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Buhay is the Filipino word for life or living. Ilang is the word for wilderness. Together, buhay-ilang is wildlife. Buhay-ilang Research, Education and Conservation is a non-stock non-profit organization aimed at studying and protecting the wildlife of the Philippines.


To deepen our understanding of the biology, systematics, biogeography, natural history, and ecology, as well as the conservation of Philippine wildlife and their natural habitat through the development and implementation of research, conservation, and education programs.


  • To implement specific conservation activities for short or long-term duration, in Key Biodiversity Areas and/or on specifically targeted species of Philippine fauna

  • To study Philippine wildlife and its habitat

  • To educate, and raise the appreciation of nature among, the general Filipino population, through hands-on courses as well as online presence

  • To train teachers, conservationists, and other interested parties in wildlife research and conservation

  • To complement and augment the Philippine education system on wildlife and nature conservation

Willem van de Ven

An avid bird watcher and crocodile catcher, Willem has been with Buhay-ilang since its conception. Starting out as a Master's student in the Philippines over 10 years ago, he basically just never left, and has been with several other groups and orgs before starting his own with Buhay-ilang

Willem van de Ven

Joni Acay

Working with the Isabela Oriole since day one, Joni is a biodiversity expert and our head of conservation. She's been working all over Luzon together with Nikdye, looking for parrots, and has been studying wildlife in the Northern Sierra Madre for the past 5 years

Joni Acay

Nikki Dyanne Realubit

Logistics expert and our head of research, Nikdye has been going all over the country, looking for birds, reptiles and amphibians. Well known around the natural history museums as well as in field sites on almost every mountain in the country

Nikki Dyanne Realubit

Maia Tañedo

Birdwatcher, teacher and writer, Maia brings a lot of expertise to the team. An expert birdwatcher for more than a decade, she's been teaching the importance of environmental awareness inside and out of the classroom

Maia Tanedo

Neil Ramirez

Mentor to several of the other group members, Neil is an experienced educator and completes the team. He started out teaching Nikki and Joni to catch frogs in the rice fields of Pampanga and has been studying and teaching Biology for almost two decades

neil ramirez.jpg
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