MANILA, Philippines—Capitalizing on Filipinos’ penchant for taking photos and sharing them on social media sites, publicly listed Prime Orion Philippines Inc. has opened a virtual zoo at the Tutuban Center in Manila.
The virtual zoo is part of the upcoming projects within the 8.5-hectare property.
Prime Orion assistant vice president for business development-properties Ernie M. Hilario Jr. tells reporters that the virtual zoo is expected to help boost the dwindling number of customers following last month’s fire at the Cluster 1 building.
With the opening of the virtual zoo, Prime Orion not only wants to show that operation is now back to normal, but it also aims to “pre-market” a plan to convert the cinema area into a recreation site.
The Tutuban Center Virtual Zoo is a collection of 3D paintings of animals such as sharks, pythons, monkeys, tigers, turtles and elephants. The 3D paintings are mounted on the walls or painted from wall to floor on the cinema lobby on the fourth floor of the main mall.
While other establishments have had 3D art galleries in the past, Hilario says Tutuban Center’s virtual zoo is the only one that focuses on animals. It is also much bigger than other 3D art galleries and is the only one that is open to the public for free.
Lakang Dayang, a group composed of Fine Arts students and professors from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, created the 12 animal paintings at the virtual zoo.
Prime Orion spent a little over P1 million for the virtual zoo, Hilario says, adding it is just one part of the P1-billion expansion for Tutuban Center.
Two of four former cinema facilities are set to be converted into a safari theme park. Of the two remaining movie houses, one will become a sports arena and another one a stadium-type facility, Hilario adds.
The entire recreation area is expected to be launched toward the end of 2013.
“Our market is not really the moviegoers and it makes better sense to create spaces which can appeal more to the ‘masa’ (general public) and travelers. We are even opening within November a three-star Orion Hotel at the Primeblock building just for shoppers and viajeros (traders). It would be the street shoppers’ paradise,” Hilario says.