Opened in 1959, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden is the first and oldest zoo in Asia. While the zoo has certainly seen better times, it still holds a place of nostalgia in the hearts of its patrons. Come on in and take a look inside!
Last weekend, my friend and I took a trip to Manila Zoo. I can vividly remember my first visit to this zoo and it was really one of the most amusing experiences I’ve had as a little boy. There I had my very first encounter with wild animals that are not endemic to the Philippines, such as, among others, elephant, giraffe, ostrich, and tiger.
If my memory serves me right, I was in kindergarten the first time I visited the zoo. And two decades since my last visit, I was shocked to see the decay of this once famous landmark, a place that holds many of my good childhood memories. Sadly, the zoo no longer looks like how I remembered it when I was a kid. :(
Roaming around the zoo was a big disappointment! It’s disheartening to see that many of the animals are kept in poor condition. There are balding ostriches. Giraffes and orangutans are nowhere to be found. Many cages are empty. The zoo is not well maintained and in dire need of rehabilitation! The only saving grace of the zoo is the petting area called Kinder Zoo where kids and kids at heart can touch the animals like parrots and even crocodiles and take photographs with them. There’s also a man-made lake in the middle of the zoo for those who like rowing. Boats can be rented for only 60 pesos per hour.
With all the new themed parks in Metro Manila, I suppose the Manila Zoo now only serves as a nostalgic space for the old ones. I just hope it’ll not be extinct and will undergo major rehabilitation in the future.
Manila Zoo is located at Adriatico St. just opposite of Harrison Plaza. It is open daily from 8am to 7pm. Entrance fee is 40 pesos (less than a dollar) for adults and 20 pesos for kids.