From parrots to peacocks, monkeys to tigers, and virtually everything in-between, you can find these things just ten minutes away from Vigan in a most unique residence. In the heart of Ilocos Sur lies Baluarte- the home of Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson named after the spanish word for fortress or domain. On this roughly 80 hectare plot of land is the Governor’s multi-level house complete with landscaped gardens incorporating its own nature pools. Being fascinated with animals of all species, Governor Singson saw the importance of conservation and protection of endangered species and wildlife. Ever the philanthropist, he opened up an area of his 80 hectare home as an interactive wildlife conservation free to the public to view the animals and experience them up close.
At the entrance of Baluarte, you will immediately enter Governor Singson’s own private wonderland and be welcomed by various birds and the petting zoo full of alpaca, ostriches and miniature horses! The miniature horses are a favorite attraction at Baluarte where they offer carriage rides drawn by the mini horses and rides for the kids! Don’t be surprised to find an ostrich looking over your shoulder or an orangutan coming by to say hello. Visitors are encouraged to interact with all the animals in the petting zoo giving a completely unique experience for children.
As you travel further through Baluarte’s conservation grounds, you’ll find different areas fenced off for each of the varieties of animals. There are plenty of staff on hand to help tend to each of the animals’ needs and to help create a comfortable habitat for the animals to live in. There are several animal trainers and specialists there to both learn and study the animals as well as to give seminars and presentations to educational groups.
Aside from the various birds and mammals found roaming in the general areas, Baluarte also offers a Butterfly Garden located near the picnic area. The Butterfly Garden is an open sanctuary landscaped to provide a peaceful retreat to relax and enjoy the vibrant colors of the butterflies as the flutter through the air.
Of course, what zoo would be complete without a ferocious tiger? Three of them to be exact! The tigers’ names are Tom, Dick, and Harry! These majestic creatures are fully trained and have a team caring for them around the clock. In the tiger’s den, you can find one of the three cats laying around in the sun or playing in their cages. For anyone visiting nearby Vigan, Baluarte is a must see attraction offering a unique experience for the entire family. Since all of the activities, shows, and entrance are completely free, Baluarte truly is a wonderful gift from Governor Chavit Singson.