Refurbished Manila Zoo’s soft opening set on December 30
MANILA, Philippines — Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso announced the soft opening of the renovated Manila Zoo on December 30.
Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna visited the nearly five-hectare facility, known as the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, Tuesday night.
According to officials overseeing the redevelopment of the zoo, “99.9 percent of the works” has already been completed and animals would be taken to their respective enclosures beginning next week.
“Ang ganda-ganda! Nakaka-proud talaga! Dati ang baho-baho dito. This is one for the books. Para kang nasa Japan. Para kang nasa Jurassic Park. Sisiguruhin ko sa inyo, pati foreigner pupunta dito,” the 47-year-old chief executive gushed after a tour of the modernized facility.
“Matutuwa ang mga lola ko. Mga senior citizen, pwede ng i-drive mga apo nila. Ang laki eh,” he added.
The overhauled zoo will be a fulfillment of Moreno’s dream of having such a facility that can compete with the world-famous Singapore Zoo, which has been a favorite attraction among local and foreign tourists.
Having undergone no major renovation since it opened in July 1959, the new Manila Zoo now boasts of fresh and exciting facilities that include world-class animal enclosures – especially for Mali the elephant – that are surrounded by transparent glass where visitors can get up close to the animals.
Elevated viewing decks around the enclosures are also in place.
There is also the Animal Museum, Botanical Garden, and the Butterfly Garden with its own viewing loft, and separate enclosures for Filipino endemic animals and birds.
The enclosures and facilities are intersected by wide, elevated pathways where visitors can see the animals and other sights while going around the zoo.
Amenities include clean, spacious restrooms with stalls for persons with disabilities (PWDs), drinking fountains, souvenir shops, food stalls and a new parking area.
Benches are placed in strategic areas where visitors can take family pictures or group selfies, while additional benches are being put in place along the pathways so that people can take a rest and take additional pictures.
The facility is also well-lighted and night visitors will be treated to the attractions of several dancing fountains and mini-falls around the zoo’s lagoon.
The New Manila Zoo even has its own state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant.
“’Pag umikot sila dito, akala nila nasa abroad sila. Hindi nila akalaing nasa Manila lang sila. This is truly unique,” Moreno said.
But before the public can enjoy the unique experience of touring the newly-refurbished zoo, Moreno wanted the families of around 1,300 construction workers to be the VIP guests during the soft opening as a tribute to their hard work and ingenuity in creating a facility that is “at par with the world’s best zoological and botanical gardens.”
“Pwede tayong mag-soft opening. Tapos ang gusto kong guest lahat ng construction workers na nagtrabaho dito. Kailangan day off sila. Dahin nila asawa nila, dalhin nila anak nila,” he said, explaining why he set the soft opening date on December 30.
The presidential bet of the Aksyon Demokratiko party then ordered city officials to provide free food and drinks for the workers and their families so they would enjoy the fruits of their labor while spending quality time with their loved ones in the zoo.
“Sila ang mag-oopen. It will be a family day. Premium naman sila, pinaghirapan nila ‘yan. Kaya tama lang na VIP treatment sila,” Moreno said.