THE Texans were in town. No 10-gallon hats, no boots with spurs, no horses, just the kids with them. The kids spent more time in Texas than their hometown but never too late to show them around and get in touch with everything Pinoy and Davao, for that matter.

The zip lines, beaches, the crocodile park, the pools and the malls, there can be a good number of entries you can put in the itinerary. The educational ones seem to be the best and somehow hope that the information can be retained and instill the Pinoy/Dabaw sense of pride in their hearts. Too young perhaps, but who knows what can happen.

It's just too bad that they weren't able to catch the recent Bird Show that Davao City hosted where thousands of people, kids and adults, witnessed. It was amazing.

One bird though can still put everyone in awe - the majestic Philippines Eagle, our National Bird.

But the young Texans caught up with the big bird at the Philippine Eagle Center and got to meet Pag-asa and the rest of his clan for the first time. They were amazed, to say the least. Faces glowing, eyes got bigger and squeaky hurried voices are clear signs of their excitement.

Going to the PEC is always a learning experience. Not only for the kids but the adults as well. Though everyone knows that the former monkey-eating-eagle is not the Philippine Eagle and took the place of the Maya as the national bird and it's on the list of endangered species, I bet only a handful know of the history behind this noble bird's existence and the people who rallied to save it.

Browsing through the center's website, I was amazed with the information one can gather. Not to mention that it's a well designed site (http://www.philippineeagle.org/).

Aside from finding out that the PEC is home to 36 Philippine Eagles, 18 of which are captive-bred, 10 other species of birds, a few species of mammals and reptiles in a rain forest simulated environment, the programs and more, it's the history of the raptor's close call to early extinction that caught my attention. But thanks to the people who involved themselves in the program, these Texan kids and more, got to see this bird alive.

Here's something I think you should know:

"In 1965, Dr. Dioscoro Rabor, a noted Filipino scientist, alerted the world of the bird's endangered status. Ignored by most of his compatriots, he was able to elicit the support of the famous aviator, Charles A. Lindbergh who helped champion the cause. In 1969, the Monkey-Eating Eagle Conservation Program was established. Interest in pursuing the program soon diminished with the death of Charles Lindbergh. During this period, work on the eagle was sustained through the initiatives of Peace Corps volunteers in cooperation with the Philippine government's Parks and Wildlife Office.

In 1977, one of the Peace Corps volunteers, Robert S. Kennedy returned to the Philippines to study the eagle further. He also successfully lobbied for the Office of the President to change the species' name from "Monkey-eating Eagle" to its present name, the Philippine Eagle.

In 1987, the project started operating as a private institution. Financial constraints did not hinder the staff from pursuing its mission. They waived their salaries for over a year in order to feed the eagles, ensure that fieldwork continued and carry on the great mission of saving the magnificent bird."

"The dedication and effort invested into this work eventually paid off. In 1992, the Foundation successfully produced the first two Philippine Eagles hatched and bred in captivity. The birth of Pag-asa (Hope) and Pagkakaisa (Unity) caught the world's attention and eventually led to the subsequent outpouring of public support and sympathy that helped revitalize the effort to save the species."

We can do our part. Check out the site and see how you can contribute in saving our wonderful bird and on a bigger picture, save the environment.and us. After all, we are all connected.

Did you know?

The Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) is a giant forest raptor endemic to the Philippines. It is considered one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world. Unfortunately, it is also one of the world's rarest and certainly among its most critical endangered vertebrate species. The eagle is known to be geographically restricted to the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao.