Candaba stages first Ibon-Ebon
By Ding Cervantes
Saturday, February 2, 2008
CANDABA, Pampanga – Noting a record high of 17,000 migratory
birds of at least 49 species at the Candaba Swamp here, Candaba
officials staged the town’s first Ibon-Ebon (Bird-Egg)
Festival yesterday to honor the local patron saint, San Nicholas
of Tolentino, boost food production, and promote ecotourism,
with President Arroyo as special guest.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
looks on as
Mike Lu points out the bird photos
Candaba town saw participants clad in different bird costumes,
as Mayor Jerry Pelayo kicked off the two-day festival
at the town plaza.
“Based on last year’s bird records and the
results of the Asian Waterbird Census this year, Candaba’s
conservation efforts work. At the same time, Candaba’s
food production, including duck eggs, continues to grow.
It is time to celebrate,” Pelayo said.
He said the festival’s “message and intent
is not only for Candaba but for the province and the
rest of the country as well” as reflected in its
theme, “A balance between the needs of the people
and those of the environment.”
The festival’s logo depicts the wild
Philippine duck, locally known as dumara, which Pelayo said
is “endemic to the country and now successfully breeds
in the Candaba Swamp.”
The logo shows the duck sitting on
her egg on green grass “to symbolize a healthy
relationship between nature conservation and food production,”
festival organizers said.
“The results of the Asian Waterbird
Census for 2008, the fourth to be conducted in Candaba,
showed a four-year high of more than 17,000 birds comprising
49 species counted at the Candaba Swamp Wildlife Reserve,”
The bird count was a joint effort of the Protected Areas
and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources, the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines,
the Kaakbay Community Development Initiatives and the
Candaba municipal government “with the special
participation of Ambassador Robert Brinks of the Netherlands,”
the mayor said.
Festive dance number by local
Last year, Pelayo said Candaba set three
new records. On Dec. 17, a rare migrant to the country, the
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), was photographed by
Romy Ocon, a known bird photographer, at the Candaba Swamp.
It was the first sighting of the bird species at the swamp.
Three days later on Dec. 20, Ocon and representatives of the
Candaba Swamp Wildlife Reserve photographed another rare migrant
bird species, the White-shouldered Starling (Sturnus sinensis),
which was seen only on six occasions before 1911, as recorded
in the Kennedy Guide on Philippine Birds.
Then on Dec. 30, a “really rare” Eurasian Spoonbill
(Platalea leucorodia), was photographed by Tina and Wency
Mallari at the swamp, reportedly the first such sighting in
Pelayo said that while the feast of San Nicolas de Tolentino
is on Sept. 10, the Ibon-Ebon Festival was held also to honor
and thank him for the local booming poultry and egg industry.
“So far, there are no indications of bird flu in our
town, and we thank our patron saint for that,” he said.
Slated today are a parade of the contestants for the best
duck costume, street dancing, a duck race, a bird program
and art contest, a bird kite exhibition, and a variety show.