mike Lu about the nocturnal habits of the Black-crowned
Night-Heron on May 19.
In December 2007, we received an email from Bacolod resident
Josef Sagemuller calling attention to the activities of the
Bacolod Air Rifle Hunting Club. An email campaign led to a
series of articles by columnist Juan Mercado on the Inquirer
and a statement from Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri.
In January 2008, an anonymous tip led us to the website made
by a member of the Philippine National Shooting Team which
showed photos of shooting team members happily raising up
dead birds including the globally-threatened Philippine Mallard.
Jade & Mike de Guzman and
Ed Mijares raising up
dead Philippine Mallards
On January 11, WBCP issued a statement
on the hunting issue and released to the media during
the press conference organized by Candaba Mayor Jerry
Pelayo for the Asian Waterbird Census in Candaba.
That same day, GMA News came out with a story on January
11, “Shooting Team may be in trouble for hunting
The next day, National Shooting Team
members Tet Lara, Jade and Mike de Guzman issued a
statement explaining that the birds were already dead
when recovered. Award-winning program, Kapuso Mo,
Jessica Soho, featured the hunting news that same
evening, January 12, 2008.
On January 14, DENR Sec. Lito Atienza issued
a statement warning the public about killing, collecting and
haming wildlife. The statement was featured by GMA News in
the story: DENR warns vs. wildlife species attackers.
same day, the Business Mirror published the article:
Atienza “hunts” bird hunters while the India
Times featured “Philippines warns hunters”.
Different blog sites also highlighted
the issue. On Loving Animals: 3 members of the Philippine
Shooting Team and the killing of protected Philippine
wildlife, WWF: A Song for the Birds, and Wildlife Extra:
Endangered Bird Hunting in the Philippines.
On January 15, the Philippine National
Shooting Association president Art Macapagal issued
a statement indicating that the PNSA board has nothing
more to add to the statement previously issued by their
members. That evening, GMA News featured the story:
RP Shooting Team may be charged for shooting ducks.
Mike Lu and Presidential Press
Secretary Ignacio Bunye
at the press conference in Candaba
The next day, Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo accompanied by students
and teachers visited the DENR Secretary’s office with
both ABS-CBN News and GMA News covering the event. GMA News
came out with the story: Candaba mayor seeks help from DENR
over shooting of birds. The DENR website posted this press
release – “Atienza: Organize activities to better
appreciate our natural heritage”.
Members of Philippine National
with dead "kanduro" or snipes
The media continued reporting on the hunting issue.
On January 17, Jocelyn Uy of the Philippine Daily
Inquirer reported the article, “WWF sounds alarm
on bird hunting”, while Raymund Garcia of the
Sun Star Pampanga came out with “Wild Bird Club
hits sports hunting.” On January 18, Malaya’s
Jojo Due published, “Concern raised over the
hunting of native ducks,” while Sun Star Pampanga
had “Environment Chief seeks a stop to killing
The continuous media coverage prompted the Philippine
National Shooting Association president Art Macapagal
on January 18 to send a letter to PAWB Director Lim
to clarify that their organization does not promote
hunting but nevertheless stood by the statement of
their members that the birds were already dead when
The PNSA’s stand provoked more media coverage.
The next day, January 19, On Loving Animals blog came
out with “Bantay Dagat and 3 members of the
Philippine Shooting Team” while the Journal
Online published: “Stop killing birds –
WWF’s website, panda.org,
posted on January 26, “Anger in the Philippines
as hunters post pictures of killed threatened birds
on their websites.” On January 26, Carla Gomez
of the Visayan Daily Star came out with the article:
Hunters still breaking chain of life for “fun”
and two days later published the “Hunter’s
On February 2, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published
“Negros bird slaughter raises outcry”
and on February 4, continued with “Hunter admits
shooting birds considered pests.”
Jade and Mike de Guzman and Tet
Lara with carcass
of Grey Heron with Bantay Dagat (Guardians of the Sea)
On February 12, an anonymous letter sent
to Care2 Petition site threatened to file a suit against Josef
Sagemuller and the petition site. Josef Sagemuller maintained
his stand against and nothing else was heard again.
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri delivers
privilege speech on hunting |
Members of the WBCP with Senators
Aquilino Pimentel and
Juan Miguel Zubiri at the VIP
section of the Senate hall
On February 27, Sen Juan Miguel Zubiri, co-author
of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, delivered
a privilege speech entitled “A Tale of 2 Hunters”
that recommended action against the members of the Philippine
National Shooting Team and the hunters in Bacolod. The recommendation
has since been filed with the Committee of the Environment
under Senator Pia Cayetano. Members of the WBCP and the New
Zealand Ambassador David Pine were invited as special guests
of Senator Zubiri during the delivery of the speech.
