Caluit, Palawan - My Childish Dream Come True
Ever since I heard of the Caluit Game Preserve Sanctuary in Palawan, I always dream of visiting this Philippines' version of a Safari. I would like to believe that the Caluit Game Preserve was created as a zoo playground for Bong Bong Marcos. But nobody really knows the story behind the creation of this sanctuary in Palawan (Would you know?). I actually admire Marcos for such an ambitious vision of creating our own safari in the 70's.
With childlike excitement, I patiently endured the 2-hour boat trip from El Rio Y Mar resort in Busuanga, Palawan to Caluit Island. I can't believe that my dream of seeing the Giraffes and Zebras with my own eyes is about to come true.
The problem with Caluit is you have to go with a group so that you can enjoy the safari-like trip with other people and to make the trip cost effective.
The beauty of Caluit Island is that all the animals are free to roam around in their natural habitat. So, they need to ensure that there are no predators like lions and tigers in the island. It was super hot and dry in Caluit when we got to the island. The first moment we saw the animals, all of us started taking pictures. I forgot for a moment the teachings of Master George that the enemy of the photographer is the excitement of pressing the shutter button too soon.
This trip was a dream come true.
My only disappointment was the entire island was not developed ever since the first couple of animals were transported in 1975 from Naomi, Kenya. The zebras and giraffes were already from the third generation. Most of them are "filipino" animals already because they were born here.
The best time to go to Caluit is early in the morning before 9am where most of the animals come out.
There was an interesting trivia about zebras. Is it a black animal with white stripes? or a white animal with black stripes? I believe that it was the latter. They were very elusive. So you need to earn their trust before they would approach you instead of running away from you.
When Aidan turns 5-7 years old, I will bring him to Caluit to see these animals.
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.