It was a chance encounter. I was at SM mall Davao and the birds were there, too, on display. Got a brochure and the next day, I was in a taxi to Malagos, home of the Center.
A P5 entrance fee is collected by the staff of the Malagos Watershed park. I thought for a while that that fee was the entrance fee to the Eagle Center, only to find out that the Eagle Center collects a separate entrance fee of P50 per head.
The center is located at the foothills of Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the country. I was toured by a volunteer named JM, a BS Education graduate who volunteers his services as guide to the park visitors. There are no fees to get someone to guide you thru the facility, but it helps to call ahead to reserve a guide.
It turns out that the Philippine Eagle Center is actually a zoo, with the Philippine eagles as the main attraction. There are deers, monkeys, as well as other birds, in a rainforest setting.
How is the facility funded?
The guide showed us the “wall of fame” where plaques mentioning the names of donors, and the corresponding eagle they have “named” are listed. Kuya Kim Atienza was, apparently, the latest of those who paid P125,000 to name an eagle. The first to do so, and is the biggest supporter of the facility, is Shell Philippines. We were also walking thru concrete slabs with donors’ names inscribed on them, pretty much like the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, albeit a crude one. Surely it didn’t matter to the kind-hearted donors, knowing they donated to help protect the forests and save the eagles. As for me, I I donated P500, and resolved to raise funds to name an eagle, at P125,000 for 5 years. Well I guess the eagle will just have to be re-Christened after 5 years. There is also an Adopt-an-Eagle program for P100,000 per year, and an Adopt-a-Nest program for P100,000 a year. Donations can also be made from P500 to the “President’s Partners” corporate donation of P75,000.
How to get there:
Malagos is actually part of Calinan District in Davao City. It is 29 kilometers from the city center, one hour away by taxi. All told, including the waiting while I was touring the facility, the taxi fare registered P585.
Alternatively, visitors can go to the Bankerohan terminal in Davao City and take a van to Calinan District. From the transport terminal of Calinan district, tricycles or “habal habal” are available to get visitors to the Eagle Center about 5 kilometers away.
On your way to Calinan, or maybe on your way back, you can stop for a good meal in any of the restaurants on both sides of the road in Los Amigos, Tigbok District, halfway thru the trip to and from The Eagle Center. The locals drive all the way to these restaurants for the specialty of this place : “hito ”
Next time you are in Davao, do visit the Eagle Center. The kids especially will love it, and learn about saving the forest and the birds early on.
You may contact the Philippine Eagle Center by phone (+6382) 2712337. Or visit their website at http://www.philippineeagle.org