Heading down south only meant one thing--a visit to Manila Ocean Park. Blame it on our insatiable desire to entertain our precocious toddler beyond the confines of the mall play centers. It was our second time to visit the place and found myself thinking, "Will I ever get tired of MCP?" After a brief pause, I found myself answering, "I most certainly doubt it."
Lunch at Makan Makan (formerly known as Makansutra) was at the top of our list. Having missed the resto the last time we visited the park, we went here first before heading to the other attractions. That's right. You guessed it. During our first visit, we only had time for two attractions: Musical Fountain Show and the Oceanarium.
Makan Makan, an offshoot of the popular Singaporean eatery Makansutra , boasted of an array of Asian dishes, drinks and desserts. It was a gastronomic paradise filled with specialties from various regions at affordable prices.
Their menu was diverse indeed; but, that afternoon I was craving for something Singaporean or Malaysian, perhaps stemming from watching all the interesting cooking shows on the Asian Food Channel.
After we made our order, I surveyed the place a bit and found it rather spacious.
This was the view from my left and if I stood up and leaned over, Manila Bay was just a glance a way.
Laksa (Php 160). A fantastic medley of mildly spiced noodles, seafood and rice cakes. I was crazy in love with the fact that the dish featured an array of authentic spices that melded together all the ingredients in a robustly flavorful way. In my opinion, it gave me a glimpse of how delicious Singaporean food really is.
Nasi Goreng with Satay (Php 160). Fried rice served with meat skewers, sambal sauce, pickled cucumbers and pork rinds. Though the satay looked more like tiny hors d'oeuvres than real meat skewers, it was unbelievably tasty and brought forth a myriad of incredible textures once you sink your teeth into them. What it lacked in visual appeal compensated for its depth in taste and authenticity. It blended beautifully with the sauce and the the fried rice so much so that I was tempted to order another set.
Chocolate Dinosaur (Php 95). I truly had high hopes for this drink but it turned out to be just an ordinary Milo drink that you can concoct at home. I should have gone for the Tehtarik --then my comments would have been more favorable.
Mango Pudding with Sago (Php 65). Quite sweet, fun and playful to eat. Much better than the ones I had at Mann Hann and Hap Chan but still a far-cry from Hui Lau Shan's signature mango desserts.
Tako (Php 65). Green sago topped with coconut cream. Quite honestly, it looked better than it tasted. It lacked in sweetness and also failed miserably to highlight the richness of the cream which should have been the over-all intention of the dessert.. Better skip this concoction and order something more appetizing.
After lunch, we proceeded to the Jellies souvenir shop to buy tickets to the Dancing Jellies. Each pass cost Php 150. Admission was between 10 AM and 7 PM.
Quite honestly, I'm not a big fan of jellies. I remember that during our stay at Dakak Beach Resort in Dipolog City years ago, they predominantly ruled the beach to the extent that almost all the visitors stayed away from the waters for fear of being bitten.
But since they were kept safely in giant glass containers here in this attraction, my fears were put to rest. At first sight, though, the collection seemed extensive.
Until I realized that it was only the giant mirrors that were responsible for that illusion.
Kept securely in huge multi-lit transparent tanks, the jellies looked larger than life and every bit of fun than I thought they would be.
Well, at least in this particular attraction they were; but, put them back to the beach, and once again they become my indefatigable foes: My nemeses, I dared not fight against.
We dashed to the next attraction: Marine Life Habitat (Php 150 per head) featuring...
...Vincent and Icis-our lovable South American Sea Lions!
The last show was fully packed! When I saw them eating those hotdogs, though, my tummy began to grumble. Oh! How I wished I bought some snacks from the stalls outside.
I silently hoped that the show would have started sooner because of the heat.
A few minutes later the show began with the two trainers and the lovable sea lions on center stage.
The sea lion clapped exuberantly to the delight of the audience.
He even looked to his right...
...and to the left on command.
When asked to bow, he bowed.
When commanded to salute, they saluted with pride!
When the trainer asked one of the sea lions to play ball, he went the extra mile by balancing it on his nose.
I was so amazed at their innate talent to entertain and obey instructions automatically.
Just in case you're wondering whether sea lions and seals are one and the same, well, they are not.
My cravings didn't subside that was why we went to the hawker stalls outside the park and indulged in this Potato with a Twist snack (Php 70).
Something blue and cold seemed to be the perfect partner to the potato snack. You see, I haven't had a Snow Cone (Php 50) for two decades now. I remember that the last time I tasted one was during high school. This variant though had a strong, deep flavor and as expected, left that signature blue hue on the tongue.
Before we left the park, I wanted to see the sea lion up close and so we went to the exhibit slash photo op. Those who didn't want to pay, just like we did, were allowed to watch the on-going photo-ops from the sideline.
Our lovable sea lion was all set to meet his adoring public.
I can't help but be amazed at his social skills which proved to be better than mine.
He patiently waited for the next batch of excited viewers.
Once he saw them, he was again at his element- full of never-ending energy to the absolute delight of his fans.
Somehow, I can't help but be concerned about the sea lions' health. Thank goodness, the park made an effort to make known about their SOP in taking care of these incredibly smart marine mammals.
At dusk, the glorious view fused beautifully with the fresh sea breeze from Manila Bay which almost lulled me to sleep. Nature and fun were given new meaning since the inception and eventual operations of the Manila Ocean Park. I truly can't wait to see more of their upcoming attractions in the next few months.
Website: Manila Ocean Park.com
Website: Manila Ocean Park.com