Puerto Princesa City made its move to declare Puerto Princesa City as “Birding Capital of the Philippines”, which already gained support from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines (WBPP).
During the opening of the 5th International Bird Photography Race on Thursday, City Environment and Natural Resources Office head Atty. Carlo Gomez said that many studies proved that Puerto Princesa is a bird sanctuary, especially for endemic species.
Gomez said previous bird photography races showed that participants were able to take photos of hundreds of birds.
“Our basis in declaring Puerto Princesa City as the bird capital of the Philippine is because it is easy to find birds here within the urban areas, establishments, in Underground River, and in many other sites. Our city has a total land area of 219,000 hectares that abound with different species of birds,” he said.
Gomez added the country has 177 bird species, 24 of which can only be found in Palawan.
DOT MIMAROPA regional director Danilo Intong said that the department is strongly supporting the move to declare the city as the birding capital of the country that will help not only its tourism industry but also the conservation of their habitats.
He said they will wait for the resolution from the city government in order to finalize the declaration, including its promotion.
“Palawan is a repository of flora and fauna. This time, I will get myself involve in declaring Puerto Princesa as the bird capital of the Philippines and that would be the response of the Department of Tourism MIMAROPA. We will just wait for the resolution from Puerto Princesa to reach our office so that we can work out with our principals and tourism promotions board. I tell you frankly, this is a very amazing tourism product because it is not only Puerto Princesa City with Underground River or Narra that has Katala, but in fact, you have all these real fauna and flora,” Intong said.
In a separate interview, city councilor Matthew Mendoza said the goal of the administration is also to develop and discover other possible sites that will support the tourism industry of the city.
“Naniniwala tayo na makakatulong ito sa ating turismo, katulad nga ng gusto natin ay hindi lang ‘yong beach and resorts kundi pati na rin ang ibang potential activities or sites katulad nitong bird photography race. Every year we are inviting photographers kung saan ngayon ay natutuwa tayo kasi mga sumali from other countries which I believe na pagpapakita rin ng suporta na maging bird capital tayo,” he said.
Aside from this, Mayor Lucilo Bayron said that the bird photography race is the first international event in the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival, which also supports the move to declare Palawan as the bird capital.
“I just would like to inform everybody, particularly the new participants, we actually started the international bird photography race four years ago and this is the fifth year of having this. Bird photography race is actually the first international event since we started the Subaraw Biodiversity Festival in 2018. I know you recognize Puerto Princesa City as the bird capital of the Philippines,” he said.
Twenty-two bird photography teams are competing in the fifth bird photography race as a part of the Subaraw festival.
Bird Finders, Black Shama Cebu, STWA, Fine Feathered Friends, Haring Ibon, Ibong Adarna, Juan Adobo, La Mesa Birders, Mulawin, Real Tree, SC 194, Team 212, Culion, Hidalgo, Nikon Hornitologists, Sony I, D. Brods, Sony II, Beer Pressure, Tropang Birders, Wing Shaper and Mealworms are among these, including contestants from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.