Alain Pascua

Alain Pascua

alainpascua@haringibon.com

Alain Pascua’s wild bird photography undertaking all began way back in 2005 in Candaba Swamp in Candaba, Pampanga where he was mesmerized with the presence of thousands of congregating migratory birds.

A couple of years later, Pascua enlisted with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) which showed him avian wonders beyond his expectations. Inspired by the stunning photos of his fellow birders and moved by the need at that time to produce original photographs for information materials of his non-government organization KAAKBAY, he took up bird photography in 2008 and became deeply passionate about it.

He became a member of the Philippine Bird Photography Forum (PBPF), and in 2009, he began to post his first bird photos on its bulletin board. He later became one of the active members of PBPF. He co-organized the PBPF Bird Photo Exhibit at the 1st Asian Bird Festival in Davao City in September 2010.

On May 2011, Pascua teamed up with fellow bird photographer Rey Sta Ana to create the “Wild Birds of the Philippines” multi-photographer gallery of Philippine birds in Facebook. By November of the same year, the two jointly organized the first professional workshop on bird photography at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

With the growing number of workshop students and graduates, Pascua and Sta Ana founded the Philippine Bird Photography Tours and Workshops, a professional outfit that teaches bird photography and offers bird photography tours. They later created “Wild Bird Photographers of the Philippines” (WBPP) group page in Facebook to continue their mentoring online.

On September 1, 2012, WBPP was formally organized and was later registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission, as an organization of bird photographers, no longer as a venue for online mentoring for workshop students and graduates, as it was originally conceived to be.

These avenues became Pascua’s platforms in presenting to the Filipinos and the world the avian treasures of the Philippines, hoping that through powerful images, the people would be moved towards their conservation.

Alain Pascua’s photos of wild birds have graced numerous publications and materials, including being featured as a banner photo in the front-page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), the country’s number one newspaper, and as a special feature in Mabuhay Magazine of Philippine Airlines and Smile Magazine of Cebu Pacific Airlines. He also had his photos included in the exhibit at the National Museum entitled “Birds and Climate Change.” Recently, his photos were featured in the newly published books Owls of the World, A Photographic Guide by Heimo Mikkola, and in Woodpeckers of the World, A Complete Guide by Gerald Gordan. His photos also graced the banner masthead and the bird section of the EDGE of Existence website of the Zoological Society of London, the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history. He also won second place in a category in the 1st Bird as Art International Bird Photography Competition organized by Art Morris, widely recognized as the world’s premier bird photographer. The winning photo of Haring Ibon garnered almost a million points making it the number one photo of 2013 at pixoto.com, a global online photography community and competition.

He is also part of the global team of wildlife authors and photographers of Focusing on Wildlife website at www.focusingonwildlife.com whose mission is to promote wildlife conservation by changing attitudes towards nature and helping people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. He is one of the Species Champions in the said website. Pascua is also a member of the Board of Directors of Earth’s Rights, People’s Rights, a non-government and non-profit organization focused on the environment.

Pascua is a regular bird, nature and conservation photography workshop lecturer and photo contributor of the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. He was one of the lecturers on Philippine Wild Bird Photography at the Canon PhotoMarathon 2013 National Leg, the biggest event of Canon Marketing Philippines, at PhotoWorld Asia2014, the biggest and longest running photography trade show and convention in the Philippines of the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation (FPPF), and at the 19th Graphic Expo 2014, the country’s premier trade show and market place for creative imaging, publishing and printing professionals, organized by Fiera de Manila, Inc. (FMI).

Pascua unwittingly introduced the twin-concepts of “Birds as Art” and “Bird Photography for Tourism and Conservation” - the creation of excellent bird images as artworks of Philippine avian treasures that can be utilized as powerful tools for the promotion of Philippine tourism and the protection and conservation of Philippine wildlife and environment. To achieve this, Pascua creatively combined bird photos using both natural history approach and digital arts technique. Natural history approach presents bird photos that have not been altered, except for minor adjustments in exposure, colors, sharpness and cropping. On the other hand, Digital Arts uses composites, where bird photos are combined to present great compositions. This technique uses bird photos falling under the natural history approach and available technological advancement and creativity. It is in the use of this technique that Pascua is making a niche in the fine arts sector.

In April 2017, Alain Pascua published the coffee table book Haring Ibon, The Great Philippine Eagle, the first book that deals on the Philippine National Bird as single subject documenting the life of an eagle from being an egg to its fledging.

Alain Pascua is now an Undersecretary of the Department of Education having been appointed by Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appointed at the start of his administration 2016.