About Soda's Tortoise Garden

Soda's Tortoise Garden is a privately-owned tortoise facility that is accredited by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-NCR) located in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

radiated tortoises philippines

With Soda and Cola, our Radiated tortoise breeders. (2012)

Our humble tortoise garden is the home of Soda, our eldest tortoise, and his forever partner Cola, our egg-laying female Radiata. Soda and Cola are parents of the first fully documented Radiated tortoise hatchlings in the country. The Radiated tortoise is a CITES Appendix 1 critically endangered species and is a favorite among high-end tortoise collectors and hobbyists. CITES is basically an agreement between governments of different countries to protect certain endangered species.

First Television appearance of Dennis and Soda at "Rise & Shine Pilipinas", a morning program by PTV.

How This Website & Blog Started

I first created this site on March 2009 using webs.com, a free website builder. As my interest in making websites grew, I started to study Dreamweaver and basic HTML, make my own website, purchase a domain, and sign up for my own web hosting provider. It was a perfect channel for me to share pictures of my tortoises that I have all mixed up in my hard disk since 1999. With this website, I can give an overview of myself and my tortoises, and share photos, videos, stories, information and experiences to my fellow tortoise hobbyists. Over the years, this website has evolved from a photoblog (dennistort.com) into a website for Soda's Tortoise Garden (sodatort.com).

dennistort old website back

The very first version of dennistort.com back in 2010, taken from web.archive.org

Our Story

The journey of Soda's Tortoise Garden started as a simple hobby when I got two Indian Star tortoises on December of 1999 from a petshop nearby. I was so excited about them that by the end of January 2000, I had 7 ISTs. I was then just starting my Engineering degree and had only little resources. But I was determined to have more tortoises and so I saved up as much as I could. I also started selling some of my collections as a kid such as Marvel comics, GIJOE figurines, NBA cards and game consoles. By being smart with money, the Stars were soon followed by Elongatas, Sulcatas and Redfoots. As soon as I passed my ECE board exams and got a job, I took my hobby up a notch by getting Leopards, Radiateds and more!

Dennis with First Tortoises

Back in 1999 with my first two tortoises. I was wearing a traditional formal wear called Barong Tagalog.

red eared slider

Like most tortoise hobbyists in the Philippines, I started with a red-eared slider (turtle) back when I was in Grade 1 which I got as a gift from my cousin in 1988. This photo was taken in 1991.

Aldabra Tortoise Statue

This was taken in Toronto Zoo when we visited Canada all the way from the Philippines back in 1992. I was riding an Aldabra tortoise statue.

In 2004, I was lucky to be able to register our tortoises during the amnesty for exotic pets at DENR-NCR, thanks to my father who saw the announcement in the newspaper. I then became a CWR-holder, which means that we can keep the tortoises legally.

2006 was my first major milestone as I was able to hatch my very first captive-bred baby, an Indian Star Tortoise. This inspired me so much that my passion for these lovely shelled creatures grew even more.

Video taken in 2006 and digitized in 2010

I worked abroad from 2007-2011 after working in Manila from 2005-2007. I then moved to the US from 2011-2013 to take my master's in Business and Technology Management. During these times that I was away, I had to lock down on a strict tortoise routine built around a solid set-up and teach our family members and household staff thoroughly. Although I came home as often as possible, I have to give credit to my mother and staff for taking great care of our tortoises!

I've been back here in the Philippines since 2013 and the hobby has picked up a lot since then.

In 2016, we were able to hatch our first Radiated tortoise and we were thrilled even more! Watching them hatch, thrive, eat, walk, grow and breed never gets old. We always want them to be happy and healthy.

Here's a video of the hatchling's first few steps

2019 was another major milestone for us! After about a year of preparing various requirements, we were finally able to receive our WFP (Wildlife Farm Permit)!

Claiming my WFP from DENR-NCR

Claiming the Wildlife Farm Permit from DENR-NCR, Metro Manila, Philippines. (2019)

Mission and Vision

Our mission is to spread the passion that we have for tortoises. We hope that our story will continue to inspire people to take care of tortoises and encourage hobbyists to become breeders as well. If we all engage in legal captive breeding, then maybe we can have a positive impact on the conservation of various species in our own little way.

Claiming my WFP from DENR-NCR

Making a presentation about Soda's Tortoise Garden at DENR-NCR at Quezon City, Philippines. (2019)

Selling is not our main objective. We may have a few tortoises available but that won't happen very often. But be sure to follow our Facebook page for updates. We may occasionally have food and tortoise supplies as well.

Thanks for reading this far. We are hoping for your support as we try to spread our passion for tortoises, to continue to inspire and educate, as well as promote legal captive breeding.

Warnings and Disclaimers

1) Soda's Tortoise Garden is probably the first to breed Radiated tortoises in the Philippines, definitely the first one to do so with complete online documentation of photos and videos uploaded via webpages, social media and video sharing platforms. Since starting the hobby in 1999, I've always asked around if there are any successful breeders of Radiated tortoises in the country because I wanted to learn more. But I never found anyone. This is also the same feedback that I got from various Philippine communities of tortoise hobbyists. This claim has not been contested yet as of this site's latest edit.

2) All tortoises are part of my DENR-WFP headcount. This headcount gets updated everytime tortoises are bred from the original registered animals and also when new specimens are legally obtained from DENR CWR, WFP and WCP holders. Great efforts are being done to breed them and contribute to the conservation of critically endangered tortoise species.

3) I've already received several reports about scammers stealing and using our photos. Always be careful when buying online.

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