The complete list and full text of the above
entries can be accessed on the website at:
Bird Festivals & other celebrations
Ibon Ebon Bird Festival, Candaba, Pampanga
MIke Lu shows Philippine President
photos of birds
Spectacular local pageantry during
The local government of Candaba launched
the 1st Ibon Ebon Bird festival on February 1-2, 2008 to promote
ecotourism through birdwatching (Ibon) and the agricultural
products from the duck-egg industry (Ebon). The municipality
organized an agricultural trade fair including a booth was
dedicated to the educational bird tarps from the Wild Bird
Club of the Philippines and photographs of birds taken in
Candaba by members of the Philippine Bird Photographers led
by Romy Ocon, Tina Mallari and others.
Anna Gonzales, Rich Pijuan and
conducts a program for children
was graced by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
amidst great funfare with spectacular street dancing.
Other guests include Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap,
National Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Pampanga
Governor Eddie Panlilio and other local officials.
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines participated by
holding a program at the Ms Earth Park. Alice Villa-Real,
Anna Gonzales and Rich Pijuan came up with a program
that included a lecture on wild birds, games and coloring
activities for 231 day-care children. Meanwhile, other
members volunteered at the main bird watching site in
Vizal San Pablo to guide visitors.
Love Affair with Nature, Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Mike Lu, Alice Villa-Real and the Netherlands Ambassador
Robert Brinks were guests of the Puerto Princesa City
Mayor Ed Hagedorn to the Love Affair with Nature held
on February 14 at Puerto Princesa City (Palawan). Upon
arrival on February 13, the group was whisked to visit
the Subterranean River at St Paul’s National Park,
and participate in a prayer rally against mining later
in the afternoon, and attended a Welcome Dinner hosted
by Puerto Princesa City.
The main event next day, on Valentine’s Day, was
the mangrove planting with mass wedding at the mudflats
sponsored by the city government. Senator Loren Legarda,
Ambassador Robert Brinks, Gina Lopez of Bantay Kalikasan
and environmental lawyer Atty Tony Oposa acted as sponsors
to the couples.
Mike Lu, Mayor Ed Hagedorn, Alice
Villa-Real and Melissa Macasaet
Dinner meeting with Alice Villa-Real,
Mike Lu, Rollie Concepcion,
Mayor Ed Hagedorn, and Ambassador
Alice Villa-Real, Nicky Icarangal and Melissa Macasaet
also took the opportunity to meet up with members of
Birdwatch Palawan to plan for the 4th Philippine Bird
Festival to be held in Puerto Princesa in September.
A few days later, Ambassador Brinks tendered a dinner
meeting at his residence in Makati where Mayor Ed Hagedorn
gave word that he will sponsor the holding of the festival
at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.
1st Balanga Bird Photo Exhibit, Balanga, Bataan
The City of Balanga hosted the 1st Balanga Bird Photo Exhibit
as part of the Pistang Balangueno 2008 festivities. Members
from the Philippine Bird Photography forum contributed photos
while WBCP provided educational tarps on bird species found
in the Balanga wetlands. The opening ceremonies held at the
Balanga City Hall was attended by WBCP members Alice Villa-Real,
Michael Lu, Joey Soriano and led by Balanga Mayor Joet Garcia.
The mayor announced plans to bring the exhibit to the shopping
areas and schools. He also announced plans to host the 5th
Philippine Bird Festival next year. WBCP members also met
with the provincial tourism and other stakeholders in preliminary
talks about the potential of birdwatching as an ecotourism
activity in the province.
Ribbon-cutting by Mike Lu and
with Mayor Joet Garcia.
Philip Round during the survey at the Candaba Marsh |
Streaked Reed Warbler Preliminary Survey, Candaba, Pampanga
The Wetland Trust and the WBCP conducted
a preliminary survey for the Streaked Reed-Warbler in
Candaba Marsh, Pampanga with Philip Round and Mads Bajarias
on April 21-24. Although the survey found no signs of
the Streaked Reed- Warbler, a Black-browed Reed-Warbler
caught in a mist-net was considered a first record in
the country. The main survey will be carried out later
in the year or early next year.
Team Energy Bird Race, Pagbilao, Quezon
WBCP organized a bird race for staff members of Team Energy
Pagbilao plant on April 26-27. The sites covered include the
power plant site and the mangrove experimental forest. The
activity was part of an agreement signed between the WBCP
and Team Energy to increase environmental awareness among