Philippines trip

Subject: Philippines trip
From: Ian Reid <>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:12:36 +1030
Dear Richard,

deeply sorry to hear about your troubles and especially the terrible news about Carlito. I had the privilege of meeting him is 2010 when I first went to Mindanao (we had decent, if distant views of the Eagle back then). He does fantastic work on Kitanglad I wish him a speedy recovery.

I was in Mindanao again this time last year. We spent 5 days in PICOP and then the plan was to travel to Davao for 2 days to see the nesting eagles on Mt Apo. However while we were still in PICOP I had word from our Davao-based guide that there were issues with access because of alleged NPA activity in the area. Other less circumspect groups ignored this -- putting it down to an invention by local politicians jealous of payments to villagers for access -- and sailed through without problems. However we decided not to go because of the chance that the rumour was true and the dire consequences if it were (not to mention the other political issues that ignoring the local Captain might cause for subsequent groups). Despite being utterly gripped off at not being able to photograph the Eagles we remain content that it was the right call, and your harrowing tale only confirms that.

Cheers, Ian

On 22/02/2015 9:14 PM, Richard Johnstone wrote:
Hi all.

I returned home yesterday from a Philippines birding trip. This was very
successful in regard to the birds we saw, however in Mindanao we encountered
a problem in a supposedly safe area in the north of the island, on Mt
Kitanglad. It appears that the army mistook our party for a group of NPA
guerrillas that they were pursuing through the mountain forest. The article
in the attached url gives an outline of what occurred.

Our party was comprised of 3 Danish birders, 2 British and a British guide,
myself plus our local guide and one of his sons.

The local guide Carlito was severely wounded when he was shot in the left
arm , not right arm as it states in the article, he has undergone surgery in
nearby Cagayan de Oro, and is now recovering. He will need ongoing surgery
for a shattered arm, and the army is taking care of his needs.

Carlito is a well known bird guide in the area and runs the lodge on Mt
Kitanglad, the only accommodation in the area. We were there to see
Philippine eagle, this was our second day in that particular site, very near
the eagle viewing location. It is a shame that Carlito has, at least for the
moment, lost his livelihood and good health, and birders who have seen him
finding and identifying birds on Mt Kitanglad will be very concerned about
his situation. The immediate future of birding on the mountain is probably
doubtful as well.

I will be keeping in contact in with people in the Philippineswho can tell
me and the other birders in the group how Carlito is progressing.

We all decided to continue on our scheduled 5 day trip to Palawan after the
incident, it was a  good decision, we were able to discuss what had happened
and work ourselves through the detail, to debrief a lot with people who had
been through the same experience. It was very bonding for all of us.

The birds and scenery in Palawan were also nice, it helped end the trip on a
more positive note. No eagle though!


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Prof. Ian Reid
ARC Laureate Fellow
School of Computer Science
University of Adelaide
Adelaide, 5005
ph: +61 (08) 83132135

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