We went to the Manila Ocean Park on my birthday, October 25, 2011. The last time we went there was 4 years ago and there have been lots of changes since then. We've been planning this trip for a couple of months now and have been delayed a couple of weeks. The timing was perfect though, it was my son's semestral break and it was my birthday.
We purchased the Sun Up Special for P600 per head, which included the Sea Lion Show (P150), The Jellies Exhibit (P150), The Glass Bottom Boat Ride (P150) and the Oceanarium (P400).
Our first stop was the Sea Lion Show, it was the first show of the day, at 10am. This is the best time to watch the show as the sun isn't that hot at this time. The stadium was packed when we entered, there were a couple of schools having field trips on that day, although we found a great spot near the middle at the front row. It was perfect, we could see the sea lions up close. The show was ok, fun for the kids.
Next we went to the Oceanarium but the park staff at the entrance adviced us to check the Jellies exhibit first as there was a large group that just came into the Oceanarium, so we took her advice and went to the Jellies. The lady was correct! We were the only ones in the Jelly exhibit when we got there.
The Jelly exhibit is a hall full of aquariums with different types of Jellyfishes in and around the Philippines. There were no lights in the hall, only the lights coming from the tanks. It was so relaxing looking at the jellyfishes moving so slow in their tanks while classical music from Pachelbel is being played in the background. There are some chairs and tables and a bar in this hall, so I guess at night they turn this into a club for some drinking and dancing. One time, I'll ask my wife to check this place out at night with me so I can blog about it.
This specie I usually see in Matabungkay Beach
Our next stop was the Oceanarium. The Oceanarium is a very large exhibit housing hundreds of species of freshwater and marine life. The first leg of the exhibit is the freshwater tanks. There's a large aquarium there with a couple gigantic arapaimas. Arapaimas are endemic to the Amazon River and have been exported around the world mainly for commercial aquarium use. These monsters grow to about 4 meters long or more than 13 feet. The arapaimas here are maybe nearing that size. These are the biggest arapaimas I've seen anywhere in the Phillipines.
There are a lot more freshwater fishes here and also a couple small alligators.
The next part of the exhibit are the reef fishes. They have put up a number of aquariums with small saltwater fishes and other reef animals like anemonies, hermit crabs, starfishes, clown fishes, and small sharks. There's a petting tank where you can touch the starfishes and feed the kois.
Just beyond the small reef fishes is a big hall with a couple large tanks with large sport fishes like barracudas, hatchet fishes and a saw fish. In that hall you will also see their largest tank which mimics a coral reef. It housed large stingrays, and a lot of medium and large sized reef fishes. They built a glass tunnel through the large tank where people can walk through and see the tank from the inside-like.
The boat ride personnel told us that there used to be a Tigershark in this large reef tank but it started to get too big. The tigershark was bumping the glass tunnel and the glass boats. It was scaring the hell out of the visitors and the maintenance people so they decided to put it back in the ocean, where they caught it. Which was near Batangas and Mindoro.
After the tunnel is another large tank which houses their sharks. In this shark tank, they offer an experience to the visitors of going underwater in a shark cage to get a real close encounter. The price for this Shark encounter is P1100 in addition to the park packages so we weren't able to try this. But it does look fun.
This was the end of the Oceanarium exhibit but there were some kiddie activities at the exit area like interactive trivias and some games.
We exited the exhibit and went up to the penthouse where there is a nice view of the Manila Bay. Also, the boat ride is located here.
In the boat ride exhibit, we road a boat with a glass bottom in the middle to see the fishes below. The glass boat went around their large reef tank and you would be able to see the fishes below and the people inside the glass tunnel. At first, I was under the impression that the glass boat ride would be on Manila Bay, of course this would be impossible as it would be very dangerous and would only be available on good weather.
There are a number of other activities in the Penthouse like the Fish Spa, where you can soak your feet into a pool of water and a multitude of fish will stick to your skin and suck all the dirt and dead skin cells away. This was an additional P120 and wasn't included in our package so we weren't able to try this. There was also the penguin show, which was new and just opened October, this is an additional P300 and again, we weren't able to see this.
After the boat ride, we bought some shirts in the souvenir shop and then went on to get some lunch. There are a lot of choices for food in the mall connected to the Manila Ocean Park, but since we were really tired of walking, we settled with the H2O Hotel restaurant, Makan-Makan.
The food was great! They served a mix of asian delicacies but mostly Thai.
Sorry about the picture. I was so hungry that I only remembered taking a picture after I took a bite.
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