Cebu Safari bids to become PH's largest with Asia's longest zipline

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 26 2018 10:39 AM | Updated as of Aug 26 2018 01:42 PM

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

CARMEN, Cebu -- A new adventure park nestled in a mountainous part of this town may be the next big destination in Southeast Asia as it is boasts of being the largest safari in the Philippines and is bidding to have the longest zipline in Asia.

Philippines' largest 'zoo'

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The Cebu Safari, a 170-hectare development, is home to some 1,200 animals imported from Spain, Australia, US, Africa, and other parts of the world, but the park's officials refuse to call the facility a "zoo."

"We do not call this a zoo because the zoo's concept is caged animals. Dito, ang concept is for them to be in natural habitats," Cebu Safari operations manager Shirley Vidaurrazaga told ABS-CBN News.

"We tell guests that the animals are here for you to see, not to entertain you," Vidaurrazaga said.

Guests can either ride safari trucks to see zebras, wildebeests and other animals grazing in a savannah, or walk along terrains where black swans, pelicans, and other fowls nest.

The project's ambitious goal is to be a world-class safari, and a one-stop adventure destination for foreign and local tourists. It is over an hour's drive from Cebu City.

"We have bred orangutans, black-crested macaques, lions and tigers, and we are set to open an animal hospital by the last quarter of 2018," Vidaurrazaga said.

A lion safari, a penguin zone, a horseback riding range and a new area that will house big mammals such as elephants, rhinoceros, and bison is also set to open soon, she said.

Lhuillier's 'collection'

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The safari is also home to thousands of orchids, a personal collection of its owner, pawnshop titan Michel Lhuillier.

"Cebu Safari started as a hobby for Michel Lhuillier. It has been here for over 30 years," Vidaurrazaga said.

"He started with flowers, particularly orchids, after which followed the buying of animals," she said.

Lhuillier started to welcome the public into his vast abode in April 2017 and has been receiving about 3,500 visitors a week."

Tickets are priced at P800 for adults and P400 for children.

Adventure park expansion

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Cebu Safari is also constructing an adventure park that will feature a 1.3-kilometer zipline, the longest so far in Asia.

The park will have 14 rides including zipbicycles, zipcoaster, giant swings, ATV rides, Vidaurrazaga said.

A hotel and log cabins will also be opened for guests who want to avail of multi-day passes, she said.

"People come to Cebu to visit resorts and beaches, what we offer is a new, unique destination," she said.

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News