A bird resembling a mythical one in Philippine literature was spotted in the forests of Mount Apo in the Davao region.
The Davao division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) uploaded photos of this winged creature on its Facebook page on July 14.
The photos were captured by Kemuel Libre of DENR’s Protected Area Management and Biodiversity Conservation Section (PAMBCS) in the region.
“’Ibong Adarna’ in Mount Apo. Yes, it’s the ‘Ibong Adarna’ but no, not in the Kingdom of Berbania. This strikingly beautiful bird was captured in the tropical forest of Mt. Apo,” DENR said.
The so-called real-life Ibong Adarna is the Philippine trogon (scientific name: Harpactes ardens). The snapshots showed a yellow bird with long eye lashes.
The environment agency also explained that the Philippine trogon with subdued mustard hues is a female, while the bird with bright colors is a male.
“While the male Philippine Trogon displays bright colors, the female ones possess subdued shades of mustard-yellow underparts and an olive-brown head,” DENR said.
“They feed on insects and fruits and shelter on tree hollows. Being reluctant to people, they found bliss in the darker portions of our forests,” it added.
DENR also included a photo of a male Philippine trogon from Jonet Carpio. This one has bright red, brown and pink colors.
“This elusive, long-tailed avian is endemic to our country and is associated to the famous lore ‘Ibong Adarna’ as this 1941-film’s central figure. Please help protect and preserve these legends,” the department said.
“Ibong Adarna,” also called “The Adarna Bird,” is a popular fictional story told in a poem about a mythical, beautiful bird that possesses healing songs.
The story follows the adventure of three princes Don Pedro, Don Diego and Don Juan with the elusive Adarna in the Kingdom of Berbania.
How Filipinos online reacted
Some Filipinos said that they felt let down and disenchanted about the Philippine trogon’s features. They recalled how different the bird of fiction looks like to the avian in the pictures.
“Ibong Adarna” used to be a required reading in Philippine literature in high school.
A Facebook account named Klasik Titos and Titas of Manila uploaded a screenshot of a tweet expressing this sentiment.
The tweet quipped: “Jusko hindi naman pala kagandahan.”
The Facebook account reacted to this and said: “Ba’t naman inaway yung ibon? HAHAHA. Baka gawin niyang bato sigi ka.”
It is referring to the Adarna’s power to turn people into stone.
Some Facebook users also referenced Adarna’s magic in jest in their comments.
“Buti hindi naiputan at naging bato yung photographer. Kudos!” a Facebook user said.
“Lumayo kayo diyan at baka kayo maging bato sige kayo,” another Filipino on Facebook commented.
Some Filipinos, meanwhile, complimented the bird’s eyelashes.
“Lashes on fleek tho! Werk it,” a Twitter user said.
“THOSE LASHES ON FLEEK THO,” another Filipino tweeted.
Some Filipinos also called for better protection and preservation of the Philippine trogon and other wildlife in the country.
“Ibong Adarna” and its lore have long been a favorite as a design concept in pageantry outfits.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s “Adarna” orange evening gown was a stunner during the preliminary round of the competition.
Gabriella Basiano, a candidate for Miss Intercontinental 2022, also wore a gray outfit that depicted an individual turning into stone by the winged creature’s singing.