Under the Ocean, Almost

No matter what they say about the Philippines, the Pink Tarha ladies are proud of our country. While it’s true that the Philippines is considered a third world, our marine ecosystem says otherwise. The Philippines boasts of a diverse, incredible marine life that Saudi Arabia can only dream about.
For overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East who are already bored out of their wits looking at sand, sand, and nothing but the stagnant desert from their office windows, wait for your vacation in the homeland because Manila has opened a solitude from the bleakness of life above land. The Manila Ocean Park is your gateway to the wonders of the Philippines’ marine life. Visit it once you set your foot again in the Philippines and be taken under the ocean without getting wet. It’s the perfect way to enjoy underwater sights for non-swimmers like, ehrm me! ;P

The Philippines’ first state-of-the-art oceanarium is located at the back of the Quirino Grandstand. Just take a taxi! By now, this place is as familiar as say, SM Mall of Asia. Admission rate is P400.00 for adults and P350.00 for kids. The Manila Ocean Park leads you to a journey to the deep.

The experience opens up with a “jungle” in Agos (Flow) where freshwater fauna thrives. This portion highlights the interconnectedness between earth and sea. In Dalampasigan, I got the chance to touch starfishes.

A recreation of the Philippines lush rainforest.

The stars of the sea.

Did you know that the Philippines has one of the most beautiful reefs in the world? Scuba divers from different countries visit our trenches to see the corals of the Philippines. In MOP’s Bahura (Reef) section, the colorful world of reef inhabitants is presented in 46 tanks. The varied hues swirling round and round each tank sent me into a cam-whoring frenzy (camera flash off please!).

Corals.

Pajama Cardinalfish “Dangat”

It’s alive!

Getting up close and personal with a fish: “Usap tayo!

Find Nemo!

The lobster and the stonefish (nasan sya?! 😉

A flower of the sea.

Lionfish (Simba meets Nemo?!)

Laot (Fishing Ground) features big aquariums which contain fishes we humans consume. (Not milkfishes and tilapia noh!) Some aquariums are designed to show decaying ship hulls. Some fishes here are huuuuge!

Little girls gazing at huge fishes.

This is a school of fish. Pwede nang maging university sa dami nila.

The Buhay na Karagatan (The Living Ocean) underwater tunnel is probably the best section because I got the sensation of someone scuba diving (I wouldn’t know for sure because I haven’t gone scuba diving). Fishes and water are above and on your sides. Buhay na Karagatan is MOP’s centerpiece! There are so many kinds of fishes in one huge display that I literally can’t keep up with each one.

An explosive richness of the underwater world.

Naduduling ako sa dami n’yo!

Little Mermaid, ikaw ba yan?!

There are mermaid shows that runs in specific time. I got to see the 4pm show. Ladies dressed in colorful mermaid costumes swim with the fishes and do some water acrobatics. It’s so fun to watch! I wish I had their swimming prowess. Alas, I can’t even swim like a dog. Lol.

In this section, I also get to watch Santa Claus feeding the fishes. For bigger fishes, a whole cabbage head is attached to hooks. The smaller ones are fed through the swimmer’s hands. They swarm him like crazy.

Santa getting mobbed by… fishes!

The jacks in Kalaliman (The Deep) is the personification (er, fishnification?!) of fraternities and cliques. These fishes are the bullies. They go together in one circling motion but gang up on one of them and leave the poor fish hanging on to dear life. I literally saw a fish with bites and torn fins who can’t swim as fast and high as the others. Kawawa. The jacks also put up a good fight when caught. Imagine the fishes caught in one wide net in the movie Finding Nemo which were instructed to swim down resulting in breaking the anglers’ fishing pillars and their freedom. Win!

Meet the Jacks. They’re a force to reckon with.

Better be friendly with them!

The overhanging tank of Pagi (Stingrays) is amazing. I guess stingrays has this bad reputation of killing the world’s crocodile hunter Steve Irwin. Did you know that they’re distant relatives of sharks? I’m sure the ones you see in MOP are quite harmless (sana diba?!).

Stingrays gliding above.

And lastly, the king of the ocean… the Pating (Sharks)! They look scary alright. Most sharks are depicted in movies as savage but they’re shy. They choose to avoid people than attack. Maybe unless they’re really super duper hungry? Lol.

C’mere sharkie sharkie!

Pating!

Why hello there friend of Dory!

The Manila Ocean Park is one amazing oceanarium but the truth is, sobrang bitin! The photos you see here are just glimpses of what’s in store for you when you visit. But I tell you now that you’ll so enjoy yourself you’ll find it really short and bitin. I’ll let you see the place for yourself. 😉

There are other other activities to try. There’s the fish spa where doctor fishes nibble on the dead skin of your feet. A glass bottom boat ride which will let you watch the fishes swimming beneath your feet. There’s also a showcase of jellyfishes (separate admission fee).

If you get hungry, then there are lots of food kiosks around. I tried Makansutra Asian Food Village which is located at the end of the Oceanarium journey. This naked-open-kitchen type of resto offers hawker food from Asian countries – dimsum, bagoong rice, peking duck, barbecue wings, and so much more! I loved their roti, curry, and chicken satay.

Makansutra!

Overall, the Manila Ocean Park is an experience you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Philippines. Though it needs further improvement, the place shows us how much the Philippines is blessed with a wonderful marine biodiversity. More importantly, it teaches us the value of conserving and protecting our environment and our natural resources. Take your kids here! They’ll surely love it.

A bonus of visiting MOP is gazing at this:

Afterthought: the Manila Bay sunset.

§undrenched, blogging from MNL

Travel

About Author

Janelle

The Editor-in-Chief speaks 7 languages: Filipino, English, Wit, Sarcasm, Truth, Creativity, and The Pink Tarha.

8 Comments

  1. This is my niece&#39;s favorite pasyalan. They had an excursion there once and she keeps telling me about it.<br /><br />Thanks for the photos. Next time I go on leave, I promise to see Dory, Nemo, Bruce and Anchor and the rest of the gang.<br /><br />(Venturing the deep, a friend once told me, is like being in a different planet — the silence is eerie, the colors are blindingly beautiful and

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  3. When I went home for my vacation last year, but I didn&#39;t get to go to Manila Ocean Park, kaya now, looking at your snap shots, parang nag sisi yata ako.&#39;di bale next time nalang.

  4. @Nebz: I&#39;m sure your niece had fun in MOP. It&#39;s a great place to see the underwater world up close and personal. She surely learned lots! Go and visit during your vacation. You&#39;ll surely find it interesting too. :P<br /><br />@Pepe: On your next vacay, visit MOP! It&#39;s a wonderful experience. And I&#39;m sure the place would have been improved more by then. There are still lots of

  5. I went there with my brother and the family of my Godson.‎<br /><br />Not so big but a nice place. Fish spa was interesting but didn’t tried it.‎<br /><br />Yeah there’s room for improvements.‎

  6. I think it&#39;s more fascinating to go there if you are a marine bio like my lil bro or if you have kids with you who would love the pathway lined with fish. <br /><br />^^<br /><br />I think there are still trying to add stuff to it when I went there with my friends. ^^ *winks at EC* We got bored and took all sorts of…fishy pictures.

  7. Thanks for sharing! Will definitely make this a &quot;must-see&quot; when we come home to Pinas… am sure our three gremlins will be thrilled!

  8. Happy to know you have been there. By the way, the park is fully operational now and you will have all the amenities you need in an ideal ocean park. Consider revisiting it the next time around.

    Cheers, Janelle!

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