26 May 2006

In search of Pag-asa and Waling-waling

Mindanao is blessed with abundant natural resources. The sad part is, these are being threatened to extinction by deforestation. The Philippine Eagle (or monkey-eating eagle), once proudly flying across the blue skies where it is king, is now kept in cages for breeding and preservation (though a number are being introduced into the wild). The waling-waling is also on the verge of extinction. This unique orchid was once found only in Mindanao, but are now being cultivated in other countries as well. Ironically, it is a threatened species in the Philippines due to its sensitive nature and the desctruction of its habitat.

The trip to the Eagle Sanctuary was a memorable one. I originally thought that there were only a handful of the eagles left. I was surprised that there more more. Over fifteen eagles, I think. Wait, that is indeed a handful. I do hope more are on the way.
The eagles were magnificent. Even from afar they are a sigh to behold. They would mostly perch silently on trunks and trees inside their cages, but when they would fly off to perch on another branch, we would stare in awe. Such huge wingspans! Here's a photo of Pag-asa's cage. I believe the original Pag-asa has long since died; he is a second-generation eagle with the same name. Can you spot where he is?

Hmmm... the eagle wouldn't look at us so let's not look at him to. Let's see who will budge first...
We also visited a butterfly garden at Malagos (which, sadly, is also in various states of disrepair; it must have been a wonderful place to visit when it was well-kept). The place ws huge, and plants were tagged with their names. An educational stroll overall.

Debbie wanted to kiss the frog. But that's no frog!

This fern is an endangered species, though we did also see some at the Waterfront Hotel where we had our conference.Butterflies fluttered in close proximity. It was mesmerizing, the way they glided about.

And there were also fowls of various shapes and sizes at the Paradise Island. Ostriches remind me of the good old movie Swiss Family Robinson.
Too bad I forgot to bring Visine.

I was not able to see a waling-waling up close and personal, so I settled for other breeds instead. Read the myth of the waling-waling in Filipino here.

It was wonderful doing the nature trips in Davao. There's another spot we weren't able to visit because it's too far away. It's called Eden.

I can only imagine how the eagles flew beyond the horizon from days of yore, and how the waling-waling thrived in the forests, and captured the imagination and awe of many a people.

Happy weekend everyone!
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