Monday, February 24, 2014

LOGSAC invades Dahican, waves new experiences as it turns 7 years old

In time for the 7th founding anniversary of the Local Government of Sta. Cruz Adventure Club, the group invaded the orient seas of Dahican, Mati City, Davao Oriental on February 21-22, 2014. This is the first time that LOGSAC had altogether travelled somewhere east, and it was another experience worth-remembering.

“We tried to cook something different for the group, this time we made sure to play with the huge waves of Dahican,” said club Vice President Jonas Florencondia. Indeed, this place deserves to be on top of the list for a must-see beach destination in the entire country. With a long coast line of approximately 7 kilometers, a diverse experience awaits everyone.

Dahican is also known to be Mati City’s prime tourism destination showcasing the world’s famous ocean boarding adventure activities like surfing and skim boarding. With its big waves, it has already produced an international winner named Bayogyog who conquered an event held in Malaysia a couple of years ago.

“It was fitting to have our 7th anniversary being held in one of Mindanao’s popular places,” said club member Danrev Broñola. “As we grow older, I hope we will be able to continue what we have started when we were just a neophyte adventure club”.  

The group stayed overnight at Kubo sa Dahican, an isolated resort located at the tip of Barangay Dahican. It is a cheap resort ideal for backpackers and group tours, with accommodation facilities and swimming pool ideal for team-building activities. They also have small close cottages for small group. It is only 15-minute van ride from Mati City center to Kubo sa Dahican and it can also be accessed through a motorcycle ride from downtown.

We tried to maximize all things around the resort to really enjoy the day like swimming, skim boarding, beach frolicking, shooting, shoting (hehe), eating and even inter-group gambling. We also continued the volleyball madness we started a year ago at Gumasa and as usual, it filled us with so much fun and excitement. And up to this writing, though, I still don’t know who was the winner of that match. It must be concluded with a do or die game next year, venue has to be announced later.

The one thing I also personally love about Mati, or Davao Oriental in general, is the variety of sea foods in the area that are not as expensive as in other places we already visited. Our adopted LOGSAC son Jeff Marvy Dean, who was with the trip, was enticed to buy that lobster in the market worth 80 pesos only. “Lobsters are very expensive that’s why I bought this without second thought. When I get to Boracay last year, this same kind costs 800 pesos.” Our dinner and breakfast were then a seafood affair, after all.

With the very nice experience in Dahican, one of our club members Darwin “Eboy” Juntilla even decided not to go home yet the next day. He wanted to stay for another night and continue the bonding, which was however refused by majority of the group due to varying reasons.

This group only gathers once every year and that’s during our anniversary, but when we do, we always make sure that it will leave an indelible mark in our respective memories. Unlike before when we always have instant gatherings almost every week, it is very difficult now to be always in the company of LOGSAC due to varied commitments of each member.

The Mati experience will surely be one of the many experiences that will be missed. Thank you so much to all those who joined the trip. And for those who didn’t make it, there is always next time for us and that next time will surely be a thing in the future.

For now, let us savor first the freshness of that Dahican invasion.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When eagles and human collide in a single habitat…

By Julius R. Paner

Last Sunday, February 9, 2014 I joined a group of bloggers from Davao City to co-celebrate with the first hatch day celebration of a Philippine Eagle “Mabuhay”, the very first offspring sired by the famous “Pag-asa” on February 9, 2013 at the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) in Malagos, Baguio District, Davao City.

Over the years, I have been a fan of the Philippine Eagle, considered as one of the three largest breed of eagles in the whole world. When I joined the event last Sunday, my interest of the bird had grown larger, definitely as large as the wing span of this beast which is recorded as having the broadest wing span among all eagles on earth. My interest is not only about the unique features of the eagle, but also to the other aspects for which the human race should take into consideration for the eagles to survive.

Physically and to some extent uniquely, the Philippine Eagle is the only blue-eyed bird of prey in the world, with eyes that can see eight times the distance than that of the humans. This carnivorous creature who hunts lemurs, squirrels, civets, snakes and monkeys for its food, is monogamous in nature. It has also an exceptional courtship behavior where in most cases; the male eagle offers food and nesting materials to his partner.

Female eagles lay a single egg once every two years. Parent eagles wait until their offspring is able to make it on its own (usually within two years) before producing another. Egg is incubated alternately by the parents for about 58 to 60 days, with the male eagle doing most of the hunting during the first 40 days of the eaglet’s life while the female stays with the young.

According to some PEF personnel, there are present issues in the country that has greatly affected the flight of eagles in the Philippines. Previously I was fed with the appealing yet frustrating fact that a pair of eagle (male and female) requires something like 10,000 hectares of forest as their habitat. Meaning, when they develop an offspring in two years time, that offspring needs another 5,000 hectares of forest, or half of the couple’s territory.

Indeed, the threat to survival of the Philippine Eagle is very evident nowadays. Data from PEF revealed that there are only about 400 pairs of Philippine Eagles left in our forest today, a very optimistic estimate. They are being hunted for food, sport and out of ignorance. Several experiences about the liberated eagles are very alarming. The release of “Kagsabua” sometime in 2008 was a failure as he was shot dead. “Hineleban”, another eagle released last 2009, was also shot dead, as well as “Hagpa” in 2010. There were a total of four eagles already that were considered casualties of human cruelty.

The Philippine forest cover is continually being denuded, leading to the loss of nesting places for the eagles. The forests are becoming increasingly unhealthy and unable to satisfy the needs of the eagles for food and shelter. What we must realize is that a forest that is unable to fulfill an eagle’s needs will soon be unable to fulfill our own. And we have done almost nothing about it as human being. Our continuous encroachment for farming activities into the forest even worsens the situation.

The direction of PEF is to take a comprehensive approach to conservation, engaging in research, off-site and on-site protection, community-based efforts and public education to promote better understanding and achieve results in the preservation of the eagles and their habitat. This is commendable. As of the moment, there are a total of 34 eagles housed in the PEF center. We must, however, be half-happy and half-sad about this. While the eagles are safe in the center, it is definitely not the type of habitat that they deserve.

With “Mabuhay” now a 1-year old eagle, PEF expects to propagate more eagles either through natural breeding or artificial insemination. But the question still remains obvious, how long will it take for these eagles to stay in a caged environment? Is the government working hard to cater to the needs of the eagles in terms of natural habitat requirements?