One of the newest and most exciting places to visit in Manila is the Manila Ocean Park. It is the Philippines’s first and only state-of-the-art Oceanarium. There is so much pride in this latest tourist attraction owned by China Oceanis Philippines, Inc., and rightly so: it is even bigger than the famous ocean parks in Singapore and Hong Kong.
“Sentosa (oceanarium in Singapore) is 6,000 square meters while this one is 8,000 square meters,” said Lim Chee Yong, president of Manila Ocean Park. “The Hong Kong Ocean Park showcases a smaller oceanarium,” he admitted, although it must be noted that the Hong Kong counterpart does have more fun rides. Even so, the Manila Ocean Park is definitely one of the best marine-themed parks in Asia that you can visit. The main attraction is the underwater viewing tunnel.
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Children and adults alike are delighted to walk through this 25-meter long walkway to see the underbellies of stingrays and an array of big and captivatingly-shaped fish. This 220-degre tunnel offers a more panoramic view than from other walkthrough tunnels in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia.
The tunnel is just part of Manila Ocean Park’s seven sections or aquarium facilities where you can view different kinds of marine life forms.
The sections are “Agos” (Flow), showcasing freshwater fish; “ Bahura” (Reef), showcasing artificial corals; “Laot” (Fishing Ground), showcasing Eagle-spotted rays and bigger fish species; “Buhay na Karagatan” (The Living Ocean), where the underwater tunnel is; “Ang Kalaliman” (The Deep), showcasing deepwater Philippine fish; “Pagi” (Stingray), showcasing a variety of rays; and “Pating” (Shark), showcasing different species of shark. Seeing sharks, rays, fish and invertebrates that are found only in the Philippines and Southeast Asia is a delight even for non-marine life fans.
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A one-of-a-kind fish encounter is at the Fish Spa, where you will be made to dip your feet in a pool to be nibbled on by tiny fishes they call Doctor Fish. They eat the dead skin cells from your feet. Be ready to be tickled if you go for this. You could also try the Glass Bottom Boat Ride and Aquanaut (reef walking).
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Other attractions include a marine-themed mall, sunset quay mall, light and fountain show called “Aquatica”, hotel, food village, swimming pool, a row of shops and kiosks, and a row of restaurants, which include a wine bar overlooking Manila Bay.
Manila Ocean Park is located behind Quirino Grandstand along the scenic Manila Bay. If you are familiar with the place, you would know that going to Quirino Grandstand requires a walk along Rizal Park. The closest spot where jeepneys and taxis can drop you off is between Rizal Park and Quirino Grandstand. You can also take the Light Rail Transit. Get down at the United Nations Station and take a leisurely walk through Rizal Park and Quirino Grandstand.
Here is how much money you need to prepare:
Entrance fee to Manila Ocean Park is Php400 for adults and Php350 for kids; the Fish Spa is Php120 for 20 minutes, Glass Bottom Boat Ride is Php150, Aquanaut is Php995, swimming pool is Php200, and admission to the Aquatica show is Php300. The park is open every day from 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM.