Ateneo de Manila Bird and Tree Walk

      Ateneo De Manila University campus , Loyola Heights , Quezon City

Last May 3, 2012 Friday ,  I met  Ms. Melanie Marfal , her niece and Mr. Anthony Arbias in a fast-food restaurant within Philcoa .  I have arrived more than 30 minutes before the appointed time.    We then hitch ride our way  to the campus of Ateneo de Manila University  for an afternoon of bird , tree , architectural and photo tour of the campus.

Group of students, professors, alumni, members of Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated and Wild Bird Club of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of  Mr. Anthony Arbias of  PNPCSI

          There are already several people at the Gonzaga parking area of the university  . According to our guide  it was on  April 11, 2011  the Ateneo Environmental Management Coalition (AEMC), Ateneo Bird Ecology Study (ABES) group , the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) have been organizing a two-hour bird walk within the sprawling campus.

members of the organization interacted with the participants of the bird and tree walk . Photo courtesy of Mr. Anthony Arbias of PNPCSI

Mr. Anthony Arbias and Dr. Rico Quimbo acted as tour guides  for tree identification around the campus

However some alumni would say that an organized tour around the campus may have started even earlier . we saw long-tailed shrikes, black-naped oriole , Eurasian tree sparrow , collared king fisher, a pair of piel fan tails , golden-bellied fly-eater,  pied triller , wood-swallows,  crested mynah flying back and forth several times to a location . All these bird species  observed along the busy acacia tree lane of Ramon Magsaysay Avenue within the  Ateneo campus.

Manila Observatory marker


The itinerary of the bird and tree walk showcases a visual delight of matched lush vegetation , architecture , disturbed areas ,  manicured lawn  ,  monuments , buildings  and even  parking spaces .

Lagerstroemia speciosa locally known as banaba 

Banaba is a flowering plant that grows in warm climate like the Philippines, India and others. Banaba is widely used in the Philippines and as herbal medicine for diabetes and is also grown for landscaping urban gardens.

Link :

statute of Saint Ignatius of Loyola 

The trail starts at the grounds of the Manila Observatory toward Seminary Road, and then to Lucas Infirmary which then segues to a narrow flight of steps that ends at the Residence Halls.

From there, the trail continues to the “mini-forest” part at the vicinity of the Church of the Gesu and finishes at the “Wildlife Sanctuary” facing the Jesuit Residence.

lowland white eye (Zosterops meyeni ) Bonaparte 1850,  an endemic bird species

The crowd slowly began to swell to more than 60  with most of the members are students, faculties , alumni of Ateneo de Manila University , Wild Bird Club of the Philippines , Philippine Science High School and Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated.

 This is one of the oldest and most beautiful building in Ateneo De Manila University campus ( Manila Observatory )

a colony of Oecophylla smaragdina locally called red weaver ants or pulang  hantik

The group saw several colonies of weaver ants  living on a mango tree close to the communication tower. The group try to avoid the ant colony for obvious reason ( to avoid the stinging bite ) .

a globular structure located near  the communication tower

communication towers also serves as a second home for birds

 Ants are among the most successful evolutionary creatures. They did not only survive millions of years as groups but have, in fact, together with bees, wasps and cockroaches reached the highest evolutionary level . The secret of this success is closely linked with their social life which has fascinated man.

Drynaria quercifolia or known as oak leaf fern, paipaimo, pakpak lawin fern

Pakpak-lawin is a large xerophyte, belonging to the fern family of  Polypodiaceae. Rhizome is creeping, stout and fleshy, with narrow, brown to blackish short-ciliate scales. Leaves are of two kinds: cup-leaves and the fertile fronds. Cup-leaves are humus gathering fronds, brown and shiny when mature, 15- 30 cm length, 5-20 cm wide. Fertile fronds are long, pinnately lobed, on stipes 20 to 30 cm long.

This fern is also used extensively for landscaping , dry flower arrangement and a source for pasdak . It some areas of the country it is known to have medicinal properties and possesses magical charm.

Link :

Phalaenopsis X intermedia a natural hybrid , Hoya species and Drynaria quercifolia

Phalaenopsis xintermedia Lindl. 1852-3 SUBGENUS Polychilos SECTION Zebrinae Pfitz 1889 a natural hybrid  of  Phalaenopsis aphrodite and  Phalaenopsis equestris

Church of Gesu

The Church of the Gesù is a landmark church within the Ateneo de Manila University campus  .  Designed by  Mr. Jose Pedro Recio and Mr. Carmelo Casas , the edifice’s massive triangular structure symbolizes the Holy Trinity  , as well as the three-fold mission and vision of the school.

Church of Gesu was built from 2001 to 2002 . This church is considered as a modern landmark and a major focal point in the spiritual life of   the campus

Its shape and design is also meant to suggest the outstretched arms of the Sacred Heart, and the traditional Filipino bahay kubo. The site has a total area of 10,200 square meters, and a  seating capacity of 1,000 persons.

Gesù Liturgical Committee
Church of the Gesù
Ateneo de Manila University
Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Telephone: 426-6069 or 426-6001 loc.4071 (Marife)
Fax: 426-6088 (ATTN: GESÙ Liturgical Committee)

Campus Ministers:
Edmark (loc. 4076)
Jerome (loc. 7154)

Rain tree of more popularly called Akasya or Acacia , this tree was introduced in the 1840’s from South America to beautify Manila’s public parks.

Notes:  At the end of the tour, The author met at least 60 people with different interest, shared our different ideas and same passion over our hobbies and interests. Bird watching is a very interesting field, you need to go out and see that in the modern urban areas, there are still wilderness areas where one can appreciate nature at its best.

 The author would also like to thanks Mr. Raffy Saldaña,  Mr. Adri Constantino (guide) and Ms. Trinket Canlas (guide)

We also saw at least  a dozen bird species , about a dozen native and introduced tree species, dozens of ornamental plants and an architectural heritage of the university . But according to our tour head, there were at least 50 bird species that can be found within the campus .

After the tour , we were again invited for another tour in La Vista Subdivision and stayed there for several hours and enjoyed watching the rare owl.


Ateneo de Manila :

Church of Gesu :

lowland white-eye :

Phalaenopsis x intermedia

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