THE PHILIPPINES 2010
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao
Day 1: Arrival at Manila International Airport
and will be picked up and transferred to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 2-3: To acclimatize to Philippine birding
and temperature, we begin our tour at Mt. Makiling in Los Baños,
Laguna. This site is a good introduction to Philippine birds and
Luzon lowland endemics. Species we expect to see are the Philippine
Falconet, Spotted Buttonquail, Scale-feathered and Red-crested
Malkohas, Philippine Scops and Hawk-Owls, Spotted Wood and Indigo-banded
Kingfishers, Luzon Hornbill, White-browed Shama, and with lots
of luck, the Luzon Bleeding-heart and Ashy Ground Thrush. We will
be housed at City of Springs Resort for two nights.
Day 4: We drive early morning north of Luzon
to Banaue, Mountain Province. Along the way to Banaue, we will
have a quick stop at Candaba Marsh, Pampanga to look for the endemic
Philippine Duck and other waterbirds such as rails, bitterns and
waders. This site is one of the Philippines’ best sites
for migratory birds. We continue on to Banaue arriving late in
the afternoon. We will be staying in Banaue Hotel for three nights.
Day 5-6: Early morning drive to Mt. Polis for
two full days birding. Although the montane mossy forests of Mt.
Polis are rapidly disappearing, it is still home to some rare
specialties of Luzon montane forests such as the stunning Flame-breasted
Fruit Dove, Luzon Scops-Owl, Whiskered Pitta and Benguet Bush
Warbler. We will also be looking for Chestnut-faced Babbler, Luzon
Bush-Warbler, Green-backed Whistler, Luzon Water-Redstart and
the endemic Mountain Shrike.
Day 7: Drive south to Subic, Zambales. This former
US naval base still has very good and superb lowland forest. Stay
at Mountainwoods Resort for two nights.
Day 8: Today we spend all day birding around
the former US Naval Base. There are great varieties of more widespread
endemics and unique species in the area. The specialties we would
be searching for are the Green Racquet-tail, Rufous Coucal, Blackish
Cuckooshrike, White-lored Oriole and with lots of luck –
the endemic White-fronted Tit.
Day 9: We will have an early morning birding
and drive to Manila in the afternoon for an overnight stay.
Day 10: Morning flight from Manila to Puerto
Princesa, Palawan. This island southwest of Luzon has several
island endemics and other birds that are very similar to those
from mainland Asia. Upon arrival, we will visit nearby beaches
for the rare Chinese Egret and other wintering shorebirds. We
then drive to Sabang, stopping at some sites in search of Palawan
endemics. Later in the afternoon, we search for Palawan Scops
Owl and Javan Frogmouth. We stay at Last Frontier Resort for 3
Day 11-12: We visit the pristine forests of
St. Paul’s National Park, home of the world famous underground
river. This protected area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and
is considered to be the longest navigable river tunnel in the
world. We should find most of the island’s endemics in the
area. Some individuals will require work, like the skulking Falcated
Ground-Babbler, the shy Palawan Blue Flycatcher and the dazzling
Day 13: After a final morning birding, we return
to Puerto Princesa for overnight stay.
Day 14: Today we visit Balsahan Trail in Iwahig.
This site is excellent for two endemic species, the Melodious
Tree Babbler and Palawan Flycatcher that is not present in St.
Paul’s. Before midday, we will drive to Narra, a town south
of the Palawan capital, Puerto Princesa which is the take-off
point for Rasa Island. Late in the afternoon we will visit Rasa
Island. This island is the last stronghold of the critically endangered
Philippine Cockatoo. Return to Narra and night at La Vista.
Day 15: Early drive to Puerto Princesa City.
We stop en route if we still need to search for the Palawan Flycatcher.
Fly to Manila then connect to Bacolod, Negros Occidental to start
the Visayan leg of our tour. We will spend the night at L’
Day 16: This morning we take a short drive to
the lower slopes of Mt. Canlaon. This is considered as the most
active volcano in the Central Philippines. Mt. Canlaon has an
elevation of 2435 m and is home to some of the best fauna and
flora in the Panay / Negros region. We will be hiking up to 900
meters above sea level in search for Visayan Hornbill, White-winged
Cuckooshrike, Flame-templed Babbler and White-vented whistler.
We will also look for Visayan Flowerpecker at Mambucal. Return
to L’ Fisher hotel.
Day 17: We take an early morning flight from
Bacolod to Cebu. Upon arrival, we drive to the Cebu port and take
a Supercat ferry to Tagbilaran City, Bohol. This small island
north of Mindanao is famous for wonderful dive spots, dolphin
and whale-watching, and its white-sandy beaches and crystal clear
waters. First stop is the Chocolate Hills Hotel, where we will
stay for two nights. The Chocolate Hills is an unusual geological
formation that is composed of around 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped
hills of about the same size, spread over an area of more than
50 square kilometres (20 sq mi). They are covered in green grass
that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name. In the
late afternoon, we will visit nearby Rajah Sikatuna National Park
(RSNP) to search for Philippine Frogmouth and other nocturnal
Day 18: We will have a full day birding at RSNP
in search for Yellow-breasted Tailorbird, Visayan Broadbill (with
lots of luck), Steere’s (Azure-breasted) Pitta, and Rufous-lored
and Silvery Kingfishers.
Day 19: Final morning birding at RSNP. Drive
to Tagbilaran City and take the Supercat ferry back to Cebu. Overnight
Day 20: Full day birding in Tabunan, Cebu. This
site contains one of the last remaining remnants of primary forest
in Cebu. Today will be searching for the island’s specialties,
the Cebu Black Shama and with lots of luck the rare and rediscovered
Cebu Flowerpecker. Return to hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 21: Early morning departure for Davao to
start the tour’s Mindanao leg. Drive to Bislig, Surigao
and check-in at Paper Country Inn (PCI). We will visit Bislig
Airport late in the afternoon to look for Philippine Duck, Wandering
Whistling Duck and Australasian Grass Owl. Spend the night at
Day 22-24: We will have three full days birding
in PICOP in search of Mindanao lowland endemics. Though the forest
is rapidly disappearing due to illegal logging, PICOP still holds
several Mindanao lowland specialties such as Writhed, Rufous and
Mindanao Hornbills, Blue-capped and Silvery Kingfishers, Black-faced
Coucal, Red-bellied and Steere’s (Azure-breasted) Pitta,
Celestial and Short-crested Monarchs. The few remaining patches
of forests also host several species of the doves and pigeons
such as Black-chinned Fruit-doves, Amethyst Brown-dove and other
Day 25: We’ll have a break from birding
and take a long drive to Cagayan de Oro. Spend the night at Harbor
Day 26: This morning, we take a short drive
to Dalwangan, Damitan Village, Bukidnon and take a hike to the
Eagle Camp, rustic accommodations situated at the foothills of
Mt. Kitanglad. This will be our home base for the next three nights.
Before nightfall, we look around the camp grounds for the recently-described
Bukidnon Woodcock, Philippine Frogmouth, and Mindanao and Giant
Day 27-28: We will have two full days birding
in search for the Great Philippine Eagle and other Mindanao montane
endemics. We will be looking for Apo Myna, Cinnamon Ibon, Grey-hooded
and Apo Sunbirds, Red-eared Parrotfinch, and White-cheeked Bullfinch.
Day 29: Early morning birding to look for other
species we might have missed. We will then trek back to Dalwangan
and then drive back to Cagayan de Oro City. Fly Cagayan de Oro
to Manila. Spend the night in Manila.
Day 30: End of tour.