SERENDIPITY brought Eduard Loop to where he is now as vice-president and chief operating officer of Cebu’s newest attraction, Cebu Safari & Adventure Park.
Born in Cebu City, Loop studied at the Cebu International School (CIS), which for him was a pleasant experience. The school at that time was located a walking distance from his home. After high school, he moved to Manila to take up business management at the University of Asia and the Pacific, which, for him was “a very enlightening experience having come from a small town liberal school like CIS.”
“After college, my (maternal) grandfather Eduardo Jarque advised me to start a business soon while he could still assist and guide me. A commercial business laundry was my first venture while I was also allowed to work in the family-owned shipping business.”
He continues: “Also, during this time, I met some friends who invited me to join them in a U.S. franchise business, Auntie Anne’s. To date, we have five outlets. Likewise, I also invested with other friends who opened restaurants in Manila and Dumaguete… All ventures are doing well.”
Loop reveals he has always had a passion for animals, thanks to his grandmother, Adela Alvarez Jarque, who exposed him to many domestic animals in the Jarque farm in Leyte where he learned to ride a horse when he was five years old. About nine years ago, he met multi-billionaire businessman Michel Lhuillier at a party and found out that he, too, had a passion for animals as well as plants. At a second meeting about nine years ago, Lhuillier invited him to visit the Lhuillier property in the town of Carmen. Before he knew it, he had been offered a job, despite the fact that he had no formal training or education in animal husbandry. He did not ask for this job; that it was offered was a matter of serendipity, of shared interests and a shared vision for the animal population Lhuillier even then had slowly started to acquire.
The Lhuillier property is all of 2,000 hectares, 170 of which is earmarked for the Cebu Safari and Adventure Park, for which Lhuillier envisioned a master plan with the help of “international consultants from Singapore and Australia with extensive zoological development.” Loop says that, to date, there are 111 animal species in the property that has grown in population to more than a thousand animals.
Though not formally open as yet, the park has been receiving visitors on weekends as a preview. It will be formally opened in a little over a month but that will not be the end of the development of the park. “Phase one is estimated to be finished within the year; however, the total safari and adventure experience is planned to be ever growing, expanding and improving. There will be food stations offering pasta and pizza, burgers and hot dogs, rice toppings, ice cream. Soon to be available rides will include a 1.3 kilometer zip line, a bicycle zip line, a giant swing and an obstacle course,” Loop said.
“Our vision is to be the country’s leading, self-sustaining wildlife safari and adventure park that transforms Cebu into one of the best eco-tourism destinations in the Philippines. Likewise, the company aims to take part in the protection and preservation of the natural habitat of animals and the environment. The challenges include the rough and hilly terrain of the property. As a consequence, the goal of our project is to identify concerns during the construction of buildings and pavilions and to find remedial measures,” Loop said.
On a personal note, he said: “I am very happy, contented and gratified working at the Cebu Safari and Adventure Park. It is a wonderful environment for learning, sharing and growing. It is an enormous project that keeps my full attention and interest. At present, 85 percent of employees are from Carmen which can only mean better lives for themselves and their families. With Michel Lhuillier’s commitment and dedication to the project, I strongly believe the park will be a major contributor to the welfare and progress of the whole Carmen community.”