Manila Ocean Park – An Introduction
Manila Ocean Park is a marine theme park which has become a favorite fun family vacations and kid friendly vacations destination ideal for a thrill seeker, island vacations aficionado or other persons either on a sightseeing expedition or on a study tour to observe the marine world from the seaside up to the deepest part of the ocean. It is located near Roxas Boulevard (behind the historic Quirino Grandstand on the western end of Rizal Park) in Ermita, Manila City, Luzon Island, Philippines.
Manila Ocean Park – Why I Visited The Marine World Theme Park
Being born and raised in an island, I cannot imagine dissociating myself with the sea. The sight of glamorous beaches and various forms of marine life really stimulates my senses while the sound of waves pounding at the shorelines rejuvenates my soul. In fact, having the chance to visit the Sentosa Underwater World Oceanarium in Singapore in 2007 was one of the happiest moments of my life. Candidly, my heart really jumped with joy upon hearing the news that the Manila Ocean Park was opened last March 1, 2008. Since then, I dreamed of visiting the place and see it for myself . But my hectic schedules during my occasional visits to Manila had relegated my intention to the background.
Thanks to the clarion call of Angel Juarez, this month’s Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival host, for bloggers to write something about Manila that will keep you and me on coming back to the capital city of the Philippines which convinced me to squeeze my travel itinerary so I can visit the Manila Ocean Park. Amidst intermittent rains, I managed to reach the place and the message on this tarpaulin hung at the entrance of the building had caught my attention . . .
I was attracted with the Oceanarium-Jellies-Fish Spa-Sea Lion Show package, hence, I bought the Sun Up Saver ticket for PhP 600.00. As I passed through the entrance, a rain forest motif had greeted my eyes. Moments later, I heard a sweet female voice over welcoming me and the other guests to the Manila Ocean Park, announcing that we are standing right in the Agos (Flow) Section of the Oceanarium and explaining in detail about the freshwater fishes stored in 8 tanks.
A further walk and I heard the sound of waves splashing through the sea shore as I passed through an entry point labeled as Bahura (The Reef), wherein, I saw an exhibit of artificial corals stored in 48 tanks. I slogged further and reached the Laot (Fishing Ground) Section where I saw various species of fish including giant Manta Rays (Pagi) stored in long tanks. A few more steps led me to this fascinating sight . . .
A few steps further and I reached this area. . .
The Living Ocean turned out to be the main attraction of the oceanarium which boasted of a 25-meter long walkway tunnel with 220-degree curved acrylic walls.
I spent for quite sometime watching all forms of marine life while walking through the tunnel. On my way to the exit, I passed by the sharks (Pating) in spacious tanks.
After exiting the Oceanarium, I was told by a staff to climb upstairs for the Fish Spa. As I reached this place, I spotted upon this group of guests . . .
I had sensed that all the guests were wearing a smile as their feet were being submerged on a man-made pool with schools of fish nibbling on their feet and soles. Hence, I also rolled my pants and submerged my bare feet to the waters . . .
Truly, I felt rejuvenated after schools of Nibble Fish, otherwise known as Doctor Fish, feasted on the dead skin cells off my feet and soles as the nibbling massage of the doctor fish carried a pleasant tingling sensation on my feet. In fact, if I had my way, I would prefer to be nibbled the whole day had it not been for the notice of the staff that my 10-minute allocated fish spa session had already expired.
Afterward, I proceeded to the next Manila Ocean Park destination covered by the promotional package and this sight had captured my attention . . .
The sights of various species of jellyfish I had savored inside seemed a nourishment to my eyes. But it was the Spotted Jellyfish (Mastigias papua), having a brownish umbrella with white spots whose thick tentacles resemble the arms of an octopus, had really caught my attention as they are the non-stingy ones abundantly present in Sohoton Cove at Bucas Grande Island, Philippines.
I was craving for some more sights until I reached this place which really captured my romantic imagination . . .
Candidly, the sight of the jellyfish seemed dancing at the tune of sweet music made me decide to stay for long in the place. However, my watch kept telling me that the Sea Lion Show, the last leg of my Manila Ocean Park stroll, will commence at exactly 4:30 p.m, hence, I exited the room with much hesitance.
As there were only a few minutes left before the appointed time, I rushed to the Sea Lion Show venue and this sight greeted my eyes . . .
I positioned myself in one of the front-row seats to have a vantage point of the most awaited show. Candidly, I was awe-inspired with this spectacular show unfolding in front of me . . .
Not content with just watching the show, I preferred to have a photo session with the sea lion . . .
Manila Ocean Park – Final Thoughts
The Manila Ocean Park might not be as large and well-equipped as some of the more famous marine theme parks in Asia, but it is still a popular attraction among the Filipinos and foreign visitors. The fact that the first volunteer on the photo session with the sea lions in the midst of the Sea Lion Show was a female Indonesian national was proof that the Manila Ocean Park had already gained popularity among our Asian neighbors. The existence of the Manila Ocean Park has become a national pride among the Filipinos and visiting the spot by marine world lovers like you is a step in the right direction if only to prove that the Philippine capital city of Manila has attractions worthy of a visit by local and foreign tourists alike.