Amazing Davao Photo Journal #1: Philippine Eagle Center, Davao City

I recently played tour guide to a college schoolmate, teammate, and good friend who visited Davao (and Mindanao) for the first time. It was a great opportunity for me as well to revisit some places in my hometown and its neighboring areas that I haven’t seen for a while. The experience reminded me of how lucky I am to be living in such an amazing place. There are indeed a lot of sights to see and places to explore in this city and the entire Davao region. Sometimes, all it takes is to look at things like travelers or tourists do to appreciate how much beauty and wonder we have in our midst.

The Philippine Eagle Center is less than an hour away from downtown Davao. I was in high school when I first visited the place. It’s home to Pag-asa, the first of his kind bred and hatched in captivity, and now to his first offspring. The Philippine eaglet Mabuhay hatched last February 9, 2013.
The Philippine Eagle Center is less than an hour away from downtown Davao. I was in high school when I first visited the place. It’s home to Pag-asa, the first of his kind bred and hatched in captivity, and now to his first offspring. The Philippine eaglet Mabuhay hatched last February 9, 2013.
Reception area where visitors can pay a nominal entrance fee of Php50 for adults and Php30 for 18 yo and below. The fees are used to support the conservation efforts of the facility. It also has a waiting area, a cafe, and a souvenir shop.
Reception area where visitors can pay a nominal entrance fee of Php50 for adults and Php30 for 18 yo and below. The fees are used to support the conservation efforts of the facility. It also has a waiting area, a cafe, and a souvenir shop.
This one looks (almost) harmless as it sleeps.
This one looks (almost) harmless as it sleeps.
A male Grass Owl grooming his mate.
A male Grass Owl grooming his mate.
A glimpse of Pag-asa from afar. How I wished at this point that I had a camera with telephoto lens.
A glimpse of Pag-asa from afar. How I wished at this point that I had a camera with telephoto lens.
One of the other 10 species of birds in the facility.
One of the other 10 species of birds in the facility.

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The Philippine Monkey-Eating Eagle or Philippine Eagle is one of the most interesting species of birds I’ve come across.
The Philippine Monkey-Eating Eagle or Philippine Eagle is one of the most interesting species of birds I’ve come across.
A Philippine Eagle in its lair.
A Philippine Eagle in its lair.
Scout Binay, a 13-year old Philippine Eagle. He’s been recently pulled out of the “dating dome” after he was rejected by the female monkey-eating eagle. Courtships usually take anywhere between five months (if the female eagle is “easy”, to borrow the volunteer guide’s words) to three years. Philippine Eagles are monogamous and they mate for life.
Scout Binay, a 13-year old Philippine Eagle. He’s been recently pulled out of the “dating dome” after he was rejected by the female monkey-eating eagle. Courtships usually take anywhere between five months (if the female eagle is “easy”, to borrow the volunteer guide’s words) to three years. Philippine Eagles are monogamous and they mate for life.
Scout Binay
Scout Binay
Scout Binay up close. Photo taken by his handler. It’s not easy to gain a Philippine Eagle’s trust. I imagine the challenges of being a caretaker/handler to this majestic bird. It was heartwarming to see how the eagle responds to the guy.
Foot bridge over a pond
Foot bridge over a pond
A lawin (hawk?) perched across the footbridge by the pond. It was born with a wing defect so it has never been able to fly.
A lawin (hawk?) perched across the footbridge by the pond. It was born with a wing defect so it has never been able to fly.
At the education center where we watched a short film about a family of Philippine Eagles living in the Arakan mountain range in Cotabato.
At the education center where we watched a short film about a family of Philippine Eagles living in the Arakan mountain range in Cotabato.
Pag-asa’s mom, Diola
Pag-asa’s mom, Diola
Eggs on display at the Education Center
Eggs on display at the Education Center
Feathers
Feathers
Long-tailed Macaques. The big one’s the alpha male. The only reason the smaller ones were clustered near him was because they went after the smallest monkey who kept following the alpha male. Our volunteer guide told us that the alpha male is so fierce he can easily kill the others if provoked. The smaller monkeys were trying to protect the youngest by keeping it away. An impressive display of intelligence and care for their own kind in the short time I was observing them.
Long-tailed Macaques. The big one’s the alpha male. The only reason the smaller ones were clustered near him was because they went after the smallest monkey who kept following the alpha male. Our volunteer guide told us that the alpha male is so fierce he can easily kill the others if provoked. The smaller monkeys were trying to protect the youngest by keeping it away. An impressive display of intelligence and care for their own kind in the short time I was observing them.
What we can do
What we can do

We are grateful to Kuya Obet, the Philippine Eagle Center volunteer guide who approached us while we were still at the reception area. He offered to show us around. He made the visit more fun and educational for us. We weren’t surprised to learn that he’s a teacher by profession.

The tour further increased my admiration for the work the Philippine Eagle Foundation is doing alongside its partners and volunteers. So if you have plans of traveling to Davao City or its neighboring towns sometime in the future, you may want to add the Philippine Eagle Center in your itinerary. Volunteer guides will be more than happy to share information, stories, and trivia that make the entire experience more enjoyable. And if you can, try to participate in the educational activities they have. They will be worth your time.

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Related stories:

A chick at last for ‘Pag-asa,’ first Philippine eagle bred in captivity
Eaglet’s birthday a small victory in effort to conserve Philippine Eagle

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