Traveller, Photographer, Mountaineer, Human

Baluarte ni Chavit Singson (Vigan, Ilocos Sur)

June 16, 2012

Part of a visit to Vigan would be a visit to Baluarte of Chavit Singson (the governor of the province for a long time).

Baluarte is a sort of farm/park of Chavit and is like his Neverland.  Baluarte is situated in a large tract of land very near the city.  It is open to the public for free.

On entering the place, you’ll be greeted by parrots – one large blue and yellow (right), a pair of yellow ones and one large white.

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A little further from the main entrance and you will see a large grassy field.  There are several species of animals roaming this field – deer, ostrich, ducks, turkeys, alpacas, horses or ponies.

There is a place where an hourly show is done.  An emcee (who sounds like a radio DJ) asks for volunteers from the audience and puts various animals on them (albino anaconda, Palawan bearcat, raptors, reptiles, etc.)

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Beside this place where the show is held is an enclosure where butterflies are hatched and allowed to roam.

In addition to the animals presented in the show, there are other animals in cages including 9 tigers!

The whole compound is dominated by a large building with a big tree on top.  Our cuchera (driver of our kalesa) said that it is a money tree imported from Korea.

Well, the tree looks dead or dying (unless the leaves are really brown or gold-colored.)

Our cuchera who is very talkative told us that each of the buildings represent a major gambling win for Chavit.  She said that one of the buildings is from the winnings from mahjongg (the one with mahjongg tiles on the design).

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The place is nice.  There is also a corner with large stone (or fiberglass) dinosaurs, a corner for Chavit’s yellow submarine and old English cannons.

After visiting the place, I thought how rich Chavit must be.  Just acquiring all the animals, buildings and stuff takes money and not to mention their upkeep must cost a real fortune.  And his not charging anything to the public!

The place reminds me of paintings of throne rooms in the olden days – where a king sits with his court and all around are signs of his riches and powers, including peacocks, tigers and other exotic animals.

If ever you’re in Vigan, don’t forget to visit Baluarte.  It’s free so what have you to lose?  (Unless of course the dying money tree signals a change in Chavit’s fortune, in which case better hurry up before the place falls into disrepair).

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One response

  1. Pia C.

    I really hope the management of Baluarte, as well as the tourists, come to realize that they should be more sensitive to the plight of the dwarf horses. The Baluarte offers free carriage rides by the dwarf horses to their detriment. Today, I witnessed a sight of exhausted and wounded dwarfed horses being whipped every 3 seconds so as to carry a load of an average of 3 adults at a quicker pace. Animals are not machines and people should be more aware of this. Attached is a photo of one of the wounded and very exhausted dwarf horses.

    June 1, 2013 at 11:33 am

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