For schoolchildren in Metro Manila, visiting the Manila Zoo is almost a rite of passage, never mind if the zoo runs short of children’s expectations.
Like the Pasig River and Manila Bay, the Manila Zoo (officially named the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden) has seen better times. And despite the deplorable state the zoo has fallen into in recent years, the zoo is fondly remembered by legions of Pinoy kids who have at least paid a visit to this popular zoo.
Located in Manila, Philippines and officially opened on July 25, 1959, it is one of the oldest zoos in Asia. The zoo is home to more than 800 animals from nearly 100 species as of 2007 (From Wikipedia).
The zoo’s most popular resident– and contrary to urban myth it’s not the resident crocodile whose cousins in the Philippine parliament are more rapacious— is Mali, an Asian elephant who was brought to the zoo as an orphaned calf. Other zoo residents include Philippine crocodiles (tamer creatures compared to their parliamentary equals), Bengal tigers, an orang-utan named Sisi and many more.
The Manila Zoo attracts millions of visitors every year particularly on weekends. There were reports of moves to close the zoo due to lack of funds and inadequate maintenance. But miraculously the zoo and its inhabitants have survived the jungle that is Manila.
Long live the animals in Manila Zoo!