The Sorry State of the Cebu City Zoo

Cebu City needs a NEW Zoo. Fast!

A friend told me about his recent trip to the Cebu City Zoo. He said that the zoo is no longer a zoo, but a dumpsite with ten (or fewer) animals living in it. This description irked me. I was pretty sure he was exaggerating. So, I decided to see the place myself.

On my way there, I remembered how me and my family used to visit the zoo every weekend when I was a kid. It was Father Tropa’s time then. Father Tropa was this famous figure who loved and truly cared for animals. He was the overall in-charge of the Cebu City Zoo then, if I’m not mistaken. He was always in this bohemian outfit and he carried this huge boa around his neck. He would roam around the zoo and ask the kids to touch the snake because according to him “Snakes are gentle creatures”. He would also tell guests some random trivia about the animals in the zoo.

The Cebu City Zoo was amazing back then. Monkeys were housed in cages as tall as 50-foot trees. People were always on the lookout for those trained monkeys that would playfully snatch away food or drinks. The birds were placed in very huge domes where they could stretch their wings and fly for like at least five seconds straight. The place had playgrounds, a small restaurant, clean baths, a souvenir shop, huge park space and trees, trees and more trees.

The zoo even had real live gorillas and orang-utans. And at one point, they even had a lion and a tiger. The small museum featured real elephant tusks and leopard skin which made me cry as a child.

Here’s the Cebu City Zoo as of February 18, 2007.

Broken sign. Already a very bad indication.

First set of ‘abandoned’ baths located near the entrance. Not looking that good so far.

What is this poor bird eating?

Big birds in this small (probably around 5x5x8) cage.

I noticed that most animals in the zoo are diseased or are dying. This one-eyed monkey is obviously sick. I can easily understand why he doesn’t seem happy.

More monkeys in this filthy cage.

If you can see the trash on the ground, then yes, this cage is THAT dirty. These monkeys eat anything. And I mean, ANYTHING. From sticks to cigarette butts to leather. They’re cool with it.

Not a very lovely sight. Inside the cage, I noticed a pen, a picture frame, a slipper and even a necktie. Like, what?

This should be FOOD instead of PLASTIC.

This used to be the area where different species of turtles were kept. Now, the water is murky and I’m afraid the turtle(s) might even be dead.

A high-walled subdivision now sits beside the zoo.

This is the only space which actually separates the zoo and the houses.

A little girl talking to this bored Myna Bird.

ALSO READ: Cebu City Zoo Revisited

Yes. He looks a bit pissed.


Animal cages and a view of the three-storey houses next to them.

With all the empty spaces left, I’m sure this place still has hope. I know it! All we need is a big step.

More big birds in small cages.

Clothesline right next to the bird cages.

More bird cages.

Beautiful creatures. Not so beautiful cage.

This dude has a nasty cut on his lip.

Something has to be done. Cebu, a booming metropolis, deserves/needs a zoo. Like, seriously.