Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roadtrip to Ilocos: Baluarte - The Fortress of Vigan

The Baluarte or fortress is a must-see attraction for first time visitors and even those who have visited Vigan before. It houses a zoo with animals extensive from other countries and other animals endemic in the Philippines. The zoo is a personal collection and continuously being improved by no less than the most popular and distinguished gentleman of Vigan, Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson, well-known among the Filipinos and foreigners accustomed to Philippine political scene.

The Baluarte - official residence of the Governor 

File photo of the Honorable Luis "Chavit" Singson,
Governor of the Province of Ilocos Sur

The complex sits on a sprawling plain that stretches towards a hill where the Governor’s mansion stands with a grand view of Vigan and the South China Sea. Within the vast expanse is a woodland and landscaped garden complete with nature pools. The fortress complex is open to public. These remarkable attractions are rewarding since visitors can engage the animals and at the same time enjoy the environment. There is a butterfly farm, a track for horse riding and a skeet shooting range.

The expanse of Baluarte

The facade of Baluarte

The flora and fauna on showcase include lions, tigers, peacocks, civet cats, iguanas, pythons, other reptiles and birds. Visitors will have the opportunity to see the Philippine cloud rat, a nocturnal animal endemic in the Cordillera region. Cloud rats are slow-moving herbivores and are being preyed upon by large birds. The rats are quite large and have been hunted for their meat, driving the rodents to near extinction.

File photo of a Philippine Cloud Rat

There are fenced areas where visitors can feed the monkeys, swans, flamingos, ostriches, parrots, hornbill, albino, deer and the one-hump camel. Visitors especially children can avail of ride coupons where they can ride small wagons drawn by miniature horses. There are scheduled shows and presentation where the audience is introduced to the animals.

White Deer

White and Spotted Deer



Albino Phython

Burmese Phython

Yellow Parakeets

Macaw Parrot

White Parrot

Beatriz & Dominique feeding the deer

JD engaging the White Deer

AJ with family beside the fully functional Yellow Submarine

An added attraction is the butterfly gardens where thousands of butterflies thrive and some of these butterflies are common in the Philippines.

Local visitors and visitors from other countries flock to Baluarte daily to see this well-cared for animal attractions and take a chance to meet with the owner. Governor Chavit Singson does not only generously share his private collection of animals with everyone; he also willingly consent to visitors requests for a photo-op.

Photo Credit: Wikepedia (Cloud Deer) & 
All other pictures in this post is the exclusive property of White Dog Leader, Red 1 Leader & Associates. All Rights Reserved. 2012

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