If you travel south of Dumaguete on the National Highway you will find the town of Zamboangita. The name is interestingly a bastardization of the original dialect word for Octopus. Apparently long ago legend has it, there was a giant Octopus caught and displayed on the beach and the name stuck. Traveling a few kilometers further south going towards Siaton, you will see (if you look very carefully) a small sign for Father Tropa’s Zoo on the right side of the road.
Father Tropa was a religious leader in the Philippines that had a following which believed that Jesus would come back to earth in a space ship in the year 2000. He even hosted a TV show titled Spaceship 2000. Well the year has come and gone, and so has father Tropa, but his zoo remains. Father Tropa was a dedicated environmentalist and did his best to protect native wildlife. His existing zoo is an outgrowth of his interest in protcting animals. It is a zoo unique to the Philippines, and unlike any zoo you might have encountered in the western world. Humble would be a kind way of describing it. In the genre of bizarre, quirky, and entertaining, it is an interesting stop if time allows.
Passing through the narrow gate is best accomplished on a motor bike or small car. A gate keeper will collect 10 Pesos per person to enter or park, not sure how they apply the fee. In any event you pay, enter, and park. When I entered with my wife we were greeted by a diminutive guide who spoke no English, and very little of any language it seemed. He had this never ending smile and giggled incessantly. He was determined to show us every display and animal.
So if you get tired of coral, exotic fish, white sand beaches, and mountain climbing, Father Tropa’s awaits you, ready to give you an alternative zoological experience.