19 March 2010

Experiencing Manila Ocean Park

It was a hot Sunday afternoon when we, my family and I plus two of our close friends and their younger brother, went to Manila Ocean Park. We paid the 400 pesos entrance fee for adults, 350 pesos for Elle as she's over 2 feet tall. There were many, many aquariums showcasing different species of fishes and other marine life here in the country. There were even crocodiles lounging about in their enclosed area. There were dimly lit areas for sea creatures that are sensitive to light, so no flash photography was allowed. A dimly lit lobby marked the end of the dark exhibit area and signaled the start of the much featured underwater tunnel. The lobby had cute square plastic ottomans with changing colored lights inside. Elle loved going back to them and she would begin arranging them, too bad most of them were occupied by other people. The tunnel goes under filtered Manila Bay water with lots of fish species and stingrays. I thought the tunnel was long, but it seemed not the case. The end had an aquarium where we viewed the sharks. There was also an area for kids with tables and chairs, shelf with books, a puppet show stage and educational activity kiosks.

Then up we went to the uppermost level where there was a promotional stand, a food and beverage area, a fish spa, a boat ride and a restaurant. We tried the fish spa where we removed our footwear, dipped our feet in a shallow square pool with tiny fishes that nibble at the feet's dead skin. It seemed that I cannot really get comfortable with the feeling, I always cringe when they start gnawing at my feet. I am afraid to get hurt, I suppose, because they even nibble at areas of my feet without callouses. There was another pool filled with larger fishes. I did not dare to try it, though!

 Please pardon my elephant-like ankles

Next, we went on a boat ride. The boat had a transparent glass flooring so we could view the marine scene beneath us. This was above the underwater tunnel, inside a small room so it was just a short ride. The boat man talked about the park, gave information and trivia. According to him, in the next few months, there will be a sea lion attraction to watch out for. They were building the stadium for that when we visited.

When we were done, I was famished and we decided to look for a place to eat nearby. We passed by a restaurant called Makansutra Asian Food Village. Seats surrounded a central area where we can see the cooking being done. It was decided that we take our dinner here. Their specialties are mostly Singaporean cuisine. There were unusual drinks that we have decided to try. We could see the bay from the restaurant and as the Pyromusical was still on-going then, we got to witness some of the fireworks on display across the water.

 Photo taken by Elle - a bowl of thick soup (like Shark's Fin soup), some noodles and a glass of Chocolate Dinosaur (tastes like Ovaltine/Milo plus the powder on top)

With full tummies plus some takeout, we headed to the parking lot then drove home. It was a very interesting experience. I hope we could go to zoos and museums next time.
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