October 3, 2023
Boy Yniguez’s female and male sunbirds on a torch ginger plant

How do you gather a cross-section of Baguio’s society in one room or in the forest?

One photo exhibit dubbed “Tumanayab, Flying Through an Invisible Path” gathered them in Indigo Galleryat the Bencab Museum that also documents their own flights to different parts of the country to capture the birds in their migratory or natural habitats.

They are called birders, or bird watchers, who wait in silence to snap at the fowls that are alone or in flocks, sedges, gaggles, or parliaments.

Dr. Ron Paraan’s collection of owls and birds photographed from his home.

Award-winning cinematographer Boy Yñiguez said it so well when he said that they have found the hobby because “Walang chicks, kaya birds.”

This brought a chuckle from EENT Edison Noble, retired professor Achilles Costales, professional photographer Ompong Tan, and National artist Bencab at Café Sabel.

Eliza Consul’s (L-R) egrets, little egrets, heron, and little grebe egrets.

Armed with long lenses that are said to capture images of rare birds at any moment, they reminisced about their escapades as a group in Batanes and how they stalked their subjects of passion last December.

Yñiguez said the Merlin bird photo ID app has helped him check on the bird types now compared to referring to ornithologists, Robert Hutchinson and Desmond Allen, who have documented Philippine birds. Dr. Noble on the other hand uses Picture Bird app.

National artist Ben Cabrera, Dr. Edison Noble, Ompong Tan shared birder moments at Cafe Sabel.

Bencab said the best site for bird watching is in Bird Islet, Tubbataha. He prides in having captured Terns Nesting where their eggs were spread on the sand. There is also the photograph of sunset in Tubbataha where the cotillion of terns is perched on branches of trees.

Jocelyn Alberto-Floresca’s Grey Heron is telling of how the split second of birding does not allow a perfect composition of a photograph. Tan’s Northern Lapwing was a dream shot of the bird flying against the airport tarmac horizontal lines after they arrived in Batanes.

Ompong Tan’s northernlapwing at the Batanes airport and  Jocelyn Alberto Floresca’s Philippine ducks.

Dr. Noble’s Magnificent Sunbirds captures the male and female Sunbirds as they get nectar from the Etlingera elatior or torch ginger together. He said the male birds are more colorful than the females because they need to attract the mates. According to Google, most birds are monogamous when they pick a mate to raise their young with.

Joyce Marie Castaneda-Frias and Nick Pasiken share this group of photographs.

Professor Costales’ Eurasian Hoopoe and Little Ringed Plovers are telling of his patience and watchful eye at documenting these creatures of flight in their natural behavior. Enjoying his retirement and occupied with birding, he totes his long lens. Challenging each other to hike from Poyopoy to Nangalisan, Tuba, Benguet on a birding hunt, he joked about needing a porter to carry the photo equipment.

Cinematographer Boy Yniguez and retired professor Achilles Costales reminisced moments at Batanes.

Dr. Ron Paraan’s collection of birds are mostly shot from his home along Pinewoods Golf & Country Club subdivision. His photographs of owls are unique to Baguio. The eastern grass owl and Philippine scops owl are among the exhibited photos.

BenCab’s (L-R)Tern’s nesting , sunset at Bird Islet,Tubbataha, apair of black noddies, heron, and winged intruder.

The other Birders of Baguio featured in Tumanayab include Art Soriano Jr., Edwin Cosalan, Eliza Consul, Jon Sison, and Joyce Marie Castañeda-Frias. 

Consul’s Black-faced spoonbill captures the bird twice because of the reflection on water. Little Grebe Egrets shows one hopping on water.

Achilles Costales (L-R) Eurasian hoopoe, little-ringed plovers, fire-breasted flowerpacker, dimorphic dwarf kingfisher male, scaly-breasted munias.

There are no words to express the feeling of amazement when looking at the photographs of these Birders that are given more texture printed on UV canvass paper.

This exhibit that will end on Oct. 1 must be checked out to be inspired and realize what we will miss when all the trees and forests are gone.

Nonnette C. Bennett