With school scheduled to start in a few weeks' time and a new shop opening soon, I have limited time to take Little A out on what's left of his summer holidays.
Big A was out of town on an overnight work trip, so Little A, the Au Pair and I got into the big car and went to the City Zoo.
The Manila Zoo has been around since the 1959, and as primary school children we were taken there on school trips. Back then it was hot, dank, and dilapidated. Thirty years later, save for the marvellous trees that have not been trimmed since they were first planted, the zoo is just the same. Very few improvements have been made, so while the space is good (wide walkways, constant shade, a decent breeze), the animals are sadly confined in concrete spaces with little or no greenery to remind them of their natural habitats.
The selection of animals is probably the most pitiful of any zoo in the world, even among other Third World Countries. There is a lone elephant, which animal rights activists have been clamoring to move to a safari-type location in Thailand, a couple of tigers, each kept in a separate pen, some sort of zebras (brown and white striped as opposed to the traditional black), several cages and aviaries of birds and a reptile cave.
Little A enjoyed watching the tiger walk back and forth around his pen. He also enjoyed the turtle ponds and the storks flying around the aviary.
There is talk of the rehabilitation of Manila Zoo as a new project of the former President, who was convicted for plunder and now holds office as Manila's mayor (will people never learn?). Given the massive misappropriation of taxpayers' funds for decades, I hope that this project, at least, will push through and be carried out properly. Our city sorely lacks public spaces and greenery, and most of all places where children can safely play. Let's hope this space, with all its promise, is developed right into one of them.