Sunday, May 13, 2012

Davao City: Philippine Eagle Center

Davao City is the home of the Philippine Eagle Nature Center, which is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour away from the heart of the city. This is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Davao, since this is where the symbolic national bird of the Philippines - Philippine Eagle - can be sighted.

Last March, I went to the center with fellow media men - Emmie, Alex, Ed, and Eric. Upon arrival, we were greeted with huge trees, old and tall but still very green and fresh. We had to pay Php5.00 (Php3.00 for 18 years old and below) to pass through the Water District Malagos Watershed before being able to walk to the stairway leading to the entrance of the Philippine Eagle Center.

There's an Eagle's Deck Cafe where visitors can order coffee and snacks prior to entering the Philippine Eagle Center or upon exit. Although there were a few seats available, not much people actually stays there, since it takes time to tour the center, considering also the time it will take to go back to the city.

Beside the cafe is a souvenir shop where you will also need to pay the entrance fee of Php50.00 (Php30.00 for 18 years old and below), which is used for the conservation of the facility. Aside from the entrance fees the center receives, the government also contributes Php500,000 quarterly for the expenses of the facility as well as for the implementation of programs.

We were quite time-conscious since we had to attend an event that night, so we immediately entered the center to finally see the eagles. But first, I noticed that the bricks we walked onto had names on them. Apparently, they were contributions of ~Php300 from visitors. Cool!

And another one I saw was this huge tree, which is a great shield from the sunlight, but without making it completely dark.

And then we saw the first eagle that afternoon. It took us a couple of shots before being able to capture this glorious creation of God. But it was worth it, because it looks lovely and extremely beautiful.

We  saw more birds as we walked through the park. We saw Pag-asa, the first Philippine eagle taken in and bred in captivity. Then this mighty eagle perched on a vertically standing log posing for visitors to see and observe.

Luckily, we met a long-time caretaker named Mario, who toured us around the center. He took time to explain his background and other more information about the eagles. He allowed us to get a hold of this small eagle for a photo opportunity. The claws of the bird were too sharp - good thing I didn't get any scratches afterwards.

This is probably the closest encounter I had with a huge eagle spreading the wings very near my face. I actually felt the slight wind that brushed my face when the eagle opened up its flaps. Awesome experience indeed!

Apart from the eagles, there I heard there were monkeys and crocodiles around. But we only saw a crocodile. It was lonely on that side of the forest.

Overall, this short trip at the Philippine Eagle Center was so worth it! I had a unique experience of getting closer with eagles, which I haven't done in my entire life. It made me thank God for His wonderful creation of animals and birds.

How to get there

By Car: Bringing a private or rented van is the most convenient. Going to the center will take 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on traffic.

By Bus: Buses going to Calinan depart every 15 minutes from the Annil Terminal located at corner Quirino and San Pedro Extension. Bus fare is at Php30.00. From Calinan, take a pedicab going to the Philippine Eagle Center. The ride is about 10 minutes and will cost you P6.

By Taxi: If all else fails, riding a taxi is the best solution. Although take note that you might spend a lot for this. You can always haggle and negotiate.


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