Philippine Eagle Center in Davao City

Philippine Eagle Fighter Davao City

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.

Philippine Eagle center philippines
Top: Malagos Watershed Reservation, Bottom: Entrance to the Philippine Eagle Conservation 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.

Philippine Eagle Fighter
Fighter, Philippine Eagle

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!

fighter philippine eagle davao
Close up photos of Fighter. The staff of the center noticed that I was tirelessly taking photos of Fighter from the perimeter fence. He was so kind that he borrowed my camera to take these wonderful close-up shots of Fighter.

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.

Philippine Eagle Mindanao
Mindanao, Philippine Eagle

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.

Bird species philippines
Top Left: Grass Owl; Top Right: Philippine Scops owl; Bottom Left: Brahminy Kite; Bottom Right: Philippine Serpent Eagle

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 worldI 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.

Visiting Davao City? Book your hotel HERE or HERE.

5 Reasons Why Davao City Is a Tourist Friendly Destination

Davao City Philippines

With 81 provinces and 7,107 islands, the Philippines is indeed blessed with countless amazing tourist destinations.  Davao City is one among the long list of must see places in the Philippines. Located in Mindanao, Davao City is the center of trade and commerce of Davao region and is one of the most progressive cities in the Philippines.

Davao City Philippines
Top left: Fighter, a rehabilitated Philippine Eagle in Davao Philipine Eagle Conservation Center; Top right: Jack’s Ridge at Night; Bottom right: Ecoland Bus Terminal; Bottom Left: Tribu K’ Mindanawan
During my short yet memorable DIY tour in Davao City, I could not help but compare Davao City to other tourist destinations in the Philippines. Here are my top 5 reasons why I find Davao city a tourist friendly destination:

1. Davao City Airport is the 6th Most Efficient Airport in The World

Davao city Airport

In 2015, Francisco Bangoy International Airport or popularly known as Davao City Airport was awarded by Airport Council International (ACI) as the 6th most efficient airport in the world.

ACI is an organization that acts as the voice of the world’s airports and the communities they serve, and promotes professional excellence in airport management and operations.

2. Davao City is the 9th Safest City in the World

In 2015, Davao City was ranked 9th safest city in the world. Being the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area, with its good governance, Davao has managed become the safest city in the Philippines and eventually the 9th safest city in the world.  The peace and order in Davao city is credited to Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

I stayed in a relatively cheap motel with no security guards. The only person manning the front desk is an old lady who owns the place. I was a bit hesitant to check-in until I realized that I was actually in the safest city in the Philippines!

There is no “you always have to look at your back” factor when walking alone in the city, be it during daytime or late at night. Davaoenos and tourists alike can freely walk in the streets without worrying about their security. At night, police mobiles patrol the Davao streets to ensure the city’s peace and order is maintained. I experienced walking alone late at night and felt very secured.  Besides the roving police mobiles, the entire city is also equipped with hundreds of CCTV cameras. It is the one and only city in the Philippines that has a command center dedicated for the people’s safety and security (Public Safety and Security Command Center).

3. Davao City Cab Drivers Give Exact Change!

If you are living in Manila, you have surely experienced choosy cab drivers or experienced being charged on top of the metered fare. These kind of disappointing cab drivers are nowhere to be found in Davao City!

If you pay more than the metered fare, a Davao City cab driver will surely hand you the exact change.  It is not surprising why Davaoeños still prefer cabs over Uber or Grab as their very own cab drivers also provide superb customer service.

4. Davao City Values Senior Citizens and PWDs

Being a Person with disability (PWD) myself, I rarely use my PWD discount card during my out of town trips. This is to at least help small local businesses in the province that I am visiting.

It was only in Davao I was given a PWD discount without me asking for one. On my way to the Philippine Eagle Conservation Center, I was surprised that the van driver asked me transfer in the front seat – a reserved seat for PWDs and Senior Citizens in jeepneys, vans and buses in Davao City. He also discounted my fare to Malagos, a baranggay where Philippine Eagle Conservation Center is located.  During my second day, I made a quick visit at Davao Crocodile Park and was automatically given a PWD discount by the front desk personnel.

5. Davaoeños are Friendly and Disciplined

Along with Iloilo City and Ilocos Sur’s Vigan City, I am putting Davao City on my top 3 list of friendliest places I’ve visited. Everyone in the city was friendly and was willing to help any traveler DIY-ing Davao City. I was able to visit several tourist destinations by merely asking locals for tips and directions. I survived my DIY Davao tour without using google maps!

What is more amazing is the discipline Davaoeños show. In public transportation terminals, people fall in line properly.  You will not see a single Davaoeño littering or spitting in the city streets. There are no jaywalkers in Davao as people cross the streets on pedestrian lanes.  I have not seen any vehicle beating the red light. Drivers strictly abide the 30 KM/hour speed limit in the Davao City downtown area. At bars, last order of alcoholic drinks is at 1 AM and all convenience stores do not sell alcoholic drinks beyond 2 AM. You will not see any tambays drinking or minors loitering around past 12 AM. Being a no-smoking city, people do not smoke in public places.

Being a solo traveler, I always look forward in seeing beautiful places, befriending locals, and learning different cultures. But traveling alone entails danger. Most of the time, you will just have to use common sense to secure yourself.  Like you, I had a share of not so good experiences in some places I visited (overpriced fares for tourists, security concerns).  Just like my previous trips, I flew to Davao city thinking that it was like any other cities I’ve visited. I was wrong. I went back to Manila realizing that it is possible to live in a safe and progressive city with law-abiding citizens secured by an exemplary leadership.