For animal and nature loving folks, Baluarte Zoo is a must-visit attraction located at the heart of Vigan City. It is a zoological park that aims to protect and conserve endangered species and wildlife. It is owned and maintained by Chavit Singson. He opened it to the public primarily as a gesture to his people.
Baluarte Zoo Pictures
At the top the hill, there is showroom called “Safari Gallery“. It is a trophy room which features the preserved remains of animals Chavit Singson hunted in various parts of the world. Singson intended the gallery for people of Ilocos so they could see exotic animals without going to Manila or outside the country.
Baluarte offers a mini zoo, resort complex that lies in hectares of land, and a butterfly farm. The area open to the public has plenty more engaging attractions that visitors can busy themselves with aside from the mini zoo.
There is a butterfly farm, a track for horse riding and a skeet shooting range. Visitors can start with visiting the rows of cages where they can see lions, Bengal tigers, peacocks, civet cats, iguanas, pythons and other reptiles and birds.
In this part of the Baluarte, people will also be able to see the Philippine cloud rat, a nocturnal animal endemic to the Philippine Cordillera region. This very large rodent is an herbivore and hunted by large birds and local people.
Quick Info About Baluarte
Baluarte Zoo is a privately-owned zoological park and resort owned by the prominent Philippine politician and businessman, Chavit Singson. The zoo is part of the larger Baluarte estate and is known for being an interactive wildlife sanctuary and facility.
The word “baluarte” has Spanish origins and it translates to “fortress” or “stronghold” in English. The name might symbolize strength or a place of refuge, possibly reflecting the zoo’s role as a sanctuary for various species of wildlife.
The zoo is home to a variety of animals, both local and exotic. This includes species like tigers, deer, camels, and ostriches, among others. Additionally, the zoo provides opportunities for visitors to interact with some of the animals, which can be a unique experience.
Baluarte Zoo is also known for its efforts in wildlife conservation and education. It often hosts educational tours and activities, especially for children, to promote awareness about wildlife conservation and the environment.
The zoo is set within a spacious area that includes well-maintained gardens and open spaces, offering a pleasant environment for visitors to enjoy. Its location in Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture, adds to the appeal, making Baluarte Zoo a popular destination for tourists visiting the region.
How to Get There
Reaching Baluarte Zoo in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, is a straightforward journey, accessible by various modes of transportation.
1. By Air:
The nearest airport to Vigan is the Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte. From there, you can take a bus or hire a private vehicle to Vigan, which is about a 2-hour drive.
2. By Land:
- Bus: Several bus companies operate direct routes to Vigan from major cities like Manila. The journey can take around 8 to 10 hours.
- Private Vehicle: If you’re driving from Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and continue onto the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), following signs for Vigan.
3. Within Vigan:
Once in Vigan, Baluarte Zoo is easily accessible by local transportation. You can take a tricycle, which is a common mode of transport within the city.
If you prefer walking, the zoo is a reasonable distance from Vigan’s famous Calle Crisologo and can be reached on foot for those who enjoy a bit of a stroll.