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Tutuban Center reopens, converts cinema area into 'virtual zoo' means BUSINESS

MANILA - Tutuban Center has scrapped its loss-making cinema business, converting the area into a ‘Virtual Zoo’, a collage of 3D photos of life-size animals.

Ernie M. Hilario, Prime Orion Philippines Inc assistant vice president, said the Tutuban Center Virtual Zoo, which opened on Friday, consists of 12 paintings made by a group of artists belonging to the Lakan Dayang Cultural Association.

Hilario said Tutuban Center spent close to P1 million for the 12 animal paintings.

“We came up with the concept since the cinema area was not doing well. We saw the mall goers enjoying the wacky poses, which is very high. We saw this in Taiwan. This would teach kids how to appreciate a museum type and it’s free,” he said.

Tutuban Center closed its four cinemas and converted the area into a recreation zone, which is part of its transformation into a community mall.

The cinema lobby was transformed into a virtual park of life-like animals from crocodiles to giant spiders. He said the mall goers need to find the right angling of the wall painting.

Family activity areas are being constructed such as a safari, sports, paintball, and life-size chess board.

“We have seven buildings here at Tutuban Center and only one building was caught on fire recently. We are now positioning to be a community mall and not a high-end mall. We’re expecting an increase in patronage with this move,” Hilario said.

Prime Orion, an investment holding firm, will also open Orion Hotel at Tutuban Center before the end of the year, he said.