Next-level, interactive attractions around the Philippines
With the successful launch of the Van Gogh Alive exhibition on Philippine shores, and all the massive reactions on social media, it’s no wonder that we Filipinos are looking for the next big immersive attraction that can take us to another world entirely. After all, the exhibit made Van Gogh’s paintings come to life with state-of-the-art projections so vivid that visitors thought they were literally inside the artwork.
Here’s a list of 10 interactive attractions you should visit, besides the above-mentioned Van Gogh Alive. From an inflatable island in Subic to a futuristic, laser fun world of games in Bonifacio Global City, there’s something to tickle your every sense.
1. Inflatable Island – a floating paradise of slides, towers, and bridges
We’ve got our eyes first set on Subic Bay’s Inflatable Island for a bouncy attraction. Tucked in the mountainous province of Zambales, the Inflatable Island in Subic is said to be the “biggest floating playground” in Asia at 4,200 square metres.
After the Giant Unicorn Island in 2018 and the five-storey high Unicornzilla in early 2019, the Inflatable Island in Subic opened on 31 October 2019, adding an attraction that features the epic kawaii island of our dreams — the Sanrio Float Town. This float town was created in celebration of Hello Kitty’s 45th birthday on 1 November, and special guests include My Melody, Little Twin Stars, and a giant Gudetama floatie with 30 Gudetama eggs.
Image credit: @inflatableisland
You can literally now sunbathe with the Giant Gudetama and its Gudetama eggs at their sunflower bed lounge, or party with friends onto the sea with My Melody and Hello Kitty inflatable slides, towers, and bridges.
Entrance fee: P688 (two-hour pass), P888 (half-day pass), P988 (whole-day pass)
Address: Samba Bluewater Resort, Olongapo, Zambales
Opening hours: 7AM – 6PM, Daily
Telephone: 917 150 1103
2. National Planetarium – a 16-meter galactic dome
Image credit: @cohlins_molina
If you’re around Intramuros, there’s a planetarium just across the old walled city that can cap off your tour visit with an astronomical immersion – the National Planetarium, located at Rizal Park in Ermita, Manila.
Re-opened in 2019, it is a division of the National Museum of the Philippines exhibiting the wonders of the Ethno astronomy and giving us insights on how the planets and stars have served as a guide to sea navigation, agriculture, fishing, and the right timing of celebrating life.
Image credit: National Museum of the Philippines Facebook page
You can lie down and watch the stars streaking past in the planetarium’s hybrid projecting system, upgraded with a digital projector in 2017, or level up your Instagram game inside the planetarium’s dimly-lit exhibit – yes, you can take photos inside!
Image credit: @monaygirl
Entrance fee: P50 (regular), P30 (students), P40 (seniors & PWDs)
Address: Rizal Park, Padre Burgos Ave., Ermita, Manila
Opening hours: Tues – Sun, 10AM-5PM
Telephone: (632) 527-1215
3. The Dessert Museum – 8 mouthwatering rooms of sugar-filled happiness
Image credit: @dessertmuseum
This dessert wonderland below Conrad Hotel Manila is filled with mouthwatering rooms of life-sized desserts, so eye-catching that you’d wonder if you’d been taken to an Alice in Wonderland adventure. The Dessert Museum is a 12,000 square foot museum featuring 8 delectable themed rooms of everyone’s favorite desserts, such as Macaron Tea Room, Banana Beach, and the Bewitched Bakery.
Aside from adding some perfect pastel sweetness to your Instagram aesthetic, you will also be treated to samples of desserts of each themed rooms you visit. If you’re planning an event, you can also book the museum for your birthdays, dates, and Christmas parties.
Image credit: @dessertmuseum
Entrance fee: P699 (online rate), P799 (walk-in rate)
Address: Unit 124, 126, 127a, Coral Way, S Maison Mall, Conrad Hotel Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Opening hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily
Telephone: 0917 300 5966
4. Tipsy Tales’s Immersive Theater – Eastwood Mall’s theater with Filipino Folklore
Image credit: Tipsy Tales Facebook page
The worlds conjured by our lolos and lolas in our childhood during their storytelling sessions of Filipino folklore are turned into life by the makers of Tipsy Tales, “Manila’s first fully immersive experience on Filipino folklore.”
Opened in August 2019, it offers an immersive, concept theater of Filipino folklore, transforming physical spaces into a “multi-sensory” experience, where you are inside the story, unlike traditional shows where you only watch from the outside as scenes unfold.
Its ongoing debut show is titled Lambana, and you get to roleplay as the protagonist who will visit your grandmother with your cousins. As you make your way further into the 75-minute story, you’ll interact with mythical creatures from tales of your childhood, such as the cunning nuno sa punso and the seductive sirena.
Image credit: Tipsy Tales
Entrance fee: P2,000 (regular), P1,700 (student), P1,500 (seniors & PWDs)
Address: 4F Eastwood Mall, 116 Orchard Road, Bagumbayan, Quezon City
Opening hours: Sun – Fri 1PM-10PM | Sat 1PM-11PM
5. Crown Regency’s Sky Experience Adventure – Skywalk Extreme and Edge Coaster
Image credit: Sky Experience Adventure Facebook page
If you’re craving an extreme adrenaline rush, there’s a Skywalk Extreme and Edge Coaster on top of Crown Regency Hotel in Cebu that will take you high into the sky. You can immerse yourself into the panoramic view of all of Cebu with a view of the famous Fuente Osmeña Circle while walking around translucent glass perched on the edge of the 37th floor of the hotel.
