The National Planetarium is a dome shaped building in Manila, Philippines that has shows all week. If coming from the Mall of Asia area, a notable landmark before turning right at Padre Burgos Ave is the Rizal Monument to your right.
The Planetarium had film showing schedules for free last May. Starting in June, the Planetarium now charges an afforable Php50 for adults and Php30 for kids and students.
The dome shows are on a specific time and you would need to wait for the scheduled show to start, I advise being there at least 30 minutes before, lest the slots get filled up and you would then need to wait for the next show. The first time we went, there was a short line.
Some notable house rules are,
- Only kids 4 years old and up are allowed;
- No cellphones are permitted inside the dome show;
- and you need to check-in your belongings to a baggage counter (including your phones or cameras);
- finally, no food is allowed, we had to drink our beverages and throw them out before entering.
There are 3 shows to choose from and I think it would be nice to have a marathon one Sunday to watch ALL three in one day, but my kids still need their nap time in the afternoon so it might not work out well for us, I can wait when they’re a bit older.
The three shows are all projected on the inside of the dome. It leaves you in an absolute trance after, seeing the stars and planets right above you.
Of all three, Hayabusa is our personal favorite, while the guard at the baggage counter gave us the tip that out of the three, A Planet for Goldilocks was the one he didn’t like that much. Hayabusa was his favorite as well, he says.
We were early for the 4PM show and we had time to kill.
We had the exhibit around the dome all to ourselves and my husband and I tried our best to explain whichever question they had, one of which was what were the rockets on exhibit and why there were different initials (agency names) on them – NASA, JAXA,ESA.
The place was dimmed so pardon the photos if they appear blurry.
First were the sun and the moon and so we told them about the Moon landing, and the astronauts who were on that mission. All around the right side were a different case on the wall for each planet. My daughter stood beside Saturn and its rings, and read about her favorite planet. Of course my son loved the rockets, what he would give to reach in a take one.
There were also exhibits of tektite rocks, which are rocks from meteorites that impacted the earth [wiki]. These had labels from the different places where they were obtained which they carefully read one by one.
By the entrance there was an exhibit about primitive local instruments used for rice harvest, which is the photo in the lower right part. I can’t remember why they had that there.
It was great having the place to ourselves but we went around TWICE already while waiting so we were excited for the show to start. They pointed to the Big and Little Dipper and they talked about how they see it in the sky. Truthfully, I just say yes when my daughter points it out sometimes, “Great job finding it this time, sweetie”. * pat on the back *
We adults need to spend time looking up to the sky more, don’t you agree?
Time for the show!
Hayabusa Back to Earth
Hayabusa is my son’s favorite. Hayabusa is a satellite from JAXA or Japanese Aerospare Exploration Agency that is sent on a mission to get samples from the asteroid, Itokawa. It’s a heartwarming story of never giving up. Hayabusa was out of reach for months before it completed its mission, my daughter cried a bit when it hit the Earth’s atmosphere and it burned up, leaving only a capsule behind. I told her it’s Hayabusa’s brain that contains all the knowledge it got from Itokawa. It’s a beautiful storytelling of perseverance when success seems far away.
Journey to a Billion Suns (trailer)
This journey , this time by the European Space Agency, opens up your mind to the endless possibilities of multiple solar systems and multiple suns in our galaxy. It was a bit heavy for my kids, even for me since it explains the geometry used to measure the distance from our earth and different supernovas.
Our planetarium experience was something we want to do over and over again because it was light on the pocket (check!), very educational (check!) and I told my kids, that was a movie (in documentary form, but still, a movie, check!).
The next time we go, I’ll just ask them, “Want to watch a cool movie?”
Thanks for reading!