At first thought to be found only in Palawan, edible nests actually are found in other parts of the Philippine archipelago. Nests have been found in as far north as Cagayan and as far south as Sulu. In between they are also found in Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Mindoro, Bicol, Davao, Cotabato, Agusan, Misamis Oriental, Camiguin, Bukidnon and Surigao. These nests are collected by local inhabitants and sold to a local buyer who in turn sells them to a dealer in either Zamboanga, Davao, Cebu or Binondo. The cleaned and processed product usually ends up in China carried by traveling Chinese-Filipinos as pasalubong.
Cultured nest from Malaysia. Triangular shape
indicates its a "corner" nest, which lowers its price.
These nests fetch between US$1,500-$2,000 farmgate.
Local nest sample from Mindanao. Cleaned, these nests fetch up to P18,000.
Mindanao nests fetch a lower price (P15, 000 – P25, 000 per kg) than Palawan nests (P180, 000 per kg as of Sept 2007), both unprocessed. Raw local nests are generally classified as first, second and third classes depending on the color, saliva content and shape. The local selling price for these nests range from P28, 000 to P630, 000 per kilogram, processed. Unregulated gathering has severely depleted the swiftlet population and threatens the sustainability of the edible nest-gathering industry. This threat, of course, does not apply to cultured nests. However, the Philippines does not have a cultured nest industry – until possibly now.
Esculenta colony inside a house in Bukidnon. Swift colonies in houses can be
found throughout the archipelago.