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Agriculture

PagAsa turns 18 Monday

- Rose Dela Cruz -

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine eagle named PagAsa, who grabbed the headlines around the world for being the first human-induced embryo and brought up in captivity, is celebrating his 18th birthday tomorrow  

His birthday is expected to renew interest from tourists and investors, here and abroad, about the unique character of this endangered bird species, which is endemic to the Philippines. PagAsa’s father, Junior, died recently when his caretaker got sick for two weeks and the bird refused to eat until he died, according to educators and guides of the eight-hectare Philippine Eagle Center at the foot of Mt. Apo in Davao .

PagAsa’s birthday will be marked by a half-day climate change forum for high school students of Davao City and a tree planting—at their choice of site from the different reforestation projects of the center. Then a cake will be presented to visitors to be blown by PagAsa’s caretaker, Eddie Juntilla, according to Noreen Gisela J. Quiblat, communications officer of the Philippine Eagle Foundation and Philippine Eagle Center.

The center is located south on the road to Digos and Gen. Santos through the Ulas-Calinan junction with another 20 minutes drive towards Malagos Garden Resort. It is home to 32 Philippine eagles and other bird species, and animals indigenous to the country such as assorted hawks and falcons, monkeys, crocodile, deer and wild boar. One caretaker said there are King Cobras that freely roam the center at night.

The Philippine Eagle is considered the tallest, rarest, largest and most powerful bird in the world. It is known by other names such as “Harribon” or “Haring Ibon” which means “Bird King.”  

Its voice is loud, and often lets out high pitched whistles. Juveniles have been known to beg for food by letting out a series of high-pitched calls. The eagles are common in four major islands: eastern Luzon (a few breeding pairs at the Northern Sierra Madre National Park and in Palawan), Samar (with six breeding pairs), Leyte (with two breeding pairs) and Mindanao (with 82 of 233 known breeding pairs at Mt. Apo and Mt. Kitanglad )

The Philippine Eagle was named the national bird of the Philippines in 1995 by President Fidel V. Ramos under Proclamation 615. This eagle, because of its size and rarity, is a favorite among birdwatchers.

BIRD KING

DAVAO CITY

DIGOS AND GEN

EAGLE

EDDIE JUNTILLA

HARING IBON

KING COBRAS

MALAGOS GARDEN RESORT

MT. APO

MT. KITANGLAD

PHILIPPINE EAGLE

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