An architecture graduate from the University of Santo Tomas presented his thesis to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno that involved the redevelopment of the Manila Zoo as a prime tourist spot.
Kevin Siy met with the mayor and proposed a project which aims to make the park a top tourist destination, a “center for education” and the “best environment for animals” in the urban community.
The 23-year-old graduate shared some pictures of his proposed designs on his Facebook page days before he had the opportunity to meet Moreno.
Siy said he featured Manila Zoo in his thesis since he is an animal lover and a true-blue “Manileño,” based on his interview with a local media outlet.
“Most of the people in my generation would say that Manila Zoo became a big part of my childhood. And I really had a couple of great memories with my family there,” he explained.
“And as I pass by the zoo going to school, seeing it fade through time made me turn it into my thesis project. I thought that making a thesis project that is close to my heart can motivate me more in making a good design,” Siy continued.
In another Facebook post, Siy added that he realized his thesis could be “so much more” after he spent significant time in the zoo understanding its state for around a year.
“I interviewed staffs and observed the animals and the environment they are in. In those days, I realized how my thesis project can be so much more,” he said.
“My goal was to design Manila Zoo to make it not just a prime tourist destination and center for education, but at the same time to make it the best environment for the animals; a place that they can experience the great comfort they feel in their natural habitat,” Siy added.
His proposed design was featured on the Facebook page of Discover Manila, a travel and lifestyle blog that “captures the best and undiscovered treasures of Manila.”
Siy said he shares the same vision with Moreno to make Manila Zoo one of the city’s prime tourist spot once again.
Future of Manila Zoo
Moreno in his first days in office said he wanted to redevelop and repackage the zoo since he “pities” the animals enclosed in the park.
“Naawa na po ako sa mga hayop doon. Eh kung ‘yung mga napa-plunder nakakapiyansa, nakakalabas silang pansamantala, ‘yung hayop namin doon, 40, 50 years na,” he said, apparently referring to his predecessor, former Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
“Parang ang sakit naman noon kung kayo ang malagay sa katayuan noon,” Moreno added.
He previously shared that he wanted Manila Zoo to become an environment-friendly park that families and students could regularly visit.
“It has to be environment-friendly […] We can enhance this in such a way that students on their regular classes will go here because they have to study biology,” Moreno said in an interview.
The local chief executive said donations from private firms are welcome to restore the park to its full glory.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources indefinitely closed Manila Zoo last January after it discovered the park had been draining untreated sewage to one one of the estuaries leading to Manila Bay.
Moreno said he plans to reopen the park after they have completely addressed its lack of proper sewerage system.