Alan B. Asis – Foodstock Technician, Philippine Eagle Foundation. 2000-2020.
TWO DECADES. That’s how long Alan have been preparing the daily meals of captive Philippine eagles and over 100 more wildlife housed at the Philippine Eagle Center.
His work day went like this. Each morning, he wakes up and prepares the food for our animals. First, he sanitizes his kitchen. Next, he takes out all frozen meat (rabbit, goat, white rat, and chicken) from the freezer and lets them thaw. Freezing meat overnight gets rid of germs that might be harmful to our carnivores at the center. As the buckets of meat are left to that, he slices fresh fruits and vegetables for our omnivores (20 monkeys and a few civets). Then, he goes back to the chopping board to slice fresh meat for the forest eagles, owls, and our lone crocodile, and fish for our fish eagles.
In between meal breaks, he butchers food animals singlehandedly and freezes them for the next day’s meals. He also feeds and takes care of few civets and some macaques.
If you think that’s no feat, dig this. Imagine him getting up to begin his chores at 4 AM in the morning, when most people are still asleep, EVERYDAY (except his day-offs). Thanks to his diligence, no animals got hungry at the PEC.
I would get bored and hate this grind. But not Alan.
If we can describe Alan in two words, those words would be “dedication” and “passion”.
Doming Tadena, eagle conservation breeding pioneer and now PEF consultant, recalled how Alan made it to the conservation breeding team. Before becoming the PEC’s “head of kitchen”, he diligently guarded the PEC facility and its perimeters as a company guard for eight years. But his disciplined character and great attention to details caught management attention. He was offered the kitchen (foodstock) post and he gladly embraced his new role. He was hired on February 15, 2000, a month after Philippine eagle Pag-asa’s 8th birthday.
“He was very loyal to his work” Dennis Salvador, PEF Executive Director said. “He was a reserved guy who spent most of his free time alone. “For me, it looks like Alan has found his place in the kitchen and with his animals” Salvador added. Alan was single and lived at the PEC staff quarters full time.
One late afternoon a few weeks back, while I was on the foot bridge watching our caged Malayan civet who just came out of its log roost, Alan passed by looking drained from his chores. I blurted out “Isn’t he gorgeous!”, and I grinned at him. In the next 10 minutes or so, I found myself all ears to Alan’s calm and humble account of the civet – how it came to the center, what food the animal likes and hates, how it behaves, etc. He has been feeding and caring for the civet for several years now. While he was chatting, I thought to myself “he is in his element”. That was my last conversation with Alan.
For twenty years, Alan kept faithful to his job. And he performed it well. On the day he passed away (August 31), he was on his way to the market to help purchase the week’s animal food rations.
Rest in peace Alan. And thanks for your dedication and hard work. You will always remain an inspiration to all of us.
- Dr. Jayson Ibanez,
Research and Conservation Program