Crocodiles helping boost Davao's tourism industry

Subscribe Now April 11, 2012 at 02:15pm

CROCODYLUS Porosus or crocodiles are not the most lovable creatures on the planet. These reptiles more often strike fear to people’s hearts than put smiles on their faces. However, a park dedicated for these fierce creatures in Davao has been able to do the contrary by bringing delight, instead of terror, not only to its owner but also to those who visit the place.

The Davao Crocodile Park is a two-hectare wildlife park owned by 57-year-old Philip “Sonny” Dizon. Since it opened in 2005, the park has attracted tourists of all ages and has contributed largely to Davao’s tourism industry.

According to Dizon, about 500,000 visitors which consisted mostly of students came to see his saltwater crocodiles in the park last year. Presently, Dizon said he owns about 900 saltwater crocodiles.

Among Dizon’s legion of crocodiles is a 1,000-kgs crocodile mastodon called “Pangil”, who is considered as the heart of the crocodile park because of his size. Considering every visitor’s safety, “Pangil” and the rest of the crocodiles are kept on fenced enclosures.

The crocodile park features an educational show with activities like “Pangil” encounter or the giant crocodile encounter, crocodile feeding, crocodile dancing, and tightrope walking. These circus-like shows are added to further enrich visitors’ experience inside the park.

But the Davao Crocodile Park offers more than just the hundreds of crocodiles of various sizes. The park, in fact, is more likely a wildlife zoo with tons of other wild animals accompanying the crocodiles and sharing its spotlight.

Wild animals like orangutans, tigers, snakes, cockatoos and civet cats are also present in the park for visitors to see. A white breasted fishing called “Silver”, a hornbill called “Bill”, and an albino Burmese python are just some of the animals that are involved during the park’s educational show.

With the success that the Davao Crocodile Park has brought into Davao’s tourism industry, Dizon aims to further boost Mindanao’s tourism sector his third crocodile park venture called Safari Land.

Safari Land will be a 10-hectare wildlife park that is set to open in Davao in 2013. Dizon said that some crocodiles have already been transferred to the site in which he also plans to add some tigers, elephants, ostriches, and other big game.

The park will be Dizon’s biggest crocodile-themed park once it opens next year. Dizon also owns a smaller crocodile park in Manila which opened in 2008. According to Dizon, about 200,000 visitors came to his Manila crocodile park last year.

With his vision of a wildlife park where families can watch from the comfort of their cars, Dizon surely has changed the way people regarded vicious creatures like crocodiles. Dizon, together with his army of crocodiles, are on a mission to help boost Mindanao’s tourism industry, and there is no indication that they are stopping anytime soon.


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