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I’m not sure if I’ve declared it in public, but I’m a fish geek. I’ve kept freshwater fish since I was a kid, had an aquarium in every room at home (community tank, live breeder tank, cichlid tank), wrote my term paper about breeding habits of guppies, kept koi, and even stopped eating fish for several years because of a childhood trauma. It was the fish that helped forge good friendships as well with fellow hobbyists like blog friends Riane and Juned.
If I were to paint my formative years with color, a consistent part of it would be transparent with a tinge of green: my childhood was decked with assembling fish tanks and scrubbing moss off them. Assembling a fish tank was therapeutic as I’d go through the process of washing the gravel and mixing them with stones and broken pot hiding places for my collection of Auratus, Tropheus Moori and Pendani (the more common “cheap” cichlids as the Blood Parrots were rather expensive). It was a calming exercise – choosing the types of water plants to match with fish – I especially liked having water lilys with a gourami tank I once built as these would “blow” their nests onto the roots of the plants dangling from the surface. It felt good, graduating from undergravel filters to the dual motor powered aerators (with generator features during brown outs!) to the huge EHEIM filter we placed in our koi pond in the garden. It was my dad who taught me everything I knew about keeping fish and it is thus where I begin my post about a childhood adventure that has now caught up with me after so many years.
Tito Wilson Ang is a close friend of my dad. He runs Bio Research, perhaps the longest running pet store in the country and yeah I’d even venture the store with the best “brand equity” when it came to fish and other hobbies that had to do with pets. Most of our koi came from him, as well as our equipment. Stepping into their main branch, which is also a hatchery along Sucat Road was every fish geek’s dream (me!). Aerators, filters, pumps, custom built tanks and the fish hatchery were all there. In keeping up with the times, Tito Wilson opened up his legacy to the public as an attraction – 101 Destination Points, and then renaming it to Lost Eden.
The biz model is pretty simple – why not make money from the inventory you haven’t sold? Pretty cool! And they went crazy with the idea and have now come up with a really interesting venture: Lost Eden.
My cousin Ritchie was home from Chicago so my family all went to tour the four hectare property with Tito Wilson and his daughter Charlene. Lost Eden is 70% complete and it is a completely different experience compared to Manila Ocean Park, primarily because well, everything is for sale. I guess Tito Wilson got me hooked when he showed me his collection of Arapaima Gigas – about 11 three year olds (as of my last count) and several other small ones. SO hard to photograph from the glass:
Tito Wilson’s daughter, Charlene (photo above) handles most if not all of the marketing. I envy her, having grown up with all of these animals as her pets and learning everything from bunny breeding (they breed thousands of cute bunnies), bird watching, fish keeping, vermiculture, and agro-tourism. She gave us the royal treatment: a tour and a most memorable lecture about their unique vermicompost system where they were able to train the worms to compartmentalize inside the heap: “sleeping quarters,” “restroom” and “cafeteria.”
See here: worms sleep under the wood and they eat in the middle. They poop everywhere else. Makes things more efficient!
…. and tadah! Worms R’ Us!
A Wildlife Preserve
Bio Research’s Lost Eden is a theme park, events place and a store – you can buy practically everything that you see. Entrance to the park is a mere P150.00 per head and its open everyday. The property is also designated as a DENR Wildlife Rescue Center for endangered animals since Tito Wilson has an elaborate facility to house all sorts of flora and fauna including these: SUPER CUTE POT BELLY PIGLETS!
The piglets were hard to photograph as mama piggy was a little perturbed that she had unexpected visitors.
Apart from the DENR, Bio Research engages in CSR activities with barangays around the country. They commission the breeding of ornamental fish like arowanas and buy them back once they are grown. This is definitely a sustainable practice as the technology is completely transferred to fishing villages providing a new alternative to just fishing. Another interesting venture is their “bunny breeding program” where if you buy bunnies from them and allow them to breed, Bio Research can buy back the babies as the demand multiplies as fast as they breed 🙂
“Ready … get set ….”
The ducks were rather peaceful. You know, just hanging out, quack here, quack there …
… until you feed them!
Lost Eden is themed with an organic garden under the shape of the map of the Philippines. Around it are various attractions including red eared turtles, iguanas, insects, a working apiary, flightless birds, owls, a butterfly farm and a vermicompost heap. These photos don’t do the place justice – you need to see the place for yourself with friends!
AN EVENTS PLACE
For small events, the facility has a function room surrounded by aquariums. The area is rented out at a very affordable price of P5,000.00 for two hours and you can bring in anything you want. Amazing!
Here are photos with my family – my brother Angelo, my cousin Ritchie, my mom, Charlene and Tito Wilson.
The “Dog and Cat Mansion” in the photo above is actually a hotel for dogs and cats. If you’re going on a long journey, Bio Research can take in your pet and care for them while you’re away. They have an army of vets readily available for anything!
I finally found a place where I can lazy about that ISN”T another mall. A huge part of my childhood was spent rolling in grass, getting wet in the rain, and acquiring wounds and scratches from the joys that can only be described as a childhood in the 1980’s.
In retrospect, I’m now typing this in front of my MacBook, I sure wish we had some sort of legacy we can show our children. Away from the malls. Apart from our computers and games. It need not be long; a few hours will do. But it’s a good way to show our children that the best things in life are GREEN. 🙂
Lost Eden by Bio Research
Sucat Road from Sucat Exit (near Kraft and Manila Memorial Park)
Entrance Fee: P150.00 per head
Hours are 9 AM to 6 PM Monday to Sunday
email: biosucat at bioresearch dot com dot ph