The Cebu City Zoo is offering a free massage. That is, if you're brave enough to be massaged by no other than four giant pythons. Willing to take the dare? Let pythons Michelle, Daniel, EJ and Walter give spice to your usual zoo visit.
Snake massage was introduced just this year. The idea of this new attraction came after one of the guests from Tajikistan saw a snake slither in a zoo keeper's body and termed it 'snake massage'. Thinking the death of the zoo's lone tiger, Bogart, would affect the monthly income, he thought this may help draw visitors after the loss of their popular tiger.
So what is this snake massage exactly?
Well, anyone who wants to try this extraordinary massage would have to lay flat on a bamboo bed. But before that, he/she will be oriented with what not to do during the 'treatment'. For example, it is prohibited to blow air on the snakes or make disturbing noises and movements during the treatment as this may startle them, pushing them to use their defences.
For fifteen minutes, a 'patient' will be monitored by zookeepers while the snakes slither around his/her body.
Why try the snake massage, you say?
According to the patients, the snake massage is just like getting a hand massage but maybe heavier with 250 kg of snakes on top of you. The massage is said to be therapeutic and calming although this is yet to be proven.
Giovanni Romarate, the zoo manager, also the owner of Michelle and Walter feeds the pythons 10 or more chickens before the start of their sessions. They preferred the pythons as they are not venomous snakes. The snakes are also bathed to keep them clean.
So far, a lot of foreign guests have taken interest on this free massage, and so they're finding ways on how to improve this service.
Cebu City Zoo and Conservation Center is located in Woolbright Drive, farther above Beverly Hills and almost at the peak of Capitol Hills, in Barangay Calunasan. It is open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., including holidays. For the entrance fee, adults are charged Php 25, while kids are charged Php 20.