Part of the celebration of the 90th Foundation Anniversary of the Leyte Normal University (LNU) this week was the Search for the Mr. & Ms. LNU 2011 held March 02 (Pre-Pageant) and March 07 (Finals) at the LNU Gymnasium, Tacloban City.

Yours truly was among those invited to pick the winners for the Mr. and Ms. Photogenic award.

Got to admit it was a pleasant break from the usual photography sessions I have been doing of late. ;)

Chosen Mr. and Ms. LNU 2011 were Mr. Allain Budlong and Ms. Cyril Valera.

1st Runners-up were Mr. Rick Kristopher Palencia and Ms. Rhea Mae Portula.

2nd Runners-up were Mr. John Michael Jalayajay and Ms. Sheela de la Cruz.

Mr. and Ms. LNU ’11 Photogenic were Mr. Allain Budlong and Ms. Rhea Mae Portula.

Here are some photos I got…

(Left-right) 2nd Runners-up Ms. Sheela de la Cruz and Mr. John Michael Jalayajay; Ms. LNU ’11 Ms. Cyril Valera and Mr. LNU ’11 Mr. Allain Budlong; and 1st Runners-up Ms. Rhea Mae Portula and Mr. Rick Kristopher Palencia.

Above 2 photos taken during Pre-Pageant (Talent Search) night, March 02, 2011.

***

(left) Ms. LNU ’11: Candidate No. 1, Ms. Cyril Valera; (right) Mr. LNU & Mr. Photogenic: Candidate No. 1, Mr. Allain Budlong

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The Tabuk Marine Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a mangrove, fish and bird sanctuary located at Tabuk Island, just a short distance (about 10 minutes pumpboat ride) from the shores of the town of Palompon in the province of Leyte.

At the northwest side of the mangrove forest, at the section dubbed by locals as the “Bat Kingdom,” one would find thousands of sleeping giant fruit bats hanging upside down atop the mangrove trees.

Authorities have identified five different  species of fruit-eating bats inhabiting the island. This includes the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox (Acerodon jubatus) – a rare fruit bat considered the largest known bat in the world. The species is endangered and is currently facing the possibility of extinction due to poachers and food hunters. They are endemic to the Philippines.

Just before sunset, one can witness hordes of bats taking off from the island, flying out to far distant places to begin their nocturnal hunt for food. They would return to the island shortly after daybreak the following day.

These giant fruit bats have been cited for their major role in rainforest conservation and fruit trees propagation, thus earning the monicker, “The Silent Planters.” This they do via their natural droppings of seeds as they fly and cover long distances.

I cannot say for certain, however, that the photos here are those of the Giant Golden-Crowned Flying Fox.

But these, for sure, are huge bats!

VIEW MORE PHOTOS & GALLERY SLIDESHOW >>>

The Municipality of Palompon is in the province of Leyte, Philippines. It is  124 kilometers from Tacloban City, the Leyte provincial capital, and 66 kilometers from Ormoc City, Leyte. There are regular boat trips from Cebu City, 72 nautical miles away.

Source: Wikipedia & http://pinoyecotraveler.com

 

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Much to my surprise, I was more than delighted with the number of “likes” my post on “Birding Fun in Samar (Part I)” generated at Facebook. It was much higher than I expected and more than my usual, average figures. It only goes to show how many still admire these fascinating flying wonders rarely seen in the metropolis, much less photographed.

So here’s Part II of the birding fun we had last February 24 & 25 at the Samar Island Natural park (SINP) at Paranas, Samar:

7.) The Purple-throated Sunbird (Nectarinia sperata or Leptocoma sperata), also known as Van Hasselt’s Sunbird, is a species of bird in the Nectariniidae family. It is found in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests.

These tiny birds (about 2-3 inches tall) are really active and colorful, especially the male which has an iridescent plumage, emerald green head, dark violet wing feathers and crimson breast and the shiny purple throat which gives it its name.

8.) (Below, left) A Red-keeled Flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe) – a species of bird in the Dicaeidae family. It is endemic to the Philippines.

(Right) A female Purple-throated Sunbird (Nectarinia sperata)

[Source: Wikipedia]

9.) The Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis), also known as the Yellow-bellied Sunbird, is a species of sunbird found from Southern Asian to Australia.

The sunbirds are a group of very small Old World passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering, but usually perch to feed most of the time.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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