Monday, February 20, 2012

Manila Ocean Park, The Pergola, etc. - a Happy Birthday Weekend Celebration

I was on a 24 hour shift when I realized that it was my birthday and I didn't have anything planned, hence my birthday post over at my Kicking Pinay blog last Saturday morning. I was so focused on everything else that I didn't have any more time and energy left to plan for my own birthday. Saying a simple prayer of thanks to the Almighty is enough for me as I have already received so many blessings in my life. Looking back, I ended up having such a blast last weekend. I guess that's what happens when you don't expect a lot and you start getting blissfully content with your life. The universe just gives you more of what you already have --- a husband who loves you and a life full of happy adventures. :)

Below is a summary of the wonderful birthday weekend I had which I ended up celebrating with the most important person in my life, my partner, my better half, my husband, Peter. ^_^

Saturday at the Pergola in Paranaque

We've been living in the south for 5 years now but we haven't really explored its nearby cities. I normally sleep on Saturday morning til afternoon and wake up just as the sun is starting to set. My body clock is perpetually on U.S. time no matter how hard I try to change it. Surprisingly last Saturday, I wasn't sleepy at all despite the fact that I just got sick the previous week and I've been awake for almost 24 hours by then. I guess I was just happy to be alive on my birthday and I didn't want it to pass me by. True, I wasn't feeling 100%, but I was energetic enough to at least go out of the house and experience something different.

My hubby, being the sweet and thoughtful guy that he is, had been thinking about bringing me to The Pergola since the day he discovered it months ago. You see, between the two of us, he's the one who does all the errands that involve going out of the house like doing the grocery, paying the bills and shopping. Unless we're traveling or attending a party, I just normally stay at home, clean the house and do the laundry. I'm really a homebody at heart with occasional desires to travel. Anyway, he found this place while doing the groceries one time and he wanted me to see it. 

The Pergola Mall located in BF Homes, Sucat, Paranaque looks very small from the outside but when we checked out the place, it looks like a mini version of Alabang Town Center, for me at least, ambiance-wise.There's a small fountain in the middle, with playground for kids, surrounded by numerous shops and dining places. At least now, aside from Festival Mall, ATC, Westgate, Northgate, Paseo Center, Nuvali and Enchanted Kingdom here at the south, there's another option for us to visit whenever we want to hang out somewhere nearby. 

Late Lunch at Conti's in Paranaque

The Pergola is also near a lot of restaurants and one of the places we've always wanted to try there is Conti's Pastry Shop and Restaurant. We've heard good reviews about their dishes and desserts. Although I won't be able to eat most of the things on their menu due my GERD, I was glad they have some healthy food offerings for vegetarians and people like me. 

We capped our Saturday by buying some DVDs and bags then headed home as I was already feeling quite dizzy. I was excited about what Peter had planned for Sunday and I felt like that's when my birthday celebration really started. 

Sunday at Manila Ocean Park

The last time we visited Manila Ocean Park was in 2009 and 2008 when it was still not quite finished and they only had the Oceanarium to offer their visitors. This time around,  knowing that the place is already fully built, we intended to try everything that will fit into our time and budget. 

Here are the promo packages they're offering until April 15, 2012:

Moonlight Adventure: Oceanarium + Musical Fountain Show = Php500 
Ultimate Experience: Oceanarium + Sea Lion Show + Fish Spa + Jellies + Musical Fountain Show = Php800
Marine Life Encounter:  Oceanarium + Jellies + Sea Lion Show = Php500

Here are their other promo packages:

A: Oceanarium + Penguin Exhibit = Php600
B: Ultimate Experience + Penguin Exhibit = Php900 (THIS WAS WHAT WE GOT!)
C: Musical Fountain + Sea Lion Show + Penguin Exhibit = Php 300
D: Oceanarium + Penguin Exhibit + Musical Fountain = Php700

We also got the Aquanaut Adventure which costs Php995 per person.

So we got there at around 8:30 am. The line wasn't long yet so as Peter was waiting for the cashier to open, I checked out Liquid Bar where Peter and I plan to hang out this coming Saturday with our girlfriends. There's no entrance fee and the food and drinks are quite affordable. Plus you can party and dance all night long while dipping in the pool. How awesome! Here's a daytime and evening photo of Liquid Bar:

Swimming at Manila Ocean Park's Swim n' Fun Area

After we got our tickets, the first thing we did was head to their swimming pool near Liquid Bar. Single entrance here (without any package) is Php200.00 and we thought this would be a nice place to hang out at on weekends when we don't plan to windsurf, travel, or stay in the house. The swimming pool is very big and you can do laps here. Plus, you get to see the training of the parrots in the early morning and be able to watch the sea lion show from a distance. Although they have this promo that if you bring 4 other people to swim, you get to have free tickets to the sea lion show.

Sea Lion Show

We stayed at the pool until before 11 am. Then we put back our clothes on, took our seats at the stadium and waited for the sea lion show to start. It was fantastic!

We then headed inside the building to look for the area where we can do helmet diving. As usual, just like in our Boracay helmet diving adventure, I was scared as hell to do this. But I figured, if I was able to do it in Boracay with the strong curent and all, I can surely do it in a contained area such as a huge aquarium where they placed 1000 different kinds of fish, 12 of which are humongous. After 15 minutes underwater, it made me not want to leave. It was beautiful! Maybe next time, we'll try the shark encounter too, also at Php995 each. Hihi. 

Late Lunch at MakanMakan Asian Food Village

After out wet adventure the first half of Sunday, it was time to change costumes. Hehehe. Then off we went to eat.

What's nice about Manila Ocean Park is that they offer the most varied of dining choices. Whether you're on a budget or have the money to splurge on food, Manila Ocean Park's food concessionaires can cater to both markets. 

