Pagbilao and Tayabas Bay

Country/territory: Philippines

IBA criteria met: A1, A4i (2001)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 10,000 ha

Haribon Foundation

Site description (2001 baseline)
Pagbilao Bay (and nearby Quezon National Park: PH025) is a few kilometres to the east of Lucena City and about 100 km south-east of Metro Manila. It lies at the northwest end of the large, sweeping Tayabas Bay, which has extensive intertidal mudflats, sand flats, and associated pockets of mangroves and offshore coral reefs. The IBA included a 700 ha patch of mangroves in the delta of the Palsabangon River and its tributaries in Pagbilao Bay, which is protected from strong wave action by the islands of Pagbilao Grande, Dampalita and Patayan. Much of the mangrove has been converted to fish culture ponds, and the area of fishponds continues to expand. However, c.100 ha of a mangrove forest is protected by DENR at the Mangrove Forest Research Centre at Talipan, and there are smaller pockets at Padre Burgos, Unisan, Pitogo and Macalelon. Fishing is very important in Tayabas Bay and supports many coastal towns and villages, and provides fish for the Metro Manila markets. A considerable proportion of the mangrove forest has been cleared for the construction of fishponds, and about 1,000 people are now involved in aquaculture in the region. In the surrounding areas there is limited subsistence agriculture including small scale rice cultivation and coconut plantations. The mangrove forest provides protection against coastal erosion by wave action during tropical storms and serves as wind breaks which can contribute to the mitigation of wind damage to coastal settlements during typhoons. The relatively quiet waters in the mangrove forest also provide a refuge for fish during the storms, and the mangroves are an important source of forest products for coastal residents.

Key biodiversity
The Pagbilao and Tayabas Bay IBA is an important staging and wintering area for migratory herons, egrets and shorebirds. Nine species of Ardeidae have been recorded, and up to 500 shorebirds of 16 species have been counted. The threatened Chinese Egret and Philippine Duck may both occur in significant numbers, and the records of the threatened Philippine Kingfisher in the mangrove forests there are also of interest.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Bay provides natural breeding and nursery grounds for a wide variety of molluscs, crustaceans, fish and other aquatic organisms of economic importance.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Pagbilao and Tayabas Bay. Downloaded from on 30/09/2023.