Monday, May 13, 2013

The Birds of IRRI Photo Exhibit : Revisiting Los Banos, Laguna

Wazzup Pilipinas!

An email coming from an IRRI staff excited me that day because it was another opportunity to get out of Metro Manila and visit Los Banos, Laguna. My first visit there - attending a Hackathon - gave me great memories, and I'm glad the IRRI people remembered me because I would like to have beautiful memories again.

Without any hesitation, I immediately replied and eventually we were able to arrange for transportation to take me and a few of my Wazzup Pilipinas family of bloggers to IRRI's Photo Exhibit of Birds.

That's me! Eventhough the invite was just for me, I always make it a point to share the experience with my peers. To share the blessings with my fellow bloggers who would also like the opportunity to witness a very noble program ran by great people who aim for the greatness of our country.

Well, since it is a photo exhibit after all, I'm letting the pictures do the talking as it unveils a story that IRRI birds, both native and migratory, are not there at teh rice fields just to feed on the rice alone. The pictures also tell different stories.

As per IRRI article:

"Most farmers may not be as happy, though, to see thriving bird communities flocking to their fields because they are widely regarded as pests. “They are seen in association with rice and they’re presumed to eat rice, but that assumption may not always be correct,” local bird enthusiast Paul Bourdin explains. The diet of the lesser coucal, bee-eater, swallows, pacific skylarks, and pied bushchat consists almost entirely of insects, he explained. To help people better understand that not all birds are pests, Feathers in the fields: The birds of IRRI will include descriptions provided by Mr. Bourdin about each species on display at the exhibit, including their scientific, English, and Filipino names; diet; and habits."

Scientists, writers and photographers combine their efforts and skills to present the IRRI Bird Exhibit featuring the birds found at their rice fields.

Perhaps using sophisticated cameras that can zoom in to the birds from afar as not to disturb their natural way of living, the photographs were able to capture real-life movements of birds at the rice fields.

The research farm at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines may look like nothing more than a verdant sea of rice plants. But, through the eyes of bird enthusiasts and the lens of bird photographers, it is a habitat for many spectacular bird species.

I couldn't really imagine that there are as many birds as mentioned existing in one location. That is the beauty of our country that is home or temporary home to several species of the flying wonders.

Foreigners and locals all flock to the exhibit to appreciate the different photos of birds of various species.

We owe a great deal to the efforts of IRRI for taking on this project for everyone to marvel.

As per email invitation coming from the IRRI staff, Charizabel "Chill" Fortunado-Sapiandante:

"We are particularly proud of this exhibit, not only because of the many wonderful photographs but also because of the way it spotlights the extraordinary bird life of the IRRI farm and the surrounding Los BaƱos environment. We believe it's important the wider community understands the very positive connection between rice farming and the environment."

As per IRRI article entitled A Human Eye-View of Birds, 

"In Feathers in the fields: The birds of IRRI, bird photographers Tirso Paris, Jr. and Segfredo Serrano exhibit a bevy of bird species (see centerfold) they have captured via their cameras over the years, representing a portion of their portfolios of what Dr. Paris described as their “addiction.”

“Bird photography is a passion,” Dr. Paris said. “You need to be a little bit crazy to go into it. It takes a lot of money, time, and patience to capture beautiful images of birds. But it is very addictive.”

Bird photography also requires special skills that go beyond being very efficient with a camera, according to Dr. Serrano.

“You need to be a good bird watcher and know the habits and forms of birds so that you can easily identify the species on the run,” he said. “And, you have to have a genuine affection for your subject. If you don’t have a genuine affection for our avian friends as part of our environment and their role in our environment, it will be very difficult to have the required patience to document your subject.”


I brought with me my son that was really fascinated with the bird exhibit. My son is a lover of Science and also appreciates the different living things on our planet.

His young mind was treated to a great awakening of the many birds living or just passing thru our country, or specifically Los Banos, Laguna. My other friends also brought with them their kids so they were also very appreciative of the event.

To the youth, it is of great pleasure to be able to see this birds that would be impossible by just using our naked eyes. Thanks to the help of sophisticated and advanced technology cameras, we are able to set our eyes upon such rare opportunities.

It was indeed a remarkable experience to be able to visit Los Banos, Laguna again and to attend a prestigious exhibit that means a lot to the clearer understanding of what these birds really do at the rice fields, and also to appreciate the beauty of each specie of bird in existence.

We know that some of them, if not many, are almost endangered species, that we have to also take care of to keep their species intact and for the future generation to continue to appreciate.

The exhibit will run from May to Sept 2013 at the IRRI Riceworld Museum. Exhibit opened last May 3.

For a preview of the exhibit, you may find the following links of interest:

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