Visited Zoocobia

rsz_1mbp_pinkZoocobia, run and managed by Zoomanity Group, has always been a family destination we have always planned to visit. Just by the name itself, we knew that we will be up for fun time and a day of adventure with animals. But we definitely got more than a visit to the zoo. For one, the zoo boasts of highly interactive animals, and the zoo offered the most natural protected home for them. Read up as I share how educational and fun our family experience was. Travel did not disappoint because we took SCTEX on our way to Zoocobia. No heavy traffic in sight, and since we left early, all kids slept almost all throughout travel time.

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The first thing that greets you when you get into Zoocobia are the picture boards. Right from the start of the trip, the kids were all game posing around the picture boards and going goofy around them. A Zoocobia tour guide meet all visitors at this area, your tour guide is key to your educational and fun experience within Zoocobia. Glad to have been assigned one that did not rush around the place but took the time to explain everything in sight and answered all my curious kids’ questions.

20151129_09032420151129_090252The Menagerie is a unique collection of stuffed real animals, yep, real animals stuffed for kids to explore, all preserved by Zoocobia taxidermists. It was also a highly educational spot, because all displays come with the animals’ common name, scientific name and their distinct characteristics and habitat. The stuffed real animals were big hits with the kids for photo ops, there were bears, crocodiles, Siberian tiger, greater kudu, Kalahari goat, American leopard, pot bellied pig, to mention a few.

My kids did not realize all the hours we spent at Zoocobia, because of activities like My Art Work station, where kids can work with paper, wood and crayon to create art masterpieces with their own hands. Birds of Paradise will have you go into a huge bird cage with almost 50 birds you can feed. These birds are not afraid to go close as long as you have food on any of your body part! Kids fed them while on the ground or perched on their hands. The birds fly to wherever you put feeds on! Next was a long list of animals to feed: parrots, ostrich, bearcat and monkeys.

My youngest boy’s favourite was the Zooc, it is a gravity car that is patterned after the luge from Sentosa resort in Singapore. We drove it to a 400-meter track. All boys were all smiles, if it wasn’t for the climb up, we would have done it again and again. Of course, we also took the time to go through the garden maze and to take on the gigantic slides. Mommies do not need to worry because kids land on a big stack of hay, with a park attendant waiting at the bottom of the slide, too, to catch the kids.

The kids also tried the zipline and riding the horses. The camels are also up for a ride, but be ready to endure the camel’s natural scent (which reportedly does not go away even with the animals’ daily bath).

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Thanking God for this family experience. Parents who want to have an educational trip can surely enjoy Zoocobia. It was also encouraging to highlight to kids God’s creation story, as you go around the park, highlighting how we can take care of the animals God has created while enjoying the beauty of nature around us.

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What Other Things You can Do While in Baler – Other than Surfing

rsz_1mbp_pinkBaler can very well be dubbed the surfing capital of the Philippines. It attracts countless tourists and locals, surfing enthusiasts flock to Baler year on year. But if you are a mom like me, to four kids, what other things can you do as a family, while in Baler? We all know that Baler is best known for its big waves perfect for those who want to ride them and perfect for those who want to get started with surfing. Surfing (as defined by Wikipedia) is a surface water sport in which the wave rider, referred to as a surfer, rides on the forward or deep face of a moving wave, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore. So we braved the big waves, armed my boys with their kickboards, because the surfboards are surely too heavy and too big for them. I see surfer learners who end up falling towards the water, with their surfboards falling right behind them.

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So if you are on the lookout for other things to do while in Baler, read up and know your options.

Baler Destination #1 – Ermita Hill

On the way up to Ermita Hill, it is hard to miss the beautiful landscape around us. I made a quiet thank you prayer to God for creating such beautiful places to visit around the Philippines. The view from the top is breathtaking, you can see the shoreline against the beautiful sand surrounded by lush trees around it. Ermita Hill has a lot of scenic spots where you and your family can take Instagram-worthy pictures while enjoying the view of the ocean and the sound of the breeze. If you have more time to spare, take more time from one of the view decks, remember God’s blessings and thank God for His gift of nature.

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Baler Destination #2 – Chef Gerry’s Picnic Bay

Craving for the buffet places from the metro? You will never miss it when you visit Chef Gerry’s Picnic Bay where you can go for eat-all-you-can-buffet for just Php200.00, kids plates are at Php150.00. Choose from any of their seafood, Inihaw and shabu-shabu specialties. I am not so sure if you know but Chef Gerry is actually a migrant from China, you would be interested how a Chinese chef like him has mastered serving Pinoy dishes with the best Pinoy flavours we love to have.

Shoreline in the background right outside Chef Gerry's Picnic Bay Php200.00 eat-all-you-can
Shoreline in the background right outside Chef Gerry’s Picnic Bay Php200.00 eat-all-you-can

Baler Destination #3 – Asia’s Biggest Balete Tree

As soon as we get to the place, the tree is hard to miss with its size and height. It actually looked so intimidating and to an extent, creepy because of its big branches stretching from the roots to the top. In fact, the tree is so big, a tour group can actually get inside the tangle of branches (they are so big they look like a group of trees). We chose to climb up from inside and from outside, too. Make a mental note that one is only allowed to climb upto 3 meters high. Anything higher than that is not allowed by any of the site guides.

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Baler Destination #4 – Nanay Pacing’s Souvenir Shop

Tagaytay has Rowena’s and Baler has Nanay Pacing’s. There is an advantage about visiting Baler off-summer-peak-season. All of the destinations are crowd-free and you do not have to queue to be able to go around. And so, we were able to choose what we want to take home without rushing and without having to wait for our turn around Nanay Pacing’s Souvenir shop. Tried their sampalok goodies, peanut butter, pastillas, and meringue. Oh by the way, do not be surprised if you happen to spot Nanay Pacing herself manning the counter.

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Baler Destination #5 – Museo De Baler

There is something that sets this museum apart from other local museums. It accurately allows you to view the cultural heritage of the past and present. The ground floor is full of historical displays and facts that have helped shape Baler to what it is now, while the upper floor displays modern art and sculpture that clearly expresses what Baler has become. Museo De Baler’s facade is so inviting it became the beautiful background for our family picture. I didn’t realize all of us were aptly clothed red and blue, it looked like a picture we have planned to take.

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Baler Destination #6 – Ditumabo Mother Falls

This is not the first time our kids had to take a trail before getting to a perfect place to swim. We did the same thing for Kabigan Falls, Pagudpod where everyone had to walk for 30 minutes on a trail of land, mini-rivers and hanging bridges. Caramoan also required my kids to do a bit of walking before finding the right spot for swimming in one of the Caramoan islands. And so when it was time to take the 45 minute walk to Ditumabo Mother Falls, my kids were all for it. The falls did not disappoint. Just make sure you do not stay too long with kids because the water can be too cold for swimming.

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Next time you visit Baler, make sure you ask for a Baler map so you can freely create your itinerary as you go around the nooks and corners of what makes Baler a family-destination.

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