Baluarte: A Zoo and Museum in Vigan City

baluarte

Vigan City in Ilocos Norte is a place for tourists who loves nature and history. Around 15 minutes away from the Spanish-like town, a zoo, taxidermy museum, and safari hotel can be easily accessed. Baluarte Zoo and Museum offers a different view of the city.

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Disclaimer: The content of this article is based on personal experience as well as references to the date of publication. Changes may occur on contact details, transportation, fees, etc. With this, please do comment at the end of the article any updates as well as corrections on the content, anything amiss, or any information that you think is crucial to the readers. Thank you!


Location

Address: Quirino Boulevard, Tamag, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Coordinates: 17.5513° N, 120.3772° E

Map:

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Business Hours
  • 0700AM-0600PM

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Fees
  • Entrance Fee: Free admission
  • Guided tour: Php50.00 (optional)

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Baluarte Zoo and Museum

Vigan City in Ilocos Norte is a place for tourists who loves nature and history. Around 15 minutes away from the Spanish-like town, a zoo, taxidermy museum, and safari hotel can be easily accessed. Baluarte Zoo and Museum offers a different view of the city.

This mini-zoo cum-taxiderm museum is owned by the local politician Chavit Singson. The 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 [1].

Baluarte Zoo

In my one-day Vigan City tour, I made it in Baluarte during dusk. That made me have limited time to enjoy the zoo. Notwithstanding, I was able to see what the zoo has to offer but in a hurried way as I was trying to take it all in while there is enough natural light.

The zoo offers animals native in our country as well as imported ones, among others. A butterfly farm as well as horse riding track is situated within the complex. Along the paths, roads, and cages, tourists can have a glimpse of lions, Bengal tigers, camels, monkeys, peacocks, civet cats, iguanas, pythons and other reptiles, birds, and animals.

Included in the native animals in Chavit’s collection is a Philippine cloud rat endemic in the Codillera [2]. On the other hand he also has non-endemic animals in his mini-zoo. “I waited for almost five years and finally, they have arrived,” he said, noting that he needed to rent a whole cargo plane to accommodate 27 giraffes and about 900 antelopes as added attractions to his 120-hectare zoo [3].

Among the non-native animals in the mini-zoo are tigers, lions, camel, and others.
This green snake is but one of the many reptiles found in the mini-zoo.
Colorful birds, both endemic and non-native ones, are part of Chavit Singson’s collections found in this zoom-museum complex.
Baluarte Museum (Safari Gallery)

The 120-hectare expanse of Singson’s lot also houses a taxidermy museum. This is located on the top of the hill overlooking the zoo and parts of Vigan City. Preserved animals hunted by Singson in foreign countries are on display.

All in all, the Baluarte Zoo and Museum is a free-entrance complex near the Vigan City center. It offers a mini-zoo, a safari hotel, as well as a taxidermy museum. It is a highly recommended place to visit in Ilocos Norte, if you are not against captive animal as well as taxidermy.

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How to Get There

By land. Take any bus heading to Vigan City or Laoag City.

  • Manila buses bound to Vigan City are Partas, Dominion Bus, Aniceto Bus, Viron Transit, Florida Bus Line, Fariñas Trans, Maria De Leon Bus Lines, RCJ Bus Lines and F. Franco Transit. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Baluarte.
  • From Baguio City, you can take a Partas bus near SM City Baguio or the ordinary mini-buses in Bayanihan. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Baluarte.
  • GMW Liner and Florida Liner have buses plying a vice versa Abra and Tuguegarao with a stop in Vigan City route. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Baluarte.

By air. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flies from Manila to Laoag International Airport. Take any bus bound to Vigan City. Anywhere from Vigan City, hail a tricycle or kalesa [two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage] and tell the driver to drop you at the Baluarte.

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Helpful Local Phrases
  • Good morning: Naimbag a bigat; Good afternoon: Naimbag a malem; Good day: Naimbag nga aldaw; Good evening: Naimbag a rabii
  • How are you?: Kumusta
  • Thank you: Agyamanak
  • What is your name?: Ania ti nagan mo?
  • I don’t understand: Diak maawatan
  • How do I get to…?: Kasantnu ak a makapan sadiay…?
  • One: maysa, two: duwa, three: tallo, four: uppat, five: lima, six: ennem, seven: pito, eight: walo, nine: siyam, ten: sangapulo
  • How much is this?: Sagmamano daytoy?
  • Help!: Arayat!
  • Sorry: Pakawanennak

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Other Notable Nearby Places

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References

[1] Vigan.ph. n.d. Baluarte Vigan — The Fortress Of Vigan | Vigan.Ph. [online] Available at: <https://www.vigan.ph/attractions/baluarte-vigan-fortress-of-vigan.html&gt; [Accessed 20 April 2020].

[2] Espinosa-Aritao, G., 2018. Chavit Singson: Keeper Of The Sanctuary. [online] ABS-CBN News. Available at: <https://news.abs-cbn.com/ancx/culture/spotlight/11/16/18/chavit-singson&gt; [Accessed 20 April 2020].

[3] Adriano, L., 2019. Vigan Zoo Visitors To Soon See New Animals From S. Africa. [online] Pna.gov.ph. Available at: <https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1064985&gt; [Accessed 20 April 2020].

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