Manila Zoo

Finally! We were able to take Joey to the Manila Zoo after several months of planning last November 1. I’ve wanted to visit the Manila Zoo for several months now, coz four or five years have passed since my last trip there and I kind of missed the animals (seriously). And before that, I think an entire decade since the last one. So I was really curious to find out how the animals were doing as I had been reading not-so-nice articles about their plight.
The Manila Zoo is actually the oldest one not just in the country, but also in Asia, having opened its gates in 1959. Not that hard to believe as the place itself speaks of its age. And come to think of it, even the animals.
Mali, perhaps the biggest (literally) attraction at the zoo, donated from Sri Lanka:
If I am not mistaken, Mali is the same elephant I used to visit when I was a kid. It was so sad seeing her so old and living in a rundown and unkempt cage. Even her skin was all dried up and full of wrinkles. I mean, I know she’s old but I don’t think that’s the reason for her peeling skin.
Aside from Mali, I didn’t find any other interesting animals. Nothing against the tigers, monkeys and birds, but I was really looking forward to seeing the orangutan and the giraffe, the latter of which can only be seen at this zoo (except if you go to Calauit). But then, I realized that the orangutan has died (OF BOREDOM!) and I don’t know where giraffe is.
As I said, I saw lots of tigers, birds and monkeys. But I didn’t see any lions. I remember lots of lions – were they transferred somewhere in the zoo that I wasn’t able to visit?

Do you see the sleeping tiger?
More tigers
There are other attractions in the zoo, one of which is the kiddie zoo where you can ride a horse and have your picture taken, and of course, where kids can freely roam and play. But you have to pay separately. 
There were some colorful birds but I didn’t take photos. Not because I have lots of them (which I do, from the Tagaytay Highlands Zoo) – but because you have to pay a fee just to take a photo (yes, even if you won’t touch them or pose with them – YOU CAN’T TAKE A PHOTO!).
Hubby showing the kiddo the zebra. Can you spot its stripes?
I could tell Joey didn’t really like what he saw (there are more and better-kept animals at the Avilon and Zoobic, which he had visited already) but he enjoyed the man-made pond where you can rent a boat for Php60/half hour. Better psych yourself for this, as you’d be the one to paddle your own boat. Hubby and I were reluctant at first but Joey gave us his big puppy eyes (ala Puss in Boots) and started singing Row,Row, Row Your Boat that we couldn’t help but give in. All I can say, it was an unexpected exercise. We couldn’t believe we managed to circle the pond and make it back to the dock.
And as a souvenir, one of the roaming photographers took this photo of us, which I kind of like and will display somewhere around the house. Didn’t cost much – just about Php50. The hubby liked it so much he bought two copies. Ha!
Blurred – we only had the printed one and I didn’t have time to scan it; I just took a photo of it with my phone . 😛
It reminds me a lot of the family picture we had at the zoo twenty years ago (when it was just my sister and me – our brother had yet to be born). It didn’t change much, not even the boats. 
Which in turn, reminded me of this picture taken twenty six years ago (when I was still an only child):
Now this one, is really blurred. It’s a very old photo of mine. In fairness, at least it looked like they painted the boats. 

Joey was singing so loudly while waiting for our boat and a lot of people found it amusing. It was part of the “deal” – Ipe and I will row, but he has to sing. Hehehe. 
All in all, I think it was a good trip. But I really, really wish the government would renovate the place. Or just give it to the private sector. A lot of people, myself included, wouldn’t mind paying higher entrance fees as long as we get our money’s worth. 

Entrance fee: Php40 for non-residents of Manila/Php20 for non-resident students. I believe rates are half for Manila residents, just bring your ID.

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