Meet the photographer behind Philippine eagle icon in new P1,000 bill

May 2, 2022 - 6:32 PM
These photos show the redesigned the P1,000 bank notes. (Facebook/Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas introduced the Filipino wildlife photographer who captured the image of the Philippine eagle used in the new P1,000 bill.

In a Facebook post on May 1, the BSP said that the photographer’s name is Floyd Bermejo, who is also an avid birdwatcher and bird conservationist in the country.

Bermejo hopes that the photo will inspire people to protect the Philippine eagle, the country’s national bird, from extinction.

“Floyd Bermejo is the wildlife photographer who captured the image of the Philippine Eagle used in the new polymer banknote. He hopes that his photo will inspire people to protect and save the Philippine Eagle from extinction,” BSP said.

In a separate feature, the BSP shared that Bermejo is a member of the Robert S. Kennedy Bird Conservancy, a group that specializes in taking photos of the country’s birds for their protection.

He became a conservationist after his immersion in communities that served as homes or habitats for these endangered birds.

“At first, Mr. Bermejo took and collected photos to relieve stress. But through his immersion in communities that served as habitats of endangered birds, his collections transformed into a powerful platform for his conservation advocacies,” BSP said.

The central bank said that he captured the photo of the Philippine eagle, a powerful bird of prey, in a sanctuary in Davao.

“His passion as a lensman and his work as a pilot [has] allowed him to visit many protected forests and wildlife sanctuaries, including the one in Davao where he took the iconic photo of the Philippine Eagle featured on the polymer banknote,” it said.

Bermejo’s passion for photography, meanwhile, started when he was a child hunting birds for food in the mountains of Sipalay, Negros Occidental.

Now, as a bird hunter-turned-conservationist, Bermejo said that his work still feels like he’s “bird-hunting.”

“Nagustuhan ko iyong wildlife photography kasi parang naghu-hunt ka rin. Pero this time, you are using your camera,” he was quoted as saying in the article.

Bermejo hoped that the eagle’s photo in the new design of the P1,000 banknote will raise awareness about the urgent need for the bird’s conservation.

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On protecting the endangered bird

Data from the Philippine Eagle Foundation showed that there are only 400 breeding pairs of these endemic species left in the wild.

It is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Aside from conservation, the BSP also chose the powerful bird to be highlighted because of its symbolism.

“To celebrate the diversity of the country’s flora and fauna, the new 1000-Piso polymer banknote highlights the Philippine Eagle, the country’s national bird, which exemplifies the Filipinos’ strength and love for freedom as well as the BSP’s independence and clear vision to help achieve a stronger and more inclusive economy. The banknote’s design also features the Sampaguita, which symbolizes purity, fidelity, and hope,” BSP said.

The current P1,000 bill still bears the faces of the World War II heroes—Jose Abad Santos, Josefa Llanes Escoda and Gen. Vicente Lim.

BSP will roll out the new bank notes in phases. This started last month.