10 Things You Can Do in Baluarte, Vigan

So what can you do while in Baluarte Zoo in Vigan, Ilocos Sur? What makes it worth stopping by on a tour of Northern Philippines? Here are ten things you can do!

Baluarte, Vigan

1. Kalesa Ride. You’d be greeted by kalesa drivers right before the entrance to the zoo. You can make it your first activity or the last while in Baluarte. Aboard the horse-driven kalesa, you’d have a tour of the town.

2. Souvenir Shops. Also outside the entrance are several souvenir shops where you can find items you can bring home including shirts, caps, keychains, display items, and more. You’ll also find wood work like flute, bird whistle, and bow or arrow at the entrance.

If I may suggest, check out the air-conditioned booth inside (left from the entrance) for a photobooth opportunity and customized t-shirt printing with a design of your choice.

take a photo behind this tiger :)
3. Picture with a Tiger. In relation to the photobooth shop above, you can request to have a back draft of a friendly Bengal tiger at the mock stage platform inside the zoo. The tiger is held secure by chains so don’t worry, it won’t bite! Besides, its friendly or so the photographer and the handler say. ;)

4. Special Shows. These are held on the mock stage mentioned above. The host simply talks about what you can expect within the zoo including information above several animals thriving in the area.

5. Photo Op with a Bird. You can take pictures with colorful cockatoos resting on your shoulders. It’s free but you can always give a tip to the bird’s handler. The birds are right beside the photobooth I mentioned earlier. 

6. Sugarcane Drink. Check out the sugarcane drink maker before walking around the zoo. It’s close to where cockatoos are. You’ll definitely enjoy the refreshingly sweet yet kalamansi sour flavor of the cold drink.

you'll love this sugar cane and calamansi concotion
7. Refreshments. Merienda and drinks are also offered through various stalls inside and outside the zoo.


ostrich on the oval
8. Pony Ride. Apart from the kalesa outside, you can also tour around the zoo’s oval on board a kalesita or small kalesas driven by ponies or little horses. Around the oval you’ll find horses, sheeps, and ostriches. The pony ride is also free like the rest of the services inside the zoo yet you can offer a tip to your carriage driver if you’d like to. I didn’t like the ride though. Poor animals are too small yet heavy laden with a burdensome human load. :(


9. Picture Taking. Obviously, cameras are a must for picture taking opportunities. You can take photos of animals such as those I’ve already listed above as well other animals found throughout the zoo (deer, buck, butterflies, python, and more). There’s also a submarine and several old cannons. Take pictures on the Baluarte sign surrounded by gigantic dinosaur statues and koi fishes by the pond too.


10. Nature Walk. I suggest walking around to feel the breezy wind from the hilltop. Climb up to the left for a glimpse of the upcoming gold colored casino. On the far right when passing by the deer sanctuary on the other hand, and you’ll find a golf course, more deer including a unique one with amazing looking antlers, homes down the hill, and a view from the highest point of the entire zoo premises.

view from the highest public point of the zoo
Getting There

Commuting will take 8-10 hours by bus from Manila depending on road condition and traffic. But you’d enjoy the scenery with hills on your right and waters on your left in La Union and Ilocos Sur itself. You know you’re almost there once you pass by Quirino Bridge and it’s old version on the opposite side.

To get to Baluarte, you won’t have to reach Vigan. Stop at Bantay and hire a tricycle for about Php70 to bring you to the zoo. After the zoo, you can hire a tricycle again and make sure to visit old Vigan houses in Calle Crisologo

Baluarte Zoo is open daily from 6 AM to 6 PM and you’ll find more information through the website www.chavitsingson.net/baluarte
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