I traveled outside Manila to the town of Tagaytay, which was a nice place to visit after weeks in the busy city. Tagaytay is very popular with Filipino tourists and enjoyed for its cooler temperatures. It was almost cold some days…well, like 74. It’s also home to the world’s smallest active volcano crater (although I question the validity of this claim), which also happens to be located on a small island only accessible by boat. I did visit Taal Volcano, but the primary reason for my venture was to visit the “abandoned” theme park in nearby Batangas — Fantasy World.
Getting to Tagaytay from Manila was easy enough via public bus. And by easy enough I do mean I waited in a wildly crowded sketchy bus station for 3 hours, was dripped on by a rogue bus ceiling fluid, and also had to sit with my 17kg bag on my lap for 3 hours. From there it was a few Jeepneys more to Fantasy World — Jeepneys I was told by “helpful” people (aka private drivers) in the plaza did not exist. The Jeepneys definitely did exist as I rode several of them (I used this blog to help navigate).
According to the Internet, Fantasy World was a very hyped up park which was promised to rival Disneyland in its offerings. But then it was never finished. It’s not entirely clear why development stopped, but various theories include it ran out of funding; that the man behind it fell ill; it failed to comply with a SEC requirement (or 3). Probably it’s some combination of those factors.
In any case, the park is now “abandoned,” abandoned being a loose term. There were staff collecting money from entrants and manning the more questionable areas inside such as the spiral stairs to the tower and the rope bridge. And there were definitely other tourists with selfie sticks. The Internet says it’s now officially open as a “photo park,” and it was probably cooler to explore a few years ago before this official park business. It was not crowded when I went though, and still quite a cool sight. Not a true trespassing in a dilapidated and dangerous place situation, but an adventurous one nonetheless.
The park includes the tall tower and main buildings at the front, several rides, and a tree house. There is some graffiti and some decay, but the fountain inside is weirdly operational and some areas look…newer. Refreshments are for sale, and children will also obviously swarm you and aggressively try to sell you snacks near the entrance/exit.