Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vigan, Ilocos Sur : Exploring the Baluarte Zoo

Wazzup Pilipinas !
We got an invitation from no less than the Governor of Ilocos Sur, Luis "Chavit" Singson to witness the construction of a light and sound water fountain attraction located at the town plaza in an area which used to be called Plaza Salcedo. The governor had it converted into a new attraction in order to provide a better attraction for both local and foreign tourists, and to attract investors in probably setting up businesses like hotels in Ilocos.

He shared with us his concerns stating that Ilocos Sur, lacks enough attractions, and destinations like hotels, to attract tourists in visiting Ilocos. He hopes that the newest attraction is just the continuation of the further additions of more tourists attraction in the province.

Since he won't be running for Governor anymore, we hope the new Governor of Ilocos Sur will continue on improving the local economy by providing more opportunities to their constituents, and I think promoting tourism on the province would be a great idea to gain more sources of income for its people.

We got to Baluarte by private plane courtesy of the Governor but here's some tips on how to get to Baluarte in Ilocos Sur.

It is a ten minute drive from Vigan City. Vigan City, the only surviving colonial town in the Philippines the city's Spanish colonial architecture have remarkably escaped the ravages of World War II. Listed in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, Vigan City has its centuries-old houses with cobblestone paved streets, churches, plazas, public buildings retained for generations to behold.

You can get to Baluarte by land - 9 hour overland trip via Philippine Rabbit Bus line, Dominion Bus Corporation, Partas Transportation Company.

or by Air - Fly to Ilocandia instead. Laoag International Airport has three[3] times a week 70 min. flight via Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Public transport is 80 km. trip to Vigan and 10 minute drive to Baluarte. We recommend the comfortable air-conditioned Partas buses with only three seats across and have better reclining positions.

There seems to be a fence but the animals can actually jump over...and some parts of the fence have holes.

We stayed at his fabled Baluarte residence as his personal guests where two rooms were provided for us. The girls all shared one huge house-like room, while the guys shared another room at a different location.

The website has these to say about Baluarte:

"COME and play with the animals! Be one of them roaring and whistling, indulging in the joys of the moment, you are in Baluarte, the only one of its kind in the country. Not just a zoo, Baluarte is an interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility, with the breathtaking view of its dominating scenic boulders amidst trees and greens.
We are dedicated to facilitating education, conservation and protection of endangered species and wildlife. Children and those who are young at heart will rediscover life amongst the animals in unique and entertaining ways specifically through first-hand experience.

Memorable events such as feeding them, petting them, riding the "tiburin", a small horse-drawn carriage, and visiting our Butterfly Garden will surely be an extraordinary adventure for you and your family. What's more incredible is that admission to Baluarte is FREE."

Baluarte is a zoo where most of the animals can freely roam around the enormous compound mixed with the rest of the animals except the tigers and peacocks. You will see a llama walking with the horses, and the ostriches mingling with the deers, ducks and chickens. We were just within the Baluarte Zoo compound so stepping outside means probably passing by a deer or ostrich along your way.

There was even two deers roaming around the Baluarte house.

The "tiburin", a small horse-drawn carriage, is very popular with visitors of Baluarte.

A map of the Heritage City of Vigan is on display at the Baluarte grounds near where the cannons and the submarine is located.

Only the tigers are the ones kept in cages unlike most of the other animals that can freely roam around the Baluarte compound.

I saw three differently colored llamas at the Baluarte grounds.



There are also some Live Animal Shows and an area where you can have your picture taken with a tiger.


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  1. i think it is just right to improve tourist attractions for the sake of the people in that town and i also hope to improve the home for wildlife in the near future because it will all contribute to the fast progression of our country and our mother earth. let's save our planet through simple things that we can contribute.

  2. I really hope the management of Baluarte, as well as the tourists, come to realize that they should be more sensitive to the plight of the dwarf horses. The Baluarte offers free carriage rides by the dwarf horses to their detriment. Today, I witnessed a sight of exhausted and wounded dwarfed horses being whipped every 3 seconds so as to carry a load of an average of 3 adults at a quicker pace. Animals are not machines and people should be more aware of this. Attached is a photo of one of the wounded and very exhausted dwarf horses.

  3. I hope that someday I can go to the Baluarte Zoo in Ilocos Sur. Because I can imagine myself enjoying in that zoo and taking many pictures with my friends and family. I hope that the Baluarte zoo will attract more tourists because I can see a potential of it being one of the most visited spots here in the Philippines.

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  7. what time and day is the animal show? thank you :)

  8. what time and day is the animal show? thank you :)

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