The Philippines’ National Bird

Image: Flickr/CharlesDavies

The Philippine Eagle Center in Davao stands in the vanguard in keeping the Philippine Eagle alive. Also known as the monkey-eating Eagle, the species is known for its unparalleled wingspan and sheer size. The Eagle, once a symbol of the Filipino’s fervor and bravery, is now struggling to survive in the face of industrialization, illegal logging, and trophy hunting. There’s an estimated 600 of them in the Philippine wilderness and are considered critically endangered by the IUCN since 2010.

The Eagle Foundation

Image: triciagosingtian.com

The center stands in the Baguio District of Davao. They house a few less than 40 Philippine Eagles, about half of which have been bred in captivity. The establishment boasts a generous 8 hectares and has been a popular tourist destination in Davao. Built for research and breeding, the center has constantly made efforts towards the conservation of the Philippine Eagle. Edgar O. Chua and Jaime Baustista are the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, and both of them aim to take advantage of the foundation’s popularity by educating visitors on the biology of the Philippine Eagle. They also talk about the struggles of the bird in the wild and what the visitors can do to aid their cause.

It only takes only 20 minutes to get to the foundation from the city. They charge a measly P30-P50 for entrance and conduct tours free-of-charge. Since the center is a popular destination, it’s advisable to call in to guarantee you a spot in the tour. The establishment is open from 8AM to 5PM.

Keep Them Flying

It is important to realize that the existence of foundations like the Philippine Eagle Center is just as heartbreaking as it is heart-warming. The fact that there needs to be an organization that desperately tries to bring back a species to its greatness is a foreboding warning to us humans on the constant depletion of nature. Nonetheless, the efforts of the people behind Davao’s Philippine Eagle Center should be applauded, and the reserve is a must-visit for both children and adults.