The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The official website of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines

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ROX Bird Race

Recreational Outdoor Exchange (ROX) of Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City, the biggest recreational outdoor sports hub in Southeast Asia, is taking a bold step for adventure racing in the country with the ROX Bird Race Challenge, the first and only race of its kind in the Philippines in partnership with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP).

Taking cue from events like the famed Fraser's Hill International Bird Race in Malaysia, Hong Kong's Big Bird Race and the Singapore Bird Race, the ROX Bird Race Challenge aims to draw public attention to Metro Manila's remaining green spaces and threatened wetlands, parks and grassland habitats, which racers will visit in order to record as many bird species possible within a 24-hour period.

"The WBCP expects an exciting race and good numbers of bird arrivals based on our initial surveys and bird counts," says urban planner and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines board member Anna Gonzales. Bird species recorded in Metro Manila numbers more than 100 species at this time of year, when migrants from mainland Asia and Japan stay the duration of the winter.

“Bird watching as a popular recreation is fairly new in the country,” according to Gonzales, who hopes the bird race will spark ideas about conserving the urban green areas of Metro Manila and “getting our kids high on outdoor activities and science.”

The ROX Bird Race Challenge takes off at 3:00 p.m. of December 1 and will continue until 3:00 pm of December 2. According to WBCP president and race coordinator Michael Lu, 10 teams combining experienced birdwatchers and new hobbyists with first-time adventure racers, outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers from various walks of life will be competing in the 19-hour event.

“We hope to provide the outdoor experience that will sustain the consciousness for the conservation of the environment,” according to Roel Chan, marketing manager of Primer Group, the firm managing ROX. “You can’t say let’s save the habitat when you haven’t seen the habitat. We want people to go out there and have that positive feeling when they come back from this race and get into positive action.”

To highlight the culmination of the race, ROX is holding a series of activities starting 2:00 pm December 2. A tent set-up along the promenade fronting Recreational Outdoor Exchange in Bonifacio High Street will host environmental exhibits, lectures, an activity corner where kids can practice art skills and enjoy face-painting and a wildlife conservation show featuring animals from the DENR Wildlife Rescue Center. These activities are open to the public free of charge.

For more information, visit Recreational Outdoor Exchange at Building 1, Bonifacio High Street, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, call: 856-4638 or 856-4639 or email the organizers at: Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, attention Michael Lu, myckle@thenet.ph.