Manila Ocean Park

September 28, 2008. It was Tisay’s third birthday. My parents decided to bring the family to Manila Ocean Park for the day. It was everyone’s first time at the aquarium, apparently the first and the largest aquarium facility in the country, owned by some Singaporean company. The only other large-scale aquarium facility in the Philippines, I think, is Ocean Adventure in Subic.

The billion-peso facility is planned to be a major tourist attraction in Manila. Only the first half is operation as of the moment, the other half of the facility is still being constructed. Once completed, the facility will include a mall, a hotel and rows of other shops and restaurants.

The place was pretty cool. It was divided into different sections depicting different aquatic themes and habitats. The underwater glass tunnel is not as long as the other underwater aquarium tunnels I’ve seen, though.

Tisay was very amused. It was really fun seeing her gasping and shouting in awe at the fishes and almost everything else new that she saw. I was amused, too. There’s something very relaxing with staring at fishes in an aquarium.

To be fair, the Manila Ocean Park, as with many other aquarium parks in the world, has its own share of criticisms, grounded largely on the cruel treatment of animals and the effect of the captivity and exhibition of fishes in enclosed aquariums. I’m honestly not entirely sold on the idea that animals, fishes in particular, have “rights” to the extent that equals people. I agree that they should be accorded a certain degree of, well, respect and “stewardship” and that the environment we all live in should be protected and conserved, but to compel everyone to leave animals alone and avoid contact to prevent any harm from being done for the sake of their “rights” is quite pushing the concept of “rights” a little too far. Though I also think that the awareness and educational spin that aquarium companies use to justify their existence is pathetic. It’s really largely for entertainment and profit.

US Trip ’07: Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta

May 25, 2007. After having lunch with my aunt’s family in Loganville (which was another hearty Filipino meal of lumpiang shanghai and left-over kare-kare), we headed off to downtown Atlanta.

Our first stop was the Georgia Aquarium at Pemberton Place. We parked quite a distance from the aquarium park so we had to walk through the the Centennial Olympic Park, a wide landscaped park in downtown Atlanta built for the centennial Summer Olympic Games in 1996. Pictures from the Centennial Park will be for another blog entry. By this time my body clock hasn’t adjusted quite well. It was well past noon, the sun was shining brightly and yet I felt so tired and sleepy.

Georgia Aquarium viewing theater Georgia Aquarium is claimed to be the largest aquarium park in the world. Indeed, the place was quite huge and the individual aquarium exhibits were humongous. As photographed above, the largest one holds hundreds of small fishes and a whale shark. It was quite a serene spectacle.

Georgia Aquarium

The indoor aquarium exhibits are classified into different themes depending on the various aquatic ecosystems in the world. There are also various ponds where visitors can touch the animals. I had the chance to touch some live corals and manta rays (or whatever ‘rays’ those were), and that was quite amusing.

Unfortunately, we were on a rush to catch the last tour in CNN a few blocks away so we didn’t stay quite long to appreciate Georgia Aquarium better. After an hour of exploring the aquarium, we passed by the souvenir shops and headed for the exit.

View all the full-sized pictures here.

Which monkeys?

That trip to Subic was part of my dad’s office’s outing. It was another moment where I reaffirmed to myself how I really dislike traveling with a big bunch of people. As in a hundred. Imagine touring Ocean Adventure with one tour guide screaming her lungs out to a hundred chattering adults and children. Before going to Ocean Adventure, we spent time at a nearby beach resort. Anyway, more pictures…

Ocean Adventure Camayan Beach Resort