Summer fun with the barkada at Manila Ocean Park

Hey, hey, summer’s here!

And while the barkada might be raring to go out of town for some summer fun, the good news is that you won’t even need to leave the city.

Right here in Metro Manila is a place where friends can come together for a full day of fun: Manila Ocean Park!

MOP Summer
An early start to our tour of Manila Ocean Park
MOP Summer
The last stop of our Manila Ocean Park Tour

As the country’s first world-class marine theme park and premiere educational entertainment destination, Manila Ocean Park boasts of attractions that will surely appeal to everyone in the barkada.

According to MOP’s EVP & COO Francis Low, the park’s attractions are designed to be educational, interactive and experiential. These design pillars sets Manila Ocean Park apart from similar establishments. With exhibits that visitors can not only look at but also interact with, the park helps create memorable moments for the guests as well as add to their knowledge.

Want to know what you and your pals can expect at Manila Ocean Park? Well, read on, then.

Oceanarium

This is home to 14,000 marine creatures across 277 species indigenous to the Philippines and Southeast Asia. With a 220-deg curved walkway tunnel with an amazing view of sea creatures swimming overhead, Oceanarium will give your barkada the feeling of being at the center of the ocean’s wonders, as well as lots of spectacular photos for your Instagram feed!

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Trails to Antarctica

If the summer heat is getting to you, make a beeline for Trails to Antarctica where you can learn more about this mysterious frozen continent as well as its inhabitants. An example of these would be the Humboldt penguins, curious and highly sociable animals that you can interact with for some feeding, and of course, a photo opp for just Php650!

By the way, some of these cuties were hatched and raised right here in Manila Ocean Park, thanks to its very successful breeding program.

Manila Ocean Park Reopening
MOP Summer
Manila Ocean Park Reopening
MOP Summer

All-Star Bird Show back to back with a Sea Lion Show

Manila Ocean Park is also home to our feathered friends such as macaws, cuckatoos and birds of prey which display their intelligence and skills through stunts and tricks during the All-Star Bird Show.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Back-to-back with the bird show is the Sea Lion Show which showcases Manila Ocean Park’s South American sea lions which include Sandra, the sexiest female with all the suave moves; Icis, the prettiest among the females; Ira, the youngest and cutest; while Yeni, the smartest. The only thorn among the roses is Vincent, a big and beefy male sea lion who is also diligent with his training. These marine mammals display their skills through funny antics and entertaining skits during the show.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer

The All-Star Bird Show and Sea Lion Show are performed back-to-back at 12.30pm and 4.30pm on weekdays and at 12.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm on weekends.

While the park’s aviary, The Birdhouse, is still closed, you can book your very own Bird Encounter and give your inner Disney Princess (or Prince!) free rein.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

You can also get up close and personal with a sea lion through the Sea Lion Encounter. For Php3,500 per person, a group of at least five people can get an exclusive demonstration of a sea lion’s talents and intelligence through learned behavior such as giving you a kiss, jumping through hoops and performing a water ballet with you. Sea Lion Encounters are available only via reservations and is subject to availability.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies

Did you know that jellyfish are sometimes called the “dancing sea fairies?”

This moniker is no doubt due to their grace and transparent beauty as they glide below and on the ocean’s surface.

They are showcased in their element against a fascinating display of multi-media effects and soothing music in the Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies Exhibit.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

World of Creepy Crawlies

Sure, they may be scary (and sort of icky) but they’re definitely interesting. These snakes, frogs, lizards, worms and insects all have their own beauty and seemingly amazing superpowers that drive their survival despite the harsh environments they inhabit. You and your pals can see them in a new light at the World of Creepy Crawlies.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Super Toy Collection

Got comic book fans in the barkada? Or those who idolize the Man of Steel?

Well, they can geek out at the largest collection of Superman toys and memorabilia at the Super Toy Collection. Your entire group can even immerse yourselves in memorable scenes from the Superman movies.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

Christmas Village

Despite the feeling that we’re almost melting in the city because of the sweltering summer heat, we can still experience the chilly holiday season at the Christmas Village. You can all hang out with Santa Claus or check out the snowy gingerbread house; your sneak peek into a winter wonderland is right here.

MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer
MOP Summer

All these exciting experiences and more are waiting for you and your buddies at Manila Ocean Park.

So get set to enjoy the summer fun right here by booking your tickets online now with these fantastic deals available until May 29, 2022:

  • Jolly Splash 6 (Php560, previously Php2,300): includes access to six attractions – Oceanarium, Trails to Antarctica, Christmas Village, World of Creepy Crawlies, Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies, and Super Toy Collection
  • Festive Wave 8 (Php680, previously Php3,300): includes access to six attractions – Oceanarium, Trails to Antarctica, Christmas Village, World of Creepy Crawlies, Jellies Dancing Sea Fairies, Super Toy Collection, Sea Lion Show and Bird Show

Manila Ocean Park is located behind the Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

For more news and updates on its attractions and offers, follow Manila Ocean Park on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park:

Profile: Manila Ocean Park’s Francis Low

At 8.30 am on Saturday, April 9, while many top executives would be enjoying a leisurely start to their holiday weekend, Francis Low, Manila Ocean Park’s EVP and COO, was already with his team of animal trainers and park staff, getting ready for the day’s activities. After all, weekends are the busiest days for the country’s first world-class marine theme park and premiere educational entertainment destination.

