a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cebu Pacific Air Adopts Philippine Eagle



Together with fellow bloggers and other members of local media, I witnessed the formal adoption of Philippine eagle named, "Mindanao" by Cebu Pacific Air. The turnover ceremony was held on October 15, 2015 at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City.  For five years, the popular budget airline will shoulder the food and veterinary care of the 13 year old Philippine Eagle. Mindanao is among the 17 other Philippine eagles under the captive breeding program of the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF). Through this, eagles are breed and reintroduced to their natural habitat, an effort that aims to address its dwindling population. 

Mindanao is the only one of its kind that can tolerate humans at a distance of 2 meters, thus, appointed as an ambassador for education, serving as an inspiration to visitors to learn more about the plight of the Philippine eagle. 
The talented Mr. Gabe Mercado hosting the turnover ceremony
Endemic to the Philippines, "whose uniqueness, strength, power, and love for freedom, exemplifies the Filipino people"the Philippine Eagle is the country's national bird, replacing the maya  in 1995 under the administration of President Fidel Ramos. (Read about proclamation No. 615 here). Sadly, it's in the DENR's list of critically endangered species with only 400 pairs left, its diminishing numbers caused by deforestation, hunting and trapping.

Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) is tasked by law to ensure that the Philippine eagle survives and thrives. There are  also laws in place to punish violators. However, with Pamana's  heartbreaking death (news here), it's clear that more vigilance and education is needed. Another group, a Non-government Organization working to ensure its viability is the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF).
Official turnover with PEF Executive Mr. Dennis Salvador and Cebu Pacific 
It manages the Philippine Eagle Center, its conservation and breeding facility for the Philippine eagle and other birds of prey. The facility, which has become one of Davao city's primary tourist destination, is 8.4 hectares big, abundant with tall trees with areas for viewing several Philippine eagles, other birds, mammals and reptiles put up for the purpose of educating its visitors. (Tip : Put on some insect repellent!)  It's open daily from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Guided tours are available for free and it is advised to contact the center in advance to ensure the guide's availability. They also have a snack and souvenir center selling items made by indigenous communities where Philippine eagles nest. (Travel information below).
Stuffed toy on sale for 565 Pesos at the Philippine Eagle Center or through their website (Nice word play, Ceb Pac! ;) )
How to Help : 
To adopt, donate or support, please visit, Philippine Eagle Foundation.

Travel Information :
The Philippine Eagle center is located at Malagos District, approximately 45 minutes-1 hour from Davao city.  For visiting hours and information on how to get to the Philippine Eagle Center, click here.
Entrance Fees : 
Adults - 150 PHP
Kids 18 years old & below - 100 PHP
Telephone number: +63 (082)324 1860
Mobile number:  +63 917 862 7146
Email address:  reservations@philippineeaglefoundation.org

How to Get to Davao? Cebu Pacific Air has direct flights from Manila and Cebu.

Where to stay in Davao? Click here to book at Marco Polo, a 5-star hotel located at the heart of Davao's business and shopping district. 

Related Reads : 
1. Why the Philippine Eagle is the country's national bird via ABS CBN news.
2. An interesting argument on why the Maya should be brought back as the Philippines' National Bird  is posted on Zamboanga.com.
3. Penalties for killing animals classified as critically endangered  : 
(a) imprisonment of a minimum of six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and/or a fine of One hundred thousand pesos (100,000.00) to One million pesos (1,000,000.00), if inflicted or undertaken against species listed as critical;

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