I've been to Baluarte once when I joined a team building trip to Ilocos Norte in 2012. Our team visited the zoo during our quick side trip to Vigan on our way back to Manila.
Baluarte Vigan – Fortress of Vigan
The Baluarte or fortress is a must-see attraction for first time visitors, and even for those who have visited Vigan before.
First is that it has a mini zoo with animals from other countries and others endemic to the Philippines. It is a private collection and is therefore continuously being improved.
The second reason is that it is owned by Mr. Chavit Singson, a well-loved son of Vigan and well-known to most Filipinos and foreigners who follow the Philippine political scene.
The resort complex lies in hectares of land that stretches from the rolling plain towards the hills, where the former governor’s multi-storey house sits with a grand view of Vigan and the South China Sea.
Within its private area is a landscaped garden complete with its own nature pools. However, the area open to the public has plenty more engaging attractions that visitors can busy themselves with aside from the mini zoo.
|Balaurte, Vigan City|
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.
WHAT TO PACK FOR VIGAN
Here are some things you might consider bringing with you for your day tour / adventure:
From the caged animals, visitors can move on to the fenced areas where they can visit and feed the monkeys, swans, flamingos, ostriches, albino and spotted deer and the one-hump camel.
Children are allowed to sit on top of the bigger animals, but if they really want to ride, they can go to the tracks where they can ride the miniature horses.
For a closer encounter with the animals, visitors may choose to visit and feed the parrots and hornbills that are placed in a more open area where visitors can openly approach them with bananas and seeds. There are also scheduled show and tell times when audiences are introduced to the animals.
An added attraction is the butterfly garden where one can observe thousands of butterflies, some endemic to the Philippines, or have a more serene interaction with an animal species.
Visitors from all parts of the Philippines and other countries flock to Baluarte everyday, for these well-cared for animal attractions, and for a chance to meet with the owner of this magnificent property.
Governor Singson does not only generously share his private collection of animals with everyone; he also gives in to requests of tourists for pictures to be taken with him
THINGS TO DO IN BALUARTE
Here are some of the things you can do and enjoy inside Baluarte:
- Appreciate the view
- Interact with the animals
- Selfies with the animals
- Feeding them
- Talk with the parrot
There is no entrance fee to wander at this amazing animal sanctuary. You can even have a family picnic on the green landscape or dine at Baluarte’s in-house cafeteria.
For those who want to tour around the zoo, a guided tour via electronic cab worth Php 50 is available.
HOW TO GET TO BALUARTE
Via Public Commuting: From Calle Crisologo OR Public Market, you can hire a tricycle to bring you straight to Baluarte.
Via Private Vehicle: From Calle Crisologo, head south and turn left at Rivero Street, then make a right turn onto Quirino Avenue. Drive straight until you reach the arc of Barangay Salindec at your right. Enter Barangay Salindec and turn right. You’ll see a small welcome sign to Baluarte Zoo.
For those who are bringing own vehicle, you may use Waze or Google Maps for directions. If you don’t have a private vehicle, you can rent a car or van here.
Baluarte Resort and Mini Zoo
Address: Quirino Boulevard, Tamag, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
Business hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Contact information: (077) 722-7186
Admission: Free, but there is a Php 50 fee for the e-cab tour around the zoo.
WHERE TO STAY IN VIGAN
Here's a list of hotels and resorts to book for a stay in Vigan City:
- Hotel Luna - Check Rates & Availability
- Ciudad Fernandina Hotel - Check Rates & Availability
- Regency Hotel de Vigan - Check Rates & Availability
- Paradores de Vigan - Check Rates & Availability
- Hotel Mercante - Check Rates & Availability
- Hotel Veneto de Vigan - Check Rates & Availability
- West Loch Park Hotel Vigan - Check Rates & Availability
ALSO IN ILOCOS
- TOP 10 Must-See Sights in Ilocos Norte (Best Tourist Spots!)
- The Sinking Bell Tower of Laoag City
- Bangui Wind Turbines, the First Wind Farm in the Philippines
- Malacañang of the North and the Marcoses
- Patapat Viaduct - Connecting Ilocos and Cagayan Valley
- 4x4 Adventure at Paoay Sand Dunes
- Saint Augustine Church AKA Paoay Church
- La Virgen Milagrosa Chapel of Badoc
- Blue Lagoon, The Boracay of the North
- Kapurpurawan Rock Formation of Burgos
- Cape Bojeador Lighthouse of Burgos
- Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac
- 10 Ilocano Food That Will Make You Crave For
OTHER ZOOS AND THEME PARK TO VISIT
Here's a list of zoos, theme farms and parks you and your kids can enjoy in the Philippines:
- Manila Zoo - Manila City
- Pasig Rainforest Park - Pasig City
- Paradizoo - Mendez, Cavite
- Zoobic Safari - Subic, Zambales
- Manila Ocean Park - Manila City
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