Nido nest-making birds under threat in Taytay
The Nido nest-making swiftlet birds (balinsasayaw) are under threat due to rampant “land clearing” activities on Pangalan Point in Mayteguid Island. Pangalan Point has caves that serve as nesting areas for the swiftlets while its surrounding forests are their foraging grounds, said former Taytay mayor Roberto Rodriguez on Saturday. Rodriguez said there is a high demand for the edible bird’s nest because each kilo at farm gate prices sells for P180,000. He said underbrushing activities have been done in the area for the planting of some coconut trees, banana, mango, and others in front of the island’s beach. “The area is restricted and classified as timberland and it is also being proposed as one of the main selling points for the communi- ty-based sustainable tourism (CBST) industry in Taytay,” said Rodriguez. Joie Matillano, Taytay municipal government tourism officer, believes that community-based tourism can help empower local villages and Pangalan Point is an area that should be protected. He also said that one of the plans of the local tourism council is to capitalize on the community-managed balinsasayaw industry as one of the unique features of experiential tourism. By doing so, this will empower them to become more passionate about protecting and saving the remaining habitat of balinsasayaw in Taytay.
Among the many islands in Taytay Bay, only the islands of Mayteguid and Pabellon are the remaining habitat of the balm-sasayaw. With illegal land clearing or underbrushing activities, the lo-cal income opportunity for the "buceadors" or bird's nest har-vesters is under threat. "I am very apprehensive that the loss of the balinsasayaw habitat will destroy not only the natural beauty of the island but also the income opportunities of the local residents who have been harvesting the bird's nest since the time of their forefa-thers," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez said he had no-tified the DENR about the con-cern but there has been no ac-tion taken yet.
"We hope that the con-cerned agencies will take ap-propriate action to preserve our natural and cultural heritage be-cause the under brushing activity is still continuing even until now," he added.