Apart from being the 4th safest city in the world, Davao is also known as the home the Philippine Eagle Center. The center is the conservation breeding facility of the Philippine Eagle foundation. It is home to a total 35 Philippine Eagles, 18 of which are bred in captivity.
Since it was my flight back to Manila in the evening, I left Iron Inn Lodge early to see the Philippine Eagles up close. I was too excited as seeing the national bird of our country is one among my Philippine travel bucket list. On my way to the center, I suddenly remembered the owl in Residence Inn Zoo Tagaytay as it looked so surreal to me. That owl in fact made me decide that my next trip will be in Davao to see the Philippine Eagles.
Philippine Eagle Center Location
The center is located situated in the foothills of Mt.Apo in the municipality Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City. Please see my separate post on how to get to Philippine Eagle Center.
After an hour commute from Davao city proper to Malagos, I arrived in the Malagos Watershed Reservation. I paid 5 Pesos to enter the park which I later learned that the proceeds is for the Davao City Water District, a local government unit of Davao responsible for conserving the Malagos Watershed.
As I entered the park, it seemed that I was the only tourist in the area. A number of souvenir shops on the left side near the entrance were just starting to open. I continued walking wondering where the Philippine Eagles were. I soon realized that I was not in the actual Philippine Eagle Center, I was in the Malagos Watershed Reservation where the Philippine Eagle Center is situated.
Tip: The habal-habal will drop you off at the Malagos Watershed Reservation. Pay the 5 Php entrance fee and proceed to the right side of the park where the Philippine Eagle Center is located.
Since I was too early for the 8 AM opening of the center, I waited for about 10 minutes before the clerk opens the ticketing booth. I paid the entrance fee and was officially the first visitor of the mighty Philippine Eagles that day!
Philippine Eagle Center Entrance Fee
Adult – 150 Php
Youth – 4 to 18 yrs. old – 100 Php
Philippine Eagle Center Operating Hours
Opens daily from 8 AM to 5 PM
I started exploring the Philippine Eagle Conservation Center. Few meters from the entrance is a small board that reads the DO’s and DON’Ts inside the Center.
Guidelines Inside The Philippine Eagle Center
- Keep noise level down so as not to disturb or startle the animals
- Throw your garbage properly
- Wildlife rule: Don’t touch, don’t catch, just watch
- Don’t pick flowers or plants
- Do not tease the animals – ex. throwing stones, coins and other objects; calling or shouting at them; tapping and rattling their enclosures
- Do not feed the animals – They have a special diet. feeding them can lead to poisoning or death.
I was amazed by the rain forest-like environment of the Philippine Eagle Center. There are various species in the center but the stars are undoubtedly the Philippine Eagles.
Quick facts about the Philippine Eagle
- also known as the monkey eating eagle with a scientific name of Pithecopaga Jeferyi
- local names are Agila, Haring ibon, Kalumbata
- average height: 1 meter (3 feet)
- weight: 4 to 7 kilograms
- wingspan of 2 meters 7 feet
- distinct features: massive arch beak, long crown feathers
- considered as one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world
- only blue eyed raptor in the world, eyes can see 8 times distant than that of humans
- courtship and breeding behavior: breeding season from July to February
- monogamous, only has one partner throughout its lifetime
- a female eagle lays only one egg every other year
- male and female eagles parental responsibility, alternating sitting the egg during incubation and watching the chick while it hatches
Fighter and Mindanao, Philippine Eagle Ambassadors
Interestingly enough, the center has Philippine Eagle Ambassadors namely Fighter and Mindanao. Unlike the other Philippine Eagles in the facility, they are out in the open for visitors to see them up-close. There is a perimeter fence to protect both Fighter and Mindanao so make sure to bring your Camera with zoom lens!
My favorite in the center is Fighter, a Philippine Eagle originally from Davao Oriental. He was rescued, adopted and rehabilitated by the Philippine Eagle Center in 2011 when a ruthless hunter shot him leaving his left-wing amputated. Sadly, he is now incapable of flying and will never be released in the wild again. Fighter’s story is really heartbreaking but despite of his inability to soar, Fighter shows how confident, mighty and strong a Philippine Eagle is.
Mindanao is a 15-year-old male Philippine Eagle. He was hatched and bred in the Philippine Eagle Center.
Other Philippine Eagles in the Center are Kalayaan (24-year-old male) and Pag-Asa (29-year-old female) who are currently being matched. There is also Kaibigan (27-year-old female eagle), Maginoo (16-year-old male eagle) and Dakila (11-year-old female eagle). Except for Pag-Asa, all these Philippine Eagles were hatched in the Center.
Apart from the Philippine Eagles, there are various species in the center. I personally liked the cute and innocent looking grass owls.
Critically Endangered Philippine Eagle
I must say that I left the Philippine Eagle conservation Center with mixed emotions. I was very happy to see the Philippine Eagles up-close, they were so surreal. It also feels great that there is such an non-profit organization like Philippine Eagle Foundation promoting the welfare of our very own Philippine Eagles. At the same time, I learned that there are only less than 400 pairs of Philippine Eagles left in world, I felt sad that these majestic creatures are now critically endangered. Hunting and deforestation are the threats to their survival. Despite of the laws to protect them, up to this day, Philippine Eagles are still being hunted. With continuous deforestation, the home of the great Philippine Eagle is becoming smaller. Forests are their only home. It is where they live, find food, reproduce and nurture the next generation of Philippine Eagles.
How to get to Philippine Eagle Center
- From Davao City proper, take a cab going to Bankerohan Terminal. In my case, cab fare from Ironn Inn Lodge in Ecoland to Bankerohan Terminal is 70 Php.
- In Bankerohan Terminal, ride a van going to Calinan. Fare is 40 Php and travel time is around 40 minutes depending on traffic. Just tell the van driver that you are going to Philippine Eagle Center and ask to drop you off to a habal-habal terminal in Calinan.
- From Calinan, take a habal-habal to Philippine Eagle Center. Fare is 80 Pesos and travel time is around 15 minutes. I highly suggest to arrange with the habal-habal driver for your return trip to Calinan.
Philippine Eagle Center contact Number: +63 82 3241860
You can help in the conservation of the Philippine Eagle by donating, adopting or volunteering via the Philippine Eagle Foundation.