Penguins and Sea Lions!

Finally! After a month’s worth of nagging on my part, hubby relented and took me and Joey to see the penguins at Manila Ocean Park. See, I’ve always liked penguins – maybe because I grew up having a penguin play set, the one which has three tiny penguins climbing up the stairs then sliding down. Plus, I find them cute and funny, the way they walk sideways, always looking like they’re about to topple down or something.
We got the Penguin Delight Package C for Php600 per head, which enabled us to watch the Sea Lion Show, Penguin Exhibit and Trails to Antarctica, and the Aquatica Musical Fountain Show. Priced just right, given that the upkeep of these animals must be expensive.
First stop – sea lions! Pardon the exclamation points. I must warn you this post is full of them. What can I say? I love the water, and that extends to all the inhabitants of any body of water. Ok, back to the sea lions. Did you know seals are different from sea lions?
Cuteness overload. While the sea lions performed the usual tricks of rolling over, swimming, and catch, it was still fun to watch. But I must say the performance of the sea lions at Ocean Adventure in Subic is better (but I believe it’s also more expensive). Joey would have enjoyed it except that we watched it out in the sun at 2PM so he was sweating and being an all-around bratty kid. 
Stadium where we watched the sea lion show (and the musical fountain show later that night). HOT!
Say hi!
Anyway, a good thing we went to the penguins after that, our main agenda for this visit. The area is actually on the second level (with the Oceanarium at the ground; we skipped this part since we’ve been there twice already); nothing grand here but they have installed a slide for guests (four at a time can go). Joey wanted to give it a try and I immediately said yes but as we were waiting for our turn, my knees were turning to jelly – what the heck was I thinking saying yes? I have a fear of heights and this slide spans half the perimeter of the massive room. Not to mention that I have to hold on to my seat and make sure Joey doesn’t let go of his, as otherwise, he might tip over and plunge to the side or tumble head first down the slide.
In any case, Joey did start to let go of his seat but a good thing that before he could remove both hands (and before I fainted or had a heart attack), the ride was finished. 
After that, it was penguins galore. If you’re just looking to watch the penguins, well, that’s precisely what you will do as they’re all locked behind a glass enclosure half-filled with water. But if you’re willing to spend Php250 (for one printed photo) or Php 400 (copies saved in a CD), you can go inside their “habitat” and feed them fish. Of course we were more than willing to pay Php400 for that. 😛
Feeding time!

Next stop, it’s the Snow Village. Honestly, it’s like walking into a large freezer, except that this one has plastic pine trees and snowmen and Santa. It was freezing cold in there; too bad I wasn’t prepared for this trip (we weren’t really supposed to go to Ocean Park that day) and didn’t bring my furrry winter jacket and mittens. We had to make do with the jackets they lend out for free, which, given that lots of people have used it, practically reeks of bad odor. Oh well.
Giant freezer. Brrrr!
Joey didn’t budge from the moment we stepped in to the moment we stepped out – Ipe had to carry him from one place to another as he refused to move or let his hands out of his jacket because of the cold. 

The sea lions, penguins, and Antarctica took a good two and a half hours and by 4:30, we were famished, having missed our lunch. And after standing in line for the most part, we really didn’t want to eat at the fast foods at the ground level. A good thing we spied this dimsum all you can at Makan Makan, the in-house fine-dining wing of the Ocean Park Complex. There’s only so much dimsum you can eat, but at Php350 per head, it was a steal, right? Plus, we needed the energy as we still had one activity – the Musical Fountain.
We almost didn’t get to see the Musical Fountain show as Joey wanted to go home already, but we managed to reach a deal with the little big boss and got him to stick around long enough to finish the light show, which started at 6PM. And a good thing we stayed. Joey couldn’t stop saying “wow” everytime the fountains would rush high up into the sky and when the mists would envelop everyone. 
I took a video of the entire light show but, it’s quite long, and rather than post it here, I’d recommend you go see it yourself. It’s not much but I’m sure kids would love it. I’d say it’s the perfect ending to our Sea Lion/Penguin trip on New Year’s Day. And judging from Joey’s contented sighs, I think this is the best New Year’s celebration we’ve had so far. 
Contented little boybie (my term of endearment for the kiddo – combination of boy and baby)
Check out the Manila Ocean Park’s website for the schedule and prices. If I’m not mistaken, their promos are only until January 15 so you’d better hurry!

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