Sea turtles and eagles in Davao City? Wow!
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - October 15, 2019 - 12:00am

I was invited to Davao City with my friends in the Cebu media, notably, Freeman Business columnist Fidel O. Abalos, Jhunnex Napallacan, manager of DYLA, Divine Ngujo of Chatterbox and Atty. Elias Espinoza of SunStar Daily led by Aboitiz Power’s Victor Anthony Silva and Maleen Camo. All these were arranged by my good friend, Willy Rodolfo who was once with Cebu media, but has now been with Aboitiz Power for sometime now.

Arriving in Davao we were given the most unexpected tour of our lives, when Willy Rodolfo sent the group to the Davao’s Eagle Center and Sanctuary and saw “Pagasa” and around 40 different Eagles including “Pangarap” who was sponsored by Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV). It was truly the first time for me to visit this part of Davao City and it was also the first time I realized that there are so many corporations and people who sponsor these eagles. Notably, St. Theresa’s College (STC) in Cebu City and Uy Masuy Wine also in Cebu City, Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu and Cebu Pacific Airlines.

There is no doubt that this facility is a tourist destination simply because eagles should never be housed, but kept wild and free. Unfortunately, there are still people who shoot those beautiful birds. It was then that we learned that Pag-asa is already 27 years old. I just hope that people would keep sponsoring those eagles. Then after lunch, we visited another place where wild sea turtles hatch their young eggs on the Davao Coast.

This was once an island that became part of Davao Port, which is owned by the Aboitiz Equity Ventures and is now called Cleanergy Park in Sitio Dimalag in Barangay Matina Aplaya just very near SM in downtown Davao City. Yes, this is where giant sea turtles come to hatch their eggs 25 years after being hatched in this place. What a great way to see Davao City where we did not expect to see sea turtles.

Thanks to Willy Rodolfo of Aboitiz Power, he brought along Sheryin Puno to explain to us the process how sea turtles drop their eggs into a hole on the white sand beach. With her was Papa Pawikan Pap Rotchi who takes care of the sea turtles as many of them come to this park to hatch their eggs. In fact that very next day we were told that some eggs which we saw the previous day had hatched, but we didn’t have time to return there. They also had sea turtles that were rescued because many of them eat plastic wrappers and many often die when they eat them. It was indeed a great day for us, seeing eagles in their sanctuaries and sea turtles that use the Cleanergy Park as a place to hatch their eggs.

The next day, we dropped by a Bone Museum, something that I did not even expect Davao City to have. It is owned by a foreigner and he has three stories of animal bones to fill up his building. These were indeed things that I did not expect to see in Davao City. Yes, we also tried passing by the house of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, but I think he was in Davao when we were there so we were not allowed by the police to pass his home.

We then dropped by the Tudaya Plant 2 Hydro Electric Plant of Hedor in Davao del Sur. This was the newer plant that I previously saw when we rode our big bikes with the late Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz years ago. This was the Sibulan Hydro Electric plant, which took water from the river source and dropped it to a hydro power plant and the excess water is stored in a pool and that water is once more sent down to the next hydro electric plant. So in a way, the new Hedcor hydro plant in Tudaya 2 is a continuing cycle of river water being used to help Davao’s power consumption.

Finally we visited the 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Therma South Inc. in Barangay Binugao, Toril District. Therma South is the largest baseload coal-fed power plant in Mindanao. It uses the latest circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion technology that minimizes emissions to ensure that it meets Philippine Clean Air Act standards. It also features a fully covered coal dome, the first of its kind in the Philippines, which is why this is a very clean coal power plant. This was thoroughly explained to the group by Jean Karl Y. Huyatid, corporate communications specialist of Aboitiz Power.

I have visited this plant when it was 95 percent finished. Now that it is operational, it is one of the main reasons why last summer, Davao City no longer had power outages. I can only give credit to the Aboitiz Power Corp. (APC) for all the things they have done in Mindanao and recently APC was hailed as the most outstanding energy firm in the Philippines by Asiamoney. What we saw in Davao City was not only the plants of APC, but also their environmental support for sea turtles and eagles, something you won’t see anywhere in the Philippines.

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Email: vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com

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