MINDANAO - The Quest for Philippine Eagle
Cagayan De Oro / Mt. Kitanlad(Bukidnon) / Kidapawan/Davao/Bislig(PICOP)
( 10 Days / 9 Nights )
ARRIVAL CAGAYAN DE ORO/MT. KITANLAD
Fly to Cagayan de Oro. The quest for the Philippine Eagle starts here.
The Philippine Eagle is a giant forest raptor endemic to the Philippines and is considered as one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world. It is known to be geographically restricted to the Islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. It feeds on vertebrate prey from flying lemurs to civets. Unfortunately, it is also one of the world’s rarest and critically endangered vertebrate species. This situation is caused not only by human intervention but also because of its reproductive cycle( it lays only one egg a year). Incubation lasts between 58 to 68 days. In Mindanao, these birds are known to nest in a variety of habitats. Some nest on large trees in the lowlands and upper hill dipterocarp forests,. Some may even nest at high elevations at transitions to montane or mossy forests. A few nests were in degraded forests near human habitations while others nest within forest interiors. Nest trees are found between 750 to 950 meters in elevation and they are commonly along steep slopes and ravines, but not necessarily near river systems. Mt. Kitanglad is one of the remaining areas where sightings of the eagle have been recorded.
Board private vehicle for a drive to Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon. Registration at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) in Bukidnon. Camping at the park would require a two-hour trek. Late afternoon birding, Camp accommodation and meals.
Mount Kitanglad is a dormant volcano located in the Kitanglad Mountain Range in Bukidnon and is considered to be the fourth highest mountain in the Philippines, rising to an elevation of 2,899 meters. It is located between Malaybalay City and the municipalities of Lantapan, Impasg-ong, Sumilao and Libona. The name “Kitanglad” was derived from a legend that there once was a great flood that submergded the native lands of Bukidnon and only the tip of the mountain, the size of a “tanglad” (lemon grass0, remained visible (“kita” in tagalog). It is considered as an ancestral domain of several old cultural communities like the Bukidnons, Higaonons and Talaandigs.
It has been declared a protected area and is now known as Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MNKRP). It has a unique ecological diversity characterized by a combination and interplay of human communities, connected landscapes, immense natural diversity of its flora and fauna, and its contribution to the national economy and heritage.
Easy birding- just off the road are possible sightings of McGregor’s Cuckoo-shrike, Elegant Tit, Streak-breasted Rhabdornis and Black-and-cinnamon Fantail.
Recommended sites are Lower Eagle View Point and Higher Eagle View Point where possible of sightings of White-cheeked Bullfinch, Cinnamon Ibon, and Mountain White-eyen are high. The Mossy forest above the Higher Eagle View Point is also an ideal site.
Camp accommodations and meals.
After breakfast, drive to Kidapawan, one of the municipalities found in the slope of Mt. Apo, the highest peak of the land, towering over Southern Mindanao. At 2,956 meters above sea level, it possesses a formidable array of landscapes, from craggy rockscapes to virgin forests; from mossy swamps to volcanic structures. Indeed, Mt. Apo possesses the widest spectrum of environment which its low lying settlement areas like Kidapawan can identify with. Kidapawan serves as one of the take off points for the climb to Mt. Apo. The widely developed orchard farms and primary dipterocarp vegetation, makes Kidapawan a natural birding site. One of the captive bred Philippine eagles was released in Kidapawan in March 2004. Early afternoon arrival in Kidapawan. Check in at the hotel for accommodation. Afternoon birding.
Early morning birding, proceed to Eden nature Park and Resort, a beautiful manmade resort at the foot of Mount Talomo, Toril, Davao City. It is truly a testament to how man’s ingenuity and concern for the environment can create a paradise on earth, making Eden a must-visit ecological tourist destination in the Philippines. At 3,000 feet above sea level, Eden now serves as home to over 100,000 pine trees, beautiful gardens, orchards, animal sanctuaries and other flora and fauna thriving in their natural environment.
Discovered sometime in 1971, the resort used to be a logged-over area covered only by a blanket of wild grass. Its potential was, however, readily seen by the owners as the property provided an imposing view of Davao City and the Davao Gulf.
Not long after, terraces were carved out of the mountain slope, and thousands of pine tree seedlings were planted. As the pine trees grew, they created canopies, allowing other trees and plants to grow and creating a secondary forest. The number of resident and endemic birds found in the park proves that it has already fully recovered. Check in at the resort for accommodations.
EDEN/PHILIPPINE EAGLE CENTER/MALAGOS
After breakfast, proceed to Davao City. A side trip to Samal Island to visit the bat cave is recommended or one may opt to try the zip line in Kapatagan. Proceed to the Philippine Eagle Center.
The Center is home to 36 Philippine eagles, 18 of which are captive-bred. It also houses 10 other species of birds, 4 species of mammals and 2 species of reptiles. Simulating a tropical rain forest environment, the Center offers the visitor a glimpse into the country’s forest ecosystem. The Philippine Eagle Center (PEC) is about an hour’s drive from Davao City. The lush vegetation in the area with its preserved primary growth forest trees and well maintained flower gardens has attracted other bird species commonly seen in lowland forests. After a short briefing, proceed to the nearby Malagos Garden and Resort and check in for accommodation. It is a 12-hectare inland nature theme resort located in Brgy. Malagos,Calinan, Davao City. It is home to the Philippine Orchid, Vanda Sanderiana, commonly referred to as the Waling-Waling. There are likewise indigenous birds and other wildlife species here. One can opt to watch the Malagos Gardens Amazing Bird Show during the stay. Enjoy late afternoon birding following the forest trail.
Early morning birding, followed by breakfast. Then, drive to Bislig in the eastern coast of Mindanao. It is the main point of access into the vast concession area of the Paper Industries Corporation of the Philippines (PICOP), about four hours’ drive from Davao. Its 182,682 hectares extend from the lowland forests to the higher altitude forests on Mt. Pasian and Mt. Agtuuganon.
A must-see destination for birdwatchers in the Philippines, it is one of the best places to view several scarce lowland forest birds. This birding site provides the last remaining haven for the Rufous Hornbill and Writhed Hornbill. Roads 1-4 are the favorite birding sites. Check-in at the inn for accommodations.
Board jeepney for birding centered within the rugged logging roads.
Lunch and dinner at the camp.
PICOP/CAGAYAN DE ORO/MANILA
After breakfast, drive to Cagayan de Oro. One may opt to try the famous whitewater rafting Cagayan or visit Makuhombas Adventure Park. Proceed to airport to take a late afternoon flight for Manila.
All packages include: private transfers using air-conditioned vehicles and jeepneys; accommodations (standard hotels and camp accommodations); full board (all meals); services of a local-technical birding guide.