The last time we were in Manila in February, Joshua and Jimmy attended a robotics class in Greenhills. Recently, through Facebook, I found another LEGO robotics learning center located closer to where we live so I pounced at the opportunity and visited the mall patterned after Venice. It’s quite a sight to behold but funny-weird in its “fakeness” as well. There were a number of architectural gaffes you’d wish the designers corrected before giving the blueprints to the contractor.
The kids tried out the LEGO robotics program at iCreate Cafe and compared to the First Robotics Learning Center in Annapolis, the one in Venice Grand Canal at McKinley leaves the kids to assemble things by themselves guided by instructions in mini-laptops. The robotics teacher in Greenhills impressed me a lot since both Joshua and Jimmy were very engaged in the activities. At iCreate, the staff were at a distance giving the kids more independence. Joshua was okay on his own but Jimmy was another story. If Greenhills were closer, I’d prefer to send the kids there but McKinley will also do for now.
The relatively new mall with more impressive construction details and design is the U.P. Town Center over at Katipunan. Peppered with art works on the wall, it’s an experience for mall rats plus it has the Ayala development signature gardens in the midst of commerce. I’d take that over a fake canal but the canal of so-called “Venice” would also do because the kids love zigzagging through the columns in top speed.
The Philippines is the land of temptation when it comes to in-between meal snacking. The boys and I find it hard to resist the lure of cheesy fries at Potato Corner, mango shake and now there’s churros. This one is at the Mall of Asia by Manila Bay.
This is one of our favorite place in the city — the gardens and playgrounds of Serendra and High Street. Joshua and Jimmy did a lot of growing up here and every time they climb the modern jungle gym, they get more and more daring. You see their courage and confidence increasing through the years.
The Ayala development at BGC (Bonifacio Global City) is like a deconstructed mall turned inside out. The green outdoor spaces make for a more dynamic experience. Now, it’s possible to walk from Market Market to High Street all the way down to the Mind Museum and Burgos Circle through a landscaped park. When we got to the Mind Museum, there was a special interactive exhibit about dinosaurs which tied in perfectly with the Magic School Bus book we read after lunch.
Jimmy was all too happy to become a Pteranodon crossed Stegosaurus protecting the nest with his wings. Joshua was engrossed dusting off the soil revealing the fossilized bones. There were different stations but each kid stuck to his for longer than expected — Joshua on an archeological quest and Jimmy in his costumed pre-historic glory. After a while, Joshua donned a dino-robe too. Roaring, Jimmy protected the dino eggs, fending off potential predators. Joshua got into the act treating the egg like a football to be defended against competition. They wore Japanese wooden slippers with undersides bearing the footprints of a Veloceraptor, Brontosaurus, T-Rex and other types so that when you walk on the carpet, you leave a mark like an ink-less stamp.
If somebody asks me, Joei, why are you getting so fat? I’d say, it’s the malls’ fault. They make me eat too much cheese.