Author’s Note: This article uses Apple’s QuickTime and Adobe Flash in providing an immersive experience by means of virtual reality technology. QuickTime and/or Flash 9.0 are required to view the 360-degree VRs. Average VR size is 2.3Mb each.
When news first broke out that Manila will soon have an oceanarium at par with those in other Asian countries, I just can’t contain my anticipation! So after a long construction wait, and a few suppose openings that got postponed, the Manila Ocean Park finally opened its “waters” last February 28.
The park’s journey starts with “Agos”, one of the seven water environments. This exhibit simulates the flow of fresh water from the land out to the seas. Others comprising of “Bahura”, the reef with its myriad of colorful corals and fishes; “Laot”, the fishing ground features mostly bigger fishes, including some that you’ll find in your tables; “Buhay na Karagatan”, the living ocean is the main attraction of the ocean park, with its 220-degree tunnel, here you will witness the interaction of many marine animals in their natural habitat; “Ang Kalaliman”, the deep ocean displays the pelagic barracudas; “Pagi”, stingrays view from an overhead tank; “Pating”, young sharks that seem to fascinate just everyone.
Agos (the flow)
Agos, with the Waterfalls
Majority of the fauna were source in Philippine waters, so what you’ll see are actually some of the rich marine life within our archipelago. Notable exceptions like the giant Japanese spider crab are of course endemic to Japan. For the purpose of conservation, the colorful corals are artificial, and the fishes seem can’t tell the difference.
The Underwater Tunnel
Another View of the Tunnel
A lot of resistance from concerned groups pertaining to conservation surfaced amidst the operation of the park; while the issues may be a complex of arguments, what’s important is that everyone strikes a balance between preservation and education. Appreciation sometimes precedes protection, and knowledge certainly empowers conservation.
The marine park is just the beginning, future expansions will includes a boutique hotel, a mall, open marine habitats, function rooms and exhibition areas. Already, this year’s Celebrate the Sea festival, an international underwater exposition will be held from June 13-15.
Our country finally have a modern oceanarium, I’m beginning to wonder when we’ll have a modern planetarium; for now that we can appreciate the seas, let’s also set our sights upon the stars!
VRs taken on March 2008 during the soft-launch period. Manila Ocean Park’s website is www.manilaoceanpark.com. This author can be reached at: