"WOW!!! may Ocean Park na sa Pinas! Mas malaki sa HongKong at Singapore!"
We were so exited to go to Manila Ocean Park, I mean Really! Who won’t get exited when you are bombarded with so many reasons to be… For starters, it is the first in the country, second, it is the biggest in Asia (as they say, bigger than HK and SG), and lastly, Media Frenzy! It is widely publicized, it is featured in all local channels, in the news, travel shows, lifestyle shows, morning shows, it is on the TV almost every day! Not to mention the print media and outdoor signs.. it is really everywhere! As a result, super excitement! Which is what we felt until we got there… Once you are there, you will realize that it is not as fun as you expected. First, there will be Pandemonium at the lobby, then a Hot! Hot! adventure across the stations, and then a huge Sigh of Disappointment. Anyway, to give you an Idea of our experience, here’s a quick recap.
- It is the first in the Philippines
- The entrance fee is Affordable (as compared to other marine theme parks)
- Lots of Parking Space (at least for now)
- Great Location, Very Accessible to the public
- Lots of "Local" marine Species
- Very Spacious (inside and out)
THE NOT SO GOOD:
- The facade and the area around it is not that clean, you will be welcomed by debris from the construction
- The souvenir shop has very limited items (not much in there) but the prices are quite reasonable
- The staff don’t speak good English (sorry but you they should put more effort on this, more foreigners will be pouring in the next few months, they should be prepared with multilingual guides)
- It is still on "Soft-Opening" the Theme Park is not yet complete.. they should go easy on the ads.
- There is no walkalator inside the tunnel… it is good for photo-shoots but very bad for queuing and organization (they should invest on this)
- The Sharks are still small, quite limited number of marine animals
- The Glass of the tanks (especially the big ones) have a very limited angle for clear view.
- The restaurant (Ozeano Fuzion) is expensive, they have semi-fine dining prices but lack the proper ambiance.
- It was Very hot and Humid (they should invest more in more sophisticated air-conditioning equipments)
- There are lots of wasted spaces… poor lay-out. Yes, it is big but not dense.
- They lack the WOW! factor… maybe because the displays are quite common. They don’t have the super weird or some rarely seen animals like Jelly Fishes, Glowing Fishes, Turtles, Big Sharks, Octopus (although there were few), and an angel fish like what they have in Sentosa.
- Their entry and ticketing system are so bad people are getting confused.
- No Re-Entry (at least for now)
- Their fish spa area which is supposed to be a big attraction is not quite appealing.. it looks dirty and they let lots of people dip their feet in one pool at the same time… I don’t think i’ll get a clean feet after that one…
- The water is not that clear… considering that they have been operating for only a month.
- Very few Guides/Staff to assist
- It is a Loan from a Chinese-Singaporean Company, Meaning, it wa not funded by the Government!
Well, I hate to say this but I am very disappointed. I think that at it’s current state, the MOP is very overrated. As we walk inside the MOP, we hear lots of complaints and ranting from the tourist, which included the Foreign Tourists. I think, given the fact that it is still in its soft-opening, that people should wait for the Grand Opening in order not to feel dismayed.
Perhaps one reason why me and my friends felt so bad about the place is because we have already been to either Sentosa in Singapore or Ocean Park in Hongkong. There is already a point of comparison. But we would have felt less disappointed if it wasn’t for the super spectacular ads and features that we saw before actually getting in to the MOP. Or maybe we may have just expected too much from the place.
To sum it all up, As of now MOP still has no WOW! factor. We just have to wait and see. Maybe in 3 years time, it will be worth it. If it is your first time in a Marine Theme Park, there will probably a bit of amazement. I think that if you are really love the ocean and underwater creatures and does care how and where it is presented, you’ll probably still enjoy the experience. But if you are looking for something sophisticated and spectacular and if you are expecting something like the ones from SG and HK, you should probably wait of the Grand Opening. Maybe they will have something better to offer by then. If you haven’t been to MOP and dying to do so, don’ fret! It is not yet worth it.
Well, It’s just me! If you have any thoughts, feel free to comment! :p
For the complete set of pictures, visit www.dencio.com