Going on a safari adventure is probably part of everyone’s bucket list. And yes, the best place to experience the wild is Africa, hands down. But let’s face it. Not everyone can afford the trip right away. Good thing we have Zoobic Safari here in the Philippines!
Nestled in a very remote forest in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo, Zoobic Safari offers a taste of the African wildlife just 2.5 to 3 hours away from Metro Manila. It is the only tiger safari in the Philippines, and it boasts 25 hectares of wildlife-ridden landscapes. Unlike conventional zoos, Zoobic Safari offers opportunities to interact with the animals (according to Park Rules), pet them, feed them and many more!
Frankly, it’s sad to see some wild animals (like lions) caged and not placed in their natural habitats. I understand the safety concerns but I also can’t help but notice the stress it’s been causing them. 💔 On the other hand, I can’t also deny the fact that the trip still makes a fun-learning activity for the kids. We literally saw the kids’ eyes glimmer in awe as they see the animals from their books come to life! I mean, who wouldn’t get excited seeing tigers and lions and even ligers up close? Even adults get fascinated by these. I, personally, have seen many different animals in my lifetime and still I get fascinated when I see them up close.
What you can see and do in Zoobic
Animals, animals, animals!!!
They have ostriches, albino caribou, deers, monkeys, an eagle, a bear, ducks, bearcats, guinea pigs, ferrets, camels, big cats and many more! These animals come from different regions of the world.
Did you know?
Tigers are now considered endangered species.
Only about 2,500 of them are left in the wild today.
In Zoobic Safari, you get to meet a couple of tigers! You even get to see them fed within an arm’s reach!
Yes, the feeder was right beside me and the tiger’s fangs were right in front of me, within breathing distance.
Tiger Safari: the highlight of the trip
You will hop on a protected jeepney where you will be taken to a protected woodland inhabited by tigers. If you want to feed them (feeders/caretaker will do the actual feeding), you will have to pay P200 for the chicken. You can divide this among other passengers in your assigned jeep. My advice? Buy the chicken. To skip the feeding part is a sacrilege, I tell you.
We rode that jeepney twice. The first one was with another family who had little children, too. Their youngest was 5. The grandmother didn’t want to buy the chicken because her grandchildren might get scared. I was very disappointed because THIS WAS WHAT WE CAME FOR. She didn’t even ask us if we’re okay with the decision. We would’ve switched jeepneys with others. But then, we weren’t able to detest because we only learned she already told the guide we’re not getting the chicken when the jeepney was about to leave.
The ride without the feeding was utterly boring. Tigers don’t come near your vehicle because you don’t have anything for them. So you just end up watching them jump on top of other vehicles or stand right outside, devouring their chicken. BO-RING. I mean, we could easily go to another zoo to see tigers from afar, right? Avilon Zoo in Tiende is just two tumblings away from our home.
When we got off the jeep, I asked the guide if we could have a do-over. I explained what happened and told the guide this was what we really came for and our son is really excited about it. Luckily, he let us go again. So off we went to another safari ride…
The tiger is my self-proclaimed spirit animal. Naturally, I’m fascinated by this activity. But what really amused us and everybody else in the jeep was Ezra. He was super happy to see the tigers up close and he never got scared. The driver and feeder told us that most babies his age (he was 2) gets scared shitless. But Ezra? He enjoyed every minute of it. So much that he didn’t even want to get off the jeep after the ride!
Other notable attractions
Zoobic Safari features a handful of attractions namely:
- ◉ Zoobic Park: A special petting zoo and observation area set in a jungle environment
- ◉ Forbidden Cave & Zoobic Cave: Filled with stuffed animals. Nothing really exciting but it does have a mini hanging bridge you can try or take a photo with, if that interests you.
- ◉ Savannah: Farm and exotic animals roaming free. You can spot wild ostriches, wild boars and many others.
- ◉ Aetas Trail: Meet native Filipinos and get entertained with a tribal show and war dance. Also get a peek at how Aeta’s used to live and cook from many many years ago.
- ◉ Bone Muzooem: You guessed that right. Bones. I didn’t see anything very interesting here. Not unless they can top the dinosaur fossils I saw in Chicago, New York and DC. Lol. Kidding, but not really. That’s gotta be the most amazing set of bones I’ve seen my whole life.
- ◉ Shows: A series of entertaining shows presented by caretakers and animals. Watch out for the schedule of these shows so you could catch it.
