Monday, March 31, 2014

The day I cancelled a birding trip...

Ever since I arrived in Coron on March 24, I have been swamped with work for Darayonan, CATE and Birdwatch Coron, and even social obligations.  In the past week, I have changed our menu, created a welcome kit for our guest rooms, attended a workshop, presented in the same workshop (to Green Leaders), did a presentation to trike drivers, attended a wake, went with a toured group, met with relatives for the Pe Clan reunion and attended a public consultation of the Municipal Council.

A week earlier, I received an email from  Manny Reyes, owner of Kingfisher Park, that they opened the KP Tambayan.  This was meant to be a picnic place of sorts where guests can go Kayaking or ride a "Sibid" (a local motorless banca) and explore the KP mangrove area.  At night, guests may go firefly watching.  Since KP is also a birding destination, I asked permission from the owners if I can look over their new facilities and do some birding on Saturday, March 29th.  

At around noon of Friday, I was informed by Chippy, a friend and our town's Municipal Tourism Officer that I will be part of the team that will meet the reigning Miss Universe, Venezuala's Gabriela Isler, who will be visiting Coron for a day. I was included in the team because of my being CATE President (or so I thought).  Later, Chippy said, I was also back-up to the LGU's official photographer.  Ms. Isler's was scheduled to arrive at 6:30am Saturday, travel to Coron municipal hall by land, meet our municipal officials then travel by banca to Bgy. Banuang Daan to witness the Yolanda rehabilitation efforts being done by Cordaid (the NGO that invited the Miss U).  In short I had to give up my birding.  But I was also excited that I was going to see Banuang Daan, one of the oldest settlements in Coron. Literally, Banuang Daan means a town or village near the road or in this case probably a transportation channel since it sits near the entrance of Coron bay.  In fact it is considered the first town of Coron.  My late grandmother used to say that when our forefathers from Iloilo first arrived in the Calamianes, they first settled in Banuang Daan in Coron Island.  Later on they moved to neighboring Busuanga Island because it was safer from the pirates that periodically raided the coastal villages.  Perhaps this explains why a branch of our family owns a large tract of land in the Tagum/Maquinit area because that is the area almost accross the sea from Banuang Daan. 

I was also hoping to shoot some birds in Banuang Daan so I brought along the telephoto. Alas, there were no birds to be seen except a couple of noisy crows, called Uwak or Gakgak in Cuyonon. Not even an Eagle or two circling the skies.  But I took a lot of photos of the guest of honor. Majority of the photos I took have been uploaded to my facebook page and can be viewed by clicking or copying this link:

Sharing here the many faces of the Miss U (I did not upload these to my FB account).

My favorite photo of the day... because of the candidness of the kids...

As we were leaving the island, I saw some bigger kids, probably aged between 10-13, playing at their rickety pier seemingly without any concern to the big event happening in their barrio.  How simple and carefree their lives are (at this point in time anyway).  One hope that they will grow up to be fine leaders of their people and community.

I dipped on the birds but as my birder friends joked, this is also a rare lifer...

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