Wednesday, June 4

palay-palay road update...

inspite of the rising gasoline prices (see my previous blog entry), adri and i decided to drive to ternate last sunday for the caylabne preservation volunteers' guided trip. 

and since we were driving anyway, se decided to leave in the wee hours of the morning so we could squeeze in some birding at the ternate-nasugbu highway construction site, which i last visited over two months ago (see pictures from that trip here). happily, leni s. had the same idea and we met at the (now non-existent!) gate to the site at 6am (which happens to be way past sunrise at this time of the year by the way).

so update on the road... the gate is now gone so anyone can enter freely it seems.  no need to flash your birding paraphernalia or your wbcp id or name drop.  and at the "basketball court" you will be greeted by several trucks and heavy equipment.  and look!

yes, there is now a two-lane concrete road for the first couple of kilometers.  and the small herd of goats has now multiplied into a small armada which are let loose to invade the virgin road and the roadside vegetation.

the birds were very noisy at the place where we usually park and start our birding.  the black-chinned fruit dove was still there, and the white-browed shamas and tailorbirds and black-naped monarchs sang noisily behind the vegetation.  the air was buzzing with guaiabero activity, and adri was able to scope an unusually sad little bird for leni to inspect.
we saw a couple of male tarictics, one feeding at a fruiting tree that leni identified to be Trema orientalis. we wondered how such a large bill could pick out such dainty fruit. 

much of the roadside vegetation had been cleared, so i was thinking of what lydia would think of that when i saw a few butterflies flitting about the now bare soil.

and as usual, it was not just birding for me but "bugging" as well. since i touched up on my zoology i now know that this is a millipede and not a centipede :)

the morning grew warmer and we rested by the roadside before heading back up.  while waiting for a pair of greater flamebacks to re-appear, several philippine falconets kept us company. 

movement in the trees turned out not to be a bird, but a large male macaque (and you all know how i detest monkeys) hanging out on a tree far, far (thank goodness) above us, probably trying to make out what we were doing (and if we had food).

as we were pondering the fate of mt. palay-palay and imagining the sight before us in a few years after the road is finished and opened, a familiar, but out-of-place sound reached our ears.

and as if it seal the inevitability of the future, what else would come up the dirt road...

a tricycle in the middle one of our favorite birding sites.  how else could we react?  leni let out a big "OH NO."  and we laughed and joked about how that lone tricycle shuttling passengers to the end of the dirt road could be used to shuttle the dude-birders (you know who you are) for 15 pesos one-way.

here's leni, almost incredulous at the sight of the tricycle coming from down the mountain after a few minutes.

and with that, we packed our water and biscuits and sandwiches, shook the dust (from the tricycle which passed by of course) from our pants and headed up to meet mike and the others at caylabne.

we could only imagine what sights will greet us the next time we find ourselves at the infamous ternate-nasugbu highway.
(to be continued...)


  1. one sentimental journal worth keeping in the sad transition of palay-palay from isolation to destruction..i hope will not happen (in my lifetime..)

  2. ma'am trinket! ;D all of those stuff are "in nature" lang talaga? wow, amazing ah! ;D na-feel ko ang VM ng BOx (in a way) while looking at those... grabe, iba talaga when your heart's "in the field" (of bio)... nakakatuwa =)

  3. Sob sob sob.... The tricycle signals the start of a small community which in time would swell to a large colony of people.... I bet....

  4. No no no! We must talk about a solution at the party in your house. Not here, because it would be too unPC! Doc Joey and I have discussed it in Bislig. Heheheh!

  5. If only they would construct a cable lift for birders there would be no need for the tricycle !
    In the meantime, will put this story on the homepage of