The iconic Philippine Eagle or the Monkey-eating eagle is the country’s national bird. I have seen and heard much of this mighty flyer in many photos already but never I have seen one of the largest eagle in the world (in terms of length) still in existence, up close. The Philippine Eagle is critically endangered with only about 500 remaining in the country, that’s why it saddens me whenever I read news of one dying either naturally or mistakenly shot in the wild. While staying at Marco Polo Davao, we were able to visit the Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) in Malagos District, Davao City home of about 36 Philippine Eagle.
Philippine Eagle Center
We alighted from our habal-habal at Malagos Water District where the Philippine Eagle Center is located. We had to pay a minimal Php 5 to enter the area. A few meters walk and we reached the main entrance of the Philippine Eagle Center where we paid an entrance of Php 50 per person. The cashier adjoins the a snack and souvenir shop. Since we were there in the late afternoon, I bought a few souvenir ref magnets as the shop may be closed on our way out.
I was very excited to see the Philippine Eagle, but we had to go through some pathways leading to several displays at this park sanctuary. The park has a nice set of mahogany trees, bamboos and manicured pathways with information signage on the sides. Upon a clearing are the huge high-ceiling cages housing several bird species and the endemic Philippine Eagle.
The Philippine Eagle
Out in the open are a few Brahminy Kite eagles and my eyes drifted past to a to the lone standing figure of Scout Binay, one of the Philippine Eagle in the sanctuary. His stance is majestic, his plumage has a wonderful earthly shade, his shaggy crest would stand up like a cat when on a prowl. What’s more impressive to see is his wingspan when spread. These Philippine Eagles are marvellous looking creatures. Seeing him along with his kin like Scout Pag-asa is bittersweet. It would have been more amazing to see them in flight out in the wild but with their kind dwindling in numbers, they are better off under the care of The Philippine Eagle Foundation.
The Philippine Eagle Center sits at the foot of Mt Apo, it’s one of the most accessible wild life sanctuary yet quite a distance away from the city as not to disturb its habitat. Going here from Davao City proper, ride a Bus or L300 van at Annil Terminal (corner Quirino Avenue and San Pedro Street) bound for Calinan. Fare is Php 50 with a travel time of about 1 hour. From Calinan proper, hire a habal-habal to the Philippine Eagle Center, fare is Php 15. (info updated at the time of this writing)
The Malagos Water District has an entrance Fee of Php 5 (adults) and Php 3 (kids). The Philippine Eagle Center has an entrance fee of Php 50 (adults) and Php 30 (18 below).
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.