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Let’s Explore Manila : The Manila Zoo And The Current Condition of Mali

After our trip to Rizal Park (Check : Rizal Park) , my brother and I went to another notable destination in Manila but this one is actually catered for kiddos. Interestingly, the last time I went here is when I was in Kinder as part of our field trip and since then, I never got the chance to visit the place again. Yes, I am referring to the oldest zoo not just in Manila but in Asia, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden or simply the Manila Zoo.IMG_0282tAlthough it has been two decades since the last time I step my foot here, i can still visualize those moments my brother and I had here. I still remember Mali and those giraffes that we fed ( I know there were giraffes here before… err or maybe I was just dreaming). I remember how that silly monkey grabbed my brother’s hair haha.20170102_123857tManila zoo is indeed one of the oldest zoos in Asia. It was established in July 25, 1959. It covers an entire 5.5 hectare of land with over 1000 animals of 90 different species as of 2015. For non Manila residents like us, the entrance fee to the zoo is worth Php100 while Manila residents have the privilage to enter the premises for just half the price (Php50) . They just have to show a valid ID to prove their residency.20170102_123946t

THE CURRENT CONDITION OF MALI

The most popular animal in the zoo is probably Mali (Maali). Mali is the only captive elephant in the country and thus made her the loneliest elephant in the world (that’s most people are claiming). She was transferred in the country from Sri Lanka since 1977. The elephant was confined to a barren, concrete enclosure of the zoo for 40 years which raised the eyebrows of different animal rights organization especially PETA.IMG_0228tSeveral campaigns were built with the aim to free Manila from the zoo and to bring the elephant back to its natural habitat. Contrary to the reports though, Mali’s condition is seemingly not as depressing as what the news told us. Don’t get me wrong , I am not an expert here but Mali is not as malnourished as what we were being told. She looks really old though and yea, you can feel the sadness from her. If only the government will extend effort to improve her condition and bring another elephant on the zoo to be her companion. Elephants are know for socializing so it is really heartbreaking to see her in such solitude.IMG_0225tIMG_0315tYou can only see Mali walking around in circle and is not engage with any other activities. You can also see those white spots around her ears and nose but I cannot tell if its just a sign of aging or some sort of skin disease.IMG_0304tThe fowl smell is very strong in her area too. Although it is painful to watch Mali in such condition, seeing the only captive elephant upclose is truly something to marvel.

OTHER ANIMALS OF MANILA ZOO
IMG_0333tYellow Tortoise
IMG_0344tRed-eared Slider TurtleIMG_0372tLong necked yellow turtleIMG_0384tMonitor LizardIMG_0405tBurmese PythonIMG_0408tIguanasIMG_0347tCrocodileIMG_0362tIMG_0283tHippopotamus (seriosuly it took me awhile but this is the only best shot I got… this hippo didn’t even move a muscle haha)IMG_0257tA wide species of birdsIMG_0273tIMG_0263tJust look at her wonderfully patterned wingsIMG_0293tMr Hippo’s companyIMG_0302tCassowaryIMG_0422tIMG_0443tTamarawIMG_0452tIt’s not a horse, not yet a zebra… it’s Hebra!IMG_0463tIMG_0471tIMG_0484tMonkeys!!!IMG_0495tMonkeys and their routineIMG_0498tThis red face Japanese monkeyIMG_0615tYellow Crocs. Sorry I lost the copy of their names 🙁
IMG_0545tBengal Tiger
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IMG_0567t
IMG_0584tZebuIMG_0578tIMG_0590tGuinea PigsIMG_0598tIMG_0610tIMG_0622tBinturong or BearcatIMG_0625tPeacockIMG_0630tIMG_0645tHelmeted Guineafowl
IMG_0638tThere is also an area in  the zoo known as “Kinder Zoo” which features an educational tour and a lot of fun activities for kids including a bird show, a photo opp with large python , a boat ride and many more. There is , however a separate entrance fee for Kinder Zoo worth Php75 (excluding other activity fees).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING TO MANILA ZOO
â–șThe entrance fee to Manila Zoo is Php100 for non-Manila visitors and Php50 for Manila residents (valid ID should be presented
â–șThe entrance fee to Kinder Zoo is Php75
â–șThere’s also a fee of Php75 for Adventure Jungle Unlimited Wall Climb & Zip Line Ride
â–șBundle Packages are also available ranging from Php100 to Php125
â–șDo not feed the Animals!
â–șIt is also a Botanical Garden so expect to see a wide variety of plants and trees
â–șSouvenir shops are almost everywhere
â–șThere is an area where you can buy foods and also an area where you are allowed to eat
â–șYou can also avail the Boat Ride in Manila zoo for Php60
â–șPhoto booths with Snakes, Monkeys and Tigers or Birds can range from Php100-Php150
â–șManila Zoo is open Everyday (including Holidays) from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

How to Get to Manila Zoo
The Zoo is just located near the Manila Hospital and Harrison Plaza so if you are coming from South, simply ride a bus bound to Lawton and drop off to Quirino LRT Station. From there ride pedicab going to Manila Zoo.

