Manila Bay Clean Up

Manila Bay has always been part of every Manileno or Manilena’s everyday life. Growing up in Manila had its perks, Luneta for a playground and Manila Bay as a free swimming place. It used to be clean believe it or not. Back in the 80’s, people still come in droves with their picnic tables and swim gears. Since I couldn’t swim yet and I was too terrified of the open sea, all I ever did was do “tampisaw” with my legs and scare the "sea ipis" away. Sea ipis are those really disgusting black roaches who thrived on the rocks and crevices of the bay. I was also able to see occasional crabs and jellyfishes, Manila Bay was clean and a welcome respite from the stressful city. For me, I treasured this bonding moment with my father. Every weekend we’d go to the bay and just hang out.

Fast forward to 2012, Manila Bay had so much trash it had to throw back to the streets of Roxas Boulevard. After the storm surge, MMDA gets about 800 tons of trash or about 30 truckloads per day! According to Mayor Lim,  garbage comes from the coastal areas not just in Manila but the surrounding provinces near the bay.

Last August 25, the Manila Bay SUNSET Partnership program headed by Landbank of the Phils. organized a Clean Up drive near the U.S. Embassy, where so much garbage has piled up. Government agencies, military, universities and commercial establishments all joined forces and took part in this great cause. This partnership program includes Manila Ocean Park, Manila Broadcasting Company and others.

September 15 is International Coastal Clean Up Day -there are other clean up campaigns within the country. I hope you guys can take part in the campaign. If you don’t have the time or the means to join, you can just promise to throw trash properly and inform other people, your family and your friends.

Let’s help save Manila Bay!

My Aquanaut Voyage Experience

My Aquanaut Voyage Experience

I yearned to be underwater. Although I don’t know how to swim and it takes a license to do SCUBA, it’s still something that I really wanted to try. I went to Boracay but unfortunately wasn’t able to do the helmet diving there. Good to know that Manila Ocean Park is offering it for the price of P995 and Metrodeal even offers it at P599 until August! No need to go out of town. I don’t even have to worry about safety since it’s in an indoor facility. How cool is that? Like totally.

Aquanaut Voyage requires a minimum height of 5 feet. Contact lenses and glasses are allowed because your head won’t get wet. After the orientation, a medical waiver is signed by each participant.

First off, there was a short briefing of hand signals done when you’re submerged on water. The diving instructor told us when to signal when we’re OK or we are in trouble like if you have a hard time breathing inside the helmet (this is definitely not for claustrophobics).

There are signs for kneeling and walking. He also mentioned the do’s and don’ts. No jumping allowed so as not to disturb the fishes and not to cause any difficulty with the helmet attached to you since it’s my life line 12 feet underwater.No touching of marine life since this might harm them or might injure you.A diver will be with you underwater so there’s no need to panic and he’s also the one who takes the underwater photos and videos!

Next, it’s time to put the wet suit and aqua shoes. These are provided by MOP as well as towel and soap. The diving instructor is first to go on the water. I went down the ladder in the Oceanarium’s main tank and the helmet is placed on my head. I was nervous! All system’s go and the serene underwater world was before me. I felt like Ariel floating along under the sea, with stingrays playing above me, some cute fishes zooming passed and a certain calm surrounded me. I felt disoriented for awhile but then when I saw the marine creatures, my fears went away.

The instructor told us (there were two of us diving that day) to walk and kneel as he took some photos and videos. A few minutes later, he told us to look around. It was an awesome sight as guests from the Oceanarium took photos of us and waved. I felt like a fish too, inside an aquarium being seen by lots of people. I had to wave back, I was so happy!

The activity lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, but it felt like an hour. It was such a surreal experience, something I want to do again in the future.

juvenile bamboo sharks about to be released in the wild.. :)

juvenile bamboo sharks about to be released in the wild.. :)

Homecoming for Bamboo Sharks

by MOP staff

It was a historical moment that I witnessed and I’m humbled by the experience. Last Saturday was the first ever shark release activity of Manila Ocean Park in cooperation with the municipality of Calatagan, CAP Oceans, BFAR-NFRDI and Calatagan Peninsula Resort.

Calatagan was chosen for the release of juvenile bamboo sharks since the place is a marine protected area. Baby bamboo sharks are reef-dwelling creatures and historically, they thrived in Batangas but due to human activities, bamboo sharks are now classified as near threatened.

Participants from DEPED mostly Science teachers, local government representatives, Vice Governor Mark Leviste and media from leading broadsheets were present to witness this unforgettable event.

BFAR-NFRDI representatives Joseph Rayos and Val Borja gave a talk about the general information of sharks, the importance of tagging and other shark trivia.

During the program, messages were given by Manila Ocean Park key personnel, Mayor of Calatagan Sophia Palacio and Vice Governor Mark Leviste.

Around 11AM, everyone trooped to the beach where the baby bamboo sharks are being readied for release. The plan was some sharks would be released in shallow waters, waist-deep by the LGU leaders and others through a deep waters by volunteer professional divers.

It was a glorious sight to behold when the sharks were finally released to their natural habitat. Some sharks were tagged by officials from BFAR-NFRDI.

I hope more Back to the Wild programs will happen within the year and not just sharks but other species as well. Manila Ocean Park has perfected captive breeding of these bamboo sharks and soon, we look forward to more happy “homecomings” at sea.

New on Tumblr

Hi guys! We’re new in Tumblr. Hope you can follow this blog for some news, behind the scene happenings, celebrity sightings and other fun stuff going on at Manila Ocean Park aka MOP.

Why a blog? Because we have alot of exciting things coming up in the next months and we just can’t contain it, we’d like to share it with you :)