I didn’t think the Manila Ocean Park would be big. But Manila Ocean Park is indeed world-class — at least that’s the plan.
The Manila Ocean Park is “a marine themed park bringing together in one complex an Oceanarium, a mall, a restaurant row, boutique hotel, open water marine habitats and multi-purpose function facilities.”
The park has a huge lobby with huge photos of marine life to whet the appetite of visitors, and food stalls to fill the stomach too. Visitors make their way through a series of aquariums beside stairways and artificial waterfalls in a section named “agos”. There’s a portion where visitors can touch some starfish. There are more marine life in the “Bahura” and “Laot” sections of the oceanarium. The beautiful colors of the corals had awestruck until I realized they were fake. It’s interesting that all the marine life in the entire park are found in Philippine seas. Nothing foreign here, except for some visitors, maybe.
The underwater tunnel of the “Buhay ng Karagatan” section is the real feature of the tour. The stingrays are wonderful, like graceful birds “flying” in the water. You could almost touch the fish except for the glass that divides their world from ours. There’s more sharks in the “Ang Kalaliman” section with an overhanging tank where you can see the bellies of various sharks. The multimedia facility has some interactive games.
There’s more in the second floor, but was rather incomplete the time we visited. There’s a shark viewing area, a “fish spa”, hermit crab race area, stingray/fish feeding area and a glass bottom boat area. Nice!
The place isn’t wheelchair friendly at this time. There’s a lot of construction still on-going. The staff are obviously doing their best, helping to provide more info and trivia about the marine life, answering questions from curious visitors. A little more crowd control could help. The persistent reminder over the loudspeakers to “turn off the camera flash” was a bit irritating. But it’s true, visitors must turn off the flash to reduce stress on the fish.
It’s great to have a facility like the Manila Ocean Park in the Philippines. It’s just a bit ironic that our country is an archipelago with some of the richest marine life, but it takes an Ocean Park like this for more Filipinos to appreciate the riches of our Philippine seas. It’s all good, more awareness for more Filipinos, a venue for education and experiences for kids and adults alike, and an improvement to the tourism industry.
The Park is right behind the Quirino Grandstand at Roxas Blvd. Tickets are quite steep at P400 per person considering that only around half or one third of the entire park is open. Ask for group rates. Better to visit on weekdays to avoid the weekend rush. It’s a good show, nonetheless. Best seen when the 2nd floor activity area opens after a few more months, perhaps.
To the management and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF, partner of the Manila Ocean Park), take care of the marine life, and take care of your patrons too! All the best!
The Manila Ocean Park:
Behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park, Manila
Park hours: 10am to 9pm, Monday to Sunday
Tel. (+632) 567-7777
Fax: (+632) 567-2309
Email: [email protected]
edong da fish
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