I’ve been to the Agas-Agas Bridge in Sogod, Southern Leyte on several occasions.

Currently holding the record of having the highest elevation of all bridges in the Philippines with a height of 292 feet above the ground, it is also the site where the longest zipline (almost a kilometer long) is located.

At this elevation, and when the weather feels like it, low-flying clouds would suddenly envelop the area giving it a scene not unlike being in another temperate country; certainly some place else other than in the Philippines.

And, no, in those times I was in the area, I’ve never had the chance to take some bird shots… until last Thursday, December 22, 2011… when a hornbill, locally known as Talusi, (three of them, actually) suddenly flew into view and perched herself high up in a tree close by where I was just taking snapshots of the general scene.

It was my first bird shot at Agas-agas. And a seldom-seen-in-the-wild Samar Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides samarensis) at that!

Whew! Certainly a great Christmas gift for me!

Merry Christmas, everybody!!!

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Meet one of the most dangerous creatures in the wild… and, guess what, it’s a bird!

Meet the cassowary and it sure can kick ass!

They are capable of dealing fatal blows to humans and other animals with their sharp and mighty claws.

They have put people in hospitals on numerous occasions and there have been many reports of people getting killed by a cassowary attack.

The Guinness Book of Records say that the cassowaries are the world’s most dangerous birds, very unpredictable, very aggressive, especially if wounded or cornered.

The cassowary, an exotic-looking, territorial bird,  lives in the rain forests of Australia and New Guinea and are actually pretty shy animals if undisturbed, unless they think you are a threat to them.

You’ll see one of them – alive and kicking – inside the Davao Crocodile Farm Roadshow right in Metro-Manila, located inside the Boom-na-Boom complex behind Star City in Pasay City. Also called, “Crocodile Park Manila”, the zoo-like park features bird shows and other animal interactions – a highly-recommended activity for the entire family to enjoy and experience.

And not to worry, the cassowary’s cage is securely built and keeps it from attacking park visitors.

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Traveling by car two and a half hours south of Tacloban City via Baybay, one reaches the town of Hindang – a 5th class municipality of the province of Leyte.

The quaint and almost sleepy town of Hindang is better known (together with the town of Inopacan) as the jump-off point in going to the beautiful island beaches found at Quatro Islas (Cuatro Islas).

What is lesser known are the awesome caves inhabited with wild monkeys located at Mt Bontok (also spelled Buntok and Bontoc) at Brgy Buntok, Hindang.

Hindang Caves is relatively more accessible compared to other caves I have visited. There is an access road which is a mere 300 meters from the national highway to the park entrance. Before reaching the poblacion (coming from the town of Inopacan) a road sign on the left side of the highway shows you the way to the access road. This leads you up to the mountains right up to the park entrance where one begins to climb some 100-odd concrete steps up the winding stairway into the forested area where the caves are hidden by the thick foliage.

The climb up is also not as strenuous compared to others. It’s like going up, say, a 5-6-storey building. Manageable.

Upon reaching the area where the pathway branches off to lead to the several caves, one is met with “representatives” of a monkey tribe now a bit spoiled and expecting to be fed with bananas by visitors. The tribe, we were informed by the caretaker, numbers about a hundred!

There are several caves in the area but the more prominent ones are the Cathedral Cave and the Pandayan Cave. These caves served as refuge for the guerillas during WWII and survived heavy bombardment by the Japanese invaders.

Unlike other caves I’ve seen, the caves of Hindang have a more “colorful” look with greenish to orangey hues.

A must-see for those visiting Hindang, the park has picnic areas where one can relax, enjoy the scenic views and savor nature up close.

Continue reading »

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Ever since I started posting photos of Kalanggaman Island here in my photoblog, I’ve received a steady stream of inquiries and, on some instances, requests from close acquaintances to accompany them to the exotic islet of Kalanggaman in Palompon, Leyte.

Last week was what exactly happened. A friend’s friend was home for a vacation from work in the Middle East, and goes, how about a quick trip to Kalanggaman before he heads back to work in a far away land?

Noting they were childhood friends, and, more interestingly, two recently got new DSLR’s and were now sharing new passions – it was something that perked my attention. Besides, a previous engagement cancelled out leaving me free for the weekend. Suddenly I felt the urge to get away from the madding crowd and seek solace in a secluded island. Unspoiled beach, pristine waters and camping out with cold beer – gee,  I needed no further urging!

Although summer’s officially over and the weather was quite windy, we nevertheless enjoyed the pristine beauty, serenity and solace the island graciously provides.

Thanks to Mark Doctolero, Bobbie Alota and Archie Omega for the hospitality! Photos taken August 5 & 6, 2011.

View better image quality photos >>>

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