Manila Ocean Park: things to see and what to expect in this world-class oceanarium

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Manila Ocean Park takes pride in being the pioneering ocean theme park of the country.

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Manila Ocean Park takes pride in being the pioneering ocean theme park of the country. It has several attractions or stations that feature different sea creatures, birds, animal shows, a toy museum, and rides, to name a few. A water-themed hotel was later added, making Manila Ocean Park an integrated resort and marine life facility.

A school of fish at Manila Ocean Park oceanarium
Fishes, big and small

Manila Ocean Park: things to see and what to expect in this world-class oceanarium


    Our Manila Ocean Park Experience


    Khris and I have long wanted to visit Manila Ocean Park, having heard a lot of amazing things about it. As a matter of fact, we have already scored discounted tickets via Metrodeal several months ago. However, since Khris and I were both busy at home and in the office, we could not find the perfect time to finally pursue our Manila Ocean Park adventure.

    Sea anemone at Manila Ocean Park oceanarium
    Sea anemone

    It was a good thing that the Chinese New Year was a weekday holiday; that gave us the opportunity to once and for all push through with our Manila Ocean Park trip.

    Chinese New Year decorations at Manila Ocean Park
    Celebrating Chinese New Year

    In the end, we did not regret booking this tour since Manila Ocean Park is one of the best places to visit when in the City of Manila. 

    How to go to Manila Ocean Park


    It's fairly easy to go to Manila Ocean Park as it's just a one-way ride; there is no need to transfer vehicles, especially if you are coming from Quezon City.

    Philippine relief map at Luneta on our way to Manila Ocean Park
    Philippine relief map

    From our place in Zabarte Subdivision along Quirino Highway, we boarded a shuttle van bound for Buendia . We then got off at Luneta (Rizal Park), a good side trip as you can explore Luneta a bit before heading off to Manila Ocean Park.

    Fishes and corals at Manila Ocean Park oceanarium
    Fishes and corals

    From Luneta, we walked all the way to Quirino Grandstand; located behind it is the Manila Ocean Park.

    What to expect at Manila Ocean Park


    When we finally reached the entrance point of Manila Ocean Park, we were greeted by a throng of school children and their parents in long queues, patiently waiting to get inside the park. Manila Ocean Park is a premier educational facility, as such, schools include it in their educational tour itinerary.

    Marvelling at Manila Ocean Park's oceanarium
    Resting for a bit at the oceanarium

    It can get a bit chaotic at the entrance because there are no noticeable signs as to where to register (for online bookings), where to buy tickets (for walk-in guests), or which window is for redeeming vouchers. Good thing Khris was able to figure out which window to go to for visitors like us who have booked their tickets online.

    A nautilus at Manila Ocean Park's oceanarium
    A nautilus

    If you made an online booking, always bring the original print-out. Never use a photocopy of the print-out as the ticket personnel will not honor it.

    A barge at Manila Bay as seen from Manila Ocean Park
    A barge at Manila Bay as seen from Manila Ocean Park

    After checking-in, we were handed several tickets; each ticket is to be presented for admission to the specific attraction that we wanted to see.

    Things to see and do at Manila Ocean Park


    To be honest, it can get overwhelming inside the Manila Ocean Park. For one, the area of the theme park itself is huge. Moreover, the crowds can get pretty disorderly at times especially if they are coming out of the attractions. Nevertheless, just stay calm and follow the directions to the attractions that you want to visit.


    Here are some of the things to see at the Manila Ocean Park

    1. Stingray attraction


    Our first stop is the stingray attraction (more of a pool, really). It just was a shallow pool with see through fiber glass walls. You can see about three or four stingrays in it, some are swimming while some are lying still on the floor.

    Stingrays at Manila Ocean Park
    Stingrays

    The guests will have to line up and will be given the chance to touch a stingray with assistance from the pool personnel. I asked one of the personnel how they prevent the creatures from getting stressed and she said that the animals are rotated every three or four hours. Photographs are not allowed though. If you wish to have your picture taken, the personnel will gladly do so for a fee.

    2. Birds of Prey Kingdom


    We next went to the Birds of Prey Kingdom attraction. It seemed out of place -- birds in an oceanarium? That's right! There are several bird species inside, some are flying while the others are sitting still on branches.

    A hawk at the Birds of Prey Kingdom at Manila Ocean Park
    A hawk

    A volunteer guest waiting for a bird to do its tricks at Manila Ocean Park
    A guest waiting for a bird to hover over her

    The birds are made to do simple tricks by the trainers. For example, a trainer will ask a guest to stand still while a bird or two would fly and hover above or near the person. This is not really our favorite station so we left after only a few pictures.

    3. The Oceanarium


    Probably our most favorite attraction is the stunning oceanarium. It was vast and complex, almost like a labyrinth of small and large aquariums that included a walk through a colossal glass tank; providing an amazing 180-degree view of a multitude of marine species. 

