Friday, December 13, 2013

Balanga Migrants: 4th Ibong Dayo Festival

I was thrilled that my schedule at work allowed me to volunteer for the 4th Ibong Dayo Festival in Balanga, Bataan this year. Ibong Dayo translates literally to "bird migrants" or "migratory birds" and is an annual event organized by the City of Balanga to recognize the different migratory bird species that pass through the city during the winter months.

The Koro Bangkal-Magbikin open the festivities with their
angelic voices

The WBCP contingent of 9 volunteers were at the Balanga Wetland Park early Friday morning to setup and prepare the different activities we would be conducting: coloring activities, bird origami, lectures, and of course, birdwatching. Even with our small group, assisted by the very friendly and ever-helpful people from Balanga, we were able to entertain a lot of people going through the festival activities.

Babie (in brown) help in the bird origami booth

Trisha, from Balanga City Hall, was super helpful
at the coloring booth
The kids really enjoyed the activities!
We got really serious young artists that morning!

We attended part of the opening ceremonies before heading to our different stations: some of us stayed at the origami and coloring stations, the others manned the scopes on the view deck, and Tinggay single-handedly conducted the lectures. After the first "wave" of guests passed through, I decided to help Arnel and Jops at the view deck. Jops had brought a small class from Manila out on the mudflats so Arnel and I took charge of the birdwatching on the deck.

Arnel guiding very interested students on the deck
Jops (with the scope) with the high school students coming
back from their walk on the mudflats

We had a constant stream of "customers" and I was very happy doing what I was doing... showing birds to students, teachers, former senators, city councilors, policemen, shy little girls, and rowdy little boys... I was completely stress-free! =)

This was the group of rowdy boys who, when a group of same-aged girls
arrived, danced on cue when I told them to give way for the girls
and be "gentlemen" =P
That's me talking to a little boy about the Little Egret we were
observing through the scope.
Photo by Jayce Japlit

It was one of the most enjoyable activities I've joined and rediscovered the joy in guiding. Of course, the awesome view deck and low tide also helped make it even more funner to guide, giving us shade from the sun and a perfect position for scanning the birds. I've missed Balanga and it was really great to be back =)

Team Balanga having lunch with Balanga City Mayor Joet Garcia (standing)
and City Administrator Rudy de Mesa (lower left)
Photo by Tinggay Cinco

Coming up next... Balanga mudflat birding!

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