Wildlife travel: What animals can I see in The Philippines?

Comprised of more than 7000 tropical islands in the Western Pacific, this Southeast Asian country has many places for the wildlife enthusiast to explore in search of endemic species. 

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Illustration by Dawn Cooper

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1. Whale shark, Donsol, Luzon

Whaleshark

Whale shark © Torstenvelden / Getty

Sightings at this elasmobranch mecca are said to peak between February and April, though whale sharks migrate here to feed from December to May. Only snorkelling is allowed. 

2. Philippine eagle, Mount Kitanglad, Mindanao

2017@VoltaireMalazarte

Philippine eagle © Voltaire Malazarte / Getty

Previously known as the monkey-eating eagle – it was renamed after it was found to have a much wider diet that includes colugos and palm civets – this bird is said to be the world’s largest eagle in terms of its length or height.

3. Philippine tarsier, Corella, Bohol

TAGBILARAN, BOHOL, PHILIPPINES - 2008/02/21: The Philippine Tarsier - Tarsius syrichta or Carlito syrichta) - known locally as the Maumag in Cebuano Visayan and Mamag in Luzon, is an endangered species of tarsier endemic to the Philippines.  It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in Bohol.  The tarsier was only introduced to Western biologists in the 18th century.. (Photo by John S Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Philippine tarsier © John S Lander / Getty

You’ll struggle to stumble across this tiny, elusive primate in the wild, but at the Philippine Tarsier Foundation you get to see it in semi-natural habitat. 

4. Palawan peacock-pheasant, Subterranean River National Park, Palawan

Southeast Asian Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum).

Palawan peacock pheasant © Ger Bosma / Getty

Another hard to see species but reports suggest a “tame male” hangs about outside the ranger station.

5. Dugong, Dugong Dive Center, Busuanga Island

Dugong (Dugong dugon) in the seagrass bed shadowed by a trevally. Dimakya Island, Palawan, Philippines

Dugong © Jurgen Freund / Nature Picture Library / Getty

The Dugong Dive Center offers an 80 per cent chance of seeing at least one of the 20 dugongs believed to inhabit the area. Snorkelling and diving with the world’s only herbivorous marine mammal are both possible.

6. Tamaraw, Mount Iglit-Baco National Park, Mindoro

User comments

Tamarac © Pacific Press / Getty

Entirely restricted to Mindoro, this buffalo is classed as Critically Endangered and down to a population of some 400 animals. They weigh no more than 300kg. 

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