OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
12th Philippine Bird Festival whooshes down South
The Philippine Bird Festival, the country’s largest celebration of avifaunal diversity and bird lore awareness, commemorates its 12th event milestone on May 10-12, 2018 in Tacurong, the City of Goodwill, the crossroads of Central Mindanao, Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN. Organized by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, the event is expected to gather birdwatchers, conservationists, and nature enthusiasts from at least 20 organizations from the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Nepal.
Baras Bird Sanctuary: a refuge
The Black-crowned Night Heron, featured in the festival’s main logo, highlights the stewardship of Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat for the 20,000+ birds that have found a harmonious co-existence with the locals at the Baras Bird Sanctuary for more than 20 years. “If it weren’t for the Black-crowned Night Heron’s unique appearance I wouldn’t have been inspired to let the birds stay,” says Rey Oliver Malana, owner of the peppercorn farm turned sanctuary. Baras Bird Sanctuary is now home to both resident and migratory species, moving freely and becoming one of the largest roosting and breeding sites of herons and egrets in the country. During the migratory season, one can witness the huge flocks spiraling in and out of the area eliciting goosebumps for this rare sight. During breeding season, a talakudong (native headcovering) is mandatory to avoid being hit by bird excrement as you walk under tree branches and bird wing canopy. With this inspiration, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines celebrates with the City of Tacurong in that the 12th Philippine Bird Festival is also the 4th Tacurong Bird Festival which has become an annual festival for the city after their tourism department’s participation in the WBCP bird festival in Zamboanga and Negros.
Live the Culture at SOX
Themed “Pispis amligan naton kay ini bugay sa aton” (Caring for birds, celebrating our blessings) the festival serves as a platform to spread the word about bird conservation and environmental awareness. With the hidden gems of Lake Sebu and Lake Holon, the festival is the perfect venue for establishing the region into the international birding map. Local stakeholders also participate in an ecotourism forum to share ideas on birdwatching and other specialized niche activities as tourism products. Local communities attend a conservation forum focusing on the sustainability of resource use and traditional livelihood.
Delegates from around Asia and different corners of the Philippines will also witness a showcase of cultural diversity that SOCCSKSARGEN has to offer: an array of headdresses, a plethora of folkdances, and a variety of cultural attire delight all senses. One of the festival highlights is the Lake Sebu Tboli cultural immersion wherein delegates eat breakfast, participate in Tboli dance and music, and wear Tnalak finery all in the Tboli longhouse.
A range of educational activities awaits festival guests and participants. Young children and schoolkids will be treated to interactive fun games that incorporate learning about birds and their habitats. There will be an obstacle course, amazing race game, face painting, coloring, bracelet making and of course, bird watching. Admission to the festival, which will take place at the City Cultural and Sports Center, is free.The 12th Philippine Bird Festival is made possible by the support of City of Tacurong, Department of Tourism Region XII, Team Energy Foundation, CKM Lu Enterprises, Camella Koronodal, Camella Prima Koronadal, Tourism Promotions Board, Municipalities of Lake Sebu, Tboli and Tupi, Province of South Cotabato, Primer Group of Companies, PETDA, Nature’s Spring, JCI Tacurong Kampilan, Radyo Nation 94.5 Tacurong, and Sultan Kudarat Tacurong Fil Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
About the Philippine Bird Festival
The Philippine Bird Festival is the country’s first and largest educational event focused on raising awareness and appreciation of Philippine birds. Held annually in partnership with local government units, academic institutions, or conservation NGOs, the festival goes to different places in the Philippines to highlight the unique and diverse bird species that occur in the disparate islands of the archipelago. More than 695 species of birds have been recorded throughout the country, of which at least 241 are endemic, which means they can be found only in the islands of the Philippines and nowhere else in the world.
About the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines
The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (www.birdwatch.ph) was established in July 2003 to promote recreational birdwatching and the responsible enjoyment of nature. It has since grown into a vibrant club of more than 150 members. Though run entirely by volunteers, the club has been instrumental in introducing the hobby of birdwatching to the ordinary Filipino through bird walks, the annual Philippine Bird Festival, and various educational activities. An advocate of citizen science, the club also keeps an extensive record of bird sightings in the Philippines and assists the DENR in the annual Asian Waterbird Census. It also helps the Department of Tourism promote birdwatching as an ecotourism activity.