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Kalaw for Sale | The Fate of Mindanao Wrinkled Hornbill







It is a fact and most of us know that we have a dwindling natural resources as economic development pushes  year by year. Before the coming of the Spaniards, the Philippine archipelago has  90% forest cover on its 300,000 km2 of land. But now, the natural vegetation cover barely reach 10% of the total land area.


As the population increases and the demand for supply of food and other necessities such as materials for new innovations, the natural resources particularly the forest cover continue to decline each year by thousands of hectares.

One impact of the decline in forest cover is the disturbance and loss of habitat for most of the terrestrial animals. One example is the Mindanao Wrinkled Hornbill.

Damn If I Do, Damn If I Don't!

I made an encounter of this endemic bird species a couple years ago when a tribesman came over and asked me to buy the good he was carrying. I have no idea that it was a newly hatched hornbill (Aceros leucocephalus) hidden inside his basket. The man was selling this poor bird for Php1000.00.  I was placed on a difficult situation to decide on the future of the poor bird. 


Poor hornbill 
As much as I care for the survival of the hornbill, I know that in the care of man, the survival is near zero and much more if it has to be returned to the wild. 

My final decision? I DIDN’T BUY IT! Did I report it to authority? A BIG FAT NO! Why? My reason was, if the man will be put into prison or at least hunted by the authority, his family will go hungry and his children will be pushed to do the same. And beside, the government agency that supposedly implementing the law in the vicinity was barely felt and no alternative livelihood assistance are given to the poor indigenous people to forbid them from utilizing the forest resources that was handed to them by their ancestors.

I have lived and immersed well in this poor community and I have my sympathy to the locals of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur as it is undeniable that poverty hunts every member of their tribe. Families depend  alone on the natural resources to sustain their daily needs. Unless televised, government assistance and services barely reach the isolated communities forcing the indigenous people to dwell on wildlife trade.

This particular bird breeds only once a year and requires good forest-covered environment to maintain its population. But if its demise means life for another life, I will account it to the natural way of survival of the fittest.


JUDGE ME IF YOU WANT! But tell me,  if you were placed in the same situation, what would be your action?


32 comments :

  1. Ann Marie AmargaMay 5, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    For how long was the rough (very rough) habal-habal ride? 1 hour?

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  2. hi @Ann Marie Amarga .. thanks for your interest to visit Asik Asik.. from Alamada town proper it will take at least an hour before you reach the campsite using Habal habal ... take care and have fun :D

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  3. Ann Marie AmargaMay 5, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Ok thanks! I need to think about it a million times, this seems to be a lot more challenging than going to Tinuy-an Falls.

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  4. matagtag talaga ang biyahe, but judging the photos, very attractive naman ang falls. Baka sulit ang sacrifice..

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  5. Such a beautiful place....very promising for tourists.

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  6. I love how you told your story! Haha! The falls look absolutely beautiful, but I don't think I'll make it through that journey! The rocky roads in Bacolod were already quite rocky for me! :)

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  7. I really thought you meant virgins as in first timer.. I didn't know that it was literal, Seriously judging from your photos I don't think I'd dare to visit it for now.

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  8. hahaha! the deflowering part is hilarious!

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  9. Rochkirstin SantosMay 5, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    I think this place is really not for me because I'm part of those you mentioned. I won't be encouraged if it's too hard to reach it; I'm not a hardcore adventurer haha.

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  10. First off, the title was eye-catching, more so when you wrote why it was "Damn, if I was a young virgin woman, it could have torn my hymen and put me to bleed throughout the painstakingDE-VIRGINIZING rough ride. Glad I wasn’t, but I felt it did crack my eggs a little and have blended my “YOLK” completely! Grrrr!" I laughed at this statement, but not on your experience per se. If I traversed the same road, I would've given the trike driver/guide more than the value that he asked for. And may I just say that Asik-Asik is a hidden gem (literally)! Hopefully when I head to North Cotabato, the roads have been fixed already. :)

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  11. This trip to Asik Asik falls sure looks exciting! You would definitely need to have a lot of adventure hormones with you when you visit this place!

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  12. Dana Dela CuestaMay 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    I laughed so hard while reading this...

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  13. thanks @Mai_Flores . i hope the road will be at least a little developed on your visit to Asik Asik...:D

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  14. You got it right @leirs as I meant for both .. for first timers and for the virgins literally hahaha.

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  15. Wow...a Kalaw and its awesome to look at...but it's against the law.

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  16. I found your choice practical and realistic. It's survival of the fittest.

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  17. Poor bird! But you're right, although the tribesman is wrong, we should blame the government agency for not doing its job.

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  18. Rochkirstin SantosMay 8, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Similar to you, I would not dare to buy it and carry it home either. It's good that you blogged about it to increase people's awareness.

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  19. i guess i would do the same. though i wish the authorities are responsible enough to look after this poor birds

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  20. ooohh!! hornbills are the only birds I knew that have eyelashes! so endangered so it must be well preserved.. hmmm. If I will be put in that situation (and I'm a millionaire), Id buy the bird and give it to the authorities or wildlife zoos. (atleast there it can have proper shelter)

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  21. I'm not aware of this bird. I've heard it but haven't seen it. This post should be a wake up call for our government officials who should have the initiative to look after the welfare of our precious animals.

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  22. Poor little bird. It is tough to be in that situation. I guess I'd do the same, though.

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  23. Hello Sir Dolojan, can we go trekking

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  24. Hello Sir Dolojan, can we go trekking to Asik Asik Falls?

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  25. hi @Pring ... there is nothing to trek in Asik Asik Falls other than the stairs going to the site of Asik Asik ...

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  26. Salamat sa interesting info po, that I didn t found on any other blogg.

    I visit Philippines many times, but I heard many stories of tourists captured by militants in Mindanao, so I never went to that part of Mindanao.. (I only went to Davao City and Surigao coz in what I read seems safer parts of the Island) Do you think that it is safe for me as a European tourist and my gf to visit there?

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  27. Hi Jason Hili ,

    I appreciate your interest on visiting the Philippines.on different occasions. True that there were incidents of abductions of foreigners in ARMM by the bandits Abu Sayaff and this tarnish our reputation impeding our tourism industry. To be honest I dont recommend foreign nationals to go in any parts covered by ARMM without any security escort. Abductions happened actually in Sulu and Basilan and so far I have not heard anything in North Cotabato to where this waterfall is found. There were also a few foreign nationals who have visited Asik Asik Falls already . If you wish to visit this place make an arrangement first with the Municipal Tourism Office first for security purpose. They will accommodate you whole heartedly. Pls email ms, Melisa Bagsican melisa Bagsican ;

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  28. Thanks very much, I really appreciate all your info.

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  29. hi can i bring a 4x4 pick-up to the campsite?

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  30. Hi @Joy , yes you may bring a 4 x 4 pick up to the campsite...better transportation if you are in a group...

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  31. WOW! this must be the local version of The Road to El Dorado. :p

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  32. hi. i plan to see asik-asik at the end of this month...have some friends who have been there and they told me that it's really a must-see to those who love to chase waterfalls. would you know if there are accommodations in alamada? i plan to stay there for a night before proceeding to the falls. also, so i could have a place to leave my stuffs. thanks!

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