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Eagle Week and it's one week of fun

Eagle Week and it's one week of fun
Ang Dabawenyo
Saturday, June 5, 2010
By Stella A. Estremera



IN A generation raised with computers, mobile phones and remote controls, and get their music and videos not from the regular music shops but from downloads in the internet, shouting agitation slogans, raising clenched fists, waving red flags and just showing anger against the system just no longer brings them to action.

There's just too many music and videos still to be downloaded. And yes, shouting isn't fun when you're not grooving.
So groove they did in the FlashMob Dance that saw regularly clothed teens and friends break out in a dance on the driveway of NCCC Mall last week to start off the "GreenMob", which ushers in the 12th Philippine Eagle Week.

Davao City has one distinct celebration that sets is apart from all other cities and provinces in the country -- the Philippine Eagle Week as set aside by Presidential Proclamation No. 79 issued last February 24, 1999. The Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), being the national bird, has all the reason to be celebrated for by the country. But Davao City holds the distinction of being the home of the conservation efforts for this giant raptor. Thus, there is the bigger reason to celebrate.

With the theme "Sa Agila May Pag-asa Laban sa Pagbabago ng Klima", this year's Philippine Eagle Week, which started last Friday and will end on the 13th, brings in activities that makes conservation efforts and environmental concern become more fun, and thus be better imbibed with today's multi-media, multi-tasked and generally attention-deficit generation.

The GreenMob, the start of the week's celebration stands for Green Mobilization, where alternative and energy-efficient modes of mobilization are tapped -- walking, biking, skating, and every other means to move. The participants, however, opted to go the easier way -- walk and run toward Matina where carpool vehicles are gathered to bring the participants to the Philippine Eagle Center in Malagos, Baguio District, for the opening ceremonies.

Wildlife Photography

Yesterday, today and on Wednesday, photography enthusiasts will learn the basics of wildlife photography at the SM City Event Centre.

Wild Views Photography Workshop seeks not only to give some tips on how take photos of wildlife, but also to impart the ethics and proper decorum in responsible photography of wildlife and wildlife habitats. The message to be imparted, photography is but a tool, the photographer but an observer. The main character that should be respected and approached with care is Mother Nature.

Today, you and your family can still get to meet some birds and wildlife at the SM Event Centre in the Animal Encounter. Learn about the wildlife our city is host to and get a souvenir photo with them.

Race for Pag-asa

Today will be the "Race for Pag-asa, race for climate change" from the People's Park in downtown Davao City to the Philippine Eagle Center.

An adventure race composed of teams made up of three participants each, the racers will not only try to outrun their opponents but will also be made to do tasks and challenges that will test their knowledge on climate change and eagle conservation.

With ten pit stops between the start and finish line, organizers estimate the race to last for eight hours.

It would be fun to go out and see how the race unfolds today. So drop by People's Park just before 8 a.m. for the start of the race, or check on the racers progress from People's Park to MacArthur Highway to Davao-Bukidnon Highway .

This activity is a partnership between the Philippine Eagle Foundation and uLink, an IT company providing free SMS service to Philippine networks.

Also part of the race are the Royal Blood Rescue Team, Habagat, Killer Bee 89.1, Malagos Garden Resort, Deca Wakeboard Park , Davao Crocodile Park , Caltex Ulas, ABS-CBN and Zip City .

Winners stand to get P7,000.00, P5,000.00, and P3,000.00 for the top three places.

Reforest Arakan

Arakan Valley, one of the identified habitats of the Philippine Eagle, will host the month-long activity intended to bring back the forests where the eagles live.

Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to sponsor the planting of trees in Arakan Valley for P100 per seedling.

You can just contact PEF through Tatit Quiblat at 082 2712337, 09177122895 or emailtatit@philippineeagle.org to send in your help. And you can opt to just pledge seedlings or actually plant the seedlings in a field trip with the PEF to get to see the reforestation area and the indigenous peoples of Arakan who are doing their share in reforesting their once lush mountains.

An eagle pair considers 7,000 hectares of forestland as their territory. For the eagles to thrive, Davao and Mindanao has to bring back its fast-depleting forests. But this effort will come with a big bonus: a slowing down to climate change, the effects of which we are already feeling now.

RP Bird Festival

The celebration doesn't just come to an end on June 13 as PEF with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines will be hosting the First Asian Bird Fair along with the 6th Philippine Bird Festival on September 24-26, right here in Davao City.

The Philippine Bird Festival is the country's main conservation and eco-tourism event. This will be the first time that it will be held in Davao City .

On the other hand, the first-ever Asian Bird Fair intends to highlight the bird festival of participating countries to drum up interest on birdwatching as a viable eco-tourism come-on as well as to promote the natural and cultural heritage of the participating countries.

This festival is a joint project of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines , the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, the Chinese Wild Bird Federation, the Wild Bird Society of Taipei, the Malaysian Nature Society and the Nature Society of Singapore.

As such, the bird-watching and conservation groups of these countries are expected to fly in and participate. It also expects to bring in bird watchers, conservationists, eco-tourism promoters, sustainable development providers, and nature lovers from around the country, Asia and Europe .

The Birdfest will be launched on June 13.

Indeed, conservation and climate change are today's buzzword. But awareness without involvement can still spell doom for our Philippine Eagle -- long regarded as the barometer for our country's environmental health.

With fast-dwindling forests and mountains now being sold off for mining of all kinds, our country's environmental health will be heading to even worse states and the two-hour rotational brownouts of Davao City and the six-hour rotational brownouts elsewhere will just become the norm. Until government brings in nuclear power, that is... and then we all might just break into another FlashMob dance.