More than 350 conservationists, researchers, government representatives, and students from all over the Philippines and abroad gathered at the recently concluded 28th Annual Biodiversity Symposium held at Visayas State University (VSU), Baybay, Leyte on August 13 to 16, 2019. This year’s theme “conservation beyond borders” emphasizes the interconnectivity of conservation actions from species protection to ridge-to-reef landscape approach to biodiversity management. This event is a platform for biodiversity conservation specialists and enthusiasts to showcase their scientific breakthroughs, best practices, strategies, and other relevant implementations.

MBCFI Family at the 28th Philippine Biodiversity Symposium

MBCFI participated in the event and presented three research papers. As well, an institutional booth was set up showcasing the organization’s efforts in conserving Mindoro and its biodiversity.

The event started with the registration of participants, which was facilitated by the event secretariat. The annual symposium was opened formally with the messages from dignitaries. Mr. Edgaro E. Tulin, PhD., President of VSU, welcomed all the participants; Mr. Rainier I. Manalo, President of BCSP, gave the opening remarks; ASec. Ricardo L. Calderon, Director In Concurrent Capacity, Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) represented by Atty. Theresa M. Tenazas, OIC-Chief, Wildlife Resources Division- BMB, and Atty. Crizaldy M. Barcelo, CESO III, Regional Executive Director, DENR Region 8, inspired fellow conservationists with their messages. The plenary continued with the presentations of event partners.

Don Geoff E. Tabaranza, MBCFI Research Program Manager

Concurrent talks followed immediately after the plenary talks, tackling taxonomy, fauna and flora, and biodiversity threats and issues. MBCFI RESEARCH Program Manager, Don Geoff E. Tabaranza, presented a paper entitled “Seabird fauna of Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) and Apo East Pass off western Mindoro, Philippines,” that provides a comprehensive list of seabird species reported from ARNP and Apo East Pass. The first day ended with the PechaKucha (rapid pitching of poster presentations) and opening of scientific posters and organizational exhibits.

Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, MBCFI Trustee

The second day opened with a plenary talk by Mr. Anson M. Tagtag, Chief Wildlife Conservation Section, Wildlife Resource Division, BMB, and Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez, Ph.D., Professor in Zoology and Director, Museum of Natural History, University of the Philippines – Los Banos (UPLB) and also MBCFI’s Trustee, presented “Philippine Red List for terrestrial fauna: Challenges and opportunities for conserving threatened animals in an archipelagic setting”. After the plenary talk, concurrent talks related to wildlife studies, fauna and flora, and conservation management, followed. After the day’s sessions, the BCSP members’ general assembly was held, while the non-BCSP members joined the VSU campus tour. The day ended with a film showing of the “Birds of Prey.”

Participants spent their third day of the symposium in an exposure trip to the Leyte Sab-a Peatland, one of the two major peatland sites in the country.

Elyza Hazel P. Tan, MBCFI’s Project Development and Resource Officer

The last day of the symposium opened with a series of plenary talks and immediately followed by the morning concurrent talks regarding wildlife studies, diversity and distribution, and conservation management. MBCFI’s Project Development and Resource Officer, Elyza Hazel P. Tan, presented a paper entitled “Retracing the largest land mammal in the Philippines.” The paper covered the results of the two Tamaraw expeditions conducted in Mt. Gimparay, in Oriental Mindoro, and Mt. Calavite Wildlife Sanctuary, in Occidental Mindoro.  The afternoon concurrent sessions involve papers related to conservation management, wildlife studies, and diversity and distribution. MBCFI’s Communication Education Public Awareness Officer, Roderick C. Makiputin presented a paper entitled “Strengthening Environmental Education for Development: Integrating biodiversity to the K-12 curriculum,” is about the effectivity of the teacher’s training in increasing the capacity of local teachers in Mindoro when it comes to biodiversity knowledge, skills, practices, and attitude.  Workshops facilitated by different organizations followed right after the concurrent sessions.

The symposium culminated with the awarding of winners for best poster and oral presentations.