A few weeks ago, I heard about the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City. I was thrilled by the thought that there is a place like this near the QC Circle. I later found out that it used to be a go-to place for families living near the area. Today, it's an alternative to the La Mesa Ecopark and popular among photography enthusiasts. Inside there's the PAWB-Wildlife Rescue Center that serves as a temporary refuge for donated, rescued, abandoned and confiscated animals for quarantine and rehabilitation. Those deemed fit enough will be released back into their natural habitats while those unfit and exotic animals are put in the mini-zoo in the name of academics, scientific research and awareness. Honestly, I had mixed feelings with this short day trip. It's an amazing experience yet a bit heartbreaking. This is one of those times when I spent a bit more time with my camera as a tool to tell my story. Of course, you'll get the full experience when you go there yourself...
The "Wildlife" entrance for cars can be found at North Avenue while the entrance for walk-ins are at Quezon Avenue. The entrance fees per person is P8 (Eight Pesos) while the car parking fee is P15 (Fifteen Pesos).
If you entered through North Ave, the DENR PAWB-Wildlife Rescue Center will be at your right once you get in.
We went there first since the "mini-zoo" closes at 4 p.m.
It was a very small area, most of it was restricted to the public, most probably for vets, biologists and researchers.
There are lots of animals in cages like birds, blue-balled monkeys and humongous snakes like below.
This one caught our attention. We weren't sure if he was longing to go out (picture Harry Potter snake) or he's just stretching out but Jeff remarked that it was probably the former because it had wounds in its mouth. But of course, we don't know the story behind these animals held here. For now, they are "for display".
I caught a glimpse of the most colorful and nicest lizards I ever saw - the Philippine Sailfin Lizard. Too bad it's in this cage alone and not out in the wild. It looks so much better in person with its Aztec like yellow and purple patterns.
I saw a post about a childhood memory here of lots of Mynas in a cage talking all at once. I could only hope that they were all released already. It's good at least that they don't encourage visitors to ask them to repeat negative words.
We found this red upside-down Chattering Lory.
There are so many more animals like the Palawan Bear Cat, the cutest Palawan Porcupine and the Northern Cloud Rat (remember the Cloud Rat in Pulag?)! Turns out you can see one here, only it's in a cage =(
They have posters like this of other endangered animals in an old bulletin board but I doubt if anyone notices it.. I really do hope the DENR experts are doing their best in this center. Still, it's nice to be able to see animals that I haven't seen before and to know that they will not be here forever.
We left the Wildlife Center and explored the park more. I heard there was a turtle pond somewhere.
The trees and vegetation blocked the sun so it's a good place to have a picnic or chill out with the family although it was border-line overgrown or left alone like that.
The search for the turtle pond turned out to be disappointing as we saw more and more unkempt empty ponds. Again, rather than sulk, I am thinking that the turtles here are not for show in the first place and have eventually been released from captivity.
I don't know if it's just me but I felt sad for some of the wildlife here.
There are around three Philippine Brown Deers.
There's more than one big cage with birds you never saw before.
Here's one among many Ringneck Doves.
From the Quezon Ave. entrance, you'll get here if you go to the right.
There's a huge and open cage full of eagles flying above you. It's like those overhead aquariums, only this one's a bit more open so I'd be careful of poo if I were you haha.
It's not a normal sight to see eagles this close and grounded since they normally live high up and are in flight.
Step closer to see and hear the call of this White-Bellied Eagle.
If I'm not mistaken, this is a sea eagle in an urban jungle. There are so many in this (big) cage and I don't know their stories. I wished someone would tell me when they will be released.
Alas, we have reached the most majestic animal in the park - the Haring Ibon (Haribon) or the Philippine Eagle. It's the actual bird featured in many tourism photos.
The Wildlife Center is its home and it sits alone. I do hope it gets more visitors. This agila is one of the lucky ones to be sponsored for a cage renovation a few years ago.
We moved on to the more populous part of the park where people are just hanging out, sitting on the ground or the benches and taking pictures.
People practice self-defense, practice photography or do pre-nuptial pictures in the public areas away from the animals. There's a manmade lagoon inside the Ninoy Aquino Park and it reminded me of parks I used to visit and people flock to in Beijing (only theirs was a bit more maintained and didn't have wildlife).
There are also water lilies with purple blossoms.
I actually ran out of battery with this last picture haha.
We circled the lagoon for a few more minutes and got to the parking lot where we started. So we circled the whole area already in around 2 hours!
This park is definitely something we would visit again on another Sunday when it's less hot in the metro =) I just hope we'd go back and get to talk to someone more knowledgable about the park the next time so that we can ask the questions and know more about the wildlife situation here. We'd also be more prepared with some snacks, drinks, umbrella and extra camera batteries. All pictures taken from my Canon S110.
So, have you gone there yet? What do you think of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center and the animals there from your own experience or from this post?
I'd love to hear from you below!