Good news, you don't have to go as far as Boracay to experience it. It's here in the Metro and it's at Manila Ocean Park. I know, I know, it's not like the facility just opened yesterday (it was officially launched March 2010) but I am sure many of you are still waiting to try it. This is what me and my wife set out to experience last weekend.......
AQUANAUT VOYAGE makes underwater walking experience possible. This unique diving system uses a special helmet that let's you breath freely and interact with marine animals.
This particular section of the Oceanrium is at the 2nd floor just above the aquarium. This is where the Glass Bottom Boat Ride is also availed. We arrived at around 5pm so there's not much of a queue. We were the last customers for the day. A "couple" came before us which I found out later on that the guy made his proposal during the dive.ahhhhh. sweeet.....
Guests are asks to sign a waiver before the actual dive. After that, we were oriented by Mr., a qualified aquanaut diving instructor. It's my first time to try such so I was a bit nervous during the orientation. I remember my student from South Korea teasing me to include scuba diving among my to do list this year. Something that i can;t even imagine myself doing.
Arnel---our diving instructor for the day
Or maybe this is the first step. I know reef walking in Bora is done in the open sea, that is something that I also wanna experience. But the fact that this dive is going to happen in a controlled environment gave me a sense of security. Unlike traditional Scuba diving, Aquanaut voyage diving affords you the luxury of experiencing the undersea world without getting your face and hair wet. No training is necessary and no tricky diving equipment. You just breath normally as you would above water. you can even wear your glasses and contact lenses during your underwater voyage.
In my case, the thing that I noticed is the effect of the change in pressure on my ears. But it's normal. The instructor will teach you how to deal with it.
special helmets where surface air is being pumped
GLASS BOTTOM BOAT RIDE
Guests are required to wear a wet suit and aqua shoes. This is necessary because visitors of the ocean park could see you through the aquarium below. This is also for your safety as the oceanarium is packed with big fishes.
Anyone above five feet tall with medium body built is qualified. The diving helmet is as heavy as 30 kilograms so it is not recommended for thpse with heart or lung problem, pregnant, asthma and other respiratory ailments especially those with neck trouble or surgery and those who are claustrophobic. I thought I have claustrophobic but I guess it's just mild as I was able to conquer my fears during that day.
The walk was really pleasant. Kinda difficult to move around because you feel like floating at times but it was really a good experience. What i enjoyed are the hand signal used underwater. we took a few photos here and there while enjoying the 360 degree view of the aquarium and all the fish swimming around. If you have no underwater camera like us and wants to have a souvenir of how you look like inside, just approach the front desk and they can take photos for you. Of course it comes with a charge of 350 pesos. Good thing you get a copy burned in a CD so you can have them developed at will.
Just to add, I thought having to wear the special suit would mean I will not be wet or anything. I was wrong. So if you are planning to try this one out, be sure to bring extra clothing. They provide soap, shampoo and towel so don't worry. Hot and cold shower is also available.
I thought that's the inconvenient part, especially for tired commuters. But it was just me being ignorant and unprepared. After the pleasant underwater dive and taking a shower, that was the time when I fully realized that this is an experience which involves all your sense. Gave me the fresh feeling of just having been in a swim in the beach or snorkeling.
Yes, we have experienced reef walking but we didn't have to go far. It's in the Metro and it's at manila Ocean park!!!!
RATE is 995php per head
Tues-Sun- 12 noon onwards
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