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

So after the Manila Zoo brought up the inner kid in us, we left the zoo in such glee. So if you think we’re done with Intramuros, well, we actually went back to this place to visit our next destination ~ The Baluarte De San Diego and I will post more details about this interesting historical part of Intramuros in my next #LetsExploreManila entry.

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

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By the Way , Cavite City also has their own Botanical and Zoological Garden – Check: Cavite City Zoo

Let’s Explore Manila : The Chinese Garden

We were about to leave Rizal Park to hit our next destination but this wonderfully ornate Chinese-inspired gate took our attention so we decided to give it a shot. Just few walks away from Rizal’s execution site (Check: Rizal’s Execution Site) is a serene Chinese Garden adorned with luscious greens and relaxing atmosphere.
20170102_114152tI can’t find any details on when these parks were built (including the Japanese Park) but this garden much like what we have seen in Baguio’s Botanical Garden (the Friendship Pavilion) is possibly made  to promote friendship between China and the Philippines.20170102_114326tSome of the Chinese-inspired decor near the entrance of Chinese Garden. It is also interesting to note that there is a minimal entrance fee in this garden. You can access the place for Php10 and I guess it is very reasonable as the place is seemingly well maintained compare to other gardens that i have seen.20170102_114636tOne of the most interesting highlights of this garden is the man made lagoon which is adorned with luscious greenery and colorful flowers. The pagoda and the gazeebo are also complimenting the relaxing environment.20170102_114653t20170102_114709tIf you’re looking for a quiet and less-crowded place in Luneta, the Chinese Garden is probably the great spot. You can marvel the beauty of this place and embrace the relaxing atmosphere at the same time. 20170102_114752tThe kind of trees you can find from this place are quite special too.20170102_114737tAnd it really feels like you’re in a different place! IMG_0210t20170102_114458tShady boardwalks20170102_115100tJust check out those intricate details? 20170102_114822tThe Chinese Garden is relatively small compare to other gardens in Luneta but absolutely worth visiting. 20170102_115225tAlong the lagoon constructed to simulate a small lake, are pagodas and gazebos that are set off by red pillars and green-tiled roofs and decorated with a profusion of mythical figures.20170102_114353t20170102_114541t20170102_114610tI really appreciate every details in this garden and it also feels like touring Binondo20170102_115150tA Statue of Confucius

This finally concludes our tour in Rizal Park. We headed to our next Manila destination. I’ve been longing to visit this place and I think the last time I went here is when I was in kindergarten! The Manila Zoo!

I will post more details about it in my next Let’s Explore Manila entry!

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

Facebook : It’s Me Bluedreamer!
Instagram :  @bluedreamer1227
Twitter : @bluedreamer_27

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

Feel free to watch this video summary below and don’t forget to subscribe!

