The Philippines is one of the coral-rich countries in the world. In fact, in the Philippines, you can find Apo Reef in Mindoro Strait, which is known as the second largest contiguous coral reef system in the world and the largest coral reef system in the country. You can also find there the Tubataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu Sea, which was designated as a World Heritage Site in December 1993 as it contains a very high density of different extremely gorgeous marine species.
On top of this, we were lucky enough to witness these stunning and extraterrestrial coral gardens and sea creatures, even though my parents and son do not know how to snorkel or scuba dive, because Manila Ocean Park has a good facility that enables people to have a glimpse of the reefs and ocean inhabitants without getting their feet wet.
So, on our 2nd day in Manila, I brought my family to this place which features aquariums and exhibits of about 14,000 sea animals from 277 indigenous species in the Philippines and in the Southeast Asia. I bought a package for Php 580 per person that includes 6 attractions: Oceanarium, Back of the House, Jellies Exhibit, Sharks and Rays Encounter, and Sea Lion Show.
We first went to the Oceanarium and we adored all the collection of marine creatures and corals displayed there. They were all beautiful – from a series of tanks filled with a ton of colorful fishes to the Plexiglas filled with small sharks, small mantas, skates, moray eels and a lot more.
The Jellies Exhibit was quite exciting and very pretty. We were mesmerized by all the various species of jellyfish dancing to mellow music, the changing colors in their water tanks, all the mirrors which makes it appear like there is an endless number of jellyfish tanks, and the cool display of multi-media effects.
Furthermore, my son was also fascinated by an up close and personal encounter of sharks and stingrays. Plus, we were able to touch the stingrays which had velvet-y feel and the shark which had a sandpaper feel.
The last activity we enjoyed was the sea lion show. It was a fantastic show and we enjoyed every minute of it. There, we met the Sea Lions from South America that were adorably trained to do some tricks like balancing and kissing. The audience had the chance to participate and get a chance to kiss with a souvenir photo. We were also impressed as the trainers gave us informative talk – what sea lions are, its special skills and unique characteristics, what they are capable of, and valuable information on environmental conservation. We were all smiling the whole time.
Undeniably, Manila Ocean Park offers a good day out for family or a group of friends or for lovers of the sea to get a good overview of the marine biodiversity.
Little Lilly travel tip:
- The best time to go there is during the week day as it is not crowded and the queue at the ticket counter is shorter than on the weekend.
What did you enjoy the most in Manila Ocean Park? Do share your experience.