A FEW more months of waiting and Cebuano pawnshop tycoon Michel J. Lhuillier will be opening the country’s biggest zoo in the upland area of
Carmen town, 41.7 kilometers north of Cebu City.
With everyone’s excitement building up as photos of the 100-hectare development of the Lhuillier have been posted on social media sites, Michel asked everyone to be patient and wait for October or November this year for the opening of Cebu’s own safari.
“I’m hoping to open by October or November. Let’s be patient. I will do my best to make it the best in the world. You no longer have to travel around the world or go to Safari because I’m bringing the world here,” said Michel.
The Cebuano business tycoon spoke before the Cebu press during the ML Calayan launching, a partnership with Calayan Medical Group at Hola
España last Thursday night, as he clarified online articles that they are opening April this year.
“Everybody has been excited, some guys spoil by putting false information that we are opening this April, that is not true. I am aiming for October or November because I want it to be one of the best in the world,” he added.
Photos of the 100-hectare zoo broke the internet last year as some netizens, who were able to have an exclusive tour inside, posted them in their social media accounts.
What we know about the zoo, based on the photos is that it has a terraced garden, filled with blooms, Michel’s collection of orchids, an aviary, wild animals such as white tigers, zebras, buffalos, horses, giraffes, vultures, flamingos, and some more.
And 70 percent of the animals will be arriving this month, on board a plane.
“The place is quite high, actually it’s like being in a different world, I feel like I’m in London because of the mountains,” said Michel.
Michel owns at most 6,000 hectares of land making him one of the biggest landowners in Cebu province.
“I fell in love with the place 35 years ago, so I started planting trees there. I also love orchids, and in there is my collection of them at the zoo. I don’t want anyone taking any flowers from my garden, just take a lot of photos,” he said.
“I have 1,100 hectares and the 90 hectares already developed. There’s plenty to go,” Michel added.
According to him, he is now in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Cebu Provincial Government, to build roads going to the zoo, which is located in the mountainous area of Carmen.
Below are some of the things we know about the zoo, eight to nine months before its opening:
•The zoo will feature animals found around the world, as far as from Dubai, South of France and Texas, USA.
•There will be an entrance fee of P550 each person, equivalent to day’s tour inside the zoo.
•One can enjoy extreme rides, like roller coasters and ziplines. These will have separate fees.
•There will be shows featuring the animals, for example the birds.
According to Michel, he has brought in people from Singapore to train the animals for the show.
•It’s going to be the biggest zoo in the country.
•Some animals, except for those that are wild, will be on their natural habitat, they will not be caged.
Visitors can freely interact with them, and even feed them.
• Buses will be provided for tourists from Cebu City. Michel said he will be contacting buses to ferry people going to the zoo that will take roughly around one hour going to Carmen town proper, and an additional of 15 minutes going up, to the mountain part where it is located.