Manila Ocean Park- A Memorable Ocean Paradise
Updated: Jan 15
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One of the most popular and spectacular ocean parks in the Philippines is undoubtedly the Manila Ocean Park, which is located next to the American Embassy behind the Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. Currently owned by China Oceanis Philippines Inc., the Manila Ocean Park is a Singaporean registered business.
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Mabuhay ang Dagat ng Manila Park. This is a great, incredible, and memorable ocean paradise for both couples and families. One of the reasons why the park has garnered a gamut of attention is that it is considered the first world-class marine theme park in the Philippines. Ang galing!!! If you love underwater world adventures, the Manila Ocean park is a must visit.
After purchasing our tickets at the Manila Ocean park, we headed straight to the restaurant North Park. You can tell that the “R” is reversed on the sign. I am not sure the purpose of that though. Nevertheless, we ordered rice, two chicken dishes, soup, and a mango drink. Ang pagkain ay masarap!!!
When my fiancé (at the time) and I visited the park in October of 2017, we explored the following exhibits in chronological order: (1) Shark and Rays Encounters, (2) All Star Bird show, (3) Sea Lion show, (4) World’s Creepy Crawling, (5) Jellyfish exhibit, (6) Symphony evening show, and (7) Oceanarium.
#1 SHARKS AND RAYS ENCOUNTERS
The first exhibit we visited was “The Sharks and Rays encounter,” which was indeed a thrilling experience. This exhibit opened at 10:00 a.m. until 17:00 p.m. The last entry of this attraction was 16:30 p.m. At this exhibit, friendly manta rays effortlessly glided through the water. Two divers in the water caught these massive creatures and the divers allowed visitorsto interact with the Manta rays by touching them.
Also, in the same tank area were large nurse sharks that constantly scoured the bottom of the tank. While all of this scouring was happening, lively music was playing in the background. This is an attraction that allows you to take multiple pictures and lots of video of marine creatures from a close up view. You have the great option of freely swimming with the stingrays. This is an additional cost though. Given the limited time we had at the park, we decided not to swim with the stingrays.
**I would recommend allotting yourself 10-20 minutes for this first attraction.
#2 ALL STAR BIRD SHOW
The second exhibit we explored was the “All Star Bird show,” which opened at 13:15 pm until 13:45. Then the second show opened at 16:15 until 16:45 p.m. The All Star Bird show featured beautiful parrots, macaws, cockatoos, and eagles powerfully performing impressive and prowess tricks.
The day we went to observe the All Star bird show, the heat was repeatedly beating down upon us. The seats were like hot boxes and we were perspiring profusely. We sat close to the top bleachers which allowed us to be protected against the sun.
#3 SEA LION SHOW
The third exhibit we visited was the sea lion show, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The times for this show were at the time the following: (1) 11:00 a.m., (2) 1500, and (3) 17:00. I would recommend going to the sea lion show at 1700. By that time, the heat likely dissipated. At the third exhibit, you may see adorable and intelligent sea lions originally from South America. It was a wonderful, appealing, and entertaining performance. This is a show you must visit. The sea lion show is a highlight of this park. The sea lions brilliantly showcased their majestic talents as they balanced themselves. They synchronized dancing, clapping, and they proudly waved at the audience.
I would highly recommend you find a front row seat so you can have a close up view of the sea lions performing. Thus, I would recommend arriving at least 30 minutes earlier to find a good seat. During the show, the performers asked for a participant to come up to the stage. The day I attended the show, there was a young Filipina teenager who was a chosen participant. Photos were constantly taken of her as she posed in two ways: (1) the Filipina held the fin of the sea lion and smiled. (2) the Filipina posed as the sea lion kissed her. Throughout the show, the sea lions performed professional stunts and they made people unceasingly laugh as well as impress the audience. You have the opportunity to have your picture taken with the sea lions. The price of that was 500 pesos or $9.43 at the time of the visit.
#4 WORLD OF CREEPY CRAWLIES
The fourth exhibit we visited was the world of creepy crawlies. This is an attraction in which you can see “creepy crawlies.” The exhibit featured bugs, snakes, iguanas, spiders, frogs,worms, and even scorpions.
Albino Hondura Milk Snake
#5 JELLIES EXHIBIT
The fifth exhibit we observed was the Jellies exhibit. When you walk into the Jelly fish exhibit, you can see aquariums containing showcases of a variety of jelly fish species glowing in the dark. The room was spacious and surrounded by large mirrors. Blue and pink florescent color lights on every aquarium tank brightly emanates in front of you. As you are mesmerized at this disco like lighting and marvelous display of multi-media effects, and lively music, you can watch translucent jellyfish seemingly dance. They gracefully glided across the tanks. Though the room was maliit (small), the place brilliantly painted an illusion of a sea of endless jellyfish.
#6 SYMPHONY EVENING SHOW
The sixth exhibit we visited was “The Symphony evening show,” which commenced at 18:30 until 19:00. It was a spectacular and breathtaking 30 minute show that was conducted in an open air stadium. The first part of the show involved animated talking fish welcoming the audience and an employee stating the rules and regulations. This first part of the show was conducted using laser lights. Then the show ensued with loud and reverberating music quickly capturing the attention of the audience. Colorful dazzling lights lit up the night sky. Large jets of water bursted from the ground and they pierced the sky. This marvelous scene created such a mysterious and lively entertainment show.