- ◉ Croco Loco: You guessed it again. Crocodile lair. You can again buy chicken or rent a fishing pole.
- ◉ Serpentarium: Reptile world. Icky but somehow interesting.
- ◉ Tiger & Lion Close Encounter: This is probably the saddest part of Zoobic for me. While it is exciting to walk among numerous big cats, it’s disheartening to see these kings of the jungle locked up in cages. The guide said it’s their resting and sleeping area, so I suppose they’re alloted a time to roam around a protected wilderness area.
Our favorite attractions are the tiger safari and the zoobic park. Ezra loved the show, too!
How to get there
- ◉ By Bus
The most convenient way would be to travel with Victory Liner (can come from Pasay, Cubao, Sampaloc, Caloocan). They have trips every 30 minutes to 2 hours, and they have WiFi onboard.
You can also take any other bus line with routes that go to Olongapo or Iba, Zambales.
Travel time normally takes about 4 hours but if you take the SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway), travel time will be down to 1.5 hours, 2.5 hours tops.
For the bus fare, the “regular” Olongapo trip via Victory Liner from Cubao costs P207 and if via SCTEX, P235. You can also travel to Iba, Zambales via SCTEX for P375. Fares may vary depending on your point of origin and schedule may change without prior notice as well. To ensure a smoother travel, call Victory Liner first. Here’s a list of contact details according to selected terminals.
As of present, Victory Liner already offers online booking. The trips available online may be scarce so if you have a schedule in mind, it’s better to go to your nearest bus terminal. For online booking, click here.
As soon as you get to Olongapo terminal, take a yellow jeep to SBMA main gate. Note that no public vehicle can enter Subic Freeport Zone except taxis. So, when you get to the SBMA main gate, walk to the taxi stand to catch a cab. (Cabs are also available just outside bus terminals) Fare to Zoobic Safari is fixed at P400 per taxi one way. Take note: PER TAXI and not per person. This is also a fixed rate so if the driver you first approached is asking for anything higher than that, get another cab. Make sure to set the price and destination with the driver first before you take the ride.
Also, Subic taxis are usually SUV-type and can accommodate up to 9 people. Subic has no law regarding maximum number of passengers as long as you fit inside the vehicle well. Needless to say, if a taxi driver is telling your group of 7 or even 9 to take 2 taxis because he can only accommodate half of you, get another cab.
For pick-ups, since Zoobic is located in a remote area, taxis usually give you their contact number so you can call or text them if you’re ready to leave Zoobic. In this case, additional fee is typically asked. Most travelers say they added P100. Again, agree on a price with the driver first. Some drivers also just stay behind at the parking lot. If this is the case, though, be wise to get their contact number or another driver’s number. Some drivers who “wait” in the parking area will leave to get some more passengers.
- ◉ By Private Car
If you are coming from the Balintawak Exit of North Luzon Expressway, take the exit after DAU with the sign of SCTEX and enjoy the 40-minute drive to Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Toll fees are as follows (may change through time): P112 from Tipo to Clark and P18 for the Subic Expressway.
Alternatively, take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) to San Fernando Exit. Follow the signs going to Olongapo. You will pass by Pampanga towns like Guagua and Lubao as well as Dinalupihan, Bataan. Take the Tipo-Subic Expressway to go to Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Other things you need to know
- ◉ There is a scheduled feeding/photographing session with Titan, a white Bengal tiger. It costs P240 or more, depending on the number of people in that’s going to be in the picture. Personal cameras are allowed. Sadly, Titan wasn’t available during our visit because they said he was full.
- ◉ Zoobic Safari Operating hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily
- ◉ The journey up the mountain to Forest Adventure Park where Zoobic is located is quite a long ride. Just a heads up.
Regular tickets to Zoobic are as follows:
- ◉ P695 per adult
- ◉ P595 per child 3ft-4ft
- ◉ Free of Charge for children 3 ft and below
BUT WAIT, YOU CAN AVAIL DISCOUNTED TICKETS!!!!
We got ours for ONLY P544!
Thanks to TravelBook, you can enjoy 12% discount! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
Zoobic Safari is indeed a great place to experience a taste of the wild. Given its close proximity to the city, not to mention the beautiful coastal area of Subic, it is absolutely an ultimate family destination in the Philippines!
What are you waiting for? Book your tickets now or check for updated special discounts and other offers here: TravelBook.PH – Don’t forget to use the code 9050 upon checkout! 🙂8