Manila is the capital of the Philippines and known as one of the busiest city in Southeast Asia. Foreigners and other Filipino travelers may often overlook to explore this city, treated as a mere stopover aiming to reach other Philippine provinces or islands because of unwieldy urban sprawl and perpetual gridlock.
Learning and cruising is fun with Zooper Cruise as it unfolds the charm of the old Manila. Traversing the Pasig River with the option for a short stride in Manila, this cruise is a specially designed tour scheduled every first Saturday of the month. The package tour rate ranges from P699 to P1,999. The tour is complete with cool ambiance, historical facts, music and entertainment, snacks, drinks and dinner with route from Makati to Manila and return to Makati.
Zooper Cruise promotes education and environmental conservation of Pasig River by Zoomanity Foundation. This is part of their company social responsibility (CSR). It caters the four pillars of their mission and vision - education, entertainment, environmental conservation and exhibit.
The Tour and the Pasig River stories
|Zooper Cruisers meet at Alveo Solstice show room at Circuit Makati. (PINOY VISION)|
|History on a boat via Zooper Cruise with Retired Commodore Eduardo Bondad (PINOY VISION)|
|Drinks and snacks in Zoomanity Zooper Cruise. (PINOY VISION)|
|Happy Zooper Cruising with Juliet Z. Cruz, the birthday celebrator Andria Nicolas and friend. (PINOY VISION)|
|Zooper Cruise: Break at Polland Hopia in Escolta, Manila. (PINOY VISION)|
|Zooper Cruise: Dinner at Misono Teppanyaki with Dak Galbi, a Korean spicy chicken (PINOY VISION)|
On April 25, bloggers, media, tour operators, travelers, OFWs and guests converged at Alveo, Circuit Makati, Makati City at 2:00 PM. After a short introduction of Alveo Solstice project and snacks, we went to the Valenzuela Ferry Terminal at about 4:00 PM located in A. Bonifacio Street Barangay Valenzuela, Makati by van.
Alveo Solstice is the first residential community at the heart of the Makati’s lifestyle and evolving entertainment landscape. Makati City is the financial capital of the Philippines and where huge and tall buildings in the Philippines are situated.
We boarded a 120-seater, twin-hull, air-conditioned ferry boat owned by Retired General Commodore and former Presidential Security Guard (PSG) Eduardo Bondad. He was passionate and spontaneous like the flow of the river in sharing his knowledge and great memories of Manila’s rich historical past.
Pasig River is considered as Manila's main lifeline and commerce during the Spanish times. It flows from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay through a length of 26 kilometers, average of 50 meters in width and depth of 4 - 6 meters. The Malacañan Palace (Official Residence of the President of the Philippines) is on the shores of the Pasig and this area was known to be the place where rich people lived few decades back.
It got crowded, polluted and turned into an eight-feet-deep dumpsite. In 1990, the river was considered to be biologically and commercially dead.
Awed with the current development and improvement of the Pasig River compared when it was in polluted situation backed in 1990s. The river became safe enough to once again carry passengers around Metro Manila with the Pasig River Commuter Ferry.
We experienced a smooth sail of our ferry boat and spotted some landmarks like Manila Post Office, Hospicio de San Jose, Pandacan Oil Depot, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Parola, Iglesia Ni Cristo’s chapels, Catholic cathedrals, Compania Maritima and Chinatown among others.
There were eight bridges we saw like Pandacan or Zamora, Delpan, Nagtahan or Mabini, Lambingan, Jones, Ayala, MacArthur and Quezon. Each bridge has its own unique story to tell.
Just before we passed Malacañan Palace, we were told not to take pictures or even stand up for security reasons. So, I printed in my mind the elegant remembrance of the front view of the palace as seen in our 20 Peso bill.
There were games, surprises and prizes too so we did listen intently to the guide. I actually won one of the prizes – a bracelet charm!