As a whole, the show superbly synchronized an amalgamation of air, gigantic water fountains, fire, music, sound and 2D lighting effects of mesmerizing marine life animated figures, and lasers. All of this was projected from a video screen using multimedia technology. Using all of these elements, a marvelous dance was observed as water fountains–reaching a stunning and towering 40 meters or 120 feet– dominated the stage. Animated figures also danced and moved in front of you. Indeed, the show was vibrant and it could capture your attention. The show was completed with an amazing fireworks show that lit up the night sky.
The seventh exhibit we observed was “The Oceanarium,” which opened from 10:00 a.m. to 20:00. The last entry for this attraction was 19:15. This is one of the attractions, which offered a magnificent and spectacular display of marine life. Housing over 14,000 sea creatures and around 277 species, the Oceaniarum is regarded as the largest in the Philippines and the largest underwater viewing tunnel among Asia.
The exhibit features five zones: (1) Jungle Trek, (2) The Reef, (3) Lost Atlantis, (4) Living Ocean, and (5) Deep Sea.
The first zone of the Oceanarium was the Agos (Flow) or Jungle Trek. Agos is the name of the fish tanks. This zone vividly portrayed a rainforest scenery of the Amazon, where freshwater fishes in this area were found in the famous Amazon River. Housed in 8 large freshwater tanks, you can find the following: (1) the Koi Fish, (2) Catfish, (3) Pink Danio, (4) Tetra, (5) Freshwater Angelfish, (6) Red-Tailed Tinfoil Barb, (7) Indo-Pacific Tarpon, (8) Clown Knifefish, (9) Giant Gourami, (10) Black and Red-Bellied Pacu, (11) Janitor Fish, (12) Cichlids, (13) Arapaima, and (14) Alligator Gar.
The second zone of the Oceanarium was the bahura or reef. The reef was showcased in a dark lit room of colorful tropical fish and 48 tanks of saltwater corals from the beautiful Palawan in the Philippines. Palawan is considered one of the best places to vacation in the Philippines.
The Reef featured a wide variety of sea creatures including the (1) Blue Tang, (2) Clown Fish, (3) Moorish Idol, (4) Sailfin Tang, (5) Saddleback Butterfly Fish, (6) Pajama Cardinal Fish, (7) Lionfish, (8) Seahorse, (9) Bamboo Shark, (10) Coral Catshark, (11) Glass Perchlet, (12) Longhorn Cowfish, (13) Stone Fish, (14) Star and Stripe Puffer Fish, (15) Manila Puffer Fish, (16) Razor Fish, (17) Cowrie, (18) Star Fish, (19) Moon Wrasse, (20) Banded Humbug, (21) Yellowtail Fusilier, (22) Yellowtail Damsel, and (23) Harlequin Sweetlips.
The third zone of the Oceanarium was the Laot (fishing ground) or Lost Atlantis. The portrait of ancient city remains was publicly displayed in the background. This zone consisted of (1) Grouper, (2) Blacktip Shark, (3) Giant Trevally, (4) Titan Triggerfish, (5) Longspine Porcupine Fish, and (6) Eel.
The fourth zone of the Oceanarium was the Buhay na Karagatan (The Living Ocean). Near to the end of the exhibit, you may be taken aback by a stunning 25 meters long 220 degree curved acrylic walkway tunnel. Through this tunnel, you can espy giant (1) pating (sharks), (2) pagi (manta rays), (3) large lapu lapu (groupers), (4) Napoleon Wrasse, (5) Bowmouth Guitarfish, (6) Orbicular Batfish, (7) Bludger Trevally, (8) Golden Trevally, (9) Sailfin Snapper, (10) Emperor Red Snapper, (11) Checkered Snapper, (12) Butterflyfish, (13) Triggerfish, (14) Cownose Ray, (15) Trevally’s, (16) scorpion fish, (17) puffer fish, and other sea creatures.
Dubbed as “Buhay ng Karagatan” the tunnel is undoubtedly a perfect and popular area to have your picture made. By the time we entered this attraction, the place was almost secluded. Maybe 6 to 7 people were in this exhibit. We visited this exhibit around 18:45, which is next to closing time. We did not feel rushed and we were able to experience the beauty of the Oceanarium. We took lots of pictures and video of the entire exhibit.
The fifth section of the Oceanarium was the Ang Kalaliman (The Deep). The underwater adventure ended at the zone called Deep Sea, where visitors could see up-close the (1) Giant Grouper, (2) Whitetip Shark, (3) Blacktip Shark, (4) Nurse Shark, (5) Zebra Shark, (6) Bluefin Trevally, (7) Bigeye Trevally, and (8) Bangus.
The price for parking was around 450 or $8.49 to 550 pesos or $10.37. This can be very mahal (expensive).
Manila Ocean Park offered a myriad of souvenirs-everything from stuff animals, to key chains, to cups, to shirts.
Manila Ocean Park offers a number of other attractions including the following: (1) Fish Spa, (2), Back of the House, (3) Trails to Antarctica, (4) Amazing Stores of Yexel’s Museum, (5) Birds of Prey Kingdom, (6) The Barnyard, and (7) the Birdhouse, (8) Penguin talk show, (9) Aquanaut Voyage encounter, (10) and Mermaid swim experience. Due to limited time at the park, we are unfortunately unable to visit these exhibits.
As an avid learner, I have always been interested in furthering my knowledge of oceanography. There is always something new you can learn from any place you visit. The key is having a positive attitude and being thankful for the opportunity to visit the place. One important point to understand is that the Philippines is a third world country. When you go here, it is important to have reasonable expectations.
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