By Khriscielle Yalao
Visitors can enter the newly renovated Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden for free for the whole month of January in 2022, Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso announced on Thursday, Dec. 30.
Domagoso said he asked Manila Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna and the city councilors to waive the entrance fee for January while the city council is still drafting the ordinance that will mandate the ticket prices for the zoo.
Manila city councilors previously proposed fees amounting to P100 for Manila city residents and P200 for visitors residing outside of the capital.
The mayor stressed how he wants the zoo to be affordable for poor families.
He also said that the city government is looking into utilizing online payments and reservations for the zoo in the future.
The Manila city government expects a large number of attendees while the entrance fee is free.
The city government has yet to announce the capacity load of visitors inside the zoo.
However, Domagoso estimated that the zoo may be able to accommodate 6,000 people, considering a two-meter distance between each person; and with a one-meter distance, the zoo may accommodate 9,000 visitors.
For now, the zoo will be implementing a “first come, first serve” system.
“Kung ilan ang capacity, titigil muna, at kung makakapaghintay sila, pag may lumalabas, nire-refill natin (Depending on the capacity, the line will stop, and if the visitors can wait, whenever people exit, we refill the people in the zoo),” explained Domagoso in a press conference at the Manila Zoo.
Visitors may wait either at the covered parking or open parking spaces around the zoo for their turn.
Visitors are encouraged to stay in their vehicles while waiting to prevent overcrowding the entrance lines.
The Manila Zoo had its soft opening on Thursday, Dec. 30, after it was closed in 2019 to undergo sewage treatment and renovations.
Construction workers who helped renovate the zoo and their families were invited to attend the soft-opening, as well as selected members of the media.
Visitors can expect to see numerous enclosures of a diverse collection of animals, both exotic and familiar to the Philippines.
Other attractions include the Animal Museum, Botanical Garden, Butterfly Garden, and a Night Zoo.
The zoo also added more food stalls and souvenir shops inside the zoo, and made amenities more accessible to persons with disabilities (PWDs).