Manila Ocean Park Adventure

Underwater tunnel
Oceanarium (Photo reference from google)

Manila Ocean Park is the first marine  theme park and the only oceanarium in the Philippines. It is located at Manila Bay behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Manila. I have been longing to come to this place, as you know, I love the sea and everything in it. Manila Ocean Park is a great educational place to learn stuff about our ocean. So with my friends, we went there last April 23, 2017.

 

You can buy tickets upon entrance. They offer packages and promos there. However, I got mine from metrodeal.com for ₱499. My metrodeal voucher includes 5 attractions such as the Oceanarium, Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter, Jellies Exhibit, Sea Lion Show, and Symphony Evening Show.

We chose to watch the Sea Lion show first since this attraction has scheduled time (11:00 AM to 11:30 AM, 3:00 PM to 3:30 PM, 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM). We watched the talented sea lions impress the visitors as the host says something against water pollution and the destruction of marine habitats. They performed several acts such as dancing, swimming and acting. At the end of the show, one adventurous visitor was chosen to meet and greet the sea lions and ended it with a kiss.

Next, we entered the Jellies Exhibit. The Jellies Exhibit introduces you to the different jellyfish species from all over the world. The room is dark with the lights coming from the tubes and glass windows where the jellyfish gracefully swim. It’s calming to watch them swim as a violin recording plays in the background.

After this, we felt hungry so we decided to eat first before coming to the next attraction. Thankfully, there were lots of food stalls and restaurants inside Manila Ocean Park, from high-end to affordable foods. We ate Sisig, an all-time favorite Filipino dish. Aside from food stalls, there were also souvenir shops inside. They also sell clothes and gadgets. I bought a power bank because my phone’s battery went empty which explains why I don’t have pictures taken inside the Oceanarium.

The Oceanarium is Asia’s largest underwater viewing tunnel where they feature a stunning display of marine life. Different species of fish, starfish, sea horse, eels and a whole lot more are displayed there. There were windows there were you can put your hands inside and little fish would bite your dead skin cells out. By “bite” doesn’t mean it hurts, you would actually feel a tinkling sensation.

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And finally, we had interacted with sea creatures at the Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter. We saw two big sharks resting at one end of the aquarium. We also had a chance to touch the slimy surface of the rays there. We weren’t able to watch the final attraction in our voucher, the Symphony Evening Show, since it starts at 6:30 pm, which is way too late for us.

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It was an educational adventure, therefore it is highly recommended for kids. Anyway, adults can also enjoy the place. Thanks to my friends for coming with me. Till our next adventure.

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Sidetripping to Tagaytay

Noon: Tagay? Tay!

Ngayon: Tagaytay!

Tagaytay is part of the province of Cavite. It is one of the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines due to its outstanding sceneries and cool temperature. The peak season is usually during summer wherein lots of Filipinos like to escape the scorching heat of the sun. Tagaytay provides views of the Taal Volcano in the middle of Taal lake.

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Because of its promising views and cool weather, it has also been listed in my bucketlist. I had a work-related seminar in the first week of June 2017 in Quezon City and since it was a long weekend, me and my college classmates had a side-trip to Tagaytay City. Tagaytay is roughly two hours travel time from my location. So in the early morning of June 10, we rode a bus from Quezon City to Lawton. Then we took another bus in Lawton that is going straight to Tagaytay. The fare from Lawton to Tagaytay is only ₱95.00. We alight in Olivarez then rode a jeepney to Tagaytay Skyranch for ₱8.00.

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It was almost zero-visibility in our first destination due to the fog, plus it was super cold. It was a rainy day but we had to push through this travel because I had to go back to my hometown the following day. We were hungry then, so the first thing we did was finding a restaurant that serves bulalo.  As you know, traveling to Tagaytay is not complete without trying their bulalo. There are lots of restaurants lined up outside the Tagaytay Skyranch. Luckily, we found a restaurant that suited our taste and budget. We ordered Crispy Tawilis, Bulalo, Tahong Sisig, rice and a pitcher of juice.

After overcoming our hunger, we headed straight to Tagaytay Skyranch. The entrance fee is ₱80. Inside, there are several rides to choose from. We bought vouchers a week before for ₱350 each. With this voucher, you can ride these 14 attractions: Wonder Flight, Flying Bus, Racing Car, Jump Around, Super Viking, Nessi Coaster, Red Baron, Grand Carousel, Mini Viking, Sky Cruiser, Toy Swing, Log Coaster, Drop Tower, and Express Train. However, because of the rain, the Nessi Coaster and Log Coaster were not available.

The first ride we tried was the Super Viking, which swings you back and forth that goes higher and higher until you feel your stomach tightening. Then, we tried the Express train which gave us a tour of the whole Tagaytay Skyranch. And then, our childhoods were refreshed by the Grand Carousel. It felt awkward to ride with the little kids but we tried this ride since there’s no age limit for this. Lol. Then they tried the Dry Tower. I’m not courageous enough to do this. My friends said it was their favorite attraction. My personal favorite is the Flying bus, though my friends said it was the most thrilling ride. I discovered that in order to avoid that strange feeling in your stomach once you get in those ride, just shout. We tried the Sky Cruiser as well.

Inside the Skyranch, there are also food stalls and souvenir shops. You will also be awed by the picturesque view of Taal volcano. If I’m not mistaken, Taal volcano is the smallest volcano in the country.

We agreed to explore other spots in Tagaytay, so we rode a jeepney going to Olivarez Terminal then another jeepney ride to Tagaytay People’s Park. By this time, the rain was pouring heavily and the fog was thicker. So we haven’t seen the panoramic view in this place. There’s an entrance fee of ₱30.00. The rain didn’t stop so we decided to call it a day and headed back to Manila.

