After a long day touring around spots in Manila, we were not done yet. Our next stop is one of the newest and coolest attractions in Manila, the Manila Ocean Park.
Manila Ocean Park is the first Oceanarium in the Philippines, located behind the Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park in Manila. It was just about time that the Philippines have its own Oceanarium. Philippines is the center of marine diversity in the world, but unlike Hong Kong, Singapore or Japan, it does not have an Oceanarium to boast of. Here comes Manila Ocean Park.
There are a number of attractions and packages in Manila Ocean Park which you can enjoy. The Oceanarium, Marine Life Show, Musical Fountain Show, Jellies, Aquanaut Voyage, Glass Bottom Boatride, Fish Spa and swimming and a whole lot of fun. When we weighed our choices and the time we had left, so we opted for the Marine Life Encounter for 500 PHP. It will give us access to the Oceanarium, Jellies and the Marine Life Show. The Musical Fountain Show sounded promising but we just did not have enough time to squeeze everything from our so-called itinerary.
Before we started with the tour, I had to buy a tshirt as the tshirt I was wearing the whole day stunk and it had sweat stains. I was lucky that there were stalls inside MOP selling t-shirts. Then off we went to the . There is really not much to see here but jellyfishes (well, of course!). Entering the room where the jellies are makes you feel like you are in a sci-fi movie. I felt like I entered a mad scientist’s lab with all the big tubes with specimens in it. Pictured it out? No need. Here are pictures.
Next up is the Marine Life Encounter. You should check your schedule as you may miss the start of the Marine Life Encounter. The cashier will actually tell you the start time of every show upon purchasing the ticket so take note of it as you may regret not seeing the show fully. The stars for the shows were two Sea Lions (sorry we forgot their names). I was all smiles with the sea lions executing their tricks. I wished there were dolphins too but the sea lions did enough to make me clap while they were clapping, make may feet wag while they wag the flippers. I wanted to take one home as a pet. When the show ended, I wanted to stay and get have my face autographed by the sea lion.
Finally, the Oceanarium. This was the highlight of the Manila Ocean Park visit. I’m a big fan of National Geographic’s Monster Fish and Discovery Channel’s River Monster. I drool over Zeb Hogan and Jeremy Wade’s jobs or be their assistant. The Oceanarium journey is divided into six sections and each section will carry a Filipino name: “Agos”; “Bahura”; “Laot”; “Buhay na Karagatan”; “Pating”; and “Ang Kailaliman”.
The first part of the Oceanarium is Agos(flow), which houses freshwater species. Upon entering, we were greeted by 3 HUGE Arapaimas. Then I saw alligator gars,cat fishes, bull shark, tigerfish, arowana, Siamese carp, red pacu among others. Seeing all these fishes made me want to grab myself a fishing rod and hook one of them. Camwhoring is allowed but please NO FLASH Photography.
Second portion of the Oceanarium is Bahura (Reef). The feel of Bahura is again “Sci-fish” with a series of 46 tanks that feature the very colorful Philippine underwater rainforest. Here, different species of fishes are showcased with colorful coral reefs (artificial reefs). Again, NO FLASH Photography.
Third portion, Laot (Fishing Ground). This portion of the Oceanarium features big fishe in four big long tank. Feast your eyes on the school of big fishes swimming along the big tanks. Again, NO FLASH Photography.
The fourth portion is the highlight of the Oceanarium, Buhay na Karagatan (Living Ocean). Buhay na Karagatan features a 25-meter long walkway tunnel with 220-degree curved acrylic walls. So you get a roughly 180 degree view of Marine life’s habitat. My jaws dropped upon entering the tunnel. The feeling of being there is just really nostalgic. That’s the closest you can get to see a sting ray or a shark without your hands being bitten off. Take pictures but please NO FLASH Photography. I have to reiterate this as people don’t seem to understand signs that say this. Even with the signs plastered all over, people seem to be too in love with their flashes that they keep on using their flashes.
The fifth portion is Pating (Shark). Here, several species of sharks common to the Philippines are featured. If you want to have a better view of the sharks, go to the second floor activity area of the Manila Ocean park. The last portion is Ang Kalaliman (The Deep). There is not much featured here but gracefull sting rays flapping like birds (as per our last visit November 2010).
Upon exiting, you can opt to have a Fish Spa at the 2nd floor of the Activity Area and/or buy yourself a souvenir from the souvenir shop. Manila Ocean Park is open from 10am – 9pm, Mondays through Sundays.
We were done with our Manila Ocean Park visit, so we were off to Star City.
Our first plan was to go to Enchanted Kingdom in Laguna but we didn’t want to waste precious time in travelling, so we opted for Star City, which is situated beside the Aliw Theater and near the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in Pasay City.
Star City started operating in 1991 but most if not all of their rides has gone through major renovations to catch-up with time. You wouldn’t want to ride a rollercoaster and fly off your seat right? There are not theme parks in Cebu so we really made a point to drop by Star City.
We paid for the Ride-All-You-Can plus Winter Funland package at 550 PHP. Their horror booths really looked promising but Sheena did not want to enter the other booths after experiencing some minor scare in the “Kilabot ng Mummy” booth. Sissy! Anyway, we were able to check out booths Peter Pan, Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants. We started with the Viking then the Blizzard and thought that it was a Then we met Surf Dance, Star Flyer and Zyklon Loop. These three rides got me screaming like an anime fan girl. Try to picture that out. We relaxed for a bit by riding the Balloon Wheel then finished it off with Wild River and Bumper Boat.
We finished it all off by going inside Winter Fun Land. There is not much to do inside. You can grab yourself a sled and ride the slippery snow using the sled. Cameras are not allowed inside so the only chance you can get your picture taken is by asking the photographer inside, it comes with a fee though.
After all the laughs and screams, we were starving but it we have finished almost 10PM so our supposed dinner at Divisoria had to be cancelled and we decided to go back to Park Villa Apartelle to take dinner.
That wraps it up for our Day 2 stay in Manila.