It was a fun Saturday afternoon as nearly a hundred Davaoeño youngsters experienced the new Hawk Walk and Diola's Forest exhibits at the Philippine Eagle Center over the weekend.

The Hawk Walk and Diola's Forest, the latest youth-oriented facilities at the Center, were inaugurated last Saturday, June 10, amidst fun games, face painting, balloon animals, clowns, and free-flowing cotton candy.

Jeremiah and Joseph, nephews of Davao City Councilor Rene Elias Lopez, Marga, daughter of Department of Tourism Regional Director Sonia Garcia, and Marga's cousins from the Garcia clan were among the first to explore the new facilities. They were joined by children from the DS Foundation for the Differently-abled and pediatric cancer patients from the Kythe Foundation.

Congressman Vincent Garcia, representative for the 2nd District of Davao, unveiled the marker for Diola's Forest with Congressman Del de Guzman of Marikina, while Councilor Lopez cut the ribbon in behalf of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the City Government of Davao to officially open the Hawk Walk.

Diola's Forest, an exhibit room designed specifically for young audiences, features Philippine Eagle artifacts like bones and feathers and information on other birds of prey and biodiversity. Young guests to the inauguration party also enjoyed playing with animal toys and puzzles, and leafing through story books on the eagle in the cozy reading corner of the room.

The room was named after the eagle Diola, the mother of Pag-asa and Pagkakaisa, the first captive-bred Philippine Eagles.

Development of the room began as early as 2002, when Congressman Garcia, de Guzman and seven other House members pledged support for the education efforts of the Philippine Eagle Foundation. Garcia and de Guzman were joined by Representatives Ed Chatto, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Gilbert Remulla, Felix William Fuentebella, Joel Villanueva, Kim Bernardo-Lokin and Eileen Ermita-Buhain in constructing Diola's Forest.

Councilor Lopez and Paolo Ouano of Mayor Duterte's Rody Project (Recognizing Outstanding Davao Youth) in turn cut the ribbon to open the Hawk Walk, a special alley displaying different species of raptors (birds of prey). The Hawk Walk allows visitors close and personal encounters with the birds.

The walk was constructed by the City Government of Davao to aid in the education of the public on the differences between raptor species. With its 10 adjoining compartments, the Hawk Walk allows guests to compare the characteristics of each species as they proceed along the walk. The facility is also expected to enhance the public's appreciation of the biodiversity in the country.

The inauguration was held at the close of the 8th Philippine Eagle Week, which began on June 3.

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