It's our first out of town trip this summer! Last weekend we went to Subic to have a close encounter with ferocious tigers at the Zoobic Safari. It was very hot that day and one could really feel the scorching sun. Upon arrival, we went directly to the pavillion to secure tickets and start our tour. We got a group tour package. Adult rate was P395 and P295 for children. The group tour comes with a friendly zoo tour guide. Before the tour, Eva, the tour guide assigned to us, gave a short overview on what to expect and the rules and regulations of the park.
Our first stop was the Zoobic Park, a Petting Zoo area in a walk through tropical jungle like were you can have a live interaction with deers, ostrich, albino carabao, bear, monkey, eagle, miniature horse, ducks and a lot more. Ethan had so much fun in this place. He touched a sheep and even wanted to ride on it. Then he fed the camels. He actually wouldn't want to stop feeding the camels and kept on asking for dry leaves. Funny though, everytime he finishes feeding a camel with one leaf, he always wipes his hands on his shorts (nandidiri yata ang loko)!
Next stop was the Serpentarium. Pia hates this place. She doesn't like snakes and scaly animals (He-he-he). Of course I enjoyed seeing her face while she says: "Yuck! Kakadiri talaga!" Love this photo of this overgrown lizard. Nice pose, huh?!
Then were off to the Tiger Safari... we rode on a tiger safari jeep. Yes, it's a jeep. Very similar to those flying the major thoroughfares of the metro. From the looks of it, the jeeps actually seem to have taken a heavy beating from the tigers. Before boarding, our guide asked us if we would want to buy chickens to feed the tigers. We bought two chickens for I think P200 a piece. The driver was no different from the "kaskasero" drivers we know. We reached the safari gates in no time and immediately spotted the tigers. I was actually expecting a vast land where I would be able to see tigers running alongside the jeep. But, to my surprise, the safari was just a small area wherein the jeep would just make one corner turn and you're out of there. There were four tigers inside the safari.
This tiger was actually on a make-shift water hole when our "pasaway" na driver and his "alalay" made a stop and started teasing it with the chicken we bought.
And of course, what would you expect a hungry tiger to do when he sees food being waved at him? The tiger quickly jumped off the water and run directly towards the jeep slamming it with his big paws. And yes, we all got wet! It was tiger-bath for all of us. We all had water dripping down our faces. Ethan even said: "Mom, basa damit ku!" At this point, the attendant feeding and teasing the tiger seemed to be enjoying seeing us all wet and dripping. I actually wanted to knock his head off with the camera on my hand, but thought that nah, it's not worth it. Ethan watched in amazement as the tiger devoured the chicken.
After the really close encounter with the tigers, we proceeded to Croco Loco. Yup, lots of crocodiles here. For P50 bucks you'll get a quarter chicken and a fishing pole and get to tease, I mean feed the crocodiles (poor crocodiles). We decided not to buy any chicken this time and just settled watching other visitors dangle the chicken on a fishing pole making the crocs jump high to reach it!
Then our guide took us to the Aeta's Trail. Here we got to watch our brother Aeta's perform several short tribal dances for the visitors. I took some snapshots, and here they are...
But the most unforgettable experience for me in this adventure was having our pictures taken with a real, big and live tiger sitting on my lap. Yup, you get to touch their fur and actually feel how heavy they are. While walking towards the spot where we'll have our pictures taken, I noticed the tiger with eyes focused looking at and following Ethan. The Tiger even stood up as Ethan approached the bench. I was fast enough to take this snapshot as the tiger looks at Ethan.
I asked one of the handlers if its natural for the tiger to do that. And if it's safe and ok for Ethan to have his picture taken with the tiger. Hey, i wouldn't want to take any chances. It may look like an overgrown cat but it's still a tiger! The handler told us that the reason the tiger looks and stares at Ethan like that is because when it sees something small and moving, it thinks of it as food or chicken! Oh my, the tiger actually thinks Ethan's tiger chow! In the end, we still had our picture taken, following of course the advise of the handlers to sit Ethan farthest from the tiger's head. I don't know if you could see on my face how tensed I was while doing this.
Overall assesment, we had fun! The place may not be at par to zoo's in Singapore or other countries, but one thing's for sure... the tiger experience is worth the travel time and something you wouldn't want to miss!
-Jeff & Pia