Did you know that the original name of Manila is Amanillah? We knew from our History class that “Maynila” or Manila, originated from two words “may nilad.” “Nila” is a flowering mangrove tree that grew on the delta of Pasig River and the shores of Manila Bay. When researched “Amanillah” is an Arabic word which means faith in Allah; security of God; will of God; from Allah or from God. Manila was former capital of a vast Muslim empire in Luzon or Northern Philippines with sultanates Rajah Sulayman and Rajah Matanda prior to Spaniards invasion. And so it changed from then Amanillah to Maharlika and now Maynila or Manila.
About an hour of cruising (without traffic jam), we arrived at Escolta Ferry Station to walk around the old downtown district of Binondo, the world’s first and biggest China town. Escolta area was known as the historic financial district and place where concentration of immigrant merchants from Fujian, China who came to make their fortune during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade can be found.
We went to Polland Hopia and Tea House situated in the corner of Escolta and Yuchengco streets, just across the Escolta Ferry Terminal to take a break. We tried their monggo hopia and flaky-crust floss hopia, the latter was known to be the best in taste (and expensive) hopia courtesy of Ms. Grace Bondad-Nicolas. We tried also Fresh Chinese Lumpia with seaweeds coupled with their house tea.
We returned to the ferry boat and entertained by comedienne Mahal and her singer tandem May Rivera with their famous song “Aray.”
We witnessed also the 17th birthday celebration of Andrea Nicolas. It was indeed a very memorable and educational day for her together with her sibling twins, relatives and friends.
We proceeded to have our dinner at Misono Teppanyaki, a Japanese-Korean food restaurant located in Jupiter Street, Makati. We had the taste of Japanese in Bento box with Japanese rice, chicken, breaded pork and vegetables. Blended with Korean dishes Kimchi and one more chicken dish called Dak Galbi (Korean spicy chicken stir fry). All were delectable and perfectly spiced!
Revive the Pasig River, Rehabilitate our Environment
|Revisit and rehabilitate Manila. Experience Zooper Cruise. (PINOY VISION)|
During the dinner, the Zoomanity Chief Executive Officer Robert Yupangco happily expressed his message together with his team of managers and staff with words of encouragement for us to take part in promoting and saving our environment. He mentioned the famous environmental quote: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
He inspired us positively by sharing the message of power of giving our best to this universe as an entrepreneur and in conserving our environment, a pay it forward initiative.
Imagine Pasig River to be like the sight of appealing and bucolic promenade Seine in Paris and its many tributaries similar to the canals of Venice. Together, we can change and restore our Pasig River, and rehabilitate our environment for future generations.
Thank you Zoomanity Group
The Zooper Cruise is another awesome, innovative, enjoyable travel to relive the grandeur of the Manila’s historical attractions. History is boring when we memorize it inside the four corners of our room but with this method, history becomes more interesting and easy to understand.
Zoomanity Group is one of the leading companies in the theme park industry in the Philippines under the Yupangco Group of Companies. They have 30 years of experience in this field. Operating in eight local and international parks such as Zoobic Safari in Subic; Zoocobia Fun Zoo in Clark; Clarkzilla in Clark, Residence Inn in Tagaytay; Paradizoo in Mendez, Cavite; Zoocolate Thrills in Bohol; Zootopia in Nagano, Japan and Animal Research and Development Park in Victoria, Australia.
Kudos and thanks to the top management and staffs of Zoomanity Group and Tag Media. This campaign is genuinely valuable!
Let us take part in cleaning and conserving our Pasig River by cruising in Zooper Cruise! It is absolutely unique history class on a boat.
Reserve now to participate in this cause and celebrate your birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and special occasions! Inquire and message us on Facebook.com/pinoyvision or visit their website at www.zoomanity.com.ph
Relax, enjoy and experience Zoomanity Zooper Cruise!
|Zooper Cruise groupie after our dinner in Misono Teppanyaki (PINOY VISION)|