Salvador: Birds of Davao: Photographed, painted, ‘booked’

Mindanao Hornbill by Millan
Mindanao Hornbill by Millan

“BIRDS of Davao” presents the works of two Davao artists: photographs of Martin Pineda which are interpreted by Kublai Millan in his paintings. What makes this exhibit unique is the audience is given the chance to appreciate art and realize that the feathered beauties they’re admiring exist in the very city they live in.

There are more birds than the 16-piece collection of photographs and paintings show. These are compiled in the books authored by the photographer. The two volumes, Birds of Downtown Davao and Birds of Davao City: Beyond Downtown, is “an undertaking spawned by the belief that appreciation and concern are fostered faster when the beauties that we have in our city are presented in a book that any resident would be proud to have and show.”

Photographer Martin Pineda has always wanted to publish his bird photographs. Kublai Millan and Stella Estremera suggested the idea to start with Davao City. “Not just another generic bird book but something that has focus since there’s never been a bird book about Davao,” Stella shared.

The original plan was to have one book, “Birds of Downtown Davao City,” but with more photographs on hand, they went for a second volume.

What inspired the author to make the books? In Book 1, Pineda is telling his fellow Davaoeños that these birds exist in the downtown area, and he’s planting the seed of importance of preserving pockets of nature in the downtown area. In Book 2, he’s taking us out of downtown Davao and conveys the prospect of eco-tourism.

“This is a culmination of efforts of people in Davao to inflame in their hearts the fire of conservation. There’s so many of them (birds) that we take for granted. We live our ways as if they’re not there, in the efforts to make ourselves comfortable. That we take them for granted is why this book got to be,” said Alex Tiongco, president of the Birders without Borders Phils. And Raptorwatch Network Phils., at the event opening.

Philippine Eagle Foundation Director Dennis Salvador shared why it is important to preserve the green patches in our city. “Medical science proves how spending time outdoors, in contact with nature, is beneficial, if not essential, to one’s health. This is what Martin and his co-authors are encouraging us to do—to go out there and experience nature simply because it is good for us and what better way to do it than by bird watching in their natural habitats.”

Did you know that the Philippines has 691 species of birds and 239 of these are endemic species found only in this part of the globe? That’s a lot considering the size of our country.

Birds of Davao exhibit will run until March 19 at the ground floor of Abreeza Ayala Malls.

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