Tuesday, February 22

Manila Ocean Park

Lately, Hubby and I seem to be enjoying spending our weekends doing short trips out of town or exploring famous tourists spots in Manila.  Dinner-movie combo has taken a backseat (or weekday seat in our case) cause there's just so much of Manila, and the Philippines in general, we haven't discovered.  And so last Saturday, you find silly couple conquering the vast Manila Ocean Park.

Oceanarium.  Ok, so I adore colorful fishes. And this was the perfect place for me to come and marvel at the different aqua marine creatures - from a safe tank distance.

Fish Spa.  I've wanted to try this for the longest time.  Especially since Dear Hubby has an old man's feet and he desperately needs to feed Dr. Fishes his dead skin cells.  While they can't claim any real therapy or medical relevance, there has been recorded incidence of Dr. Fishes' eating of the dead skin cells hastening the healing of a wound. Plus, seriously Hubby's feet afterward, was silky smooth!  Definitely worth the Php120 bucks we paid for 20 minutes.

Oceanarium: Php 400 (you get 10% off if you live in the Manila area)
Fountain Show: Php 300
Sea World Show: Php 200
Jelly Fish Museum: Php 160
Fish Spa: Php 120

There's some combo promotion but we didn't avail of them as we only wanted to see the Oceanarium and try the Fish Spa.

Sunday, February 20

Wakeboarding at Nasugbu

For Dear Hubby's 28th birthday, I decided that it's high time for some good clean adrenaline-rushed filled fun.  And so we drove the short drive from Manila to Nasugbu, Batangas and got ourselves some beginner's lessons in wakeboarding.

It was a Wednesday and traffic was super light, thank gawd, because we were starving already.

Lunch at the in-house restaurant.  Oddly enough, for a place that has unwashed table linens, prices were surprisingly high, I thought at first.  We both had the steak and it was delicious. So I berate myself silently for my earlier snooty judgment.


We mistaken thought that as beginners we would be able to do the ramps, and fly 360 degrees off the air. Umm, yeah. Maybe, next time.

Having a dinner to rush to back in Manila, we decided that it be best we just take the hour trial/tutorial.  It costs about Php 350/hour, wake boarding gear included.

I was able to stand after the second try, which I thought was pretty awesome of me (my blog, my rules!) Most everyone who tried it the first time commented about sore arms afterwards and having done it for an hour and half I thought mine would certainly have the not-so-desired sting effect, but nothing of the sort happened.

I'm not as good as the Hubby, who not only was able to stand immediately, but was able to finish an entire loop without falling flat on his face.

Some helpful tips:
1. Wear a rash guard.
2. Lago de Oro is a man made water park. Hence, the lake floor is a bit gooey when you stepped into it. Best to take aqua shoes with you.
3. Slather some UV45 at least. Unfortunately, there are no trees to block the ray of the sun.
4. Parking is free
5. From SLEX, take the Sta Rosa exit and just drive all the way to Nasugbu Batangas.  Lago de Oro is a good 45 minutes after the Nasugbu arc.
6.) 1 hour of wakeboarding session  costs about Php 350

30 Before 30 Checklist: the Dolphin Encounter

Most everyone I know, who has a proverbial bucket list, counts swimming with the dolphins pretty high up on their Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die or any similar less grimier version... And why not, the dolphins are one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth.  You look at them and you are instantly transported to kid-like state of happiness.

Last Monday, Dear Hubby gave me the greatest sweetest surprised since, well, his last greatest sweetest surprise.  He took me to Subic Ocean Adventure at Subic Bay, Olongapo City for some much desired swim encounter with the dolphins.

Swimming with the dolphins is fast becoming a popular travel activity in the area. However, reservations are still ideal since the park usually only accommodate a handful of lucky participants.  On weekends, swim encounters are suspended due to huge tour group, mostly Korean visitors at the Park.

Subic Ocean Adventure offers a number of ways you can enjoy the dolphins company.

There's the Beach Encounter for only Php 2,800, where your dolphin adventure starts with a big dolphin greeting by the beach shore.  Then you have a chance to touch, hug and even kiss this friendly mammals. And of course, there's plenty of time for some photo ops. (adventure: 30 minutes)

Second, is the Swim Encounter, which is what the Hubby and I did. For only Php 4,200 you have direct water interaction with this lovable creatures.  A 20-minute swim encounter, plus some dolphin training and a handful of other activities (i.e. dancing with the dolphins) Truly a once in a lifetime experience, worth every centavos. (adventure: 45 minutes)

Dear Hubby and I were just all smiles all throughout.  The trainer gives a 5 minute briefing about the different types of dolphins at the beginning of the session.  There we find out that ours is named, Cito, a bottleneck dolphin rescued in the bay area.  Excited as I was I tried very hard to listen to the instructor, but I was more worried about who will take our pictures. (Professional photographers at the park charge Php500 for the first 15 shots they will take) And finally our session was about to start.  We walked towards the beach and saw two dolphins making their way into the shore. *dies of happiness*  The instructor tells me to just grab onto to the fins and lay my body flat on his back.  It was pure awesomeness, I tell you.  Better than bungee jumping and cliff diving combined, IMO. (2 activities I had previously checked off my list, 2 equally exhilarating activity yet still manages to just come in second or third next to the dolphin encounter)

Third, for the dive enthusiasts, there's also the Dive Encounter at Php 5,500+.  Dive instructors will take you to one of the bay divisions for an intimate underwater experience with Flipper. (adventure: 30 minutes)

And lastly, there's the Photo Encounter, if you're like some and all you're after is a photograph and not the actual experience then for Php 500 you get your close-up time with the dolphins.

Total Adventure Cost: Php 6,000/person (includes tickets, meals, snacks, gas, and tollway fare)