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After a fire and a pandemic kept it closed for 2 years, Star City reopening on Feb. 24
TWO years after a fire forced it to close and a pandemic kept its doors shut, the popular amusement park Star City will open to the public on Feb. 24.
It was after the birth of his daughter Thalassa that Star City founder Fred J. Elizalde pitched the concept of converting the Philippine Center for Trade Exhibitions (Philcite) — which housed events such as car shows, book fairs, and heavy machinery exhibitions — into a theme park targetting families.
The area was converted into a venue for toys and gifts fairs, and carnival rides and attractions. Housed within the CCP Complex, Star City opened in 1991. Generations of children remember their visits to the park, which was especially popular during the Christmas holidays.
On Oct. 2, 2019, just a few minutes after midnight, the amusement park caught fire — 90% of the complex was damaged. It closed for reconstruction. Two years later, the rebuilt Star City was scheduled to open on Jan. 14, but this was postponed for a month due to the surge of COVID-19 cases brought about by the Omicron variety of the virus.
Occupying two floors on its original 3.4 hectare footprint, Star City returns with a more spacious and minimalist layout. Guests can expect to see rides such as the Grand Carousel, the Star Wheel, Telekombat, Wacky Worm, and the Egyptian Spinning Coaster. Other extreme rides that the amusement park houses include the Star Frisbee, Jungle Splash, Surf Dance, the Seahorse Viking, and the inverted roller coaster called the Star Flyer.
Visitors will be welcomed from Thursday to Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. A P400 Star Pass will entitle the visitor to ride-all-you-can access. Entrance to Snow World is separate and costs P160. To promote contactless transactions under the new normal, the public is encouraged to buy tickets online, with QR codes sent to the guest via e-mail — this can be printed or saved on a cell phone, and then scanned at the gate to gain entry. Ticket purchases at the gate will also be available.
In compliance with IAFT guidelines under Alert Level 2, temperatures will be checked at the gate, social distancing will be enforced at the queues, there will be alcohol dispensers set up throughout the park, and all rides will be sanitized in between cycles. Park personnel and guests will be required to wear masks. Vaccination cards have to be presented prior to entry; unvaccinated guests under 18 years old are welcome. Under Alert Level 2, which will be in force until the end of the month, the capacity of the indoor venue is limited to 50%, while outdoor capacity will be kept at 70%.
According to park management, the Star City building, including the Aliw Theater, was rebuilt to be structurally sound and compliant with fire detection and prevention rules and regulations. Park officials will also be monitoring capacity.
Meanwhile, the Aliw Theater, which is the home theater of the ballet company Ballet Manila, has not yet announced its official opening.
Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, who is the wife of Star City founder, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail in December that the theater “will take a while longer to be open.”
She added that the theater’s seating capacity has been reduced from 2,300 to 1,200. Its improvements include the addition of two multi-purpose halls and rehearsal studios.
“I am very, very optimistic that Aliw Theater will be a more diverse, and harder working events venue — still with the largest orchestra pit in the Philippines — and still in the same arena like stage — but with many improvements in acoustics and sight lines and PWD facilities, as well as proper loading docks, first class lights and technical equipment,” Ms. Macuja-Elizalde said.
Updates on parking space availability will be posted on Star City’s website. To purchase tickets, visit https://starcity.com.ph/. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/StarCityPH. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman