THE Provincial of Government of Negros Occidental has reached the target 10,000 participants and guests in its hosting of the 11th Philippine Bird Festival from November 24 to 27.
Themed “Pagpanghangkat sa aton tanan, kabuhing ilahas aton amligan,” the four-day activity ended on Sunday.
Records of the Provincial Environment Management Office (Pemo) showed that simultaneous activities in different local government units (LGUs) like the cities of Sagay, Victorias, Silay and Bago, and towns of San Enrique, Pontevedra and Murcia, among others have drawn almost 4,000 participants, mostly community-based.
Some 6,000 other participants also joined various activities like lectures and exhibits in different venues.
Of which, about 2,000 gathered during the festival’s last day highlighted by birdwatching activities and “Tour of the Fireflies.”
On top of about 30 representatives from different national agencies and non-government organizations, some 20 foreign guests from Singapore, Thailand, and other Asean countries as well as visitors from Taiwan and Hong Kong also attended the festival.
Provincial Supervising Tourism Operations Officer Cristine Mansinares on Sunday said that aside from the positive turnout in the number of participants, the province was able to also achieve the objectives of the festival.
Mansinares said it has greatly increased the awareness of Negrenses on environmental conservation, particularly wildlife animals, including birds.
In terms of tourism, the event has highlighted the ecotourism sites of Negros Occidental which can be potential sources of livelihood and income to the community, she added.
“The festival has brought impact to diverse audiences not only those in the tourism sector. It has also successfully involved those in the environment and academe, including various peoples’ organizations,” Mansinares added.
The province’s hosting of the festival that coincides with the celebration of the 12th Provincial Wildlife Month was in collaboration with the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation Inc., Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, and other partners.
Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. had earlier said he is glad that bird watching is gaining ground in the country and the number of bird enthusiasts is increasing.
Aside from exploring the beaches and enjoying Negrense cuisines, part of the 1.4 million foreign tourists last year came to see the birds in the province.
“I would like to thank the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for continually extending technical support to the conservation efforts of the province through Pemo, including habitat restoration and rehabilitation, strong information and education campaign programs, and protection and enforcement of environment laws,” he added.