Philippines: Flying from Coron to Manila; visit to Ocean Park

Date: June 1, 2013

I woke up early to have breakfast before leaving for the airport.

WG Diners Coron Palawan
I ate at WG Diners; affordable and decent food

The staff at the guesthouse booked me a van taxi for a drop off at Busuanga Airport. I packed up my bags, said my goodbyes and left Coron Backpackers Guesthouse when it was time.

Driving Coron island airport road
It was the same road back to the airport
Coron green fields Philippines
There was a discerning lack of cows in the fields this time though
Cattle grid Coron Philippines
A few
Busuanga airport Palawan Philippines
Busuanga airport, paid for by the Koreans

Immigration took it’s own sweet time. This is as basic as a small airport can get, so not every passenger can get in all at once.

Seized coral shells Busuanga airport Philippines
Oh, and don’t even try to smuggle coral shells out of Coron. It’s against the law… but that didn’t stop many from trying.
Cebu Pacific flight Coron Palawan
My ride back to Manila was a Cebu Pacific flight
Cebu Pacific airhostess Philippines
Being a Cebu Pacific flight, in-flight games were in order
Clouds Philippines
The sights out the window on this flight were nothing spectacular

I arrived in Manila at around 3pm. I had lunch at a Burger King at the terminal and then stepped out of the airport to catch the bus going to Pasay. From there I hired a taxi to get to Bonifacio Global City (BGC), where I would be staying a condominium my friend Janet had access to.

BGC apartments Manila
I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of the condo nor allowed to share any details as it didn’t belong to Janet. But it sure was nice to stay here! 🙂

After freshening up, Janet and I went out for a walk around BGC in the evening.

BGC buildings Manila night
Bonifacio Global City is probably the nicest and most developed area in Manila
Lamborghini Manila showroom Philippines
A lot of wealthy residents too
Manila Bonafacio at night
BGC is very well planned and managed
Market Market Manila
Janet took me to Market! Market! — a shopping complex she frequents
SM Aura mall Manila
We then went to check out SM Aura. SM Corp’s latest mall in Manila City.
SM Aura mall Manila Philippines
It looked and felt… like any other mall. Had that “new” feeling though.
SM Aura steps design Philippines
We went upstairs
SM Aura rooftop fountains
The rooftop had these fountains

For dinner, Janet and I went to an Indian restaurant called New Bombay. They have a few branches across Manila and seem to be rather popular chain.

Janet Kingfisher beer Indian restaurant Manila
And yes, you get Kingfisher here! 🙂

Date: June 2, 2013

Today Janet and I decided to check out Manila Ocean Park.

Luneta park Rizal monument
It began as a sunny Sunday and we walked through Rizal Park to get to Ocean Park on the other side

Philippines flag post flowing in the wind

Ocean park Manila entrance Philippines
The entrance to Manila Ocean Park
Ocean park Manila ticket counter
We bought the 550 peso ticket
Ocean Park Manila
We checked out the Birds of Prey exhibit first
Kites attraction Manila Ocean park
Brahminy Kites
Brahminy kite Ocean park Manila
Love the design of such birds
Brahminy kites facts
Some (sad) facts
Kites Ocean park Manila
Quite a few of them in here

Brahminy kite bird Ocean Park Manila

Janet kite Manila Ocean park
We then posed next to them. This is Janet.
Mithun talking to kite
I tried to strike a conversation but the kite just wasn’t interested
Mithun Divakaran jump shot Manila
Once the crowds had cleared, I asked Janet to take a photo of me doing a “jump shot”. After two trips to the Philippines, I had yet to do it.
Weeds Ocean Park Manila
We moved on
Long hanging weeds Ocean Park Manila
I don’t know what these hanging weeds were
Giant arapaima Ocean park Manila aquarium
Giant Arapaima river fish. It’s huge!
Koi fish aquarium Manila ocean park
Koi fish
Koi goldfish feeding Ocean Park Manila
Feeding time
Aquarium Manila Ocean Park
We entered the marine life section

Flat fish Ocean Park

Mandarin Dragonet fish Ocean Park Manila
Mandarin Dragonet fish
Longspine porcupinefish eye Ocean Park Manila
Longspine Porcupinefish. Check out how cool its eyes are.
Longhorn cowfish Ocean Park aquarium Manila
Longhorn Cowfish
Coral fish Ocean Park Manila
Seen a lot of these guys in all my snorkel dives
Leopard flounder Ocean Park Manila
Mother nature and her amazing creations. This is the Leopard Flounder. Look carefully, there’s three of them.

