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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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November 8, 2010

candaba wetlands: bird sanctuary yearly pilgrimage

Watch Tower
the lone watch tower in the swamp

It has become a yearly pilgrimage: trek to the bird sanctuary in Candaba wetlands on the first week of November (last year I went there on November 1 - the All Saints Day feast), and wait for the sun to go down. Its a perfect day trip, watch the birds feed at sundown, and be rewarded with great sunset colors.

Candaba is home to wild migratory birds trying to escape the winter cold of the northern hemisphere, some just passing through, while some never left and made the wetlands their permanent abode.

Egrets, Terns, and Egrets
egrets, terns, and egrets (from a previous trip)

Located between the towns of Baliuag and Candaba, the wetland is an ideal nesting ground for the birds. The road between the two towns is muddy at best, and every once in a while the swamp reclaims the road. There are no public transportation plying that route, who would when one day the road is there, the next its gone after a heavy rain. It was a perfect place for the birds, nobody is there to disturb them.

But maybe not for long.

Road as Palay Dryer
its common here to use the road for drying palay

The cemented highway is already half way through the swamp. Soon it will reach the town of Candaba. Soon there will be lots of vehicles that will be using that road. The sanctuary is also shrinking as more and more lands near the road are being used for farming.

whiskered terms (from last year's trip)

This year I did not see much of the birds, I thought I came in the right season (Nov-Jan is supposed to be the "birding season").

There were a lot of people on the highway that afternoon, some working on the concreting of the road, some drying their palay. I decided to hike further into the swamp, about 1.5 km from the road, on a muddy trail. Not many birds along the way.

Candaba Otherworldly Glow
otherworldly glow

But what it lacked in birds this year, the swamp made up for by giving this surreal sunset colors. A few minutes before the sun went down, the dark rain clouds on the east suddenly gave off this otherworldly  glow. It was as if someone shone a huge amber fog-light through the clouds. The place was suddenly flooded with this warm soft light.  I've seen countless warm sunset, but nothing like this. For a moment I forgot that what I was supposedly shooting was the setting sun at the opposite direction.

Wetlands Sunset Reflections
swamp sunset reflections

Its a great feeling being lone in the middle of nowhere witnessing the day's curtain call. I would have stayed much longer but then reality kicked in: its getting dark and I have a long hike back (alone) to the main road.

Candaba Watch Tower Afterglow
Candaba afterglow

Along the trail I could hear all sorts of noises - the squeaks and squawks and the rustling of the weeds as they sway with the soft evening breeze. The birds are still there, not in plain sight, but they are still there.

After reaching the highway, I still have to walk a few kilometers to the nearest barangay to get a ride to the town of Baliuag. I purposely did not arrange for a pick-up, I was actually looking forward to this long "Candaba walk". The moon was up and the evening breeze was refreshing. Perfect conditions for an evening stroll.
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bertN said...

I wonder if the concrete road cutting across the swamp is going to be a problem or a solution. What do you think?

Lantaw said...

Progress is a two edged sword. The road will definitely help the town of candaba, but I believe it will have negative effects on the wildlife there. Most of the lands there are privately owned, and with this concrete farm to market road, more and more lands will be dedicated to farming the whole year round.

escape said...

walang kakupas kupas bai.

dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

Nice photos, Bai Allan. The way you experience the "Candaba walk," that's I also love doing if I have the convenience of time.

In my own personal feeling, I'd rather leave Candaba swamp as it is instead of "modernizing" it with paved road thus affecting the wildlife of the area. But it's just me. Who wouldn't want improvement?

Sylvia K said...

Fantastic post and superb, breathtaking captures as always! And they do take my breath away! What a beautiful place! How wonderful to have access to such a wonderful place! Hope you have a great week! Enjoy! And thanks for sharing the beauty of a part of your world!


Photo Cache said...

ang galing galing. you've missed quite a few my world postings :(

my entry is over at http://ewok1993.wordpress.com

Arija said...

Glorious photos but so sad to see civilization encroaching on nature for the gain of one and the destruction of the other.

Marites said...

i really, really wish that Candaba stays the same even with the new roads. I do hope people would realize that it's one place in the PHilippines that offers sanctuary for those migratory birds. I hope someday i'll be able to visit the place. great captures!!

Jenn said...

I too have mixed feelings about the paving of the road. I guess one can't be sad about progress, I know. But I can't help but feel sad about losing the wildlife. The photos you took (then and now) of Candaba are great documentations of the avian biodiversity in our country.

BraCom said...

sorry for the late reaction, but I had to do my job the whole day

Beautiful My World Tuesday posting

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

Link to My Word Tuesday post!

Seen on My World Tuesday

cloudbusting2 said...

Oooh, what a walk around the place. Wetlands, birds or road construction...you make it so beautiful.

sunflowerkat said...

I love the dramatic sky in all the sunset shots. I also love the perspective of the last image. It's just beautiful.

This is my first visit here (from My World Tuesday). I'll look forward to visiting again.


witsandnuts said...

Glorious shots!

Oman said...

one of these days, (in the coming years) hopefully, makasama din ako jan sa maputik at madilim na mundo ng candaba :) awesome photos bai.

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