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WBCP 2008, 2nd Quarter Report


Membership 2008
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 (1).


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 (Pangasinan).

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 to operate.

New sites visited include Ayala Land real estate development, Nuvali in Santa Rosa (Laguna) to confirm sightings for assumed-to-be-extirpated Chinese Francolins.

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 (Quezon).

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 Oriental Honeybuzzard.

Crossing streams in Simpocan, West Coast (Palawan)

Club Activities

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.

A talk 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 Tzung-su
receives a t-shirt from Mike Lu

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.

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
February 7.

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 Center outlet.

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 Paranaque.

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 June 18.

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 Tonette Orejas.

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 in Cebu.

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.

Celebrity 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.

Hunting Issue

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 near-extinct ducks”

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.

On the 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 Shooting Team
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 of birds.”

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 found.

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 – Rep. Romualdez”

WWF’s website,, 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 response.”

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)
patrol boat

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 Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
photos of birds

Spectacular local pageantry during the festival

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 Alice Villa-Real
conducts a program for children

The festival 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

WBCP members 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 Robert Brinks
Mike Lu, 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
Ribbon-cutting by Mike Lu and Alice Villa-Real
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 plant personnel.