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Soft opening of newly developed Manila Zoo set for Dec. 30 —Isko

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Wednesday announced that the soft opening of the re-developed Manila Zoo would be on December 30, 2021.

Moreno made the announcement after he and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna visited the nearly five-hectare facility on Tuesday night.

“Ang ganda-ganda! Nakaka-proud talaga! Dati ang baho-baho dito. This is one for the books. Para kang nasa Japan. Para kang nasa Jurassic Park. Sisiguruhin ko sa inyo, pati foreigner pupunta dito,” Moreno said.

(It's very beautiful! I am very proud of it! Before, you can smell foul odor. This is one for the books. It's like you're in Japan or in Jurassic Park. I assure you even foreigners will go here.)

“Matutuwa ang mga lola ko. Mga senior citizen, pwede ng i-drive mga apo nila. Ang laki eh,” he added.

(The senior citizens will enjoy this. Their grandchildren can even drive them inside because it's so huge.)

Citing information from the officials overseeing the redevelopment of the zoo, Moreno said 99.9% of its construction and development has been finished. He said animals would be taken to the zoo starting next week.

The new Manila Zoo will have new facilities such as "world-class animal enclosures," especially for Mali the elephant, Moreno said. The enclosures would be surrounded by transparent glass so that visitors could get near the animals.

Moreno also said there would be elevated viewing decks for the visitors.

The redeveloped facility would also have an Animal Museum, Botanical Garden, and the Butterfly Garden that would have their own viewing lofts and separate enclosures for Filipino endemic animals and birds.

Meanwhile, there would also be amenities such as clean and spacious restrooms with stalls for persons with disabilities (PWDs), drinking fountains, souvenir shops, food stalls and a new parking area.

Moreno, who is running for president in the 2022 elections, said the new Manila Zoom also has its own sewage treatment plant.

The Manila mayor said he wants the families of around 1,300 workers to be the VIP guests for the soft opening as a tribute to their hard work in constructing and developing the zoo.

He directed city officials to provide free food and drinks for the workers and their families so that they could enjoy the fruits of their labor while spending quality time with their loved ones.

"Sila ang mag-oopen. It will be a family day. Premium naman sila, pinaghirapan nila yan. Kaya tama lang na VIP treatment sila,” Moreno said.

(They will be the ones who will open it. It will be a family day. They have worked hard for this so it's just right that they will be given VIP treatment during the soft opening.)  —Anna Felicia Bajo/KBK, GMA News