Olympic Cliffhangers from Coron Island, Palawan Philippines, collecting the White Gold or Bird Nest…a rare glimpse into a cave and the Swiftlet on the Nest…Natures guide to modern construction hence the Olympic Stadium in Beijing.
Tech info: Please keep in mind that all the images are in very low resolution and only for this Blog . They have also a full Watermark Copyright on them created in Aperture 2. The images came from my slide collection, scanned and imported into Aperture 2, some of them had to be restored since they had deteriorated some what. Now that is done I can easy find them again on my external drive since I referenced them with Aperture 2.1.1 and of course the Black and White Monochrome Mixer came in very handy also for the more personal images in the Tagbanua Village.
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If there would be a Olympic competition in barefoot rock climbing, scaling the razor sharp limestone cliffs in Palawan then the Tagbanuas would break the world record.
These fearless natives of Palawan in the Philippines climbing these towering cliffs with such an ease they deserve a Gold medal, collecting “The White Gold” the bids nests every year.
I almost broke my neck getting this shot with the local swiftlet sitting on the nest, climbing high and crawling into a small cave to view these Birds actually on the nest.
I used strong footwear and ropes, but my barefooted local guides shot straight past me and waited at the entrance of this small cave.
For me it was an honor to go with the Tagbanuas, it is impossible to climb with them to these hidden caves, normally they never reveal the location of the birds nests.
Scaling these limestone cliffs is a common job among the native Tagbanuas of Northern Palawan. They collect this nest and sell it to a middlemen who would, in turn, trade it to Chinese restaurants or other Traders in Manila
The nests are composed of interwoven strands of salivary laminae cement. The nests have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Hong Kong and the United States are the largest importers of these nests.In Hong Kong a bowl of Bird Nest Soup would cost US$30 to $100 . A kilogram of white nest 9hence the name “White Gold) can cost up to $2,000
Authentic bird's nest soup is made using the nests of the swiftlet, a tiny bird found throughout southeast Asia.
The edible bird's nests are among the most expensive animal products consumed by humans.
I have tried this soup and must say it taste like nothing special it is very blunt and I am not sure on the reputation of being an aphrodisiac, they say that about so many other things too.
The problem is the livelihood for the Tagbanuas if the practice and collecting these Bird Nests stopped since there is very little else besides fishing for these amazing agile people.
Unfortunately, harvesters will take a nest once it is large enough, whether or not eggs or chicks are present. Most caves have one season for harvest but thieves steal nests throughout the year. In recent years the swiftlet population has dropped, putting swiftlets on the protected species list.
© Gunther Deichmann - Tagbanua family life...
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During the Harvest Season some the Tagbanuas move the whole family from the main Village to the Bird Nest area, from this makeshift camp they guard the Bird nesting area.24 hours a day from thieves. At the end of the season they move back to their Village within the Coron Bay area.