03 June 2008

Manila Ocean Park

We visited Manila Ocean Park last April. It took me some time to blog about this because this was also the time I sorely missed my Canon camera, which went kaput only a few weeks prior to this adventure. See my photo below? I still brought it along in this trip, hoping that it will magically repair itself. *sigh*

Anyways... my brother just arrived from Jeddah on this day and we decided to visit some noteworthy places before we head out to Baguio, where he will surely be staying put for the rest of his vacation.

Each adult costs 400 pesos. Whew! That's a lot of money. But if you think about it, it does not cost as much as the ones in HongKong and Singapore. Well, perhaps it's because those abroad have carnival rides and other attractions in them whereas ours is an oceanarium with some human conveniences built in such a hotel, mall, and restaurant.

Still, even at 400 pesos per head, the place was jampacked! We had to wait two hours to finally have our tour. Here are some photos to tell the rest of our story.

The first stage is the outdoor aquariums.
Here, the guests can touch the starfish.
Nemo (a clownfish) and Dory (hmm... forgot what species she is) are very popular with the kids and adults alike. Upon entering, everybody would wonder aloud, "where's Nemo?" and shrieks of delight would come from people who sees the clownfish.

Very beautiful collection. This one below, was amazing. It was huge! Its tank was kept cold.
The nautilus! One of my favorites. Did you know that this was the inspiration for the submarine?
The deadly lionfish.

There was this section of the park where huge aquariums are located and schools of fish swim effortlessly in groups. It was mesmerizing.
This photo is dark because flash photography is not allowed. And I think I just used my iPhone for this one. When you enter this tunnel, you can no longer go back.

This place goes through the largest aquarium in the park, with sharks and large fish and stingrays swimming above and beside you. Beautiful.
Now I know why the parks in HongKong and Singapore had a moving pathway in their tunnels. So that people wouldn't linger. As it happened here, the people stayed for the longest time in the tunnel watching the fish swim everywhere, making this the most congested area.

We were lucky! A couple of divers went in to feed the stingrays and a shark of sorts. The stingrays would glide by the diver and they would insert the fish into the mouth. I think it's the poor galunggong that's the meal of the day.

The Manila Ocean Park is quite a spectacle. I am glad that we have one now.

But of course, some minor quirks:
1. As with the other bloggers, I am not too happy about the starfish-handling section. For one thing, nature appreciation and conservation is all about letting them be. I think that letting the people just touch and get those starfish out of the water is sending the wrong message: that we can simply catch these starfish when we see one in the wild.
2. The aquariums at the open air area were quite blurry with green algae growth. I think it's because they're under the sun, and it's making the algae grow more rapidly than anticipated. Isn't this bad for the fish?
3. I was supposed to say, fake or dead corals as added decor (whoops! there, I said it) but understandably, it will truly be very difficult to maintain live corals in aquariums in such a huge environment.
4. I did not manage to look at the restaurant's menu but if there are fish in it, then wouldn't that be ironic?
5. The place was not yet finished at the time of our visit.

It will be great to see the place completed and surely more attention will be focused on nature conservation. But overall, we enjoyed the trip.

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