Thursday, August 28, 2008

Philippines Zoo: Avilon Zoo (Montalban, Rizal)

For all animal enthusiasts in the Philippines, visiting the Avilon Zoo in Montalban, Rizal is a must! This 7.5 hectare zoo is the largest zoological park in the Philippines and it lies in the heart of Bo. San isidro, Rodriguez (Montalban) Rizal, Philippines. It will definitely satisfy your hunger for animal sight-seeing and adventure.

Going to Avilon Zoo is quite a pain. There's a part where the road gets rough and it would be best if you brought your 4x4 vehicles with you. If you're commuting, there are tricycles that offer a ride from the nearest town (Total Gas station) to the zoo for Php 40.00. However, don't expect to be squeaky clean once you arrive =). Also it's easy to get lost because there are no road signs that would direct you to where the zoo is. There are a few (and I really mean FEW), and you have to be very sharp to find it because it's VERY small (the sign says "This way to Avilon Zoo" but it's as big as a legal sized bond paper). It's better if you just ask around.

The zoo itself is a nice place. The entrance fee costs PHP 208.00 per person (around USD5.00), and if you want a guided tour, you can "rent" a knowledgeable guide for PHP350.00 only. Guests are allowed to bring their own food (and believe me, it's better if you do so because food and drinks sold inside the zoo are waaaay overpriced), but bringing of commercial goods such as McDonald's or Jollibee or KFC would cost you PHP25.00 per meal.

You can also have your picture taken with some of their animals. They charge PHP50.00 for 2 shots (using your personal camera) with their birds or with the mighty albino boa constrictor. This is a close encounter with their animals, by the way. Also at 2:00 PM onwards, their baby Orangutan is available for cradling. Don't miss this!

Despite the wonderful adventure, Avilon Zoo still lacks Maps and Directions. If you don't have a tour guide, you'd have difficulty figuring out where you are... It's a big place and it's easy to get lost without a map. Also some areas of the zoo are still being constructed. We have yet to see the fully developed zoo.

Bottom line is, the Avilon Zoo is absolutely a great experience for the family.

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