To hell with authenticity, we say. Fakes are great. Replicas are great. Y’know how fake Chanel bags always have more personality than the real ones? Fakes are works of beauty in themselves, reflecting the craft and sense of verisimilitude of the hands that built the fake, and being seen next to a fake as if it were real is a kind of small joy.
That’s the sort of mindset that you have to get into if ever you visit Sikatuna’s Mirror of the World and Botanical Garden. It has replicas for everything: the Statue of Liberty from New York, the Christ the Redeemer statue from Brazil, a Singaporean Merlion, the Eiffel freakin’ Tower, and a bunch of Greek statues, all in a navigable garden.
It’s more than just a tourist attraction. It’s all the tourist attractions. It is the very concept of tourist attractions, distilled and packaged for your consumption, dear traveller.
It’s almost cheating. You could visit the Mirror of the World, grab a few pics with the Statue of Liberty, and none would be the wiser. Sure, the Statue of Liberty isn’t life-sized, but a few camera perspective tricks could make almost anything here look more colossal than they actually are.
For real though, this place is kind of a god-send for people who wish they could travel but can’t afford to. It basically brings the wonders of the world straight to you, and hopping from one landmark to the next only takes a few steps. This is what Kantorini wished it could be. Y’all remember Kantorini? Simpler times.
“But it’s not the real thing! It’s not the same!” you might say. Well, yeah. So what? We consume and enjoy so many fake things everyday. We watch pirated movies. We eat heavily processed food. We have our own Yale and Harvard in Cubao. What’s the big deal?
The Mirror of the World is currently closed due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they’re taking a break. They just constructed a BOHOLLYWOOD sign! They have a little Golden Gate bridge! They just built a Leaning Tower of Pisa that lights up at night! When it’s safe to travel, you could actually go to New York or Brazil or Italy, but the replicas in the Mirror of the World are just more charming.