Or if you fancy something even more thrilling, you can ride the Edge Coaster and scream at the top of your lungs while it circles around the edge of the hotel. Although this may be little reassurance for those who are terrified of heights, you’ll be locked into the rail seat for safety.
Image credit: @doktorabisaya
Entrance fee: P600 (entrance and 1 ride), P900 (entrance and 2 rides)
Address: Tower 1, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, Fuente Towers, Fuente Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 2PM-12AM | Sat – Sun 10AM-2AM
Telephone: (032) 418-8888, (032) 418-7777
6. The Mind Museum – BGC’s interactive science museum
Image credit: @ouradventuresinsimplicity
The Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City is always our classic, go-to museum when looking for a next-level, immersive spatial experience. Opened 7 years ago, it still retains its wonder with its 5 permanent galleries and seasonal exhibits.
Image credit: @themindmuseum
We’re a fan of the Earth Gallery, informing and entertaining us at the same time about the origins of our planet. It features a life-size replica of a T-Rex’s skeleton that will give you Jurassic Park vibes. The animated globe in the gallery is also a sight to behold, showcasing the separation of the supercontinent Pangaea millions of years ago.
7. Upside Down Museum – physics-defying museum in Pasay
Image credit: @elvicasia
Flip, float, and turn your world topsy-turvy in the Upside Down Museum in Pasay. It’s our favorite museum for a physics-defying experience around town, featuring an upside-down house that will stretch your imagination.
Image credit: @phendecoco
The house has amenities that include home furnitures, fixtures, and appliances inverted to the ceiling, and the illusion created by this set-up will disconcert your sense of normal space.
Wear your most comfortable apparel as you will be challenged to be creative in your poses. If you are not sure about how to pose, the museum’s friendly staff are on standby to help you find your best angles. The result of the photos will leave you laughing at all the wacky poses you did with your friends.
Entrance fee: P450
Address: CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Opening hours: Tues-Sun, 11AM-9PM
Telephone: (02) 834-8997, (02) 551-5530
8. Art in Island – Cubao’s classic 3D museum
Image credit: @miafrancaa
This listicle wouldn’t be complete without Art in Island, Cubao’s classic, go-to interactive art museum. This museum has been one of the most hyped around town because you can be part of the paintings that offer an illusion of depth with their three-dimensional qualities.
It has hundreds of artworks including an Egyptian ruin where you can feel as if you were witnessing the fall of an empire with statues of pharaohs scattered on the ground. There are artworks that also stretch the scale of your imagination, such as this waterfall-themed mural that will transport you back to a mythical world of fairy tales.
Image adapted from @artinisland
Entrance fee: P500 (adults), P400 (students)
Address: 175 15th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City
Opening hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs, & Sun, 9:30AM-9:30PM
Telephone: (632) 421-1356
9. Whale sharks at Southern Leyte
Image credit: @paulausa
Swimming with whale sharks – one of the largest tropical sea creatures – up close is possible in the Philippines, because our country happens to be along their migration route. Though they’re harmless to humans because they eat only tiny sea creatures, tourists have a responsibility to prevent harm to this endangered animal.
That’s why Southern Leyte is a good place for ethical whale shark viewing. There are no hand-feeding activities, caging, noise pollution, or large numbers of tourist boats here to disrupt their natural habitat and behavior.
Come during shark season from November to May with a local guide from Whaleshark Divers, who can spot sharks swimming in the open sea, free from traps. Watch them feed on the tiny plankton and fish living among the coral reefs here. Dives start at P1,350, with additional charges for equipment rental (from P350) and marine park area admission (P100) – marine park fees go towards the preservation of these areas.
Address: Asuncion, Macrohon 6601 Southern Leyte, Philippines
Contact: 0908 728 7176, 0939 659 4610
10. LazerXtreme – futuristic, laser fun in BGC
Image credit: Lazer Xtreme
For futuristic, laser fun that only once existed in your sci-fi film dreams, the LazerXtreme tucked inside Market! Market! offers an extreme laser tag experience with its state-of-art equipment.
Participants of the game, once briefed and geared up, will be put in a room that resembles a spaceship’s airlock for a heart-stopping 15 minutes of laser battle. Points are earned by tagging opposing team members using laser guns.
We definitely recommend this attraction for a night out with your squad or a team-building outing with your colleagues – it’s a perfect set-up to develop your team coordination and camaraderie in a setting far removed from the interiors of the office.
Image credit: Lazer Xtreme
For game rates, click here.
Address: 4F, Market! Market! Mall, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Telephone: (632) 856-6467, (632) 856-6469
Opening hours: Sat – Thu 10AM-9PM | Fri – Sat 10AM-10PM
3D exhibits and attractions in the Philippines
If you’re hooked on the idea of travelling into a new world after Van Gogh Alive in Manila, head for these immersive attractions that are a treat for the senses and enhance our sense of reality. 3D exhibits and attractions are for thrill-seekers always on the lookout for next-level experiences other than their usual museums or cinemas, whether it’s an escape to a floating paradise in the beach or to futuristic laser fun in BGC.
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