Zoobic Safari (Subic, Zambales)

Want to have a roaring good time? Perhaps the closest you can get to a ferocious feline in the Philippines is at the Zoobic Safari—the one and only tiger safari in the country. It is located at Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales province, a former US naval base. When the Americans left in 1993, the Philippine Government converted the area into a Freeport Zone that has now become an industrial estate with an international airport, shopping malls, hotels, techno parks, recreational facilities and several eco-tourism attractions.

The Zoobic Safari is a 37-acre nature compound that has about 500 animals belonging to 50 different species. These include ostriches, guinea fowls, pot bellied pigs, various deer species and wild boars. Visitors can see all of these animals through a ride. If visitors opt to walk through the zoo, they can view animals at close range which include camels, an otter, a bear cat, deer, peacocks, cloud rats, civet cats, as well as cassowaries.

There are several sections at this nature theme park: Zoobic Park; Rodent World; Serpentarium; Bone Museum (where taxidermic zoo animals and their bones are displayed); and the Aeta Trail (where Luzon aboriginals enthusiastically share their culture through music and dance). Aside from the fearsome tigers at the Tiger Safari, the most interesting animals I saw up close were a cuddly loris, a squeaky otter, and endangered Philippine crocodiles at Croco Loco.

Located 110 kilometers north of the capital, Subic, Zambales is a 3-hour drive north of Metro Manila. Zoobic Safari charges PHP395 for adults, andPHP295 for children (inclusive of guided tours). For souvenirs, visit the American bunkers converted to shops and cafes. For more information, visit http://www.zoobic.com.ph

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