the zoo part 5: this is the last one, i promise.

you’re probably sick of looking at animals by the time this installment came up. i’m trying to make my zoo-related posts light and breezy and interesting, as the animals were to me when i saw them in a whole new light 20+ years after i first saw them as a kid.

indeed, maturity does that to you. when we were kids, we saw these animals for what they were and for what they meant to us. we saw them through rose-colored glasses. we saw them as happy, well-fed creatures who moved about their cages purely for our childish entertainment. we thought those cages were their homes.

but, of course, as the years pass, we know better. those cages are not their homes and they never will be.

but freedom is a double-edged sword. put them in their real habitat and they become prey to man’s selfish desire for a good sport. put them inside a cage for their own safety and they waste their lives away. you win some, you lose some. just another fact of life.

cebu zoo

going back to my word of keeping these posts light and breezy and interesting, we found this dog running around on top of the cages. i don’t know how he got there but it was amusing to watch — a barking contradiction, so to speak.

cebu zoo

because the zoo covered a large land area, ram and i got lost looking for the bengal tiger which we were both excited to see. all around us was a mini-forest of trees, dead leaves, and the smell of nature and all its glory. it was pretty quiet too. peaceful, in fact. the weather was made even more perfect with the mellow rays of the sun warming the cool air. to complete the atmosphere of serenity, ram suggested the possibility of snakes underneath the decaying pile of brown leaves which i loved because it reminded me of the autumn the philippines never had.

cebu zoo

speaking of snakes, the roots of this tree sure looked like one of those slithering reptiles. these are creepy-looking roots so much like those in ta prohm, only creepier because of their shiny, yellow-greenish hues that breathe life and motion. they’re disturbing, period.

cebu zoo

as the highlight of our visit, meet bogart, the zoo’s only bengal tiger. he was a formidable creature to watch. i couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the fierceness of his eyes and the silent intelligence of his stare. his body in itself was a deadly weapon loaded with brute muscle power i can’t even begin to comprehend.

cebu zoo

but on that day, bogart was in pain. he just had surgery on his foot because of an overgrown and painful callus. he couldn’t walk as proudly as tigers should. even if he could, his kingdom has been reduced to the confines of a rather small cage.

cebu zoo

when our awe and giddiness of seeing a tiger died down, sadness kicked in. ram couldn’t help but feel depressed looking at bogart look so lonely and powerless. he said he wouldn’t mind keeping bogart company in his cage if only to ease his solitude.

that guy ought to be careful of the things he wishes for. according to the local news, bogart is in need of a mate. ram might just be the man for the job! lol.

cebu zoo

flies swarmed over a couple of bones sitting on the far end of the cage. curious as to what bogart eats, ram told me that the reason why the zoo raises many dogs is so they can feed them to bogart. he was teasing, of course, laughing at the look of disgust on my face.

when the caretaker came to show bogart to a pair of foreign visitors, revenge was sweet when i blatantly asked the zoo keeper if it was true that they feed dogs to bogart and if that was the reason why they have so many dogs.

“we never feed dogs to bogart. bogart eats only raw pig meat (chopped). he doesn’t even eat goat meat.”

haha. that killed ram. the moment the caretaker was gone, he was like, “boang jud ka!”

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