Animal lover

It’s hardly surprising that Low would be hands-on when it comes to park operations, especially animal training and handling, being a certified professional animal trainer himself.

In fact, before eventually taking on the leadership role in Manila Ocean Park, he was first hired as a consultant by the holding company, China Oceanis Philippines, Inc., to conceptualize and set up its Birds of Prey Exhibit and All-Star Bird Show in a bid to expand the park’s attractions.

Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Mr Low is a Certified Professional Animal Trainer in birds, birds of prey, mammals, marine mammals, etc
Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Mr. Low joins MOP VP for Sales & Marketing Joyce Tarroza in welcoming bloggers

When he started to helm the MOP team, he set about designing the park experience in a way that encourages the same love for animals that he and his team have.

“We designed our attractions in line with three key pillars,” he reveals. “They have to be educational, interactive and experiential.”

With today’s more well-traveled and knowledgeable market for entertainment facilities such as theme parks, Low feels that these pillars help to differentiate Manila Ocean Park from similar establishments. “We try to give park visitors experiences that they can only have here, so they have something to bring home and tell others about.”

One such attraction is the Sea Lion Encounter. While there are similar sea lion shows in other countries, Manila Ocean Park enables guests to interact with its highly trained sea lions as they perform stunts or exhibit their skills. “When guests get up close and personal with the sea lions, they realize they aren’t scary and can be quite fun. These are moments… memories that they will remember for a long time.”

MOP Summer
Yeni, one of MOP’s smartest sea lions
MOP Summer
Yeni going through hoops
MOP Summer
Water Ballet with Yeni
MOP Summer
Getting up close and personal with Yeni

Advocates conservation awareness

Manila Ocean Park’s attractions are also geared to promote animal conservation.

“In the Philippines, conservation awareness is very high,” Low observes. “People’s efforts in saving certain species, protecting marine life and saving the trees, some with the help of LGUs and international organizations, are very noticeable.”

He also notes that since conservation is not a one-off thing but requires continuous effort and resources over many years before results can be seen, a lot of people may not choose to commit to it. “What is important is to make people understand that conservation has long-term benefits for many generations down the line.”

MOP Bamboo Sharks
Photo credit: manilaoceanpark.com
MOP Bamboo Sharks 2
Photo credit: manilaoceanpark.com

One of the park’s conservation activities is its “Back to the Wild” program wherein juvenile white-spotted bamboo sharks are bred and raised safely in the park’s facilities, and then released back to the coasts in cooperation with government agencies such as the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, and local government units.

“With the help of NGOs, we scope out areas and ensure that these are ideal for the bambo sharks to thrive, then we release them. We also tagged them to see how they are faring. We hope to hold another releasing this year.” shares Low.

Leads with heart

Low’s first few months after he took over the management of Manila Ocean Park in 2011 was all about getting a feel for the local culture. He shares, “I did not do a lot major changes. I blended in: I tried to understand Filipinos, Filipino culture and the way things are done here. By understanding these, it’s easier to put in certain ideas to my team and get them to support the strategies.”

He is proud of the park’s employees and the concern they demonstrated for the park and its animal charges during the height of the pandemic when the park was closed down and he was away in his home country of Singapore. “There was a time when two of the sea lions got sick but we couldn’t get medicine because all the pharmacies are closed. It was a very scary moment for us. I’m so glad that staff proved to be very caring: they went to the canals, sat beside the sea lions to coax them to eat. Because of their care, the two sea lions recovered.”

This care extended throughout the time when the park was closed down due to the community quarantine, but the trainers and staff simulated shows, despite the absence of audiences, so as not to stress the animals from the break from their routine.

Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low
Manila Ocean Park's Francis Low

He even boasts of how Manila Ocean Park’s security guards expanded their role beyond ensuring safety within the park by familiarizing themselves with the park’s various packages and pricing so that they can recommend attractions to the park visitors.

“I consider myself blessed that I have key leaders and key staff who go all out to make very good experiences for the guests, care for the park and the animals. These are things that money can not buy.”

By 6pm, activities within the park wind down but Mr. Low and his team are still seen up and about, assisting guests or overseeing operations. This routine plays out for six days every week as the park slowly but surely reopens attractions and dining establishments to cater to the public who are ready for new experiences after a long time spent indoors during quarantine.

Manila Ocean Park is located within Rizal Park, Ermita, Manila, open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesdays to Sundays (even during Public Holidays). For more details about the park or to book your tickets, visit its website.

Check out my previous posts about Manila Ocean Park: