Discover Davao : Davao Crocodile Park

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

It's been months since my Davao trip and I've only gotten around posting the photos now, haha! I'm really sorry. I know summer is over and this guide may be irrelevant, but I hope you can still refer to this in your future travels! As usual, we got our tickets from Cebu Pacific at discounted prices during one of their seat sales. We're the kind of couple that do not necessarily have a bucket list of places we'd like to travel to. We just pick our destinations based on the places we haven't been to, and the seat prices of course, lol. So during the seat sale, we both agreed that Davao it is!

We arrived in Mactan at around lunch time, and because we don't have a proper itinerary, we just searched for a hotel while we were at the airport. For accommodations, we're not picky because we won't be staying in anyway. We were just looking for an affordable air-conditioned room so we can leave our things and start exploring the city. We settled for Midland Inn and got a room for only P700! We had lunch at a nearby carinderia and decided to go our way. Initially, we thought we can visit around 3 tourist spots at the same day (like we did in Cebu), but apparently, Davao is such a vast city that some destinations are hours apart. We had the rest of the afternoon to spare but since time is a challenge when it comes to moving from one spot to another, we decided to visit just one destination for the afternoon and that's Davao Crocodile Park. 

The Place
Davao Crocodile Park was originally started by Philip Dizon, due to his fascination with Philippine saltwater and freshwater crocodiles. He did not think of it as a possibly lucrative business until he learned that crocodiles are raised in United States not just for public viewing but for production of leather as well. In November 1995, the government gave him the accreditation and permit to operate the 1st Davao Crocodile Park. 10 years later, on August 18, 2005, the world-class Davao Crocodile Park was opened with the help of consultant Dr. Gilbert Buenviaje. The Davao Crocodile Park Inc. is currently owned and operated by a group of businessmen headed by Mr. Sonny Dizon, a resident of Davao City. (via)

We took a cab from our hotel to the park. It was about 30mins away from the place we were staying in. There weren't a lot of establishments around because it is located inside a huge subdivision. I think it's a subdivision sans the overpopulated houses. 

Rates and Reminders
Entrance fee is P150 for adults and P75 for children (2-12 years old) during weekdays. The rate changes on weekends from 3PM onwards: P200 for adults and P100 for children. There's ample parking outside if you plan to bring your car. There was no show during our visit, but we were welcomed with several reminders such as not being too close to the railings, no feeding of animals, no throwing of food or objects inside the cages, no littering, no smoking and the list goes on for everyone;s safety precaution. 

The Experience
There weren't any scheduled shows during the time of our visit but there were still tourists visiting the place. We chanced upon the staff of the park practicing an Eagle for a show. I honestly felt bad for the Eagle because it was supposed to perform tricks at the hint of music and perform position shifts at a whistle. There was also a Python being offered for photo shoots. We decided not to stay there for long because the Eagle was becoming unruly, I think it was tired. 

We began to explore the rest of the park and saw several salt and fresh water crocodiles. If you've been to Palawan Crocodile farm, the scene looks a lot like that. We also passed by several species of birds, and even saw two humongous Ostrich running around a gated field. We were scared of the Ostrich because they fawn at tourists because they think we have food. We had to move slowly as we cross a little bridge in the middle of the field so we can see other animals. 

There was also a cage for Tigers! Yes, Tigers, The cages stink. Not sure if a tiger's habitat is supposed to smell like that but there was also a warning not to be close to the cages because Tigers are territorial and they tend to spray urine to mark their territory. Not also sure if that's a factor hence the smell. You are allowed to feed the Tigers but there was no personnel around to assist us so we didn't even try. Same goes for the Koi pond near the Tiger's cage. You can feed the fishes but no one was around so again, we didn't even bother. 

As we went on with the rest of the Park, we noticed that it wasn't well maintained. Honestly, we weren't sure if it was their scheduled cleaning day or if the park looked any different during weekends, but it was poorly maintained during our visit. We even dropped by a restaurant inside the Park which offers Crocodile and Ostrich meat but the only thing available was Crocodile Sisig. 
To be honest, it's one of the best parks I've visited when it comes to the number of species you can educate yourself with. Some animal cages even had small notes in them with the scientific name of the animal and other fun facts. The only thing I didn't like is that staff and other employees don't seem to pay too much attention to tourists and the park itself when there's no ongoing show. Or I don't know if they're also like that when there's a show. But it felt like a dead park to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the wide array of animals I was able to see, but hopefully the park maintenance can pay more attention to keeping the park clean and organized. I felt bad for the other animals too because not only do they stink, but they looked hungry as well. 

Will I come back? Probably not given the experience we had. I'm glad I was able to see a Deer for the first time and an Orangutan eating a mango on its own, and I'm good with that. I don't think I can ever take another visit seeing not just the animals, but the park poorly kept. 

Davao Crocodile Park is located at Gadi Road, Talomo, Davao City, Davao del Sur. For reservations, you can call them at (082) 286 8883.

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