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Haribon and Wild Bird Club members with students from Asian College at Freedom Island.  Photo Courtesy Of Luke Imbog

Haribon and Wild Bird Club members with students from Asian College at Freedom Island. Photo Courtesy Of Luke Imbog

Every year, millions of tourists enter the Philippines to take advantage of our beaches and fresh seafood—and we’re not just talking about humans.

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Coinciding with the local Christmas season beginning as early as September, it is also the international migratory season that transforms the archipelago in to a hub for migrating birds.

These migratory birds come from as far north as Siberia, China and Japan, regions where conditions can be harsh and unforgiving. To escape winter in these countries, birds fly thousands of kilometers to the south, reaching places like the Philippines where ice and snow are confined to people’s imaginations, and where food is plentiful.

These birds fly using what is called the “East Asian-Australasian Flyway,” an invisible globe-spanning highway in the sky that connects Russia to the Philippines to Australia and New Zealand.

Since November, Haribon has been going around various schools and universities around Metro Manila for a Teaching Tour on the migratory season called “Ipagdiwang ang Pagbabalik: Welcome to the Birds!”

The tour was attended by students from elementary to college and culminated in an introductory birdwatching activity last November 23 at the Las Pinas Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) or Freedom Island.

Freedom Island is one of Manila’s last coastal frontiers as it covers 175 hectares of Manila Bay with mangroves, mudflats, and lagoons that various fish, birds, and mollusks rely on.

This site was chosen to show the participants that they can get firsthand experience on the importance of migratory birds even within Metro Manila. The first batch consisted of students and faculty from Asian College, National University, and volunteers from the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines.

To be part of the “Ipagdiwang ang Pagbabalik: Welcome to the Birds!” campaign, simply send Haribon a message at membership@haribon.org.ph.

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