Friday, May 16, 2008

Manila Zoo, Revisited.

It was a Sunday and we don’t have any plans for the day so my girlfriend and I thought of going to Manila zoo. We actually saw a feature segment on TV about the Manila zoo, there’s a mention of a new facility there for horseback riding.

Honestly, I can no longer recall the last time I visited this landmark. I was still in my primary years then. All I know is it is close to the Harrison Plaza shopping mall in Adriatico St.

I asked my girlfriend, who is from Parañaque, if she had been to Manila zoo, she said never.

“I don’t know how to go there.” I told her.

She shrugged, “Don’t worry, any taxi driver in Manila would surely know where the Manila zoo is.”

That’s what I thought too.

So, with my girlfriend and my Kodak EasyShare V1253 digital camera, we ride an FX from Commonwealth Ave. and got off near the Philippine General Hospital. We hailed a taxi from there hoping that it would just be a couple of minutes drive from that point.

When we’re comfortably seated inside the taxi, the driver, said, “Alam nyo daan papunta dun?”

My girlfriend and I exchanged disgusted looks.
“Sa may Adriatico daw po yun,” I offered.
“Ah, alam ko na,” the driver said finally.

He’s probably just a new driver, I thought. Or it may be that the Manila zoo has already lost its popularity among the residents of Manila and nearby cities.

After about ten minutes, we’ve reached the Manila zoo. It was already 4 pm. The good thing is that it is still there, standing and open to the public.

There were news last year of animal rights group’s clamor to shut down the zoo and free all the animals being kept there. It was a good decision for Manila Mayor Fred Lim to thumb down these calls. To think that this zoo has been catering to the public for over 40 years now and has earned the right of being a city landmark, those calls to shut down the zoo were unwarranted.

The Manila Zoo is not that big, which is probably an advantage. It has the usual offerings you would anticipate in a zoo. Lot's of birds, parrots, eagles, doves and pigeons and the peacock showing its spectacular tail feathers.

As you enter the Manila Zoo, on the right hand side you will see the Indian Elephant which is always a crowd drawer. Moving further along, there are enclosed spaces with pythons and an assortment of lizards inside. Towards the back of the Zoo are monkeys and other larger mammals.

On the left hand side of the entrance, the Manila Zoo has set up a Kinder Zoo, which is an area for children to touch and pet the animals.

What was very obvious was the poor state of the Manila Zoo. The grim enclosures and cages that housed the wildlife made it simply pathetic. It’s sad to see these animals confined on those pitiful cages. But it’s just me, if you have an hour or so to spare, then come and have a look for yourself.

Entrance fees:
P40 for non-Manilans, P20 for Manila residents, P10 for kids under four feet tall.

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