Christmas season is here and one Filipino Christmas pasttime that I remember from my childhood are the fairs, carnivals, and amusement parks. You’re definitely a Manilenyo child of the 80s if you remember Big Bang sa Alabang and Payanig sa Pasig. Big Bang sa Alabang used to be located where the Madrigal Business Park is now and its main attraction is the 4-storey Giant Slide. Payanig sa Pasig was located in what is now Metrowalk in Ortigas and it sported a medieval motif. Big Bang and Payanig’s contemporaries include the Boom na Boom Carnival at the PICC Complex and its neighbor Star City. Among these, only Star City remains in business to this day. The end of the Christmas carnival/fair era was marked by the rise of Enchanted Kingdom, which operates throughout the year.
Star City was a novelty when it opened back in the early 90s (I think). I’m not completely sure but I think Star City was the first local amusement park that had most of its rides imported from outside the Philippines. One ride that used to be really popular was the Wild River which is a wet roller coaster. You’re guaranteed to get a bit wet when you ride it and I guess that went really well with park-goers. (Unfortunately, a 13-year-old girl died on that ride in 2006 when she stood up from her seat and fell to the ground becoming that ride’s first fatality.)
It’s been years since I last went to Star City so I don’t know much about it anymore. One thing I do know is that the complex now sports the Aliw Theather, which is a popular venue for concerts and variety shows. Anyway, I’ll just point you over to this blog post written last year by Anton Diaz so that you can get a first-hand blogger—and father’s—look at Star City. This Saksi news segment aired last month might also prove interesting: It shows that many people still flock to Star City. (Some people probably find Enchanted Kingdom too far. Hehehe.)