travel

Calauit Safari Park: Slice of Africa in Busuanga

Calauit Safari Park, formerly known as Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary, is a 3,700-hectare land that is known for the thriving population of giraffes and zebras. Established on August 21, 1976, this park was an initiative of President Ferdinand Marcos during his regime when he brought the African wildlife from Kenya all the way to the lone island of Calauit in Busuanga.

October 14, 2017 – The clouds were black with wrath; the water heavily pouring down upon our vessel while our boatmen navigate towards Calauit Safari Park. It didn’t take long before docking – merely a 10-minute ride. Each of our footsteps was rushed. We splashed water with our swift movements, in search of a refuge. Our mud-coated feet came to a halt when finally, the tourism office served as a shelter for the next few minutes.

 

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

 

A few framed photos were hung on the walls with a descriptive caption printed below the faded images of the park. If not a photo of a giraffe, the images were either a pack of zebras roaming around the area or a famous person promoting the place with a staged smile. The caretaker appeared on the counter and our tour guides started to speak with them. The media group waited patiently while wishing the rain would give way for the sun today.

There seemed to be a misunderstanding between our tour guides and the girl at the counter until their voices hushed. At last, they came to an agreement. The caretaker gestured that we register so we can already start the tour. I wrote my personal details in their logbook and the rest of the group followed. We were done in a jiffy, and the Calauit Safari Park tour guide was introduced to us. A man probably in his 60’s, the tour guide talked in a very straightforward manner. Five minutes of talking was gone yet no sign of a joke surfaced.

 

 

After so many wishful thinking, the weather gradually bent its way for us to enjoy this tour. It wasn’t the first time that the skies closed the path of the sunrays towards our direction, but nonetheless, we were just happy we could proceed. “Here we go,” my mind was beyond excited to see giraffes and zebras up close. Rather than using the jeep, our tour guide suggested a walking tour instead. I hopped onto the patches of weeds just so I may avoid the puddle of mud ahead of us.

They were not so many, I thought. Seeing the giraffes and zebras gave me mixed emotions, probably just me standing at the thin line between excitement and missed expectation. The striped animals had necks bent over while grazing while the long-necked gentle giants had their heads held high while gracefully walking around.

 

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

 

These animals were brought to Calamian Islands via boat as Marcos’ answer to the call for help of the Kenyan government. It was said that long ago, Kenya sought assistance from the International Union for Conservation of Nature to help conserve the Kenyan wildlife. However, many of the species have admittedly died due to the huge difference of the Philippines’ environmental framework. Despite the efforts to transform the land into a Savannah, still very few have survived and reproduced throughout the years.

 

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan (8)

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

 

It was a joy seeing the Calamian deer in the flesh. These quiet creatures were very sensitive to noise, particularly to big movements. Tiptoeing closer to them was a challenge, but a fun one at that.

The zebras and the giraffes were more unconcerned to tourists. It was noticeable how they were oblivious to our presence. Neither could these creatures ignore the temptation brought by their food. The park gave us the opportunity to feed the giraffes. As the tour guide handed over a handful of branches to us, the gentle giants approached us and bent over their necks to reach for the leaves. It was a brief encounter with them.

 

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

 

The only thing standing between me and the giraffe was the steel fence that was almost as high as I was. Having the giraffe’s hair brush against my skin was both wondrous and frightening at the same time. Although it looked like they are the most harmless animals, their pull was strong.

I admit that the experience made me happy at the moment. But given a serious thought, the practice of feeding the giraffes is actually wrong. Humans, in a way, are training these creatures to live in an artificial setting, far from the natural process of acquiring food. No matter how we put it, the best place that is fit for their needs is NOT the Philippines.

 

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

Calauit Safari Park, Palawan

 

“Let’s pause for a photo here!” I squealed upon seeing this country-inspired backdrop. There were lots of great sights on the island and the trees with unique yet enticing features were one of them.

 

 

After taking portraits, we continued our journey, now towards the animals in captivity. Among these animals were Philippine crocodiles, porcupines, pythons, monkeys, eagle, an African civet cat, tortoises, and a wild boar.

 

Tortoises.

 

Camaflouge tree.

 

Python.

 

African Civet Cat.

 

Philippine crocodile.

 

Porcupine.

 

One of the highlights of the Calauit Safari Tour was my encounter with the monkey confined together with another monkey and an eagle. These monkeys were separated from the others due to their strong sense of territory. While I was taking a photo of the eagle, I stood close to their cage and the next thing I knew, a monkey was swiftly running towards me. Whew!

 

Eagle.

 

Monkey.

 

The zoo was an eye-opener, but more so, the whole safari park made me realize how we cannot bring these animals back to where they’re originally from. They are already here, and the best thing we can do is take good care of them. I do hope that the government could allocate enough fund for the safari’s preservation.

 

This trip was part of a media tour sponsored by Sophia’s Garden Resort and Skyjet Airlines. Itinerary and expense are not published.

 

Contact Details

Amika Travel and Tours

Manila Office: Unit 707, Tower C Jazz Residences Condominium, Bel-air, Makati City
Palawan Office: National Hi-way, Brgy. San Pedro Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Contact Number: 0908-881-1098 / 0917-311-4506 (Manila); 0908-891-0042 / 0917-311-5841 (Palawan)
Email Address: amikasalesandmarketing@gmail.com(Manila); amikatravels@yahoo.com (Palawan)

 

Sophia’s Garden Resort

Address: Sitio Jolo, Brgy. Poblacion 5, Coron, Palawan
Website: http://sophiasgardenresort.com/
Contact Number: 0917-543-5775 / 0939-915-0274
Email Address: sophiasgardenresort@gmail.com

 

Tour Rates

The package is inclusive of the following:

  • Air Conditioned Van Transfer
  • Licensed Local Tour Guide
  • All entrance fees/cottage fees

 

Calauit Safari Tour (minimum of 10 persons ₱2,500/pax)

Starts at 4:30 AM and ends at 4:00 PM.

  • Calauit Sanctuary
  • Lusong Gunboat (Japanese Shipwreck)
  • Sangat Coral Garden
  • Pass Island

 

How To Get There

From Manila to Coron

Make sure to catch the fastest flight from Manila directly to Coron via SkyJet Airlines. They offer low-fares for as low as ₱2,000 if you’re patient enough to wait for their promo. The 30-minute flight was smooth and comfy, all because of the spacious legroom and peaceful jet travel.

 

From Airport to Sophia’s Garden Resort

Coordinate with the resort staff so they may arrange your airport transfer, inclusive of the booking package.

 

 

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