Travelogue Manila: Science And Discovery @ Mind Museum, Bonifacio Global City

Whenever I come to Manila, I make it a point to visit as many museums as possible. I like how much effort is put into maintaining the culture and heritage of the Filipino people, and how well preserved some of the artifacts are.

But while I’ve been to plenty of historical museums and art galleries on my past visits, I’ve never been to a science /discovery centre (besides Manila Ocean Park) – so the Boy and I bought tickets for the Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City.

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It doesn’t look very large from the outside, but there are plenty of things to keep you occupied for hours. True to its science theme, the museum has a solar reflective exterior as well as natural wind ventilation and rainwater flow drainage.

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Spanning two floors with over 250 exhibits, the museum is divided into several sections, each with its own theme. We start off in the Universe Gallery. No points for guessing what this space is about lol.  Here, visitors will discover the story of the cosmos and how the universe came into being. I really liked the décor they’ve done with the place, especially the glittering tapestry of ‘stars’ on the ceiling.

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You can interact with some of the exhibits, like this one (which I actually forgot what it was supposed to demonstrate lol).

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The evolution of stars exhibit was my favourite because the pieces were so well made and colourful. Visitors press buttons to see how the star ‘evolved’, gradually expanding into a ‘red giant’ which is its dying form. Going out with a bang, amirite?

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We also caught a planetarium show, where you sit in a reclining chair while the projector plays on the dome-like screen above you – kind of like giant VR. The only other time I watched one was in LA, and I fell asleep (because I was fatigued after a 20-hour flight lol), so I was looking forward to this.

Sadly, the show didn’t live up to expectations – mostly because the projections were so dark and out of focus that I couldn’t really see what was going on.

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Moving on, we made our way to the Earth Gallery which houses exhibits on prehistoric life and geology.

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The star of the section was definitely the life-sized T-rex replica! PS: His name is Stan.

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The Life Gallery showcases the rich flora and fauna that once, and some that still, inhabit the Philippine archipelago, such as the beautiful whale shark (above) – commonly found off the waters of Cebu and parts of Luzon. There are also replicas of great apes, a life-sized giraffe and a huge figure of a brain.

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Colourful glass that you can switch the positions on to form different colour combis on the wall. Pretty cool!

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A ‘piano’ staircase that was really popular with the kids. There are motion sensors on the sides, so every time someone walked on the ‘key’, there would be sound.

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Neon rainbow tunnel.

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The second floor, which is much smaller than the first, has several arcade games like Guitar Hero that visitors can play for free, an X-ray machine that you can pass your bags through to see how it works, fun house mirrors and technological exhibits.

All in all it was a fun and educational experience at the Mind Museum! There are quite a number of interactive exhibits that will make it fun to visit with the kids, and it definitely beats walking through generic malls and enriching capitalist pockets for vanity and self gratification. At least here, you learn stuff.

Tickets can be purchased here. 

**There are all day passes and three-hour slots. I recommend getting the cheaper 3-hour slot because the museum isn’t that big and everything can be covered within that time limit. 

*imho the prices are pretty steep (adults – PHP625 for a three-hour ticket) but I guess that’s how they can maintain the place. 

Mind Museum
JY Campos Park 3rd Avenue
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Philippines 1634

Business hours: 9AM – 6PM Tues-Suns, closed Mon

Review: Niu by Vikings @ SM Aura, Taguig

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Located on the 6th (rooftop) floor of SM Aura in Taguig, Niu is the slightly more upscale/classier version of Vikings, the popular buffet chain in the Philippines. I’ve read alot of good things about the place on blogs and review websites like Zomato and Tripadvisor, and since birthday babies get a free meal, we thought of celebrating N’s 31st birthday there. We arrived around 6.15pm according to the booking, and were ushered in straightaway, skipping the long queue.

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The hall was long and spacious. I’m guessing at least 200 covers! Decor was classy and elegant, with grey chairs and tables with marble tops. A pianist played Christmas tunes, filling the air with a warm and cheerful ambience.

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The buffet spread was really long! Stretching from one end of the restaurant to the other, it was divided according to stations that served Japanese, local, Western, Italian fare and more. At the ‘live’ cooking station, diners could watch their meal being prepared right before their eyes.

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Noodle station where you can customise your bowl of noodles with various ingredients, different types of noodles, soup paste and sauces.

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Shabu-shabu corner.

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Roasting station with a selection of meats like duck, chicken and pork.

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Seafood tossed in dressings.

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Live grill station.

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The popular roast station with gigantic slabs of beef and lamb.

