City zoo offers snake massage

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013


BOGART may be gone but snakes that give massages have become the latest attraction at the Cebu City Zoo.

Bogart, a Bengal tiger, was the zoo’s bestseller. But Bogart died early this year.

Caretaker Giovanni Romarate told Sun.Star Cebu that the zoo chanced upon the opportunity to offer snake massage.

He said that while some foreigners were having their photo taken with the snakes draped on their shoulder, one visitor remarked that it felt like getting a massage from the reptile.

The visitors mentioned that snake massage is a popular tourist activity in some countries.

Taking the hint, zoo officials had a bamboo day-bed (lantay) made so that visitors can lie down among the pythons for the massage.

Turnover

The city zoo has three large pythons and one albino python.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Councilor Nida Cabrera, department heads and officials of a woman's organization visited the zoo yesterday.

Rama headed the turnover of three buildings worth P4 million to the zoo.

The project involves the construction of an administration building with comfort rooms, a viewing deck with comfort rooms, and a stockroom with comfort rooms.

“This is a milestone for environmental sustainability. I would like to thank DEPW (Department of Engineering and Public Works) for going back to the drawing board for a new program of works and estimates,” said Cabrera.

Cost

She was referring to the original plan that proposed four sets of comfort rooms for P4 million. The cost was questioned by Cabrera and Dr. Librando Macaraya, both of the Parks and Playgrounds Commission.

Mayor Rama said he is no longer worried about the issue of the zoo’s ownership.

He said City Hall will collect documents pertaining to the site of the zoo and nearby property, which is part of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.

Rama said Gov. Hilario Davide III, as then councilor of Cebu City, was the one who checked and documented the ownership of the land when the administration of then Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia made a claim over the property.

“I don't think we (City and present leadership at Capitol) will be quarreling. They just want documentation,” Rama said.

“The City wouldn't mind if the Province will help and I wouldn't mind if we just call it Cebu Zoo because this is for all Cebuanos just as Fuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia and the Senior Citizen's Park (are for all Cebuanos,” said Rama.

Rama said he wants more animals at the zoo but City Hall cannot afford to acquire them. He said he will look into a possible partnership with the private sector.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 11, 2013.

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