Project Pilipinas: Calauit Safari Park, a piece of Africa in the Philippines

A couple of years ago, I launched a passion project called Project Pilipinas.  The goal was simple:  help spread information about the beautiful places in the Philippines by posting about my past travels within the country along with some useful information (how to get there, how to go around, places to stay, tips, etc.).  So hopefully, when researching about the Philippines, some random Googler (be it foreigner or local) will come across my blog and be encouraged to visit all those places.  Read more about that project here.

"OMG there it is!" 

I was like a starstruck fan seeing my favorite celebrity when I caught a glimpse of the long orange neck emerging from the clump of trees from afar.

I know, I know.  You can easily see a giraffe in the zoo.  But seeing them in the wild was a different kind of experience--like you've been transported to South Africa or one of those Jurassic Park movies.

Well, we might as well have been in South Africa at that time.  We were in Calauit Island, a 3,700 hectare island of the coast of Palawan that has been home to wild animals from Africa since the 1970's.

"Like Noah and the biblical ark, a boatload of animals was shipped from Africa to remote Calauit Island in the Philippines in the 1970s supposedly to save them from extinction.

The descendants of these animals—20 giraffes, along with dozens of zebra and antelope—are now among the most intriguing legacies of he the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The animals were brought to the tiny island where, under a Marcos decree, the locals were moved elsewhere to make way for the strange new inhabitants."  (Read full article here.)

In my past trips to Coron, Palawan, our itineraries were always packed mainly with island hopping and snorkeling.  Once, I had the chance to dive in one of their famous shipwrecks.  I've always wanted to explore Calauit Island but since it was a bit far from the town (about 4 hours via land travel), I never had the chance to.

But during my last trip, which was actually for work, I finally got to visit that piece of African paradise in the Philippines.

We went around the park on-board an old jeep and it was every bit like a safari adventure.

The animals were elusive at first. 

But the deeper we got into the park, the more we saw of our Madagascar-ish friends.

But while all the animals were just happily roaming around, the elusive giraffes were nowhere to be found.  According to our guide, there were times when the giraffes would stay hidden all day and visitors don't get to see them at all, which would explain why I was so ecstatic when we finally saw them haha.

If you want a closer encounter with our long-necked friends, you can actually feed them with the help of the park caretakers.

A little warning though:  they can be quite aggressive when hungry!  Hence, this not so flattering photo :p

So if you want a different kind of adventure apart from all the already wonderful things that Coron, Palawan has to offer, do check out Calauit Island's Safari Park and experience that piece of African adventure in the Philippines.


Read my other Project Pilipinas posts here:

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