Let’s Explore Manila : The Rizal Execution Site

Contrary to the beliefs that Rizal was executed on the site where the Rizal Monument is situated, our national hero was actually executed on a site just few meters away from the monument. A marker was placed on the actual site of execution and a set of oversized diorama were placed nearby depicting not just the execution scenes but the notable events in Rizal’s life.
20170102_112853tYou know, the most interesting parts of exploring various historical sites is that you will get the chance to connect them all as if you are building a puzzle of memories and once you found the connection between two places, that’s the most rewarding part. So while exploring Manila, we’ve connected several places related to Rizal. We’ve learned that he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago (Check: Fort Santiago) and then he was brought into this particular site where he was executed. His remains was secretly interred in Paco Cemetery (Check : Paco Park and Cemetery) and then transferred to its present location where the Rizal Monument is erected (Check : Rizal Park)20170102_112400tI’m not really sure of the actual title given to this particular area of Rizal Park but you will be welcomed by this thick concrete wall with “Ang Pagpapakabayani Ni Dr Jose P Rizal (The Martyrdom of Dr Jose P Rizal) mounted on it. There’s also a clear pond with fountain in front.  It is also very important to note that there is an entrance fee of Php20 to access the area.20170102_112436tBefore entering the site, you will also be welcomed with this black granite wall inscribed with Rizal’s poem “Mi Ultimo Adios“. It was said that Rizal wrote this poem on the eve of his execution by firing squad on 30 December 1896. The piece was one of the last notes he wrote before his death.
20170102_112455tYou will also be welcomed with these impressive bronze sculpture depicting different events of Rizal’s life. The diorama and these sculptures were actually made by Eduardo Castrillo who is also behind some notable sculptures around Manila including the People Power Monument, the Bonifacio Memorial Shrine (Check : Bonifacio Memorial Shrine) and that Historical Bridge in Zapote (Check : Battle of Zapote Bridge)20170102_113534tThe area is more than just an exhibit but also serve as a light and sound theater. The stone chairs are wonderfully arranged to provide the place a theater-like atmosphere. 20170102_112657tThe highlight of course is the dramatical presentation of Rizal’s execution. It features oversized sculptures of Rizal and the firing squad behind him.
20170102_112901tUnderneath the big statue of Rizal is a historical marker to indicate the actual site where Rizal was executed. Our National hero was executed by a firing squad at 7:03 Am on December 30, 1986
20170102_113109tOne of Rizal’s final moments before his execution. You can see his arms being tied up. 20170102_113232tIt’s sad that I know nothing much about Rizal’s timeline but this one could be Rizal along with Lt. Taviel de Andrade and Fr. Antonio Rosell who both visited Rizal in the prison prior to his execution.
20170102_113251tRizal and Josephine Bracken in their last moments together. It is said that Jose Rizal and Josephine were canonically blessed as husband and wife by Fr. Balaguer. 20170102_113343tRizal writing down his last letter and poem Mi Ultimo Adios on eve before his execution20170102_113414tizal knelt before his beloved mother, begging for forgiveness and understanding; the mother and son were separated by the strong grip of the prison guard.20170102_113455tThe Trial20170102_113023tRizal contribution to our country is truly incomparable and his death is even more so. Through his writings and his love for our country ignited Filipino’s sense of nationalism and because of him and the rest of the heroes who offered their life and love for our country we will never experience the kind of freedom we have today.

After a quick peak to Rizal’s execution site, we headed to another park nearby, the Chinese Garden and I will share more about this scenic garden in my next #LetsExploreManila entry.

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

Facebook : It’s Me Bluedreamer!
Instagram :  @bluedreamer1227
Twitter : @bluedreamer_27

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

Feel free to watch this video summary below and don’t forget to subscribe!

Let’s Explore Manila : The Historical Rizal Park (Luneta Park)

After spending time exploring the Paco Park and Cemetery (Check: Paco Park and Cemetery), we headed to our next destination. A very common site in Manila and an attraction that often gets crowded. I used to pass by this place but never really get the chance to explore it. My mom used to tell me that she used to bring me here when I was a kid but I just can’t remember anything about it.IMG_1548tRizal Park or Luneta National Park or simply Luneta is one of the largest urban park not just in the country but also in Asia. With 140 acres of land, your whole day is actually good enough just to explore this place. Whenever we are talking about Luneta, I can only think of one attraction in mind, the Rizal Monument but I was surprised to see many other attractions in this place and each is special in their own right.20170102_110946tRizal Park is not just your typical urban park because exploring this place is like walking down the memory lane due to its huge historical significance. The place have witnessed so many events in Philippine history. One of the most notable would be the execution of our national hero.

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Rizal’s Execution Site
Contrary to the beliefs that the monument is the exact spot where Rizal was executed,  you can actually find the actual spot where he was martyred in “The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal” or “Ang Pagpapakabayani Ni Dr Jose Rizal” site. This particular area in Rizal park features a diorama depicting all the notable events in Rizal’s life including his execution.  The spot where you can see Rizal being shot by gunfire is the same spot where he is really executed and died. The entrance fee to this site is Php20

20170102_114152tThe Chinese Garden
Not too far from Rizal’s execution site is another interesting themed garden. The Chinese Garden welcomes you with ornate Chinese-style gate and the garden is adorned with many interesting Chinese inspired details much like that Chinese-inspired area in Botanical Gardens in Baguio City (Check : Botanical Garden). There are gazebos and pagodas and man-made lagoons. There’s an entrance fee of Php10 per head.
20170102_110809t
La Madre Filipina Monument
Another interesting sculpture in Luneta Park is this white-washed statue of La Madre Filipina. This might look new but this statue is actually built along with other three in 1921. It has witnessed the nightmarish Battle of Manila. This was sculpted by Ramon Martinez and was once located at the abutments of the approaches of the Jones Bridge linking Binondo and Intramuros, it was relocated at Rizal Park after the Liberation of Manila.  It was retouched by F Caedo.

