One of SOX’s premier tourist destinations is the center of the 3rd Tacurong Bird Festival, the first and the only bird festival in South Central Mindanao. This is the Baras Bird Sanctuary, home to tens of thousands of cageless wonders of SocCSkSarGen Region.
Baras Bird Sanctuary in the City of Tacurong covers about two hectares of land that is home to more than 20,000 beautiful birds of different types. The area is situated beside a river and very close to swamplands, wetlands, and marshes. In 2002, Baras was declared a bird sanctuary by the city government.
Developed as eco-tourism site, the sanctuary is the most popular tourist spot in Tacurong City and considered as one of the most significant tourist destinations in Region 12. Year after year, these cageless flying wonders of the city attract various local and foreign tourists to come to the area and enjoy the wonderful sights and hear the melodies of some of the world’s most beloved birds including the great egret, the intermediate egret and the Rufus night heron. It has also become one of the most favorite birding sites of Wildlife Enthusiasts and Wildlife Photographers in the country.
Among the bird species that can be found in Baras Bird Sanctuary are the Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Intermediate Egret, White-collared Kingfisher, Emerald Dove, Hawk, Eurasian Sparrow, Javan Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Variable Dwarf-kingfisher, Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Magpie Robin, Pied Fantail, Glossy Ibis, Black-naped Monarch, Rofous Night Heron and Ruddy Kingfisher.
In line with city’s advocacy of wildlife preservation, the city government in partnership with different line agencies and private sectors has led the annual celebration of Tacurong Bird Festival for three years now. The Festival is designed as a celebration of wildlife conservation and hopes to make locals and tourists aware about the importance of birds in the environment, encouraging them to take the pledge of conserving natural habitats such as the Baras Bird Sanctuary.
The bird festival featured various activities such as conservation forum on Philippine Birds where speakers come from Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. The forum was held outside of Baras Bird Sanctuary to accommodate more participants. The talks centered on eco-tourism and biodiversity conservation and the role of Birds in our environment.
At Baras Bird Sanctuary, where the center of the 3rd Bird Festival was held, highlights included bird watching with a license tour guide. A bird mural art stroke was also made available at the reception area. Other environment-friendly art activities include bottle recycling, keyholder/refmagnet painting, face painting, coloring and jigsaw puzzle and other activities that make the event more fun and exciting.
The 3rd Tacurong Bird Festival was spearheaded by the City Government of Tacurong in partnership with Department of Tourism (DOT) XII, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines and other stakeholders.
Congratulations to all the Tacurongnons for your undying efforts for the conservation of these baras Birds. Kudos to Tacurong City Mayor Lina Montilla and Tourism Officer Emelie Jamorabon!