Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5th Asian Bird Fair - Langkawi, Malaysia

I feel very privileged to have been able to attend the 5th Asian Bird Fair (ABF) in Langkawi, Malaysia last month. Bird fairs are always great events! This was my second ABF (my first was the 1st ABF in Davao back in 2010) and the second international bird fair I've attended (my first was the 14th Taipei International Birdwatching Fair in 2012.)

Jops and I, together with fellow Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) members Doc Charo and Doc Suga, weren't able to attend the pre-festival activities and the Welcome Dinner as our flight arrived in Langkawi too late in the evening. Still, we were picked up from the airport and we checked in the Alia Residence Business Resort, the official lodging of the ABF participants.

Alia was very nice, clean, and comfortable!
As usual, I wasn't able to take a dip in the pool...
Note to self: always bring swim suit to bird fairs.
There was a nice patch of mudflats just behind the hotel where we could see
waders and huuuuuge mudskippers!

The 5th ABF was held in the Oriental Village in the Geopark on November 29-30, 2014. We were shuttled to the site and soon the WBCP team was busy setting up our booth, and we did it very quickly and efficiently. Soon, the bird background was up and the merchandise were laid out on our table. The first shift of WBCP members were ready to entertain guests and the rest of us were free to roam around. 

Babie and Tin manning the WBCP booth
WBCP merchandise

Since the WBCP had a big contingent attending the ABF, we had light shifts manning the booth, allowing us to go around the fair grounds, mingle, and explore. And by explore, I mean bird! But I'll save those adventures for my next blog post =)

Part of the WBCP delegation
Photo from Tinggay Cinco

Mike and I were able to make a quick round of some of the booths. There was so much wonderful merchandise from the different participating organizations and bird clubs! It was also nice seeing familiar faces and also meeting new friends.

Shirts, stickers, post cards, binocular straps...
There were also lots of interesting finds!

I wasn't able to buy so much although I was tempted to buy so many of the books on sale! I'll make sure to bring more cash for the next bird fair and make more room in my luggage for everything I will buy! ;)

Aside from the booths, the 5th ABF also had a photography competition, nature talks, and a bird race. Some of the WBCP members joined the mini-bird race on the second day, while I went birding with Catherine, a new friend from the Malaysian Nature Society. More on that in my next post! =)

Bird race!
Photo by Tinggay Cinco

I was also able to participate in the International Forum on Eco-tourism on the second day of the ABF. I spoke on behalf of the WBCP and the club's efforts in promoting birdwatching as an ecotourism activity in the Philippines. It was fun hearing from other bird clubs and organizations and learning about their efforts in their respective countries. A total of 18 organizations participated in the forum! Lots to share and lots to learn =)

That's me!
Photo by Tinggay Cinco (thank you, Tinggay!)

As fate would have it, in the dwindling hours of the last day of the 5th Asian Bird Fair, one of the star birds of Langkawi showed very well in the stream just behind the stage: a handsome Brown-winged Kingfisher perched out in the open and stayed there in front of us happy birders =)

Birders enjoying the great views of the kingfisher
This is my shot of the friendly Brown-winged Kingfisher

It was such a perfect way to end the 5th Asian Bird Fair! Oh, but there was still some great food to be partaken of! The Farewell Dinner was sponsored by the Nature Society (Singapore), which will host the 6th Asian Bird Fest in 2015. Crossing my fingers I will be able to go =)

A very big and heartfelt thank you to the Malaysian Nature Society, led by our good friend Andrew Sebastian, for organizing a successful ABF! Also to the Langkawi Development Authority and Tourism Malaysia! It truly was an amazing and unforgettable experience!

Thank you for the loot bag and goodies!

Thank you also to the WBCP delegates! It was a blast sharing the adventure with everyone! =)
Too bad we didn't have a photo with everyone in it! But I love this photo just the same =)
Photo from Tinggay Cinco

Birding adventures, coming up next!

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