By Imelda C Rivero, PIA 1, Ilocos Sur
VIGAN CITY — ‘PIA picked the best place,’ – Baluarte Zoo in this city – for the sixth information kiosk of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and promotion of the 50th year of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said Jeremias “Jerry” Singson, the vice governor of the province, during the launching of the kiosk recently.
“Baluarte is the most visited spot of Ilocos Sur,” he said, speaking before provincial heads of national government offices, residents, tourists, and the local media. “Every tourist may forego one attraction of Vigan, but never they will leave the city without seeing the zoo.”
Placing the kiosk at the zoo helps promote government programs and services. And the Bicentennial Celebration of the province in February 2018, he added, thanking PIA and Baluarte for the kiosk, and the owner, former governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, the president of the Philippine Councilors League, for accommodating it until December 2017.
About 200 to 500 local and foreign tourists visit the zoo daily, said Kryshia Abulencia, the human resource management officer of the zoo. And because of this, many people can get hold of the fliers and brochures of government programs and services, and information on ASEAN at the kiosk.
“More than just a zoo.” Baluarte Zoo was established in 1991 by Singson in barangay Salindeg in this city. His ‘hunting trophy collection’ became huge then so he designed this zoo to become a haven for endangered species. With no entrance fee until today, manned by more than 100 staff, the zoo is open at 8:00 AM and closes at 6:00 PM, Abulencia said.
One interesting feature of the zoo includes a Fur Seal Show at 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM. It includes a special tour to the mansion of Singson.
The animal show at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM is where visitors get a close encounter with a bear cat, snakes, albino eagle, tiger and a lion.
The gallery with no entrance fee features an elephant, zebra, lion, deer, birds, wild cat or ‘musang’, tiger, cow, carabao and other animals. Found at the highest part of the zoo it can be reached by foot or the zoo shuttle with a fee.
The Ultimate Photo Encounter with the animals like the tiger, snake, raptor, parrot and pony can accommodate up to five persons at a time. The Animal Photo Encounter with printout has added the camel, and sea lion. With the visitors’ own camera, they can also have an animal encounter.
The rides in the zoo include the camel, horseback, and kalesa.
Visitors can also feed the sea lions.
The local products of the province like abel Iloko, sukang Iloko (vinegar), Basi (local wine), empanada, bagnet, Vigan longanisa, tinubong(rice cake in bamboo tubes), crispy corn, and souvenir items are also available in the zoo.#