    A giant fish at Manila Ocean Park oceanarium
    This is a giant fish, it's much larger in person

    According to Manila Ocean Park's website, the oceanarium is home to 14,000 marine creatures from around 277 species, all indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It further said that water is sourced from Manila Bay, filtered, of course, to make it suitable for the sea creatures.

    Stingrays, sharks, and fishes at Manila Ocean Park oceanarium
    Stingrays, fishes, and sharks

    The views were breathtaking and there were so many fishes and creatures that it was almost impossible for us to note all the names of the animals in the aquariums. Some fish are small while some are big that they almost looked as big as an adult human being. 

    4. Jellyfish (Jellies) Exhibit


    The jellies exhibit is also our favorite station. Different jellyfish species are encased in cylindrical glass tanks. 

    Jellyfishes at Manila Ocean Park's Jellies Exhibit
    Pulsating jellyfish

    The room is darkened and each tank is illuminated by colored lights, making the creatures appear like pulsating globes of light. It was a truly stunning sight; the beauty of the jellyfish highlighted by the colorful lights seemed out of this world. We were also awed because it was our first time to see so many jellyfishes.

    5. Fish Spa


    I never really liked the idea of having a fish spa because I felt that my feet would be eaten away by fishes. For those who are unfamiliar, it means soaking your feet in a pool full of small fishes. The fishes will nibble off dead skin cells from your feet and toes.

    Fish spa at Manila Ocean Park
    Fish spa

    The feeling of little mouths feasting on my feet initially felt ticklish but soon felt good when I got used to it. The fish spa, surprisingly, turned out to be a relaxingly unique "treatment."

    I have read some articles though saying that this type of attraction is abusive to fishes because what they need is real food plus they can get infection from nibbling all those feet. It's totally up to you if you would like to avail of this.

    6. Trip to Antarctica


    The Trip to Antarctica is a walk-through exhibit that allows visitors to learn more about the continent. There is a penguin exhibit where guests can see live penguins in person. There is also a Christmas Village wherein guests can walk on ice and enjoy snow.

    I actually mixed feeling about this station because I thought the penguins looked pitiful. While there is a pool where the penguins can swim, I think what they really need is real snow and ice as playground.

    7. Sea lion and Bird Shows


    I think our eyes needed a rest from all the fishes and sea creatures, so we went to see the sea lion and bird shows next. 

    Sea lion show at Manila Ocean Park
    Sea lion show

    The sea lions showed off some tricks such as dancing, balancing, and playing ball, to name some. The same goes for the bird show, wherein the birds were made to perform some tricks. It was entertaining to watch although it was hard to see what was going on because we were seated so high up the bleachers.

    Bird show at Manila Ocean Park
    Bird show

    With nothing more to do after the bird and sea lion shows, we decided to stroll around the theme park. We went to some souvenir shops looking for items to buy but found nothing interesting.

    We also skipped the toy exhibit because, well, we were just not interested to check it out.

    8. Light, Water, Fire, and Air show


    The last attraction included in our tour package was the Light, Water, Fire, and Air show at around 6:30 PM. 

    Light show at Manila Ocean Park
    Light show

    Light and water show at Manila Ocean Park
    Light and water show

    This was one spectacular show; breathtaking and professionally-executed. A combination of water, lights, and holograms (or projected images) were used to create colorful dancing visuals.

    Fire show at Manila Ocean Park
    Fire show

    The fire show, meanwhile, was strikingly impressive with pillars and globes of flames spewing from the stage floor.

    Hotel H2O


    Hotel H2O is the recent addition to Manila Ocean Park's crowd-drawers. The hotel is modern and classy and is best-known for its aquarium-themed rooms and suites. If you are visiting Manila Ocean Park, why not complete the experience by booking a room with your family at Hotel H2O?



    Epilogue


    All in all, we found the whole Manila Ocean Park tour to be a fun and educational experience. It was the first time for Khris and I to see so many sea creatures up close and personal. If you are looking for a unique destination or something new to do in the City of Manila, then Manila Ocean Park is for you.

    A group of fish at Manila Ocean Park's oceanarium
    A group of fishes

    Lastly, Manila Ocean Park is a highly-recommended destination for children as they will surely enjoy seeing beautiful sea creatures while learning something new at the same time.

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    Manila Ocean Park is located at Luneta Manila Philippines 1000. For inquiries, call telephone number (+632) 8567-7777 or email [email protected]

    MAP OF MANILA OCEAN PARK

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    2 comments

    1. Beutiful photos! What a mavelous day you had. We would love to visit Manilla some day.

      ReplyDelete
    2. Thank you, Maj! Yes, I hope you would visit the Philippines someday. There are a lot of interesting and beautoful places to go to. And the beaches here are breathtaking.

      ReplyDelete

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