There have been mixed reactions of the public with the soft opening of the Manila Ocean Park: I would actually call this post a biased perspective because I’m a “hobbyist in recession” – put me in a room with fish and I’m happy. We used to keep several tanks of freshwater fish, where my favorite keeps were gouramis, corydoras, loaches, certain types of cichlids and livebearers.
Ah the livebearers! We went to the extreme of having to do a caesarian on a particular female guppy we’ve been watching. Females are usually the uglier of the sexes with fish so when we tried breeding them, one particular female had a very elegant snakeskin tail. For some reason, she suffered a “stroke” while we were watching her and sank to the bottom. Scalpel at hand we had to open her up to save a few of the embryos. Interesting really – the fry went swimming out of her belly yolk sacks still attached to them. But a success nonetheless!
The family also has a koi pond in the garden that has now been converted to a community pond due to the trauma set by Mt. Pinatubo in the 90’s – it was the horror of finding all our prized koi dead when the ashes of Pinatubo swept through the Metro giving Manila a glimpse of “snow.”
Going back …
Yes, about the mixed reactions. I really don’t know what people are saying to further controversies about the place. I think these are political squabbles. Personally, I think that it’s too early to judge a soft opening and I would actually like to go further in saying that at least now we have another accessible park to bring our kids to. All we have to day are malls! This is definitely a breath of fresh … water.
The strength of the Manila Ocean Park, at least in my limited opinion, is its rich collection of marine life as compared to the Oceanarium in KLCC, which stresses more on the African drowned forest setup and turtles. It was the first time that I got to see a live nautilus and the huge Japanese crab in the Philippines. The KLCC Oceanarium featured preserved turtle eggs and fetuses. Here I got to see a live shark embryo with the fry still moving inside attached to the yolk sac!
The park, as a whole is also an attraction in itself. The hotel and mall are still being constructed. What’s available for public viewing is the Ocean Park that charges P400.00 for a whole day entrance (P350.00 for kids) and the Ozeano fusion restaurant by Steve Tamayo overlooking Manila Bay. Ozeano offers buffet at P600.00 per head and friends usually dine for dinner to catch the sunset. Note that the restaurant is open to the public, and you don’t need to buy tickets to the park to eat at the resto.
As for disappointments, the staff is definitely aware that there are days when the water gets cloudy. This isn’t a function of dirty water – it has more to do with the sediment rising during cleaning time and it sucks if you come over and your viewing experience is ruined because of this. Definitely this is something they are working on as I can’t help but ask why the water was such. Interesting note though: sharks are already giving birth within the tanks!
Oh, feeding time is at 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM as far as I remember.
P.S. Manila Ocean Park has a mini fish spa. for P100.00 you can dip your feet into a pool with “doctor fish” that nip on your dead skin. Ticklish! i honestly suspect “fish spas” being offered as additional services in our local spa circuit soon.