Manila Ocean Park, the PhPhP1-billion marine park constructed by Singaporean and Malaysian investors at the back of Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park, opened on 29th February 2008.
“The park is set to be the city’s major tourist destination. It is expected to draw millions of visitors on its first year, offering a unique tourist experience beyond the usual shopping activities,” said park developer, China Oceanis Philippines, Inc., a joint venture between Singaporean and Malaysian investors.Tourism executives and local officials of Manila hailed the country’s newest tourist destination as something that will reinvent Rizal Park and reinvigorate tourism in the capital.
Manila Ocean Park president Lim Chee Yong said several developments are already happening around Luneta with the completion of the first phase of Manila Ocean Park .Lim said Manila Ocean Park will showcase the rich marine resources of the Philippines , which along with Malaysia , Indonesia and the Pacific Islands form the Coral Triangle, considered as the world’s center of marine biodiversity.
The Coral Triangle is home to 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 3,000 species of reef and pelagic fish.
The marine park’s oceanarium features 20,000 exotic and colorful fishes, most of which are endemic to the Philippines.The opening of the marin park has been deferred from December 2007 to February 2008, because of a minor fire last year, which caused the construction delays.
Completed was the first phase of the project, which include the main facility and oceanarium, a magnificent glass and steel structure featuring a 25-meter long, 220-degree curved acrylic walkway tunnel, where guests can view the country’s different marine species.
Set for completion later in the year are the open water marine habitats, a shopping mall, restaurant row, hotel, and multi-purpose function facilities.
When completed, the whole project will be the first of its kind in Asia Pacific, according to the marine park’s management.The management of the Manila Ocean Park has partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to spread awareness for Philippine marine environment.
WWF-Philippine vice chairman Lory Tan said the conservation group partnered with Manila Ocean Park after the company committed not to display endangered species, except for captive-bred, and to strive for best practice in collection of marine animals.
Dave Valdes, president of WWF-Philippines, said his organization will use its partnership with Manila Ocean Park to educate students and train the staff of the company in the area of conservation.
The Manila Ocean Park will help clean the water of Manila Bay , because it will draw water directly from the bay, which will undergo an advance filtration system.
Some 12,000 cubic meters of water from the Manila Bay will be pumped into the oceanarium, five other display tanks, and open water marine habitats daily.
Aside from the aquatic display, park visitors can enjoy a glass-bottomed boat ride, the 20-foot acrylic underwater tunnel, and the activity center.