BUNAWAN, Agusan del Sur — Jamaican Reggae group Inner Circle's hit song “Sweat (A La La La La Long)" is now crocodile Lolong's theme song as the music is frequently played at the Bunawan Eco-Park and Wildlife Reservation Center.
Probably the biggest crocodile in captivity, Lolong is placed in a special cage at the eco-park in Sitio Masapya, Barangay Consuelo, some 8 kilometers from Bunawan town proper.
Visitors from as far as Davao, Cebu and other provinces whistle, sing along, and sway when Sweat (A La La La La Long) is played. One visitor even said: "Baka mapapasayaw din si Lolong niyan."
Closed circuit television or CCTV were also installed around Lolong's special cage to monitor the 21-foot crocodile's movement, including visitors' activity near the cage.
Sweat (A La La La La Long) was Number 3 hit in the U.K. singles chart and number 16 in the list of top US Billboard hits after the Inner Circle’s upbeat song was released in 1993.
Lolong was captured last September 3, after hunters and residents in Bunawan had stalked it for three weeks. It was named after Ernesto "Lolong" Goloran Cañete, one of the veteran crocodile hunters from the Palawan who led the hunt.
Weeks of stalking the crocodile took a toll on the health of Cañete, who died of heart attack days before Lolong the crocodile was entrapped.
Lolong's special cage, which is just 50 meters away from the natural waterfalls in the area, is further braced with steel to secure the animal as well as the visitors.
Meanwhile, visitors pay P20 entrance fee to get into the Bunawan Eco-Park. The proceeds, according to the gatekeepers, would be used to improve the area.
Apollo Deano, assistant in-charge of the Buanwan Eco-Park, told GMA News online that Coca-Cola Philippines will provide some 45 stalls for more than 100 ambulant vendors at the park.
Meanwhile, the Local government of Bunawan is set to develop the eco-park and convert the six-hectare government property into a prime tourist destination after a surge in the number of local and foreign tourists who come to see Lolong.
Bunawan Mayor Edwin Elorde said local funds used in the development of the eco-park and the expenses in capturing Lolong from the wild in Agusan Marsh already cost Bunawan more than one million pesos.
Elorde admitted allowances, fares, board and lodging and other expenses incurred by crocodile experts from the Palawan Wildlife and Crocodile Reservation Center were shouldered by local government. — Ben Serrano/LBG, GMA News