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Visiting magical Museo Pambata

Since I was a kid, wondering had been my hobby. And finding Lewis Carroll’s wonderland had been one of my dreams. Growing up, I became curiouser and curiouser about that place.

As I traveled around the world, the white rabbit of curiosity lured me to different rabbit holes, like the Hong Kong Disneyland, and the Moment of Imagination and Nostalgia with Toys or the MINT Museum in Singapore. (READ: Explore these 3 museums in Metro Manila

But I never thought that our beloved Manila could also house such a treat. Magic was overflowing even outside this rabbit hole located at Roxas Boulevard corner South Drive. With P250, I was given a local magic carpet ride back to my childhood days. Boasting its 8 enchanted rooms, Museo Pambata promised to bring me to that one true wonderland. 

A Feast of 'Eat Me' Cakes 

Had you ever tried walking on a sitting position, as quietly as you could, just to catch that blue dragonfly on the grass? But what if the dragonfly had just eaten the ‘Eat Me’ cake of wonderland and grew to the size of a helicopter? 

At the entrance, I was welcomed by Museo Pambata’s Tutubing Bakal. It was a Vietnam War-era helicopter that was transformed into a Peace Playground by a group of artists led by Alwin Reamillo.

Inside the building, other animals seemed to have a share of these ‘Eat Me’ sweets. Were you fond of blowing air upon a line of ants just to disturb them? Inside the Kalikasan (Environment) room, doing that would require a lot of energy because of the colossal ants lining up the ceiling. This area also introduced me to the different ecosystems of nature. There were also oversized jellyfish, which gave insights on the environment under the sea. It also housed an herb garden and other simulated ecosystem exhibits. (READ: IN PHOTOS: At this 3D art museum in Cubao, you're part of the artwork

At another room, it seemed like a human being had eaten her portion of the cake. At the Katawan Ko (My Body Works) room, a giant head of a woman invited me inside its fully-opened mouth and sent me to a massive replica of the human intestines. And that was what it felt like inside, close-fitting but definitely amazing. The room also gave out information about the different functions of the human body.

‘Drink Me’ Potion delights 

On another part of the museum, the ‘Drink Me’ potions, which made anything smaller, were the ones seemingly making the rounds. At the Maynila Noon (Old Manila) section, I enjoyed a shrunken stone church and a relatively small galleon ship from 19th century Manila. The area also housed a Meralco Tranvia, considered to be the 1905 version of MRT in Manila. 

The room also currently features artworks from artist Toym Imao. The sculptures showed the creative journey of National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Asia Imao, who is Toym’s father. The exhibit would be up in the museum until the end of August. 

The Bata sa Mundo (Children in the Global Village) room, on the other hand, offered miniature human representations, in the form of dolls from different countries around the world. They wore the national costumes of countries like Korea, Mexico, North America, Africa, Portugal, the Philippines and other nations. The room also introduced me to the culture of other foreign countries.

Another room offered a shortened wind turbine. The I Love my Planet Earth room taught me ways on how to preserve energy and our Mother Earth. And in this room, I saw an authentic moon rock, which was loaned to the museum by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). 

Doors of Imagination

Inside the museum, I encountered a lot of doors that brought me to different destinations, without requiring any key.

There was a door towards the Marketplace (Pamilihang Bayan) room where I experienced buying and selling a variety of goods like, fish, bread, medicine and other commodities.

There was also an entrance going to the Aklatang Pambata (Children’s Library) where I took glimpses of the most bizarre kingdoms inside my brain.

The last door led me to new opportunities from the Paglaki Ko (Career Options) room. This area showcased endless possibilities that the vast world of adulthood could offer the next generation. There were also exhibits of personal notes and sketches used by different Filipino authors and illustrators while finishing their children’s stories.  

The time had come to finally leave wonderland. And I thanked Museo Pambata for fulfilling its promise. 

Equipped with the eagerness of a child, I greeted reality with a renewed passion and a Cheshire Cat grin on my face.