I was always excited every time the peryahan, which I believe is translated as a “fair” in English, comes to town. There’s the Ferris wheel, or something that resembles it, the caterpillar ride, the haunted house and, of course, the games. Looking back, there’s really nothing fancy about the perya, that is, if you compare it with the likes of Enchanted Kingdom. So, the first chance I got after it opened in 1995, I went to see this Enchanted Kingdom, and went back for more — perhaps proof that there’s always a child in each of us.
The Enchanted Kingdom is located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. You won’t miss it from the South Luzon Expressway because the Space Shuttle and the Ferris Wheel stick out from the green landscape (take the Sta. Rosa exit, turn left after the toll booth, then turn right at the next intersection; you could also browse the Enchanted Kingdom website for more information).
There’s the Anchor’s Away, which is just a ship that swings to and fro. It’s really less “scary” than the biggest roller coaster in the Philippines, dubbed the Space Shuttle, but because the Anchor’s Away lasts longer than the Space Shuttle, I figured I’d be in a higher risk of having a heart attack, so I didn’t ride in it.
So I just took the Jungle Log Jam, the Flying Fiesta and, of course, the Ferris wheel (called the Wheel of Fate). You could actually have a taste of a world-class theme park here in the Philippines, instead of going to Disneyland or other theme parks abroad.
The perya, unlike Enchanted Kingdom, doesn’t have a Spaceport, which has the Kart Trak (this ride was later addition in EK) and the 11-storey high Space Shuttle. We’ll save the Space Shuttle for last and discuss it later.
The Kart I was riding didn’t have much power, I thought, although I’m not sure if it’s the Kart or it was just my weight. It reminded me of a dream, where zombies are running after me and, yet, no matter how hard I step on the pedal, the car won’t go any faster. There were no zombies running after me at the Kart Trak, but I had to step on the gas to save myself from the humiliation of being overtaken by little kids.
Then there’s the Space Shuttle, the “country’s first and only triple loop coaster turns riders upside down six times – 3 times forward and 3 times backwards.” There’s also a roller coaster, but that pales in comparison with the Space Shuttle.
There’s the slow ascent to the top of one end, which crawling pace should — I really suggest — serve as a last chance for anyone to shout “I want out!” But no, the harness remains tight, with the click, click, click of the cogs rolling upwards threatening your nerves, pretty much like the whirrr of the dentist’s drill. It all ends with a big clink as something is released from underneath. Then whoosh!
You zoom and spiral into the other end, then zoom back and spiral again — backwards this time. It’s really amazing how people actually pay to scare themselves. Since I’m a brave man, ahem, I took on the Space Shuttle. Once. And never will I ride it again even if you pay me a million bucks. (On second thought, for a million bucks, I might reconsider.)
[See also Ranking the Rides of Enchanted Kingdom.]