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The Gallery of Heroes
Another set of artworks in the heart of Rizal park is the long Gallery of heroes. It features a row of bust sculpture monuments of historical Philippine Heroes. There are 2 rows on both sides of the Central Lagoon, one row on the North Promenade and another row on the South Promenade. From the first hero Lapu-Lapu and many others.
IMG_1544t
The Independence Flagpole and the Musical Dancing Fountain
Standing at 150 feet, it is considered as the highest flag pole in the country. It is standing just in front of the Rizal Monument. Not too far from the pole is another interesting sight in Luneta which can be more appreciated by night, the Musical Dancing Fountain. Dubbed as the biggest and most vibrant dancing fountain in the country, The central lagoon present a show with waters soaring up to 88 feet., fireballs, exploding water rockets and more.  You can also enjoy the loud music coming from the open air auditorium.

IMG_0162tThe Open Air Auditorium
Located just across the pool is the Open Air Auditorium which features performances provided for free to the general public by the National Parks Development Committee, Department of Tourism and the National Broadcasting Network. It also features free entertainment including mix of performances from dance, theatre, to musical performances by local and foreign artists. The building is designed by the man behind the Theater of Performing Arts of CCP, Leandro Locsin.
20170102_110400tThe Mini Trains of Luneta
The park is best explored by walking but if you are not into such, then there’s also another interesting way to explore the area! You’ll spot different mini trains navigating around the park and each of them features their own special themes to attract visitors. The one above is inspired from a toy train20170102_115355tWe also spotted another one being pulled by an owner-type jeep. It carries an old Filipino house – inspired carriage adorned with polished wooden walls and ceiling, Capiz windows and other intricately designed details
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Relief Map of Philippine Islands
Another interesting spot is the relief map of Philippine Islands. It is basically a giant raised-relief map of the country and is freely accessible to the public. I don’t know how accurate the map is in this man-made lake but it includes the controversial Scarborough Shoal, Kalayaan, and eastern part of Sabah.20170328_181152tThe Palawan Islands

IMG_0165tRizal Monument
I guess a trip to Rizal Park will not be completed without visiting its most popular attraction, the Rizal monument (and yes, sad to say, it includes that “Pambansang Photobomber“). The monument was built to commemorate with our National Hero and his incomparable contribution to our country. It features a set of bronze sculpture of Rizal along with his family and comrades. The monument also houses his remains. The remains of Rizal was secretly and initially interred in Paco Cemetery (Check :  Paco Park and Cemetery). Along with the sculpture is an obelisk with three stars on top to symbolize Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao
IMG_0171tThe three stars on top of the Obelisk
IMG_0174t. The monument depicts Rizal in overcoat holding a book, that represent his novels Noli Me TĂĄngere and El filibusterismo.
IMG_0180tThe perimeter of the monument is guarded continuously by the Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Security and Escort Group, the changing of the guard having become a daily ritual. IMG_0167tIMG_0183tThe Front marker of the Rizal Monument
20170102_111757tHistorical marker in front of the monument20170102_111219tThe Rizal monument could have been a picture-perfect view but the Torre De Manila ruins everything indeed. The Torre de Manila has been considered as an eyesore by its critics and we couldn’t agree more.20170102_111521tBut you know what, there’s always a way to remove this Photobomber without Photoshopping the picture and you can do so by looking for the right angle. You can either take a selfie and block the view where the Torre De Manila can be seen20170102_111720tOr better yet look for the spot where you can manipulate the details and hide the Torre de Manila much like what I did on the picture above.
20170328_175456tIt was really a great journey we had there. Exploring the entire park could be very exhausting but generally fun. There’s just too many areas to explore and we actually missed some interesting spots in Luneta (that calls for another Manila tour). After the Rizal Park, we headed to another interesting destination in Manila but before that, I’ll take you to two of the attractions here in Luneta for my next #LetsExploreManila entry.

Le’s check out the Dioramas in Rizal Execution sites in my next entry!

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

Facebook : It’s Me Bluedreamer!
Instagram :  @bluedreamer1227
Twitter : @bluedreamer_27

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

Feel free to watch this video summary below and don’t forget to subscribe!