What would you do if something did not go as planned?
In most instances—especially in making travel plans—I usually don’t have back-up plans or “plan B.” I make it a point to stick to the original because it is always better. Thus, tendency is, when the original plan did not push through, I am left with no choice but to start from scratch again. I know every traveler experiences the same thing. Sometimes, due to unforeseen events, we entirely alter our plans because more pressing situation demands urgent attention.
After learning that the yearly celebration of Dinamulag Festival in Zambales will fall on April 7-10 this summer, I immediately marked my calendar as occupied on these dates. Unfortunately, due to some crucial matters I had to attend to in Manila coupled with the time constraint, I knew ahead I couldn’t make it to Zambales.
This botched travel plan led me to a gloomy Saturday afternoon. Since Rio was just showing on big screen, I decided to watch it to make up with myself. With the initial plan of watching Rio, my mind made a sudden swerve by choosing to go to Manila Ocean Park instead. There, in just a jiffy, I found myself at the main entrance of the park lining up for a ticket package.
This explains how this trip was born out.
Our house’s proximity to the beach in the province during my childhood days made me a warm-hearted individual to fishes and other living sea creatures. This personal affinity was the reason why I became willing to dole out P600 to see four major attractions of Manila Ocean Park—Sea Lion Show, Oceanarium, Fish Spa, and Dancing Jellies. I took advantage of the package to spare my pocket from further harm since availing it one by one without a package would cost me P820.
Heads-up: there are several packages you can pick from depending on which you prefer. Availing a package entails saving.
Sea Lion Show
Since it is scheduled at 2 and 4 in the afternoon only, I tried this attraction first for I would be losing track of time once I entered the dome of fishes and possibly miss this. It was entertaining for a twenty-ish like me. After 11 years, I’ve gotta chance to see sea lion show again.
Ocean Park is taking care of six sea lions. When I was there, Icy and Yeny were among those who performed. They showed us how they contort their bodies and mimic the movements of their trainers. These lovely creatures brought nothing but bliss to me as I joined the kids clapping and yelling numerous times.
The show lasted for 20 minutes and it ended with a grain of salt that we humans should live by every day. Icy and Yeny demonstrated the proper disposal of wastes and trashes and how wounded they would become if these are dumped directly into their home. This was a good example to the children watching. However, a tough smash to us since it took animals to remind us how abusive we have been to our seas. What the sea lions did was to impose a challenge on us.
Heads-up: For me, 2pm is not the best time to watch the show. Since it is an open area, there are no adequate shades for the visitors.
Before pursuing this jaunt, I was already anticipating the crowd since it was done on a weekend. This was why I had to wait for 15 minutes in the queue before I could finally enter Oceanarium. Waiting didn’t annoy me at all for once you’re inside the dome, you would instantly be charmed by the sea creatures. It was full of treasures indeed.
The pathway to other attractions is composed of colossal aquariums harboring different species of fishes. Of them all, I only remembered the Reef Stone fish. I am really bad with names, but I don’t forget the moments. Oceanairum is my favorite. It made the tour more fun and enjoyable. No wonder I stayed here the longest.
Who says only human can perform a spa treatment? Fishes can do the same. They are called the “Doctor Fish.”
Fishes doing spa is new and enticing. Isn’t it? When I heard it the first time, I knew someday I would experience it. Come to my surprise, Ocean Park offers such. So I immediately grabbed the chance.
Upon dipping my tired feet in the mini-pool, fishes started to circle over and bit them. I almost backed out because it didn’t feel like a spa at first. It seemed like my feet were being scratched since I got tickled a lot of times or doctor fish looked at my feet as two giant preys or pieces of bread. But later on, I enjoyed the moment like all other. It lasted for only 10 minutes.
Beach bummers certainly hate jellyfishes. They secrete liquids that cause itchiness and irritation to our skin. Hence, when we see their kind in the sea, we tend to get away from them or leave the beach. Unless, they are non-stinging like the ones at Sohoton lagoon in Siargao. In Ocean Park, I began adoring them. They looked enchanting as they danced with the music and sparkling lights.
Those who want to experience our wealthy marine and aquatic resources but are aquaphobic, Manila Ocean Park is the right place to cope up with what you’re missing for being not too adventurous enough in exploring our seas. Although it’s not exactly as rich as the marine life, at least, you would be acquainted with them and be cognizant of their existence. Later on, you might be encouraged too in joining the list of enthusiasts who protect the lives of defenseless creatures from the fierce hands of humans.
This under the sea experience has superseded my supposedly frustrated day to something precious, which could have been different if I had pursued my first plan. Though born out of frustration, I consider this visit as the best thing happened in my entire week. What I had previously planned didn’t work the way I perceived it, but I learned to transport my energy to something valuable. Visiting Manila Ocean Park was no another ordinary day; it was the day I discerned that I shall protect our marine and aquatic resources from harm. And I am starting it through this post.