By Raneil Antonio Ibay
After watching a late night tele-magazine show about migratory birds in the town of San Nicolas, Batangas, my wife Rosy and I decided to see and shoot them for ourselves. The bird experts interviewed said that these migratory birds are roosting in San Nicolas. This probably was the reason why the birds at Candaba, Pampanga are getting fewer. Gathering a few Framed Shots Camera Club members Chito Cleofas, Lea Ricolcol, and Roselyn Roldan, we set off for San Nicolas to search for the birds.
But heavy traffic along SLEX has a way of spoiling plans and arrived in Tagaytay at around 8AM where we stopped for a car trunk, standing room only breakfast of pan de sal and cream cheese. Breakfast and restroom breaks done and we’re off again, this time we have to meet fellow FS member Melvin Castrence in the town of Taal.
About an hour or so later we arrive at Taal town and meet up with Melvin where he shows us his beautiful sunrise shots of fishermen doing their morning chores that we missed as we were stuck in traffic at SLEX at the time. Lucky bastard.Bird activity is usually in the early morning and late in the afternoon just before the sun went down. Not to be discouraged, we drove on towards San Nicolas, hoping that the birds would still be there.
We at last come to the town of San Nicolas but somehow didn’t meet anyone who could point us in the right direction off the birds. Even the local tricycle driver doesn’t have a clue and so we drove on, searching until we reach Barangay Manalao where Mang Peddy and his wife entertained us on their porch. We had an early lunch of pork adobo that Rosy prepared earlier, rice wrapped in banana leaves, salted eggs with diced tomatoes, Coke and bananas for dessert.
Around 1PM Mang Peddy and his other fisherman neighbors took us out to the lake where the fish pens are, its time to feed the fish. They say the fish are fed twice a day, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. With a view of the majestic and very active Taal Volcano, they took us by twos on small boats without outriggers so it’s a bit wobbly. You really have to be careful about your movements or you’ll be down in the lake with the fishes instead of shooting the birds.
At around 3:20 PM we head back to shore for somemerienda of Coke and pan de sal with cream cheese and checked out our shots via our camera’s LCDs. My shots weren’t that great as there weren’t enough birds to shoot, it’s not the same as we saw on TV. But I fairly have an idea why. Going back to shore we noticed the mountainside was burned down, trees, vegetation and all.
We packed up and passed by the Coast Guard only to be told that they were the ones who took around the TV crew and that we were shooting in the wrong place. They gave us the number of a Municipal employee who knows where and how to get to the birds. We even met a Barangay Chairman who owns a boat and says he can take us around next time.
Our last stop over was in Tagaytay’s Tower Bulalo. We had dinner of Tagaytay’s famous bulalo, tawilis and sizzling sisig and had a last glimpse of the Taal Volcano as it disappears in the fading twilight as we plan our trip back o San Nicolas in search of the elusive birds.