Friday, December 12, 2014

BALUARTE OF VIGAN CITY (PHILIPPINES)

A tourist who toured Vigan and was not able to visit Baluaarte has not actually gone to Vigan City for reason of trip incompleteness. Besides, this attraction is just a 10-minute drive away from the city’s center. This vast 20-hectare property turned into a zoological park is owned by former Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson located in Barangay Salindeg of Vigan City. It has his monumental mansion with resort complex lying in hectares of land that stretches from the rolling plain towards the hills. On top of his mansion is a rewarding view of Vigan City and the tranquil South China Sea. Most of the animals housed in this zoo are imported from the Middle East, Africa and in some parts of Asia. It offers a free pony ride drawn in a carriage.

The vast acres of Baluarte Zoological Park


Aside from sprawling zoological park setting, most of its part have landscaped garden complete with nature pools. Visiting the place is quite engaging as there are a lot of attractions to make all guests busy like experiencing the butterfly farm like a butterfly aviary, a skeet shooting range, feeding animals like flamingos, Albino Burmese python (Scientific name: Python molorus bivittatus), monkeys, swans, ostriches, spotted deer and the one-hump camel where I found it very tamable. These animals are fenced only.

The butterfly garden contains thousands of kinds of butterflies which according to the assisting staff, are endemic to the Philippines.

Free pony ride at Baluarte Zoological Park


Like Manila Zoo, we also saw caged animals like Indian rock python (Scientific name: Geochelone elegans), Indian Star tortoise (Scientific name: Python molorus), reptiles, birds, green iguanas (Scientific name: Iguana iguana), palm civet cats (Scientific name: Paradoxurus hermaphrodites), peacocks, lions, Bengal tigers and the Philippine cloud rat which is endemic to the Philippine Cordillera region.

One of the one-hump camels in Baluarte


I remember when I had a Safari Tour in Bangkok, where the park personnel would normally have scheduled show when to introduce the animals to the guests which we experienced also in Baluarte.

Taming a one-hump camel


Near the entrance, I saw parrots, Nicobar pigeon (Scientific name: Caloenas nicobarica) and Luzon hornbill (Scientific name: Penelopides manillae) where guests can have a closer look and take pictures with. What screwed my attention was when I heard a voice saying “Pangit ka! Pangit Ka!” where when I turned my head, I was amused to find out that it was a parrot saying those words which means in English, “You are ugly! You are ugly!”

For Catholic guests, this tourist spot has a pink chapel and another added attraction is a lighthouse. Indeed, visiting this park will give a guest a complete experience.

Touring around the park through free pony ride


Guests are assured of signs posted at some points of the park that all these amenities are for free as long as Mr. Chavit Singzon can afford its maintenance. As a form of help from the tourists, they buy pet food sold inside the park. With this, the guests are helping to maintain the park for its operation.

Enjoying the cool park amenities


HOW TO GET THERE

Take a bus from Manila via Partas, Dominion, Philippine Rabbit by 9 – 10 hours to Vigan City for a distance of 404 kilometers and another 10 minutes drive from the heart of Vigan City to Baluarte. Partas Transportation Company offers the best and comfortable ride with its air-conditioned buses equipped with only three seats across and have better reclining positions. You may check this link for Partas bus operation schedule

Alternatively, through by air which is flying from Manila to Laoag International Airport for three times a week for 70 minutes either by Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. Laoag City is 2 and a half hours or 82 kilometers away from Vigan City.

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