THE WBCP MEMBERS MIX FUN AND EDUCATION IN THE 7TH PHILIPPINE BIRD FESTVAL
THE WBCP INVADES DUMAGUETE
by Maia Tañedo
The Philippine Bird Festival is a much-awaited annual event of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. Now on its 7th year, it was held in partnership with Silliman University as well as with the City of Dumaguete and the Province of Negros Oriental.
On the eve of the bird fest, a welcome dinner was hosted by Dumaguete City Mayor Chiquiting Sagarbarria. This was held by the Boulevard and guests were treated to song numbers from very young and talented balladeers. Folk dance numbers were also performed, much to the enjoyment of the delegates. These included fire dancers as well as a traditional babaylan dance.
The opening ceremony was well-attended by lots of students from different schools. A parade of delegates also colored the event and set the festive mood. All throughout the day, students and guests went around the different booths, visiting the exhibits of our foreign guests as well as the activity tents of the club including bird lectures, face painting, coloring and drawing stations and origami. Simultaneous lectures were also held in the campus which included talks on the birds of Negros, bird photography, the story behind bird coloration, Silliman University’s legacy in the field of Philippine ornithology as well as a profile on Dr. Dioscoro Rabor. There was also a film showing of “Avian Archipelago” and a wild bird photo exhibit.
The first day of the festival was capped by a dinner hosted by Governor Roel Degamo, who was unfortunately unable to attend. The dinner was held in the city’s Convention Center. Dumaguete truly has such talented people as the participants were treated to traditional and modern dance numbers as well as song numbers by award-winning youngsters who won in local competitions. There was also a fashion show that featured creations by a local designer using indigenous materials. The night was made even more enjoyable when some WBCP members took on the runway using materials… from the stage.
The second day was much quieter, with less kids running around the grounds and more of college students who milled around the booths and attended the lectures. Participants were able to meet bird scientists and listen to a talk given by Cede Prudente about the birds of Borneo. The Conservation Forum was also held to discuss the conservation status of birds in Panay and Negros. Towards the end of the day, a body painting contest was held which featured birds and trees in their designs. Our very own WBCP member Diuvs de Jesus also had his body painted like a Negros Bleeding Heart!
Many birders also took a side-trip to the CENTROP (Center for Tropical Conservation Studies), a breeding facility in the Silliman campus for some Negros endemics such as the Negros Bleeding-Heart and Visayan Tarictic. Small groups of birders would make the 5-minute trip to the area to see a male Spotted Wood Kingfisher, perched on low-lying branches in the facility, then head back to the festival grounds after taking in the beautiful sight of the bird. It was very hard to resist the urge to twitch!
At the end of the second day, a farewell dinner was held in the Silliman Hall tendered by Silliman University (SU). SU President Ben S. Malayang III graced the event and accepted tokens from the foreign delegates who also received gifts from the university. After the formalities, our very own Arnel Telesforo delighted everyone with a live song number with the Silliman brass band and Mailyn Yangco also sang a duet with their male soloist on stage. The night ended with lost of dancing among friends, old and new.
The Philippine Bird Festival, as always, has been a fun and insightful event. It provides great opportunities for everyone to share what they know as well as to learn new things from each other. All those who participated will surely bring with them great memories of the event as well as the little pleasures enjoyed during their stay in Dumaguete. Till the next bird fest!