Last updated on May 20, 2013
All information below is subject to change
Manila Ocean Park is divided into several sections -
You can choose between Oceanarium, Fish Spa, Marine Life Show, Musical Fountain show, Jellies, Aquanut Voyage, Class Bottom Boat Ride and Swimming and Fun.
In this article I will talk about the Oceanarium and Fish Spa which we visited in early January 2009.
CLICK ON ONE OF THE PICTURES TO START THE PHOTO GALLERY!
Oceanarium admission: 400 PHP (adults), 350 PHP (children 4 feet and below), free for children (2 feet and below)
Fish spa admission: 150 PHP
Dive with underwater life: 995 PHP
Behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Manila!
The easiest way of getting there is to take a cab from Manila town.
We did it the luxurious way and ordered a taxi from Mandarin Hotel in Makati City. It was the staff itself who drove us in an air-conditioned hotel car, and then picked us up when we were done for the day (all for 1000 PHP).
Taking the taxi can be a good idea considering the heavy traffic during daytime. We were stuck in traffic for at least 30 minutes, and it was awfully good to sit in an air-conditioned car during that time.
Take the LRT 1 Yellow Line and get off at United Nations station.
Then walk towards Manila Bay through Rizal Park (one of Manila's landmarks) until you finally reach Roxas Boulevard. Continue walking until you reach Quirino Grandstand, and behind the Grandstand stands Manila Ocean Park.
One of the cheapest way of getting to the park is to take a bus from Central Terminal (LRT) in Manila. There's a bus terminal nearby. From here you can take a bus to Taft Avenue/Rizal Park. Then walk to the Ocean park from the drop-off. Taxis and jeepneys are also available from Central Terminal.
Monday and Friday: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Weekends and Public Holidays: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Oceanarium is home to 250 marine species, all of them originate from the waters around the Philippines and Southeast Asia. After the entrance, the path leads you through a "jungle" with different fish and rays swimming in their aquariums.
Then you'll notice some sleepy crocodiles beneath the bridge you're walking. It's not the highlight of the trip (maybe for the kids), so you can just pass them quietly.
When you've walked over the bridge you'll see large tanks of colorful fish and probably a small turtle swimming in the surface, trying to get out of there.
Then start the dark passage where you can see all sorts of fish being displayed.
Here are some of the fish you can observe at Manila Ocean Park:
Right after the displays you'll be walking in a 25-meter long underwater tunnel. It's kind of unreal to be surrounded by sting rays, hundreds of fish swimming above you, to your left and right.
We saw several Filipinos entering the water with diving suits, and swimming with the rays. They were under the supervision of the staff, and it actually seemed interesting (and frankly, terrifying).
When you've exited the Oceanarium, to your left you'll see a big sign saying:
It was my first time trying it, so why not? :-)
Basically you'll be sitting in a shallow pool with maybe 100 doctor fish, eating your callus of your feet so you can get that smooth skin.
I'm very ticklish so I kept giggling the whole time. Have you laughed so hard that your body ached?
When you're ready to finish up, you'll enter their large souvenir shop selling t-shirts, cups, pens, stuffed toy animals, necklaces and bracelets made of shells and pearls.
The park itself is amazing, and offers an opportunity for people who hasn't got the diving certificate, the chance to get up-close the exotic underwater life people like me :P
But at the same time: Do these animals really belong in a caged aquarium?
Of course not.
The people behind the Ocean park has gone all the way to create an environment suited for these underwater animals. But it doesn't mean that they belong there.
If you ask me, some of the animals saw stressed out when we pointed our cameras toward them.
I would be stressed out too if a large human flesh stood before me, and sent out flashlights.
I don't need to speak fish-language to understand that animals taken from their natural environment and put into a jailed environment can be ethically wrong, and dentrimental to their health.
But for business, it's good.
One thing I do think can be useful about aquariums and ocean parks like these is that they can conserve threatened species, maybe even breed them. But that's the exceptions rather than the rule.
Manila Ocean Park has a partnership with Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) - one of the largest environmental and conservation organizations in the world.
Their aim is to spread awareness of marine environment.
For me the Marine Park was more of an entertainment rather than education. Maybe if you try their other attractions, you actually feel that you've learned some "awareness of the marine environment."
I learned the name of the fish, what they are, where they live but nothing about how I should behave when I'm in the ocean.
In my opinion that's a lot more important.
Would I visit again: This is a place you can visit once, and that's about it.
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