Yes, the iconic Philippine eagle in 1,000-piso bill exists!

Aug. 03, 2023
Photo from Philippine Eagle Foundation’s Facebook page

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Following a social media post that went viral, Davao Today attests that the Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) – as seen in the 1,000-piso polymer banknote – exists and can be seen live at the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) in Brgy. Calinan this city.

However, claims that the eagle in the banknote is Sinag are not true. It is in fact Inambulog (flight), whose name was changed to Viggo after it was adopted by the Eagle Cement Corporation in December 2016.

Viggo is a 13-year old male eagle hatched on March 7, 2010 at the conservation center. It is the first captive-bred Philippine eagle trained to perch on a gloved fist and a semen donor for the Cooperative Artificial Insemination Program. When it’s not breeding season, Viggo does flight exercises with its keeper.

Wildlife photographer Floyd Pison Bermejo took photos of Viggo during his visit at the PEF in 2017 and posted an image on his website and social media account. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) requested Bermejo to use his shot for a commemorative bill.

The relatively new and improved 1,000-piso banknote was officially circulated in April 2022. Its front side features two of the country’s national symbols, the Philippine Eagle (modeled after Viggo) and the Sampaguita (Jasminum sambac) flower.

The Philippine eagle symbolizes the Filipino’s uniqueness, strength, power, love for freedom, and a sharp vision for the country’s future. 

“It is one of the rarest and most powerful birds of prey in the world, making it a source of national pride and identity”, the BSP said.

The Sampaguita symbolizes purity, simplicity, humility, and strength.

These symbols, according to BSP, celebrate the country’s rich flora and fauna. BSP attributed the design in eye pleasing blue which combines an endangered species with an environmental motif when it was awarded the “Banknote of the Year Aaward” by the International Banknote Society in 2022.

The Philippine eagle is on the brink of extinction becoming one of the world’s most endangered forest eagles due to human activities like hunting and deforestation.

READ: Bird on a wire: Groups protect Philippine eagles from power lines

“I hope that every time we see the 1000 peso banknote we will give even more value to the richness of our natural resources,” Bermejo said in a Facebook post in May 2022.

Meanwhile, be it Sinag, Viggo or any other Philippine eagle, the viral post of Lohwana Halaq, an animal keeper at the PEF, aims to educate the people on the country’s national bird, especially to locals who are unaware of the latter’s existence or haven’t seen it face-to-face.

“It is clear that awareness plays a crucial role in species conservation from local to international recognition. Education is key. There is improvement, and progress may be [sic] slow, but saving this species from extinction is worth it,” she said in her post. (

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