Beyond birdwatching in Candaba

Just a mere hour away from the capital city of Manila, the town of Candaba in Pampanga is a captivating paradise you should not miss. I did and for some time, I keep looking back to that happy days. 

I was told that migratory birds and endemic species are just hanging out in Barangay Doña Simang so I wasted no time to explore.

Then Mayor Jerry Pelayo said that  Candaba was just a quiet town, a swampland that soaks up water from several rivers, including the Bulu and Penarada. When he was the chief executive, he made sure that the birds will be of great importance to the town’s thriving tourism industry. Today, because of his effort to promote activities especially to those who hasa thing for the flutter of wings and birdsong in the wind, I would say and I would like to believe that Candaba is worth a visit.

Says the Department of Tourism, “it turned out, the town plays an integral role in balancing the eco-terrain by acting as a catch basin of overflowing rivers before getting drained into the Pampanga river. Wetlands. Half the year submerged, while the other half, used as farmland.Then the birding enthusiasts heard of the ducks and the migratory birds, and suddenly, this wetland was on the tourist map.”

Candaba teems with wildlife. Its swamp is approximately 32,000 hectares. You still have two months to prepare your travel there. The best time to visit is from the months of October to April for this is the time when you’ll find migratory visitors such as the Seven purple swamphen or the Chinese pond heron. Likewise, the endemic Philippine mallard (wild duck to everyone else).

And while Candaba is known the world over, you still have choices of tasks to do while on visit. I got this list from DOT and this seems to be perfect guide for those who are on a holiday.

  • Watch a flock of birds. I would suggest that you inquire with the Municipal Tourism Office for if you wanted to witness and watch the flocks of lying birds, you must take a walk down the field in the early morning or late in the afternoon. You can ask the tourism office for a guide, and they’ll be glad to assist. Then your guide will take you to Doña Simang, the site of the bird sanctuary.
  • Stay overnight. You can check the websites of various spots in Candaba where you can stay. The place is definitely peaceful.
  • Take a river cruise down Arayat. From Candaba to Arayat, the municipal government provides a guided river tour.
  • Join  the bird experts. The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines is composed of some expert birders. Connect with them so you’ll get the needed information on how to enjoy bird watching. Better, hang out with the experts.
  • Pick watermelon during the harvest season. Candaba is not all about birds. Due to its soil composition, it has been found fit for the production of watermelons. And Candaba’s version is simply delicious. And because of the soil composition, the farmlands are fit for watermelons. Candaba has the most delicious watermelons. You can even pick them during harvest season
  • Hunt for duck eggs. While the town is famous as a bird sanctuary, you will be amazed to know that its farmers produces 200,000 duck eggs per day.

Getting there. Candaba is easily accessed from Clark’s Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. – Migrant Pen


IMG_3984THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, speechwriter and publicist who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique.  While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.


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