About Me

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An occasionally belligerent mother of four and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

The Much Delayed Manila Ocean Park Visit

Despite the opening of it's doors to the Filipino public three years ago, it was the first time we laid our eyes on the Manila Ocean Park. Maybe it was because my cousin gave it a bad review when they visited the place a week after the grand opening that stopped us from going. Well whatever our reasons were, I'm glad we've forgotten them and brought MAX  and ourselves to this really cool place.
excited to go check out the educational and fascinating
wonders of the Manila Ocean Park
Purchasing tickets from one of the group buying websites gave us many options in enjoying the park. For less than 600 php/person, we were able to get tickets with the following inclusions: main entrance fee (which includes viewing the oceanarium), fish spa, sea lion show,  dancing jellies, musical fountain show and 2 free drinks of the day at the Liquid Pool Lounge. For more on ticket info, here's the MOP website.
everything was fine until we saw ...

the fish that made MAX cry
For all the "sea" adventures we've been through, this was the first time our toddler burst into tears out of fear (lol). Walking into the first exhibit, labeled "Agos" (flow), we saw a Giant Arapaima and some other huge river fishes (arowanas etc). One Arapaima was even bigger that me and Phil, which was probably why MAX started screaming "oh no! ouchie!". Throw in crocs, baby bottler fed carp and some other freshwater fishes out in the unairconditioned, open-air venue and you've got one of the 6 part section down.

What's up...croc?
"Bahura" (or reef) brought in all the pretty fishies and artificial corals in 48 well lit aquariums. Flash photography is not allowed as it could disrupt the fishes' activities.
one of the many residents of Bahura, the puffer fish
the sustainable ecosystem of the oceanarium allows
 new life to flourish. Here are shark eggs :)
"Laot" (fishing ground") allowed us to see big fishes that are normally hauled in by big shipping vessels. Seeing them alive and well as opposed to glassy eyed stares in the fish monger's stall was quite fascinating.
more ginormous fishes!

Perhaps the highlight of the Oceanarium is the 25 meter long, 220 degree curved acrylic walkway tunnel, making you feel that you're right with them fishes, eels and rays. Named as "Buhay na Karagatan" (the Living Sea), this was probably the place that calmed MAX down.

The excitement of seeing the wonders of the living sea without getting wet was just a great experience on its own.
"I love this place!!"

We lingered in the area more than anywhere else in the park as MAX took a liking to the big rays that kept swimming overhead.

For some strange reason, I can't get the Backyardigan's song
 "Into the Deep" out of my head :) 
Got to smile just to match the one on this particularly friendly creature

I want that one fried and thrown in some sweet and sour sauce (just kidding!!)
We saw more rays in "Ang Kailaliman" (the deep) and an assortment of sharks at "Pating" (shark).
posing alone as MAX was once again not feeling the sharks in the tank :)
After the exhibit, we then headed up to the fish spa. Thousands of doctor fish latch on your feet and legs and eat the dead skin cells. They're suppose to be relaxing and therapeutic especially for those with small cuts and wounds. At first hesitant at the thought of have fish nibble at me (keeping in mind the line "swimming with the fishes"), I wasn't sure how I'd react. Phil, who's quite ticklish, started giggling after them lil critters started biting. MAX was the braver one. After stripping him down to his pull-ups, he was rearing to take a dip into the small pool. After a few fishes latched on to him, he momentarily got out of the water, then back again. It was such a FUN experience!
doctor fish hard at work on Phil's tootsies
perfectly safe for the kiddies :)
Right after this experience, we decided to check out the Makan Makan Asian Food Village (more on this in a different blog...that's how much we enjoyed it) for a late lunch.

After filling our tummies, we headed out the main building to watch the Sea Lion Show. The cute antics of the two Sea Lions gave the audience a chance to be educated about these animals and be entertained at the same time.
this fellow's trainer looked like the same guy at Subic's Ocean Adventure :P
Shopping for souvenirs was next on our list. Reasonable prices, good quality items and cute and funny designs may be found in the MOP souvenir shop aside from snacks. The Manila Ocean Park also houses a mall with a variety of restaurants, rides, an arcade and shops as well as a fully equipped high end hotel, Hotel H20. There really is a little something for everyone.
like I said, something for everyone :)

more pics of the jellyfish to come as soon as I upload it from the other cam

Up next :The Jellies. This jellyfish exhibit showcases the grace and elegance of Spongebob's best buddies. The uber-cool collection of jelly fish and the classical music playing in the background made me think of a cotillion happening at the Victorian era, where the ladies in their ballgowns were the jellyfish (imagination clearly vivid).
= You are here =

As of writing this blog, we haven't seen the Musical Fountain Show nor have we claimed our free drinks at the Liquid Pool Lounge when we went last October 11. The fountain was under repair due to the damage it sustained in one of the recent typhoons to hit Manila (lots of construction going on in the place probably due to repairs and expansions while we were there). We do however, plan to see it as soon as we get back from Kota Kinabalu, where I shall be updating this blog to let you know how it went.

From TMW, may your wanderings be better than ours :)

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