John Whitehead, an English naturalist and explorer, collected birds in the Philippine Islands from 1893 to 1896. In 1895, he lost a hundred birdskins when the London-bound steamer S.S. Weiland caught fire off Singapore. Whitehead dutifully returned to the island of Samar to replace his lost collection, and on this repeat expedition, captured the very first specimen of the Philippine ‘monkey-eating’ eagle.

What would Whitehead’s Ark look like?

Embark on a VR journey to find ten of John Whitehead’s Philippine birds that are now
threatened, vulnerable, or endangered, in dreamworlds inspired by Whitehead’s field-notes and indigenous Bagobo folklore.

Pithecophaga jefferyi specimen from the birdskin collection of Natural History Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire/UK.

Read about the research, online community interactions and
creative processes that went into the making of Whitehead's Ark.


Support the Philippine eagle and indigenous forest guards in real life by donating to the Philippine Eagle Foundation today.


Whitehead’s Ark was created by Mica Cabildo, Tof Zapanta and
Artblox Asia in collaboration with Philippine Eagle Foundation and Bagobo-Tagabawa
indigenous forest guards, with funding from Prince Claus Fund and Goethe-Institut through
Open Call 2020: Cultural and Artistic Responses to Environmental Change. It was first
conceptualized by Mica Cabildo during a residency at Gasworks London in 2020, supported
by Mercedes Zobel in partnership with Outset.