ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Vigan Zoo in Baluarte

Updated on July 3, 2011

The Vigan Zoo is located on the coast of the South China sea of north Luzon island in the Philippines and just short distance outside of the old Spanish city of Vigan. Like so many zoos around the world it has two names and the Vigan Zoo is also known as the Baluarte Zoo.

This popular zoo is privately owned by Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson who established the collection in 1991 on 80 hectares of his private estate bordering the Baluarte forest.

The zoo describes itself as a "interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility" and as being "dedicated to education, conservation and the protection of endangered species and wildlife". Whereas I don't doubt that their heart is in the right place sadly this is yet another of those zoological gardens that has started to believe its own hype as is apparent from their quite good website. Putting the nonsense aside one wonders why the zoo exists at all (though there is talk of a casino being built on the site) because one of the most surprising things about this collection is that entrance is free, though I do recollect paying when I visited. Perhaps free entry is a recent innovation.

I believe it is pointless to talk about conservation when the tigers are hybrids and their appears to be a concious attempt to produce a 'Liger'. I would also question the origin of the baby Orangutans. I cannot believe that they were aquired legally.

Whereas I don't doubt that husbandry is good this place has really lost its sense of direction. Being popular it has the opportunity to actually really do something for conservation education. Sadly snake handling and painting pigs do not fit the bill.

This is one of a series of zoo reports that was actually included within my travel journal ‘The Itinerant ZooKeeper’. Initially I started to extract the zoo data but found the reading was diminished by it. So look on it as a zoo travelogue. The only major edits I have done is a little censoring and to remove the Casanova exploits.

Tuesday 7th November 2006


So why Vigan? Well there is a zoo very close by in the small town of Baluarte. I had never heard of it but Gloria had been told about it by friends. We went to the zoo via 'kalesa' which is a very pleasant way to travel and see the sights. The zoo? Well after our visit Gloria declared it and Vigan to be the most beautiful places she had ever visited in the Philippines. For me, well Vigan, yes I love it, but the zoo?  No, sorry.

My problem is that now I have seen so many really bad places that this collection actually comes out good and yet really there was nothing good about it all, except perhaps the butterfly garden. This was of very little educational value but it was beautifully clean, neat, tidy and well presented with an abundance of butterflies. Practically all of these were just the one species. There were two of another.

The zoo itself was exceptionally clean. There were English language labels on most of the cages. Sadly a lot of this was misinformation. The diets as seen were totally inadequate. Cage furniture did not exist and enrichment was not yet a fixture of anyones imagination. Barriers where in place were more by accident than design (we walked through the ostrich paddock to reach the butterfly house). Yet there was an evidence of caring. Sadly this is yet another of those places where we see ignorance at work coupled no doubt with a shortage of funds.


Lion mates Tiger in Vigan Zoo

Anything special here? Yes most definitely. Pigs again....labelled as wild boar but definitely one of the warty pigs and different to those I saw in Manila.

There were pigs labelled the 'Wild pig of Zambales' which looked to be domestic to me. Then there were 'Vietnamese pigs' and these didn't resemble any of the domestic Vietnamese breeds I am aware of (and I have read books about them). Then there were two pens of the 'Wild boar' cum warty pigs. I think the chances are that all or many were crossed with the domestics.

There were tigers here. Four in two hopelessly too small barred cages. Both had pools but both were empty. There were two young Orangutans. They were together in a lousy little boring cage. Eagles, Iguanas, Macaques, Palm Civets (usual back seat), Pigeons, Pythons,
Lories, Macaws, Wallabies, White Fallow Deer and other than the previously mentioned, there was very little else.

Those who would be or could be critical of the zoos of the Philippines (like me) really have to adjust their way of thinking. Dogs are a popular pet here but are nearly always kept chained or in 'dog houses'. These are not the houses of 'Tom & Jerry' cartoons but tiny metal barred boxes on legs as in the worst sort of laboratory cage. These are seemingly acceptable to all. After all every pet shop sells them and everybodys neighbour has one. To be frank they are bloody awful and totally unsuitable....but are the norm here. So if these are "good" for dogs then it is logical that something along these lines must be okay for other animals. They are not of course but it is going to be a long uphill struggle to change the mindset. Keep in mind that
nobody is deliberately being cruel.

We went to the Karaoke bar again this evening. There were many good singers there but none so good as Gloria who sang me the Abba song 'Fernando' as a reminder of where we met. True enough, I will never hear that song without thinking of her.


Vigan Zoo in Baluarte

You can read more about Zoos by reading my Zoo Hubs where you will find other information and zoo reports listed. Please also check out my blog Zoo News Digest.

WHY NOT WRITE YOUR OWN HUB PAGE? It is free to join and sign up. Write about what you know and start earning money. Free money, for you, forever. Learn how by visiting THE QUICK GUIDE TO HUB CONSTRUCTION

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Dickinson 

      8 years ago from South East Asia

      Thanks Dohn - Gloria was the love of my life for a couple of years. I never stop loving the women I love. Sadly some become extremely difficult to live with. Gloria was one of these...but I do miss her. Vigan was a very odd zoo. Out of a mould of its own.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 

      8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      This zoo certainly sounds less endowed in comparison to many of the other zoos. Gloria "sounds" like a fun gal. Great job again, Peter.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)