Nayong Pilipino translates to Filipino Village. This theme park near the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport sits in a 45-acre park within the Expo Pilipino Complex. Sorely in need of funding, I lament that it is not as “representative of the best in the country”nor as widely promoted as our other tourist spots.
I couldn’t remember the last time I visited Nayong Pilipino. And I’m referring to the old site near the Manila International Airport. Having a tourist site with replicas and miniatures of famous Philippine landmarks is a good idea. Locating it near an international airport serves travelers well, especially those with an extended layover. I am assuming THAT idea is intended to promote the country and perhaps encourage foreigners to explore more of the Philippines. As for the locals, I remember the old Nayong Pilipino as a must-experience for grade schoolers to introduce them to the beauty, history and geography of our country.
I have a circle of visiting foreign bloggers who breeze through Manila on their way to the beach destinations in the Visayas and Palawan, OR to the rice terraces and colonial/heritage towns up North. Cebu and Bohol are popular destinations to view Magellan’s Cross, Tarsiers, and Chocolate Hills. Gaining popularity of late is Donsol for the whale shark adventures and while there, who’d dare miss our majestic Mayon Volcano?
I am not confident this theme park highlights the best our country offers. I understand there’s a shuttle service from nearby SM Clark but if there was, ALL my foreigner-friends who flew in via Clark missed it. A free shuttle from the airport itself would have served the purpose better. (If there is, it should be promoted so as NOT to be missed!) Surely, extended layovers are better spent here rather than in the malls or duty-free shops.
We went on a hot, humid day. Walking around without a hat or umbrella is guaranteed to give one a migraine. Luckily, we came prepared. But there were not enough markers and signs to tell the story, history and culture of the different regions represented here. I am not sure if there is a schedule of guided tours. I wish there is. And I hope they have good guides.
I understand there is the issue of funding. The time I went, there were hardly any visitors. Now, those P100 admission fees from MORE visitors could augment the needed funding. A better-stocked cafeteria may likewise be a good source of revenues. So how about bringing in more visitors by offering free shuttle services on FIXED SCHEDULES from the Clark airport?