It’s All Happening at the Zoo

It’s all Happening at the Zoo

One of the “must do” deals in Coron is the visit the Calcuit Island Safari Park. Most of us remember the antics of Ferdinand Marcos, long time ruler of the Philippines. He is made most famous not for his high jinks but for his wife’s obsession with shoes. When they finally confiscated his fortunes, all taken from the good people of the Philippines, her collection of thousands of pairs of expensive shoes was discovered. Those sequenced kicks that once adorned the paws of the reigning lady are now in a museum in Manila.

Of all the opulence, corruption and shenanigans of the former ruler, one stands out with merit, the saving of these endangered African animals.. in the 70’s Marcos cut a deal with an African leader to save a cornucopia of critters from the war torn area. Imagine him coming home to the palace after a long day of milking his followers and greeting his well shod wife with “Honey, we bought a Zoo” Money can do good even in the hands of shysters it seems, so a ship load of doomed rare creatures landed on this island and thrive there to this today.

We took the trip to the east side of Busanga Island and dropped the hook in the narrow bay that separates it from Culsuit Island. The next morning we rose early and took the dinghy to the ranger station. This put us well ahead of any tourist boats coming from Coron. We were greeted by the staff, paid our fess and jumped into the 1950’s style Willey’s Jeep. For me the jeep ride is one of the highlights, this old Korean War relict had the original 4 cylinder diesel engine putt putting it along.

The girls got their first glimpse of a giraffe right off, extracting squeals and excitement. The guide took us to the feeding platform where only a small fence keeps those two huge giraffe toes from planting on yours. We were given leaf covered branches to feed the long necked wonder. Neither Heli, our new Finnish crew, nor Donna had ever fed a giraffe, who has? so it was a thrill.

We then popped back in the jeep and covered the African like grass lands of the island. We see zebra’s, local endangered deer and more giraffes.

There are a few critters in cages, some for protection some to keep visible but most run free. The terrain, vegetation and climate are very similar to the region of Africa they animals came from. The original stock arrived in 1977, so none of the original animals are still alive but they have left a legacy, all of the animals we saw were “island born” and prospering well.

We did the jeep ride, girls on top, back to the ranger station, thanked our guides and took the dinghy back to Furthur, all with a new experience to talk about, and new memories the cherish.

Make Your Dream Your Story

Capt. Brian Calvert

MV Furthur