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AVILON ZOO
« on: September 29, 2009, 10:13:41 AM »
A Roarin' Time at Avilon

By Bum D. Tenorio Jr. (The Philippine Star) Updated September 27, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Fabulous four-legged, two-legged as well as scaled, winged and hissing creatures kept me company recently at Avilon Zoo, a well-planned and well-maintained sanctuary for animals in Barangay San Isidro, Rodriguez, Rizal.

The intense excitement I felt when I went on a safari adventure in South Africa a few years back was awakened in me again when I stood face to face with a pride of lions in Avilon. As I watched the beasts about to take their siesta, one lioness was apparently irked by my presence and came near me – obliging with a yawn, flashing her sharp and steely incisors. I was unmoved by this display of might, even if I could almost feel the heat of the lioness’ breath, safe behind the glass wall that thankfully separates the animals and their intrusive visitors. As the lioness continued to gnarl and snarl at me, I got the message that I should stay away from her.

“She probably does not want to be disturbed,” Teena Gaw tells me, adding that 90 percent of the animals in the wild are nocturnal.

Teena and her husband Jake are the owners of the Avilon Zoo. These zookeepers, sometimes called the modern-day Tarzan and Jane by friends and always-satisfied guests, deserve to be commended for creating a zoological garden-resort of world-class standards.

Like many good things, this one actually started with a problem. Neighbors in White Plains in Quezon City complained to the village association that Jake had turned their ancestral home into a zoo because of his pet lions and birds. This forced Jake to decide to relocate his furry and feathery friends somewhere else. What a blessing it was when they found a 7.5-hectare parcel of land for sale in Rodriguez, Rizal. They developed the land and opened Avilon Zoo to the public in 2005.

“Avilon features a variety of animals for the purpose of recreation, education and conservation,” says Jake. “Several animals would have been extinct if not for zoo breeding in captivity. Our zoo offers a convenient opportunity for urbanites to encounter wildlife. We offer education and knowledge about wildlife, nature and environment.”

On this property, that is also planted with different trees and plants, can be found more than 300 species, most of which are endemic to the Philippines. Of late, the couple has been focused on adding larger animals to their kingdom. The latest additions to the Avilon family included a pygmy hippopotamus from the Singapore Zoo exchange breeding loan program, a racoon dog, American badgers, a female jaguar named Sofia (from the Sofia Zoo, courtesy of the Bulgaria breeding loan program) and biking orangutans.

In 2008, Jake and Teena opened the Ark Avilon in the heart of Ortigas Center in Pasig, in the vicinity of Tiendesitas. This ark-like building with an elevator is the only indoor zoo in the country. The insect exhibit here is a must-see, but don’t miss Claudia, a white tiger.

Every day, busloads of students come on excursion to the zoo. The wonder and amazement painted on the faces of the children, and even their parents and guardians, is proof that the zoo is a hit among the young ones and the young once. Some shriek at the sight of a huge reticulated python as it is being taken out of its glass case. The shrieking continues when willing participants try to help each other carry the snake that hisses and crawls around the bodies of its new friends.

This experience is not for the faint-hearted. I tried it and it felt like the whole weight of the Avilon Zoo was on me as I tried to carry the gargantuan python. The snake’s leathery yet smooth body slithered through mine. I felt like a thousand hands were massaging my body.

Of late, excursionists at the zoo carry an Earth Card, an annual zoo entrance pass with perks like 10 percent off on food purchased at the zoo food pavilion, five percent off on souvenir items, two complimentary tickets and graduated discounts for guests coming to Avilon.

A guided tour takes one on an amazing discovery of Avilon’s glorious animalandia. Along the way, you will meet Ruffa, a Sumatran tiger who earned the name because its previous owner turned it over to Avilon on the day that actress Ruffa Gutierrez got married. The actress may have long said goodbye to her husband but Ruffa the tiger has remained as the endearing center of attraction at Avilon.

And the birds, oh the birds! The feathered population at Avilon is like a roll call of flying and flightless birds. The biggest of all is the ostrich. The second largest is the emu that makes a gong-like sound that will surely capture anyone’s attention. The Egyptian geese and American mallards quack their way as visitors excitedly feed them. Swans, not a single one of them ugly, display their grace to all and sundry. Flamingos playfully tiptoe their way around a pond, like ballerinas in a delicate dance.

Discover, too, the capybara, the world’s largest rodent. The Malayan tapir, a shy and gentle creature related to the rhinoceros, is also a great find at the zoo. What about a fish that’s larger than any visitor – the eight-foot fresh water fish called arapaima? Add to these a number of turtles and tortoises of different shapes and sizes. The Lilliputian horses are so cute you can’t blame the kids who pester their parents to bring these horses home.

And the crocodiles at Avilon are so big and there are so many of them that many naughty visitors jokingly wonder if there are still any left in Congress.


Avilon, the name of the zoo, is a coined word, explains Teena, so it can be translated as the “land of the birds.” In fact, she says, “It is Avilon’s goal to soar – soar high in educating the public about the importance of these animals; soar high in helping conserve and protect these animals.”

At Avilon, one joins in the celebration of a roaring life with the wild.

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ang gwapa

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ang agila

wik1b - AVILON ZOO - Photos Unlimited

ang gwardya (hahahaha)

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ang pulotan

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janjan

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2009, 11:26:57 AM »
ka sexy sa guardia pariha pa me color ug blouse pink hehehe
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ms da binsi

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2009, 11:51:55 AM »
kaluoy sa pulotan! ahahhaha!

ka nindot sa orangutan oi!
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glacier_71

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 10:58:05 PM »

barombado kaayog barong ning orangutan-a ba. aahahaha.

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Scarb

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 11:04:30 PM »
kujawa sa naka pink og posing duh ;D

nindot na last pics, nahan ko ana nila bah, ayaw tawon ipolotan  ;)
“Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.”~Thomas Henry Huxley~

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glacier_71

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2009, 11:15:54 PM »

wa ba kaha na sila ianod sa baha, Blue?

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Scarb

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 04:39:02 AM »
kalooy baya ana naka pink og nag kapa kapa na sya ug nilangoy? ;D

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glacier_71

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 04:47:06 AM »
ug nangalumos ni sila og apil sa lunop, naa gyud tingali na-adobo nila. kalami ra ba tingali sa karne aning orangutan. hehehe

Scarb

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 04:52:33 AM »

ayeh mokaon ka ana Ice Age? outsch GLACE btw. ew nyahaha

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Re: AVILON ZOO
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2009, 11:02:14 PM »
Time pa. Wa may mikomentaryo
sa "Ang Gwapa"? Sa corn snake,
orangutan ug fowl ra man?

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