I know there are still other places we haven’t seen in Tagaytay. I blame the fog and the rain. Still, I enjoyed this day because it was a mini-reunion for me and my classmates in college. We haven’t seen each other in years. I missed their insanity. Awesome day 🙂

Escape to Looc Sanctuary

March 18, 2017

I’ve been there once but I was too young to remember such experience. So luckily, I am able to revisit this place recently.
Looc is a small town in the Province of Romblon, a few kilometers away from my hometown. The Looc Fish Sanctuary is one of their leading tourist destinations. It is just a walking distance from the local market.

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We arrived in Looc the night before through motorcycle. In the morning, we headed to our point of destination. It is locally known as Parola. When we got there in Parola, we headed to Bantay Dagat Building to pay the fee and enlist our names, age and gender. The fee is ₱100 per head for adults and ₱50 for kids. You may also rent snorkeling mask for ₱50 each. Half of the fee goes to Bantay Dagat while the other half goes to the Local Government Unit. The tourists can stay up to two hours.

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This is where you pay the environmental fee

We waited for a while for the boat to come and fetch us because a group of tourists was accommodated first. And so the boat arrived. They provided life jackets for all of us. The boat ride from seaside to the Sanctuary is less than five minutes. There’s an old tower there that looks like a lighthouse (maybe it’s actually a lighthouse used in the old times).

And so the highlight begins!

We jumped and swam in the water, enjoyed the summer heat and ate our snacks in the middle of the bay. There’s a bamboo structure there that has dining table, seats, and grille for the tourists. So a bit of tip: before getting onboard, buy fresh seafoods in their local market and cook them in the built-in grille in the bamboo structure. Also, buy some bread to feed the fish there.

In the middle of the bamboo house is a whole where you can feed different varieties of fish. I saw Nemo and Dory there. I also saw Patrick the starfish. There’s not much of a coral structure in the sea bed around the area, some say that these are found farther north. Anyway, encounter with the fish is an incredible experience. I feel like they’re trained not to be afraid of humans.

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It was quite a windy day so we didn’t stay for long. We headed back to land and readied ourselves for lunch.

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Vitamin Sea

Lunch at Patok Sa Bagto

Patok sa Bagto recently became popular on my friends’ Facebook posts so I got curious of this restaurant. It is located in Punta, Looc, Romblon. It’s actually a fishpond with cottages around where visitors come to satisfy their appetite. We ordered Alimasag Sweet and Sour(₱180), 2 Calderos of Rice(₱120), Chopsuey(₱180), 2 Bottles(1.5L) of Softdrinks(₱130), Calamares(₱180), Pancit Bihon(₱60), and Sinigang na Sugpo(₱380) for a total of ₱1,230 which is quite reasonable for 13 servings.

So that is how we spent out weekend this March. As the summer approaches, I plan to visit other tourist spots in my island. So till my next post, see yah 

Weekend Getaway – Boracay

October 29, 2016

The original plan is that my sister and I will spend a weekend in Carabao Island, however, the night before the planned vacation, we changed our minds. We headed to Boracay early in the morning of October 29, 2016.  By the way, they dub Carabao Island as the twin island of Boracay. It has the same white sand and clear blue sea, the only difference is Carabao Island is a virgin island, therefore it’s not crowded.  Carabao Island is part of my province. And Carabao Island sits opposite to Boracay.

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I’m standing in Boracay, at my back(right side of this photo) is the Carabao Island

We got out of bed at 3:00 am, prepared ourselves and went to Odiongan Pier. We bought our ship ticket from 2Go Travel. I can’t really remember the price, I think it costs around P400 per head. The travel time from Odiongan Pier to Caticlan Port is 2-3 hours. Upon arrival, we went out to buy some snacks and returned to the Port to buy boat ticket, including terminal and environmental fee, to our point of destination – Boracay! Travel time from Caticlan to Boracay is around 5 minutes only.

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Boat ride – Caticlan to Bora, with my sizzums

And so we arrived in Bora! Since we only had last-minute preparation, we have no specific plan for the day. Good thing, my younger sister has a friend who lives in this island. She served as our guide in touring the island. Our first stop is the Puka Beach.img20161029112456

Puka Beach is the nearest point to my home province. Compared to Balabag Station (main beach in Bora), Puka Beach is more quiet. We saw souvenir stalls upon entrance. They sell hand-crafted items made usually of sea shells and other indigenous materials. I uttered “wow” upon seeing the beach and the fine white sands. I loved the color of the sea but decided not to swim because the waves are a bit stronger here (I’m not a good swimmer). I can only swim in calm water.img20161029103719img20161029105833img20161029114429After spending some time in Puka Beach, we decided to check in to our resort. I made reservations with Boracay Waterworld the night before. The only thing I didn’t like about the resort is that it’s a bit far from the island’s highlights. But if you prefer more serene place to stay, this is perfect for soul-searching and retreat.

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Boracay Waterworld

Boracay has a lot to offer for tourists and locals alike. The island has activities like ATV, diving, etc. It has a wide choice of restaurants for different cultures. When we were there, most of the tourists I saw are from Asian countries like Korea and China. There were also visitors from western countries. Some are couples, some are families. I seldom saw solo backpackers. Simply because Boracay is a place best enjoyed with company. No wonder why Boracay is one of the most popular beaches in the world. I love Bora!

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We left Bora the following morning. It was indeed a successful weekend getaway with my sister. I hope to come back next time around.