Travelers Journal :: ßry™

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A boutique mall…
A restaurant strip…
An open water marine habitat…

These and more are what you will experience at the Philippines’ first state-of-the-art oceanarium – The Manila Ocean Park!

This 8,000 square meters oceanarium held its soft opening on February 29, 2008. Although the construction is still incomplete, many foreign and local tourists are already visiting the theme park. I’ve been to the Sentosa Underwater World of Singapore, the Siam Ocean World of Bangkok and to the Aquaria Oceanarium of Kuala Lumpur but I must say that the concept and the location of the Manila Ocean Park is thus far the best (which might be dethroned in my mind by the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan.. I will soon be there!) First of all, the Manila Ocean Park takes pride of being situated at the Manila Bay, giving its visitors a real “oceanic feel”. The construction plan and design of the park is certainly worth looking forward to. I would definitely like to see the marine-themed mall and hotel, outdoor pools and restaurant strip which are expected to be completed by end of 2008.

As this is the first oceanarium in the Philippines, the Manila Ocean Park maximizes the opportunity to spearhead efforts in educating Filipinos on various initiatives on the conservation and preservation of Philippine marine life through symposium, multimedia presentations, research and special partnerships.

The 7 major sections of the oceanarium provide its visitors a good glimpse of about 20,000 marine inhabitants (approximately 300 species).

Agos (Flow) is the first part of the oceanarium where you can see water cascading from an artificial waterfall.

Bahura (Reef) showcases the very colorful Philippine underwater rainforest, thus giving a sampler of how beautiful the Philippine coral reefs are.

Laot (Fishing Ground) displays fishes of various colors and sizes.

Buhay na Karagatan (Living Ocean) showcases a 25-meter long underwater tunnel. This is one of the main attractions of the Oceanarium.

Ang Kalaliman (The Deep) features the barracuda - known for its toothy grin as the “Tiger of the Sea”.

Pagi - Overhang tank displays a variety of rays fly over while you're under this unique Overhang Tank.

Pating (Shark) give a face-to-face experience with the most feared predators of the sea – the sharks.

Although there are a lot of things that may be improved in the Oceanarium such as handling hundreds of visitors a day, I’m certain that the entrance fee of Pesos 400.00 (or US$9.00) for adults and Pesos 350.00 (or US$8.00) for Kids 4.5 ft and below is all worth it! I will surely go back to Manila Ocean Park once the entire project is completed since I am really intrigued by that Fish Spa. Imagine, plunging your feet onto the waters and letting these small fishes give you the foot massage. I waited for an hour but the queue is really long! Too bad for me...

How to get there: The Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grandstand at the historic Rizal (Luneta) Park. It opens at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends, and closes at 9 p.m. You can take taxi from anywhere in Metro Manila. Nearest LRT station is the United Nations Avenue. From there you can already take a walk and pass by the Luneta Park (that's like 15-20 minutes of walking). If you want to take the famous Philippine Jeepney, be sure to take those passing Kalaw or Taft Avenue.

The Manila Ocean Park will look like this early 2009!