Tour to the beat of Ten Drums
The Ten Drum theater stage is built around giant gears from the abandoned factory.

Tour to the beat of Ten Drums

Ida Anita Q. Del Mundo (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2019 - 12:00am

Located in Tainan, in southern Taiwan, Ten Drum Culture Village offers visitors of all ages unique experiences that are off the beaten track.

MANILA, Philippines — The five-hectare property features 16 refurbished and repurposed warehouses of a sugar refinery built in the 1890’s, during Taiwan’s Japanese era. The industrial feel is expertly retained and made modern through exposed brick, glass and metal pipes; hanging lightbulbs and more. The little details like lampshades made of factory worker’s hard hats remind visitors of the space’s former life.

Among the 16 structures are stores, cafés and a bar – including a coffeeshop made out of a huge, high-ceilinged molasses vat, where you can get your Taiwanese milk tea fix. Nighttime visitors can dine under the stars with special dining areas atop old silos.

Soup in the lunch set is served in a drum.

The village’s main restaurant serves set menus with soup served in mini drum-shaped bowls. Every corner is photogenic and definitely Instagrammable.

Visitors who want an adrenaline rush can get their pulse beating like a drum with exciting attractions including a five-story high extreme slide, a seven-story free fall, wall climbing and a giant swing from the highest point in the village.

Less extreme is the Paradise Path, which is a modern-day tree house walk that lets visitors explore a glass structure path through the trees. The old train ride gives gives visitors a glimpse into the past as it pays tribute to the rickety railway that once traversed the refinery.

Old train tracks run through the village.

There are galleries that feature different kinds of native drums and even a workshop where visitors can see how the drum’s wooden body is fashioned and the skin carefully stretched over the drum in a process that takes weeks to complete.

Of course, no trip to Taiwan is complete without lantern flying. Groups and families will enjoy choosing their lantern color – each symbolizes different themes like love, career, health, prosperity and more. Then, each gets the chance to decorate one side of the lantern with their wishes.

What sets lantern lighting at Ten Drum Culture Village apart is that the decorated lanterns are taken to the factory’s iconic chimney – guests get to don hard hats and protective gear – and the lanterns are flown up the chimney. The top of the chimney is covered with mesh, so it simply falls back to the ground instead of floating out into the environment and potentially polluting the ocean, which is one major concern of environment-conscious visitors to Taiwan who still want to take part in the lantern tradition.

Lantern flying is a Taiwanese tradition.

What really gives Ten Drum Culture Village its heartbeat is the show presented by the internationally awarded Ten Drum Band. It was the band that originally came up with the idea to revitalize the abandoned factory and they have truly been instrumental in breathing new life into the property.

The impressive drum show combines snappy choreography to the strong drum beats enhanced by lights and video.

The young performers depict the stories of the phoenix and lightning and thunder, among others, through their exciting drum beats.

The performance will surely inspire everyone to learn how to play the drums and there are several areas scattered across the village where guides will teach visitors the basics of indigenous drum-beating. But be forewarned – it’s definitely not as easy as it looks!

View from the top of Ten Drum Culture Village.

The drum show theater is the centerpiece of the village. Being able to explore the stage after the show, visitors will be fascinated by the huge gears from the factory that remain in place. Even the stage itself is built around a huge wheel that once made the refinery run smoothly.

It is a testament to the care given by those behind Ten Drum Culture Village to really make it a point to preserve the place. They especially wanted to pay tribute and respect to the industry workers who once ran the factory.

More so, it is a reminder that what was once a bustling sugar mill now fittingly produces sweet memories with family and friends that will be treasured forever.

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