2017 BARAS BIRD SANCTUARY, TACURONG, SULTAN KUDARAT | TRAVEL GUIDE
I visited South Cotabato recently to witness the beautiful T’nalak Festival of the province. During my 3-day stay at South Cotabato, I managed to sneak out and had a side trip to Tacurong City of the Province of Sultan Kudarat. The side trip was made possible with the help of a good friend from the Mindanao Tourism Council, Mr. Jonalier Manaay Perez who really tried his best to help me enjoy and maximize my visit on this part of the country.
With Mr. Jonalier Mana-ay Perez of the Mindanao Tourism Council
ABOUT BARAS BIRD SANCTUARY
Considered as Tacurong City’s top tourist attraction, the Baras Bird Sanctuary is tucked in the outskirts of the city- the Barangay Baras (7 km away from the city proper).
Baras Bird Sanctuary, a 2.5 hectares of land located at Barangay Baras is home to more than 20,000 migratory birds of various species. The most common species which guests can spot in the area include Great Egret (Ardea alba), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis), Intermediate Egret (Ardea intermedia), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), Rufous Night Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) and Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax).
That was late in the morning when we arrived at the place, so we don’t have the opportunity to see thousands of birds flying and resting on the trees.
According to our guide, the sanctuary started in the mid-1990’s when four or five egrets were seen in the peppercorn farm ( now the bird sanctuary) owned by the family of Mr. Rey Oliver Malana. The owners then just allowed these creatures to seek refuge on the farm. Later, they noticed that more and more birds are coming until eventually, the birds claimed the place to be their home.
Because of a large number of the bird’s population and further protect them from other people, the owners asked the help of the local government unit in order to secure the property.
Today, Tacurong City is running the place and named the farm, Baras Bird Sanctuary. The place was also declared as an Ecotourism destination in Sultan Kudarat.
There is an entrance fee of P20.00. Tipping is also encouraged for the guide as well as some donations for the upkeep of the place.
Bring your camera, having a telephoto lens is recommended
Best time to visit the sanctuary are early morning and late in the afternoon 4 PM- 5:30 PM. The nocturnal birds come to settle and the day birds fly out early in the morning. While the night birds go out of the sanctuary and the day birds fly back home late in the afternoon. But if the early morning or late afternoon is not feasible on your schedule, you can still visit the place any time of the day and you will still see some birds in the area
Guests are prohibited from making noise while at the place so as not to disturb the birds.
While birds are seen everywhere, their main habitat is protected by the fence. Guests, therefore, are not allowed to cross perimeters.
Wear the native hat to avoid bird poop landing on your hair/head. Don’t you worry, these hats are provided at the place.
The park has its own guide, but you may contact the Tacurong City Mayor’s Office- Tourism Section at (064) 200-6682 or (064) 562-0236 or through their email – firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish for a guided tour especially if you are coming as a big group.
HOW TO GET THERE
• General Santos City to Tacurong City – 92 kms. by bus and van
• Davao City to Tacurong City – 178 kms. by bus and van
• Cotabato City to Tacurong City – 96 kms. by bus and van
• Cagayan de Oro City – 314 kms by bus and van
Directions to Baras Bird Sanctuary:
Baras Bird Sanctuary is 7 kilometers away from Tacurong City proper. From there, take a tricycle to the place. It’s highly recommended to charter these tricycle as there is no regular public transportation going to the area. The chartered fare would cost around P300 two-way. It is best to negotiate first with the driver as to the price viz-a-viz the number of hours you will be spending at the place. They might charge more if you stay longer.
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