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After reading the reviews (N himself has been here before and said the food was good), we were both disappointed with how mediocre the quality was. Despite the huge selection , everything we tried was really meh. The beef and lamb from the carvery was dry and overcooked, with none of that lovely pink juiciness on the inside. I didn’t take pictures of the rest of the food I ate, but most of it was an equal let-down. The Chinese dimsum station lacked luster and fried items were overly greasy. Sushi was okay but I’ve had better at buffets. The only thing I really liked was the cheese and cold cuts station which had a decent choice of cheeses. I mean, if you mess cheese up then you’re really fked, amirite ?

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Greasssay.

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Okay sushi.

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The wine station. Am not a big fan of wine, but N is and he was disappointed with the variety as well.

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Bread station.

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We were done with savouries, so moving on to the desserts. The desserts helped redeem the experience by a teeeeensy bit.

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Chocolate fondue station helped redeem some brownie points.

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Ended the meal on a cold sweet note with ice-cream. These were nice, creamy and well balanced.

I’m really not sure if we just came at a bad time, or if this is how the much-hyped about food at Niu is supposed to be. Wasn’t impressed. For its price @ PHP1500++, I was expecting better. This pales in comparison to the value-for-money and tastiness I got at Dad’s @ SM Megamall, which is a fraction of the price.

Will I be coming back? Nah. But then again, taste buds always differ and many people (and locals – it might just be my Malaysian tastebuds) have vouched for the experience + food, so maybe you will have a better dining experience.

NIU BY VIKINGS 

6th floor, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines
Business hours; 11AM – 10PM
Phone: +63 2 478 3888

Nadai Fujisoba@ Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

When it comes to Japanese noodles, ramen tends to get more attention – so it’s nice to see a place dedicated to two lesser known (but no less delicious!) counterparts – udon and soba.

Like it’s name, Nadai Fujisoba specialises in soba, or buckwheat, noodles. The chain is popular in Japan, but has also made its way to Bonifacio Global City in Metro Manila. Located along High Street, the small but cosy establishment teems with decor inspired by the land of the Rising Sun, with kanji, art and murals adorning its walls.

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The Ebiten Soba (PHP 280) came with two gigantic battered prawns, seaweed and spring onions in a bonito-based broth. The noodles were slightly al-dente, giving it a good bite, and the savoury soup warmed up the belly. Flavours were just right without being overwhelming. Ebi was done well too – not too oily, and juicy on the inside.

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Also tried the Buta Bara Kimuchi Don (small – PHP100). Despite its ‘small’ serving, the portion was quite enough for me! There were thin slices of marinated pork belly, which had a good balance of lean meat and fat. Rice was fluffy and warm. To top it off, sour and spicy kimchi. The pork had too much sauce though which made the rice underneath soggy after some time. But the flavours were right.

Every noodle dish here offers either soba/udon. There’s no ramen ! xD They also have Donburi rice bowls, like the one above.

Nadai Fujisoba 

G/F Building 7, Bonifacio High Street
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Philippines
Phone: +632 830 3333
Opening hours:  10 am to 11pm daily

 

Bonifacio Global City, Metro Manila

Bonifacio Global City, also known as The Fort or BGC for short, is a central business district sandwiched between Makati and Taguig. After the hustle and bustle of downtown Manila, stepping into its commercial area, High Street, felt a little surreal. Clean and well-paved streets free from belching jeepneys, people walking their dogs or jogging, skyscrapers and high-end retail/restaurants reminded me more of Singapore than the Philippines.

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High Street was lined with Christmas decorations – trees adorned with Christmas lights, grass blocks trimmed into reindeer shapes, bubbling water features and landscaped gardens.

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The pedestrian-friendly retail center features shops, offices and residential blocks on both sides.

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During my visit, the Philippine Armed Forces was running an exhibition, with displays of tanks, boats, guns and machinery. Visitors also got to take pictures with army personnel, listen to talks, performances and handle the artillery (not loaded of course!)

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Communications equipment.

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Members of the public trying on safety vests and helmets.

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Bullets ._.

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Different rifles, submachine guns and guns used by the PAF. Not a big fan of guns, but I know some guys who would probably go ga-ga over these.

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I held the small one. It was surprisingly heavy. I guess that would be my weapon of choice in a zombie apocalypse – I’d much rather use a melee weapon anyway xD

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A giant Christmas tree and more light decorations around the district. There are also lots of nice murals around the city, but since it was night I didn’t get to capture any.

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BGC is a nice neighbourhood and I’m glad I got to visit, but it also highlights the extreme disparity between rich and poor in Manila. Hopefully, with development, there will be more of such places to offer income and opportunities to the less fortunate.