As for us, since it was my birthday anyway, we decided to go to MakanMakan, the pricier end of the dining spectrum. Anyway, my food choices are very limited so I won't really be spending too much. And since we already had hot dog sandwiches earlier, the bowl of assorted seafood and tofu + 4 pieces of siomai + a glass of Soya drink with black gulaman which they call Michael Jackson were enough. They were so tasty by the way! 

Snow Village

After lunch, we headed to the Snow Village located inside the Penguin Exhibit. That was the second time I've experienced stepping into a room with below zero temperature. The first one was in Star City a decade ago. Here at Snow Village, the temperature was below 20 degrees celsius to be exact. It was so much fun sitting and stepping on snow. We were only there for a few minutes though since I couldn't stand the cold anymore and my fingers were starting to feel numb. That was when I felt all the more thankful for living in the Philippines! I don't think I could ever survive in a place where it snows. Hehehe. 

Penguin Exhibit

Outside the Snow Village is the Penguin Exhibit. This is the very first place in the Philippines where penguins are being bred in captivity. There are about 18 species of penguins in the world and what they have here at Manila Ocean Park are the Humboldt Penguins. They are flightless marine birds superbly adapted to their environment. These penguins come from a warm and dry climate off the west coast of South America as opposed to those that come from the chilly Antarctic. They can live up to 30 years in captivity and only 20 years in the wild. These birds can identify each other with their unique voices even though for us, they all sound alike. They are natural swimmers, using their wings to propel them underwater at a speed of up to 17 mph. Fascinating!

Outside the Penguin exhibit, we passed by another exhibit that showcases what it is like to travel to Antarctica. It was very educational and if only we had more time, I'd read everything on their exhibit wall. Maybe next time. ^_^

We saw different kinds of jellyfish in there: blubber, moon, upside-down, and spotted blubber. I think that our experience of swimming with the stingless jellyfish in Siargao is still the best jellyfish experience for us so far. However, this definitely comes second. ^_^


Of course we still checked out the Oceanarium. I found it surreal that earlier we were just in there with the fishes. Then a few hours later, we were checking them out from the outside. ^_^

After almost a whole day of walking around this big adventure place that is Manila Ocean park, we headed to the Fish Spa to relax. It was both our first time and the experience was very ticklish. I don't think I can last very long in there. Good thing that the fish spa was only for 15 minutes. 

Musical Fountain Show

Our tickets were slated for the 6 pm show. Looking back, we wished we got the 6:30 pm show instead. Since the sky was still quite bright at 6:00 pm, we didn't enjoy the whole show. We only started appreciating it after the sun had set and the lights became obvious against the dark sky. Of course by then, we only had 10 minutes to enjoy the 30-minute show.

White Moon

Around 7pm, we were both starting to get hungry. We dropped by White Moon to check if it's a nice place to dine in. But it was starting to feel very humid and dining outdoors by the bay didn't seem like a good idea. Perhaps we'll do this next Saturday just before sunset. The sunset view at White Moon is terrific. We just missed it because of the Musical Fountain Show.

Dinner at Harbor View

So we decided to finally head out of Manila Ocean park to see where else we can eat. Just a few kilometers outside Manila Ocean Park, we passed by Harbor View. It looks enticing enough. We haven't been there before so we thought we'd check it out. 

The place has  a garden side, a harbor view side and an indoor dining option. The harbor view side was full so we opted for the garden. After we ordered our food, it started to drizzle so we just went inside. The food was okay, jus a bit pricier than MakanMakan. 

Overall, it has been a really awesome birthday weekend. Despite the fact that I didn't have any plans of celebrating it, I ended up getting more out of it. Thanks to my hubby for these spontaneous mini adventures.  It reminds me that we don't need to go too far to enjoy ourselves. At the end of the day, all that really matters is that we're together and we're sharing this one big adventure we call life. Happy 34th again to me! And thanks to my baboo for making it special. (^_^)

For more photos, please head to:


Mer said...

That was one awesome birthday date!!!! Kudos to Peter for making it special for you, Jen. Promise, dalihin ko si Heaven there, next time. yung she can go swimming na rin and won't really get scared easily. i mishuu!!!!! love lots!!!

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Oo mer! Sulit mag swim dun. Php200 lang tapos you can watch the sea lion show from afar sa morning and the musical fountain show at night, for free. Isa lang kasi ang venue ng mga yun. Eh alangan naman itaboy nila yung mga nasa swimming pool diba? ;)
Mishu too!!!! LOve u!

Eric Carter said...

Nice post, sounds like you had a great time :)
Short break Scotland

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Hi Eric,

Thanks for dropping by. It was an unexpected weekend and we did have loads of fun. :)

Eric Carter said...

The fish spa looks fun :) someday I`ll try it maybe ..

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Oh it is! You should try it! It can be very ticklish though. :)

Eric Carter said...

No worries, I tend to be tickle-proof ;)

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Eric, that's good! Then you'll definitely enjoy your time at the fish spa. ;)

Jean said...

Hi Jenn. I'm a big fan of your blog. I always read them and so I was really happy (and starstruck) when I saw you last Sunday in Manila Ocean Park during musical fountain show. I want to approach you sana, nahiya lang ako hehehe. Anyway, belated happy birthday to you. It was also my birthday celebration last sunday, my birthday is on the 20th. Hope you won't get tired of blogging cuz i think you inspire lot of people like me.

Jennifer Adams-Juan said...

Hi Jean,

How flattering! It's not everyday that someone gets starstruck by my presence. ^_^ How I wish you said hi.:)

If I can blog all day I would! I love recording all my (mis)adventures and sharing them all on my blogs.:)

Thank you sa greeting and belated happy birthday to you too! I hope you had an awesome one and I wish you more adventures this year! Cheers!:)


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