When one thinks of seasonal Christmas attractions within easy reach inside Metro Manila, it is easy to recall Star City, the amusement park in Pasay. Though it operates year-round, the real crowds show up for the Holidays, echoing its origins as the former Philippine Center for International Trade and Exhibit (PhilCITE) Toys and Gifts Fair Christmas exhibition. Indeed, with December fast approaching, Star City would have been gearing up to meet the seasonal visitor rush in the “Ber months.” Unfortunately disaster has struck this week, and as a result the Star City amusement complex will be closed, ironically, for Christmas.
ABS-CBN News reports that a fire broke out at Star City shortly after midnight of Wednesday, causing significant damage to the buildings and attractions. According to Pasay City Fire Marshal Paul Pili, the blaze started at roughly 12:22 AM of October 2, with the original narrowed down to a Star City stockroom, filled with plush dolls and other assorted carnival prizes. Within minutes the fire has not only spread through much of the air-conditioned amusement complex but also caught to the nearby head offices of the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC). The building of the media firm was reportedly completely gutted.
It is with some measure of relief however for MBC, owner of FM station Love Radio and AM newscaster DZRH, that the loss of their head offices will not impact their radio broadcasting operations. On a post at their official Facebook page, it was stated that Love Radio and its sister FM stations Easy Rock and Yes the Best will continue radio broadcast without interruption. DZRH AM was actually affected, but is expected to return to the air anytime within 48 hours, or before Friday. The broadcaster also noted that it is working with local authorities to determine the cause of the early morning fire.
As for Star City, the MBC noted that being the source of the fire meant that it took the lion’s share of property damage. Luckily the flames did not spread any further, with the location of the amusement park at the reclaimed Bay City area with nearby government offices, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and other notable landmarks. Nevertheless, with the attractions a mess Star City has no choice but to close up shop for the Holidays and most of next year. The most optimistic forecast of the amusement park reopening would be roughly a year from now, or October of 2020 according to Star City spokesman Rudolph Jularbal.
Image courtesy of GMA News