The New Luneta, plus The Shark Attack attraction and Sandbar opens in Manila Ocean Park

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Written by Trish Tanizaki

As Azrael’s representative, I was invited to go to Ocean Park on April 14, 2011 to the launch of Sandbar.

The first thing that we did was ride the tranvia to Luneta Park. Admittedly, I haven’t been to Luneta for a
long time. I probably did go once on field trip as a child – but could hardly remember it.
(Read full story below)

There were a lot of things that I didn't expect. I guess I expected the malls to be the center of
gravitational force, but lo and behold, families are out there on a picnic, or for a simple stroll - WHICH
IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. Not the malls! Luneta is how it must be: family-oriented, fun and most of all,
FREE. The executive director of National Parks Development Committee under DOT, Mme Juliet Villegas
couldn't put it more correctly when she said parks are social equalizers : accessible to both rich and
poor alike. From the talk regarding Luneta park, we understand the history and the etymology (Luneta
because it's moon shape, with luna meaning moon.) The future of Luneta is promising to say the least,
despite the budget problems. I appreciate the present government efforts to revive Luneta : the new
children's park, the planned renovation of the Relief Map, the reconstruction of the flower clock and
many more! To celebrate independence day, Luneta will host a special celebration open to all on June
12. On June 19, at exactly 7:08 am, the time our beloved hero was shot, the DOT will host a flower
offering of 150,000 people - also open to all. An event for all Filipinos.

After Luneta Park, the tranvia took us back to Ocean park. We entered the oceanarium where we were
welcomed by fishes of all shapes, sizes and colors. The first one was the most memorable because it was
huge, slow and freshwater : the pirarucu. Too bad I couldn’t take pictures because using flash wasn’t
allowed, and the place was too dark for my phone!


Close up and personal.

This fish found the perfect spot for chilling. Or is that beauty rest?

Not a cousin of Jar Jar Binks

Snow flake moray eels

Say ah?

The fun part here was feeding the koi. You feed the koi with a feeding bottle – exactly the same type for
babies. The contents are yellowish white liquid with pellets. Although definitely not the biggest koi (the
biggest koi I’ve seen are in Hakone lake!), this is feeding to a closer level : you hold the bottle and let the
koi suck from it.


Like all the koi I’ve experienced before (pun-intended if you speak Japanese:) , these koi are aggressive
and they tug, pull and fight for food.

It’ actually amusing to be able to watch them from below. Usually you’re stuck with watching the
struggle in the surface.

We were also brought to the newly opened Shark Attack where a guest can get into a cage, wear a
suit, submerge in a shark-filled tank and feed these predators. According to our guide, these sharks are
native of Luzon waters. This attraction costs 995 pesos per heard for 15 minutes, including the wet suit and the shark food. You can also take underwater cameras to take your own shark encounter photos – a cam- whoring opportunity to make the most of your money.

This attraction produced mixed feelings from me. As a guest, this seems very thrilling indeed, the only
thing holding me back is the price. On the other hand, being a big freedom fan – although I am in no way
connected to the animal activists – I feel sorry for the sharks. Predator but prisoner, literally, a “big fish
in a small pond.” How dramatic and tragic at the same time. As an avid cook, I can’t help think if shark
farming is possible, to have an endless supply for shark fin soup. Or shark sushi, anyone?

Anyway, after that we went bank to Sandbar, a newly opened bar / restaurant to enjoy dinner. Unlike
Liquid, Sandbar is quiet, breezy and relaxing. There are tents that shelter tables. Otherwise you can opt

to get a table under a tree. It’s good chilax spot. And unlike Liquid where you can swim and drink (or
drink and dive?), I don’t think one can enjoy a bottle of beer while soaking in the pool : Sandbar’s own
pool (or pond – for that’s what it looks like) is shallow and unlit, built for aesthetic than for function. It’s
a spacious, open-air restaurant / bar where families can go to with their children, not for people looking
to dance and party. The food? I’ve eaten better. I’m wondering, though, how they are going to hold
events if it rains?

Sandbar is open from lunch time to midnight.

Here are photos from Manila Ocean Park

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Sandbar Seafood and Grill

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Inside Manila Ocean Park

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Press and Bloggers briefing area