Former Negros Occidental Congressman Albie Benitez (fourth from right) with his guests in front of Magikland
Ricky Lo
A quick tour of Magikland
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Except for a 10-minute double rotation on the Ferris Wheel, we hardly had time to try the other thrill rides at the Magikland, the theme park that occupies four of the 80-plus hectares of virgin lot in Silay City, 20 minutes drive from Bacolod City.

It is one of the introductory attractions at the park which is, so to speak, a long-cherished dream come true for former Negros Occidental Congressman Albee Benitez who took time out from his tight schedule to take our group on a quick tour of the park Saturday last week.

“There is more room for expansion,” assured Albee, “more attractions being built.”

The plan includes building a huge swimming pool, a hotel and a convention center calculated to lure business groups to Bacolod, perhaps the “sweetest” city in the Visayan region that offers all sorts of cakes, cookies, pastries and any “sugary” items you can think of because, after all Negros is sugar territory, remember?

“Magikland can attract visitors not just from neighboring places but those from other parts of country,” said Albee. “Bacolod has more to offer than just sweets and good food.” (Trivia: The chicken inasal with crispy skin chicharon and batchoy are to die for. And don’t forget to visit The Ruins in Talisay City, which is the remains of a stately Italianate mansion razed during World War II with a restaurant and landscaped gardens.)

Since its soft opening in October last year as requested by the Solar Company Bio Power as venue for its family day (more than 1,200 employees attended), Magikland has been drawing crowds Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. (The whole park operates by solar power.) The formal opening will be held until more attractions are built.

Here’s how the brochure describes the park:

Magikland is based on local folklore and legend, adapting the legend of the Bakunawa (the moon-eating dragon) to make it more modern and fun, while still paying respect to local culture. The main mascot of the park is Bakunawa the dragon himself…now in a more friendly, happy form. Together with Bakunawa are the four child-warriors who are the champions of Magikland.

The children, whose names pay homage to the local landscapes, are Boy Bakunawa, Mara Marapara, Pat Patag and Kit Kanlaon. The theme and storylines throughout the park will highlight local stories, culture and history. (You will see them in a movie, also titled Magikland, conceptualized by Peque Gallaga who co-produced it with Lore Reyes and Albee Benitez.)

On the day we were there, more than 1,000 visitors (mostly families) were enjoying the rides and taking “groupies” here and there. The attractions are divided into three zones: Mystical Zone (Disk-O, Sky Tower, Family Swinger and Crazy Trail); Magical Zone (Crazy Surf, Magic Bike, Smasher Cars, Happy Swing, Mt. Kanlaon and Magikland Express); and Cultural Zone (Silay Eye and Fantasy Carousel).

The day was capped by a Visayan-folklore-inspired production number performed by local dancers.

“Soon,” said Albee, “we are putting up a fireworks display at sundown.”

 

 

(Magikland offers corporate packages. Birthday packages, private events and school/educational trips. For bookings, call +63-34-445-3847/+63-915-320-7782/+63-921-202-6871.)

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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