The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) will jointly host the celebration of the 8th Philippine Bird Festival on 7 to 8 December 2012 in the City of Manila.
With this year’s theme of “Birdwatching. More Fun in the Philippines”, the annual event is considered to be the country’s largest celebration of avifaunal diversity and bird lore awareness. The festival aims to promote birdwatching as a nature tourism activity and drum up support for conservation and restoration of Metro Manila’s remaining wetlands in the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), a 175-hectare protected habitat just off the Coastal Road leading to Cavite.
To be held at the Teodoro F. Valencia Circle in Rizal Park, the event is open to the public free-of-charge. It will feature an exhibit of bird photos, displays on the biodiversity of Manila Bay, films and lectures, bird watching trips, and forums on ecotourism, birdlife management, and aviation safety. An activity center featuring bird-themed games, folklore, and crafts will also be mounted.
DOT Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. is delighted that the organizers have chosen to anchor the activity’s theme on the latest tourism campaign encouraging widespread participation and involvement to make the country a more fun place to be.
“We are pleased that so many are taking part in our vision of creating a strong tourism industry for the people. Birdwatching, in particular, is a thriving tourism product that has low environmental impact since serious (advance vs. casual or novice) birdwatchers are nature lovers. We should strive to properly develop and manage our sites for this activity to be sustainable and rewarding. Involvement of our local communities ensures that these habitats are well taken care of for the economic benefits that they will bring,” Tourism Secretary Jimenez shared.
The 8th Philippine Bird Festival also hopes to draw attention for Manila Bay and the important role it plays in the East Asian Flyway, as well as encourage public participation in conservation and the creation of more public green spaces.
According to Mr. Michael Lu, President of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and Chairperson of the festival organizing committee, there are 600 species of birds in the Philippines and no less than 200 are found anywhere else in the world. The Philippines has recently become a magnet for birdwatchers in the Asian Region due to unique habitats across our 7,107 islands.
International and local organizations, as well as private institutions, are expected to participate in the festival. Other agencies involved in the celebration are the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) and the City Government of Manila.