If you’re looking for something new and exciting to do on weekends, the newly-opened Studio Experience theme park at the TriNoma Mall in Quezon City may be the perfect destination for you.
Built by ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., the country’s leading television broadcaster by revenue, the 1,400-square meter indoor park offers 15 different attractions designed to let guests experience first-hand being part of some of the TV station’s most popular shows.
Once inside, guests are welcomed into the Heritage Hall where a miniature of the famous satellite tower called Millennium Transmitter stands in the middle of a small room. Around it are a mix of vintage memorabilia, framed photos, news clippings and posters containing the rich 65-year history of the television station. For first timers, the small exhibit room provides an introduction to the experience studio.
A few steps away from the exhibit room is the Reality Studio, where guests can try being contestants in some of ABS-CBN’s most popular game and reality shows. The replica of the Pinoy Big Brother House is the first among 15 attractions, which also functions as a breakout room where guests would have to solve puzzles and tasks under Kuya’s guidance in order to escape.
Once they successfully escape, visitors could try their luck next at the Minute To Win It simulation game. A lively host would walk the contestants through the mechanics of the game, while a talking head of Minute To Win It host Luis Manzano speaks through an LCD screen on one side of the wall. Whoever becomes the last person standing wins the game.
Right across the Minute To Win It studio is one of the theme park’s biggest attraction: the 80-seater 4D Kapamilya Theater. On the night of the press conference, members of the media got the chance to watch ASAP 4D, which the station claims to be the “first and only 4D production” in the Philippines.
Inside the theater, the comfortable chairs move to the beat and rhythm of the music as celebrities perform song and dance numbers on the big screen. Sudden puffs of air and water sprays complete the whole cinematic experience, giving the audience the illusion of being in the middle of all the action.
“Pwede po kaming magpalabas ng full-length films, at pwede rin kaming mag-live shows dito. Lahat po ‘yun nasa pipeline. (We can show full-length films here, and we can also do live shows. All of this is in the pipeline.) Nasa plano namin (It’s our plan) to partner with the different ABS-CBN groups--whether Star Cinema, MYX, Star Music--to do different types of events here,” said Maria Rosario "Cookie" Bartolome, head of ABS-CBN Themed Experiences Inc.
Apart from providing entertainment, the theme park could be a venue for the company to discover potential talents among the guests, said Bartolome.
For example, aspiring celebrity singers could take the stage at the The Voice open mic section for a blind audition. They would face an LCD screen showing reactions from the four celebrity coaches--Lea Salonga, Sarah Geronimo, Sharon Cuneta and Bamboo--who would also give virtual evaluations of their performance.
Meanwhile, the big green room also called Star Labs could be where the TV station could discover aspiring actors and actresses. In this room, guests get the chance to act or perform alongside their favorite actors either by doing a scene out of an ABS-CBN telenovela, or by singing a duet with them. They can also try taking the hot seat in the famous portion of Tonight With Boy Abunda’s Fast Talk segment. And the best thing about it? Visitors can get a copy of their video, which they can share with their social media followers afterwards.
“Isa pong watchout point namin ‘yun (That's one of our watchout points). Kapag may magaling na magaling na kumakanta sa (If there's a really good singer in) The Voice, what's to stop us from giving that video or referral to Direk Lauren (Laurenti Dyogi)?” Bartolome said, adding that the Star Labs in particular is a perfect avenue to discover new talents.
The third and last part of the theme park is the Fantasy Studio, which is perfect for adventurous and thrill-seeking guests. In here, they can find out what it’s like to become a famous Pinoy superhero and action character such as Darna, Captain Barbell, or even Ang Probinsyano’s Cardo Dalisay.
The Fantasy Studio includes an obstacle course called Action Academy, a Superheroes Playground for kids aged 12 and below, and an augmented reality game called ARX where participants can battle monsters using a virtual reality (VR) headset device.
There is also a Studio XP, where guests can try directing live variety shows such as It’s Showtime!.
Outside, near the ticketing booth, is the Retail Studio, where various ABS-CBN merchandise are for sale. The theme park also has its own fast food offering called Heroes Burger, an organic burger joint with a Pinoy komiks concept.
The ABS-CBN Studio Experience is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and runs three shifts on weekdays and four shifts on weekends. Each shift can accommodate a group of up to 220 people and lasts for about two-and-a-half hours. Tickets are priced at Php375 for first-timers, while a discounted price of Php350 is charged for returning guests.
Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH's data journalist