Monday, April 7, 2014

9th Philippine Bird Festival in Zamboanga: Students Participate in Festival Competitions

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Zamboanga is also known for its variety of birds found in the forest and mangroves of Asia's Latin City. Just like the many languages spoken in the city, there seems to be a lot of species of birds that made Zamboanga their home.

This was why the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, an organization of bird lovers, enthusiasts, and conservationists, agreed of the invitation to collaborate with the Department of Tourism (DOT), along with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), of the region, to hold the 9th Philippine Bird Festival in Zamboanga.

They have chosen the city as the venue of the festival with the theme “Pajaros: Bula Sin Miedo, Sin Lingasa” which means “Birds: Fly Without Fear, Without Worries.” The Philippine Bird Festival aims to help improve awareness of threatened habitats and species in Mindanao, aside from attracting tourists to visit the city Zamboanga, and nearby areas.

There was also a city festival celebration where students coming from different schools paraded with their colorful bird costumes and joined a dance competition. I was there during the parade and when the awarding concluded at the Paseo Del Mar, the city's primary events venue where lots of activities are being held.

As part of the “Dia de Zamboanga (Zamboanga Day) celebrating its 77th Charter Day anniversary,  there was a parade that originated from Plaza Pershing to Paseo del Mar followed by the Festival Opening Ceremony, Birding Lectures, and Photo Exhibit, and several stalls participated by the many conservationists and bird enthusiasts and organizations held at Paseo Del Mar and nearby Centro Latino.

I waited at the front gates of the Paseo Del Mar for the parade, but was a bit too late to catch the first parts since we thought it will arrive at a later time. We were still hanging out at the nearby Fort Pilar taking photos of the magnificent structure when we heard the music of the parade.

We quickly made our way to Paseo Del Mar to witness the parade where several youths from different schools marched towards the plaza.

Among the officials present at the festival were DOT Regional Director Mary June Bugante, DOT Assistant Secretary Art Boncato, Wild Bird Club of the Philippines President Gina Mapua, and Zamboanga Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar.

The Philippine national anthem during the Philippine Bird Festival was sung by a choir offering a melancholic rendition of the Lupang Hinirang.

More vibrant colors from the participating youth performing and joining the group competitions made the festival a wonderful attraction worthy of many photos in my library of digital images.

Below are more images captured at the festival showcasing the creativity of the Filipinos in fabricating outfits to make the celebration more lively and full of grandeur.


Native dance done by performers to entertain teh crowd during the festival while the judges tabulated the scores of the competing groups.

More photos of the competing groups below.


DOT Regional Director Mary June Bugante and Assistant Secretary Art Boncato try out the soundmakers made from nature at a nearby exhibitors booth. I have a video of this that I plan to upload as soon as my Internet connection improves.

The ridiculous Fair Usage Policy on mobile Internet connections suddenly implemented by the telcos now limits the amount of data I can upload and download thus restricting me to downgrade my posts to the bare necessities. Videos will be the last priority as it consumes more bandwidth. Mobile Internet users are now limited to only 3G per month causing me to make drastic reductions on what I post online.

Below are some more exhibitors booths:

For the city that speaks several languages like Chavacano, Bisaya, Yakan, Tausug, Tagalog and English, having several types of birds also adds to their tourism efforts to include the potential of entertaining local and foreign birdwatchers as tourists of their city. Aside from giving existing members the opportunity to do some birdwatching at three of their best birdwatching sites like Mt. Baluno, the Pasonanca Park Watershed, and the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) Mangrove forest, newbies and other enthusiast were encouraged to join as well.

As the only blogger from Manila present at the celebrations, my 4-day stay at Zamboanga was filled with lots of other activities to promote the city as a tourist destination and to help it rise from the negative image brought upon by the Zamboanga siege.

Zamboanga is indeed a spectacular city in Mindanao that deserves to be seen by the whole world. It would be a shame not to explore everything it has to offer. From the food delicacies like the curacha, to the pink sand beaches of Sta. Cruz islands, there are several exciting reasons why you should not miss going to Zamboanga.

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