Yellow fish Ocean park Manila

Pajama cardinalfish Ocean Park Manila
Pajama Cardinalfish
Clown fish Ocean Park Manila
Nemo! or Clown Fish as they are actually called.
Bambooshark eggs Ocean park Manila
Bambooshark eggs

Triangle fish Ocean Park Manila

Reef stonefish Ocean Park Manila
Reef stonefish
Ribbon eel Ocean park Manila
Ribbon eel
Convict Blenny Ocean park Manila
No kidding, these eels are called Convict Blenny. No wonder they are trying to hide.
Manila Ocean park sea aquarium panorama
This was the next attraction, dedicated to larger sea life
Coral triangle map SE asia
Coral triangle map of South East Asia

Janet Manila Ocean park

Aquarium tunnel Ocean park Manila
Next up was the requisite underwater tunnel
Sting ray Ocean park Manila
Where sting rays and sharks glide over you

Sting ray aquarium Ocean park ManilaMarine life aquarium Ocean park

Mithun tunnel Ocean Park Manila
A photo Janet took of me
Bluefin trevally Ocean park Manila
Bluefin Trevally
Sharks Ocean Park Manila
The shark tank
Sharks aquarium Ocean Park Manila
But they weren’t swimming
Aquarium sharks Ocean Park Manila
They were alive though
Ocean Park Manila visitors
And that was it

Janet and I on the way out decided to go for one of those 4D rides. Heck, it was only ₱100 per person. It was silly, and gimmicky, but at 100 pesos, it was worth the short 10 minute fun ride. Afterwards, Janet and I had lunch at a pan-Asian restaurant upstairs.

Steamed broccoli dumplings Ocean Park Manila
May not seem like we didn’t order much, but we couldn’t even finish all the dumplings
US Navy ship Manila Bay
Ocean Park is right by Manila Bay

We then went looking for the jellyfish section as it opened only later.

Shark encounter Ocean Park Manila
This costs extra

Polar attraction Ocean Park Manila

Jellyfish section Manila Ocean Park
The jellyfish display


Red jellyfish Ocean Park Manila
Red jellyfish
Jellyfish aquarium Ocean Park Manila
They would pass light from above illuminating the translucent jellyfish in various colours

Jellyfish Ocean park Manila

Jellyfish red neon light Ocean park

Flat jellyfish Ocean Park Manila
Elegant, but their stings can be poisonous

Jellyfish tentacles Ocean Park Manila

Jellyfish display Ocean Park Manila
This is just an illusion made possible by mirrors all around the room 🙂

After this, Janet and I waited for our 4:30pm Sea Lion show.

Sea lion stage Ocean Park Manila
This was the stage where the sea lions would appear with their handlers
Sea lion standing on feet Ocean Park
The sea lions made an impressive entrance
Sea lion balancing act Ocean Park
There were two of them and they displayed all sorts of feats
Sea lion ear Manila Ocean Park
The announcer would also educate the audience about sea lions
Sea lions saluting Manila Ocean Park
Sea lions give the audience a salute
Sea lion clapping Manila Ocean Park
Then it was time for some audience participation. Yes, the sea lion is clapping.
Sea lion kissing girl Ocean Park
And kiss girls
Sea lion balancing ball on nose
Photos don’t do these sea lions justice

So here’s a video…

It was a fun show, and Janet really enjoyed it. Manila Ocean Park isn’t bad. Granted, I have been to Dubai Aquarium and Bangkok’s Siam Ocean World, and after a few they all start to look the same and even offer the same sights. Still, Janet had never been to Ocean Park and I had nothing else planned for today — so no regrets coming here.

Buffalo statue Luneta park Manila
It was around 5pm when we left Ocean Park
Roxas Blvd Manila evening horse cart
This is Roxas Boulevard
Hostellery Manila Philippines hostel
This is a new hostel in Ermita
Ermita garden statue Manila
A statue in a garden we passed as we strolled through Ermita
Ermita Shrine Manila
Ermita Shrine… but you could read that, right?
Hobbit House restaurant Manila Philippines
Well if they say so
Kashmir Indian restaurant Manila
Kashmir, one of the more older Indian restaurants in Manila

After this, we spent some time at Robinsons mall where I bought some t-shirts at the department store and after dinner at Carls Jr., we then headed back to the condo. I had just one more day left in Manila, and that will also be the final post in this series.

Previous posts in this series:

Philippines 2013: Coron island-hopping tour (Part 2) – Twin lagoon, CYC island; climbing Mt. Tapyas

Philippines 2013: Coron island-hopping tour (Part 1) – Siete Pecados, Kayangan lake

Philippines 2013: Aerial view of Mount Mayon; arriving at Coron

Philippines 2013: Lignon Hill Park, Cagsawa Ruins and Mount Mayon

Philippines 2013: Arriving at Legazpi; going to Donsol to see whale sharks

Philippines 2013: Leaving Boracay; Kalibo to Angeles City

Beachfront hotels and resorts on White Beach, Boracay

Philippines 2013: Bulabog beach, Mount Luho viewpoint and sunset at White Beach

Philippines 2013: Boracay island tour, Puka beach and snorkelling

Philippines 2013: Flying from Manila to Boracay, White Beach

Philippines 2013: Taal Lake Volcano and Peoples Park, Tagaytay

The crap I went through to get my Philippines tourist visa this time

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