Like Wild in Zoo


One weekend in Carmen, the sun was just beginning to rise as I made my way to the Cebu Safari and Adventure Park entrance. The morning air was cool and crisp. The chirping and howls of the animals were on the beat as I got closer. I took one step, and viola, the safari, wore vibrant greenery. It was like stepping into another world, one that was untamed and wild.

The safari was vast, and it seemed like an animal was around every corner. I saw giraffes with their long necks over the fence, reaching up to the trees for their breakfast. I saw zebras grazing in the fields, their black and white stripes contrasting like an artist's canvas against the green grass.


And then, I saw the lions. The lions were magnificent, golden fur gleaming in the early morning light. They were pacing back and forth in their enclosure, their eyes fixed on me as I approached. Being so close to such powerful animals was a strange feeling, yet separated by a cage.

I couldn't help but feel powerless as I stood there watching the lions. They were rulers in the wild, but they were confined like domestic cats here. It served as a sharp reminder of how people have imprisoned and manipulated the natural world in order to entertain themselves. But when I got closer, I noticed something else in the lion's gaze. It was an expression of resignation and acceptance, as if this was their life and there was nothing they could do about it.



As I strolled through the safari, I saw other animals swaying back and forth, their chains clinking as they moved. It was a haunting sight, making me question our relationship with nature. We claim to love animals, yet we cage them for our entertainment. Life is duality indeed.

I saw something else in their eyes. It was a sense of resilience, a spirit that refused to be broken. Despite their captivity, they still found ways to find joy and happiness. We are not so different from these animals. We, too, can find joy and happiness amid our own cages. We may be confined by our jobs, fears, or limitations, but we still have the power to choose how we react to our circumstances.



Our life moves strangely in the city, where buildings scrape the sky and smog settles like a shroud. It's a concrete jungle where we prowl; everything is a commodity, even time. We are like animals in a zoo, living in cages made of glass and steel, always on display for others to see. They're kept within boundaries, their movements limited by the demands of our society. They are tamed, but they don't know it.

Within the zoo, it's a another world. As the wild are free to wander in the safari, living their lives according to their instincts and survival. We come to view and enjoy them. But, are they enjoying their lives? Although the safari is vast, they're still in captivity. They live their lives as they were meant to. That is all that matters but we can't shrug off what real freedoms means to them.

The wilds seemed at home, finding contentment despite theri captivity. Watching the lions bask in the warm sun, their eyes closed in bliss. I began to understand that freedom was not just a matter of physical but of mental space as well. I realized that I could be confined to my office and routine and still find a sense of freedom within myself. We could be like animals in a zoo, yet we can find joy in our circumstances.



Although we can try to find peace in our circumstances, we can't shake off our desire to seek freedom and better things. The cages were a reminder of the confinement that we were in. The ones we have built for ourselves. But with their resilience and spirit, the animals were a reminder that we, too, can break free from our cages and live our lives to the fullest. We can choose to exercise the opportunity to find joy and happiness in our lives, no matter how limited our circumstances may be.


Amidst the verdant hills and rolling plains, I relaxed while appreciating nature and its bountiful life. Cebu Safari and Adventure Park were where the wild beasts roamed free, unfettered by the boundaries of humanity.

I had come to the place seeking to escape the confines of responsibilities. For once, I try to be spontaneous. I leave my corporate existence behind the suffocating walls of my office and breathe in the fresh air of the wild. One weekend is a short yet fun experience.

As I drove away from the safari, I could hear the distant roar of lions. I could feel the beating of my heart, the pulsing of my blood, the thrill of being alive at this moment, in this place. The fences of the safari have been a reminder of our limitations. Still, they were also a reminder of the strength and resilience within us all.

All photos are from the author. Cebu Safari and Adventure Park is in Carmen Cebu, Philippines.


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