Remember the days when your school field trips include a visit to the National Planetarium in Luneta? Well, that was years ago and you have probably forgot about this iconic building.
Lucky for us, The National Planetarium just opened its doors for free! You can now watch three of their shows without spending a peso.
These shows include: Hayabusa: Back to the Earth, which tells the journey of the satellite Hayabusa in its mission to get sample from the asteroid Itokawa; Journey to a Billion Suns, which looks back to the astronomers that measured the distance of stars and how it helped mapped the stars and planets in the Milky Way; and A Planet For Goldilocks, which tells the search for planets with a “just right” condition for human beings to live at.
The full dome show now uses a hybrid projection system, which combines their 1975 analogue projector and a new digital projector, a first in Asia.
Nostalgia While Waiting for the Show
Nothing much has changed in the structure of the building that’s why it made the whole experience nostalgic. You can still see the full dome on top and the zodiac-themed gates of the planetarium the way you saw it when you were a kid.
It was a hot day and there were many people in line. Outside the Planetarium, Nestle Ice Cream’s jingle was playing on repeat and you can’t help but buy. Assorted candies and snacks are also sold. Remember the magic candy, the kiamoy, spicy dilis and kundol candy? They are all there!
The Show and How to Secure a Ticket
The entrance is for free (until April 30) but they only allow around 60 people per show. It is a first come first serve basis, so secure a ticket 20-30 minutes before the schedule you want. If you are in a group, only one is required to get a ticket, just tell them how many you are.
Bags, food, drinks and your phones are not allowed inside, so you have to leave them on the counter at the right side of the lobby. This can take long, because there are many people, so be patient.
Upon entering, you will feel a sense of familiarity. The analogue projector rests in the center while around it are freshly installed blue seats. They cannot be reclined so expect a bit of a neck pain while watching. Above is the dome, where you will watch the show.
Before the start of the show, a kaleidoscope-like animation based on the zodiac signs is presented. It is like a 3D movie- but much better! With every panning of the animation, you feel like your seats are moving and like you are travelling into the dome above.
The show proper starts just like how it started when you were a kid. A 360 degree view of Manila is shown and at the west is the Manila Bay with the setting sun. After a few seconds, the day turns to night and the stars slowly appear.
As expected it was a fascinating show. It is as if you are traveling through the galaxy while just seated. No wonder the viewers, kids and adults alike, roar with amazement.
At the end of the show, your neck would probably hurt but it’s nothing compared to the joy you feel while watching. The best of all- it is for free!
You only have until April 30 to experience the National Planetarium for free, so invite your friends. You can even plan a Luneta or Intramuros walking tour if you want.
Have you been to the National Planetarium? How was your experience?