The Philippine Eagle is the largest known eagle on the planet. Despite this, its wingspan is not exactly the largest in the world, owing to its home of thick forests and woodlands wherein smaller wingspans provide better maneuverability. Also known as the great Monkey-Eating Eagle, its wings can grow up to 184 to 220cm or 7ft, and its weight varies from 4.5 to 8kg in adulthood. Unfortunately, this majestic and fascinating raptor is also considered to be critically endangered by avian conservationists.
This is why the Philippine Eagle Center or PEC only currently has less than 10 live eagles in the exhibit. Most of its Philippine Eagles and other species of local birds are kept in captivity for breeding and scientific purposes. Be that as it may, the majestic eagles that are available for viewing are definitely worth the trip. Apart from the world’s largest forest raptors, the PEC also offers various attractions for tourists to visit.
Diola’s Forest is an exhibit room where guests can learn important facts about the Philippine Eagle as well as local conservation efforts. It’s named after the first captive Philippine Eagle in history, Diola, who is the mother to Pag-asa (hope) and Pagkakaisa (unity), two of the largest birds at the Eagle Center today.
Birdwatching tours are also available for guests and families. This allows tourists to see some of the other endemic birds that thrive in the area up close, including the Silvery Kingfisher, the Philippine Coucal, and the Philippine Hanging Parakeet. The tour includes binoculars so you can get a better look at these gorgeous, feathery locals. There’s also the Conservation Breeding Area where the rest of the Eagles can be found. Unfortunately, for the safety of the birds, only conservation personnel are allowed to be in its premises. Believe it or not, poachers still hunt these already endangered eagles.
The Philippine Eagle Center is located at the gorgeous Malagos Watershed at the foothills of Mount Apo, which Rappler reports is once again open to the public. Entrance to the mountain was restricted for some months after a destructive fire razed over 100 hectares of forest, which investigations reveal was due to the carelessness of hikers. So, if you are planning a trip to the PEC or to Mount Apo itself, do your best to respect the place and not cause any fires or environmental disasters by following the local rules for forest conservation.
Getting to Philippine Eagle Center
Getting to Davao is easy enough by plane. Philippine Airlines has a number of daily flights from Metro Manila straight to Davao Airport, also known as Francisco Bangoy International Airport. From there you can take shuttles or buses that go to Calinan in Davao City. And from Calinan, it’s just a 10-minute pedicab ride to the Eagle Center itself.
If you’re planning to spend a couple days in Davao, we advise sampling some of Samal Island’s beaches as well. Our experience in Davao has been especially awesome thanks to either Samal or Talicud Island, both of which offer pristine waters and soft sands that every tropical beach lover needs to visit at least once in their lives.