Calauit Island: Philippine Safari

Ever since I was a small boy,  I have this fascination for the wildlife.  And one of my biggest dream is to visit an african safari someday.  But that dream has to wait for a little longer (and wait for a bigger budget, too!).  In the meantime, I had a good feel of what a safari was when we went to Coron, Palawan last year and made a 4.5 hour land trip from Coron to Calauit Island, passing through some rough roads.  Calauit Island is located at the north-western tip of Busuanga Island in Palawan.

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Northern Palawan: Busuanga Island

We left the town of Coron at around 3:30 AM and arrived a little past 7 in the morning in the wharf where we took a small motorized banca to cross to the small island of Calauit.

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Calauit Wharf

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Crossing the straight going to the island

The whole island is only 3,700 hectares big and in 1977, was the home to eight species of wild animals from Kenya - giraffes, zebras, impalas, waterbucks, gazelles, eland, topi and bushbacks.


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Arriving in the island

We were greeted by the island’s main caretaker cum tour-guide, as well as a mother and cub calamian deer. It took a while for our “safari” ride to start.  The wait only increased our collective excitement.

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The welcome sign

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The first ones to welcome us in their island

After a few minutes, the “safari” truck finally arrived and we were off to tour the whole island – once touted as the “playground” of the only son of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.  It is advisable to visit this island in the morning when most of the animals are out in the open and grazing.

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The main means of transportation in the island

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"Shooting" from the tour truck

Aside from the calamian deers who greeted us when we arrived, the next animal we met was the graceful and imposing giraffe.  We were allowed to get off the truck and feed the giraffe! That was something …

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Me, feeding "Jinggoy", the resident giraffe

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My wife feeding "Jinggoy"

After feeding the giraffe, we went deeper into the island and met a company of zebras, very wary of us when we approached them but after getting used to us, they just went their merry way.

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Zebras out in the wild

For me, the star of the safari is the endemic (and endangered) Palawan bearcat or “binturong” – a nocturnal mammal which is a cross between raccoon and a tasmanian devil. There used to be a pair of them here in Calauit Island, but one of them disappeared a few months before our visit – apparently eaten by a hungry snake.

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The island's resident bearcat slouched up in the tree

Then, we saw the other animals roaming and romping in the wild …

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The elusive impala ...

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This is "Ramon" the stag of the calamian deers in the island

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"Shooting" the wild ... :)

If you want to get the feel of the real safari, Calauit Game Preserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in Calauit Island should be on the top of your list.

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1 response to Calauit Island: Philippine Safari


  1. Grace

    Im proud to say we have our own Safari Philippines

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