Welcoming the Winged Migrants

Joined the recent ocular trip of the Wild Bird Clubof the Philippines (WBCP) in Bataan Peninsula to welcome the newly arrived flocks of winged migrants from the North.

First stop, a visit to the City of Balanga Weland and Nature Park.

This 11-hectares coastal and estuarine in Barangay Tortugas is a locally declared protected area and recognized by the Department of Tourism as one of the newest birdwatching sites in the country. To boost ecotourism, the local government constructed birdwatching towers, a natural museum and other facilities in one portion of the park.

We arrived at 10am and the weather is hot. Still, we saw flocks and flocks of waders busily foraging food in the mud and shallow waters. We saw spectacular winged migrants such as Common Greenshank, CommonRedshank, Common Sandpiper, Asian Golden-Plover, egrets and herons.

After a delicious lunch, we went to Mt. Samat to check if the site is ideal for raptorwatching.

Towering the town of Pilar, Mt Samat is a well-known tourist destination because of the giant 92-meters cross and war museum located at the top of the mountain – the Dambana ng Kagitingan.

The Dambana commemorates the heroism of Filipino and American forces that chose to put a last stand rather than surrender against the invading Japanese Imperial Army during the 1942 war.

Sadly, we didn’t saw any migrating raptors during this visit. Yet, the 36-stories trip up to the top of the cross is still a winner.

And the day is still full of surprises! On the way back, along SCTEX, we saw flocks of magnificent Black-winged Stilts and WoodSandpipers foraging food in the fields. And finally, saw my first Brown Shrike (tarat) for this migration, yes!

A very nice trip indeed with fellow birders.

Balanga and Pilar, Bataan

The Wildbird Club of the Philippines organizes monthly free birdwatching trips. For upcoming club activities, or if you are interested to become a member, just click this link


Up and Under in the Land of the Terraces

Ifugao, the land of the Bulols and the world-renowned rice terraces!

For this 3-days trip, we stayed in the beautiful town of Kiangan. Towering above the capital municipality of Lagawe, Kiangan boosts some of the best rice terraces in the province such as the Nagacadan Rice Terraces, one of five rice terraces cluster in the UNESCO Heritage List.

First on our to-do-list, attend an Ifugao wedding. 


Under the bale (a traditional Ifugao house), we feasted on sinanglaw (an Ifugao version of papaitan) and drunk baya (tapuy) as much as we can while listening to the merrily beat of gangsa and dancing feet. We ended the day lazily lying on our back at the roofdeck of Kiangan shrine, a building commemorating the capture of General Tomoyuki Yamashita, officially ending WWII in the country. Too drunk to be able to take a good photo of the shrine, tsk.

Next day, we went to Nakuldihan mountain range to explore the Pangagawan Cave.

Hiking at the rice terraces and we saw some amazing flora along the trail. 

The entrance of the cave is a sheer drop of 75 feet. 

The ladder that was put by the local tourism five years ago is already rusty and unstable. We brought our rigging equipment and rappelled down the cave.

Spectacular limestome formations inside and after more than an hour of spelunking and squeezing between rocks, we reached the end of the cave- a small but gorgeous waterfall.

On the way back, we encounter this magnificent spider.

Last day, we went to the Nagacadan area to scale a huge 80-feet boulder towering above the rice terraces. 

Too bad, the boulder is not ideal for rock climbing but its face is great for rappelling exercise. 

Using the access stairs behind the boulder, we climb the top and took turns in rappelling down the wall.  
Above the rock, you can feel the rush while gushing breeze hits your face and in the horizon, stairs and stairs  of rice paddies trying to reach the sky.

We capped the Kiangan adventure with a feast on pinikpikang duck and “few” rounds of brandy. 

Thanks to Atty Gloria Rose for inviting and hosting us to her sublimely town and also to her family for their hospitality. Babalik ulit :)