Ocean Adventure at Subic

Entrance to the Park

Ocean Adventure

Ocean Adventure is located at the edge of Subic Bay in the Philippines. Surrounded by pristine jungle which runs down to the golden sandy beaches it is a 'must visit' for anyone on holiday on Luzon island in the Philippines.

With road improvements Subic Bay is now just two hours away from Manila by public transport and forty five minutes from Angeles. The beaches of Subic Bay are the nearest 'clean water' to Manila. It is clean too, crystal clear and mainly sheltered, making the area an ideal place to dive or snorkle.

This visit took place in March 2009. My last visit was about two years previous.

Ocean Adventure is primarily an Educational Experience offering visitors the chance to view displays given by a variety of Cetaceans and Sealions. There is also a small aquarium and a rescue centre for native mammals and birds.

By very virtue of its location the park offers protection to some of the surrounding jungle which is amongst the best in this area of the Philippines. Olive Ridley turtles actually nest on the beaches within Ocean Adventure.

The Ocean Adventure team take an active role in mammal marine strandings and their expertise has ensured that these are professionally managed.

 

Neat Paths within the Park

A Shining Example

Having visited no less than 26 public animal collections in the Philippines I can say without a shadow of doubt that this is the most all round professional operation that I have come across. True, it is a commercial operation but unlike so many of its genre it is not pure exploitation. Here animals are extremely well cared for and act as ambassadors in taking a role in putting forward a message.

I will admit it. I had an indirect involvement with dolphins within the UK. I managed Cleethorpes Zoo and Aquarium for a time and my girlfriend was a trainer at Flamingo Park Zoo. 'Cuddles' the UK's first Killer Whale nearly killed me...out of affection, I might add. Although I came to appreciate the extreme caring and dedication the staff had for their marine charges I was always less than happy with the accommodation provided for them. I always thought the dolphins and whales deserved something bigger...and better. I never made a secret of my thoughts on this.

Here in Ocean Adventure I am delighted to see Cetaceans with more than enough space in beautifully clear deep natural seawater. These are backed up by professional caring trainers, well equipped knowledgeable vets and a team who act with a sense of responsibility. I see them pick litter where dropped...regardless of rank. They observe, they question the unfamiliar, are helpful and polite.

 

View over main performance enclosure

Some of the holding pens

Education and Signage

Signage within Ocean Adventure is excellent. It is neat, clear, informative and interesting. I would like to have seen more 'mind bite' signs to catch those too lazy to read.

The show commentaries were in English and were very clear. They complemented the signs but added that all too important touch of humour that is so critical to the learning process.

The Sealion show was excellent with the introduction and finale by the sealions themselves a memorable experience.

A secluded beach

Aquarium

The aquarium at Ocean Adventure is much smaller than many but it more than makes up for this by being of such high quality. Here the aquariums are vibrant, decorated and alive rather than being just glass boxes full of water. Whereas I was quite pleased with my visit to Manila Ocean Park the aquarium staff there would learn a lot by visiting here.

Tank in Ocean Adventure Aquarium

Another Tank

Multipurpose cages at WIN

Ocean Adventure also operates a small terrestrial zoo where wildlife from the surrounding area are exhibited. Many of these are 'rescues', and where possible these are returned to the wild. Whilst they are in the park they have an important educational role.

At the time of my visit the 'zoo' area was being redeveloped and the animals were being held elsewhere. I did however go and visit and found that this 'off show' housing was vastly superior to practically anything on offer in Manila Zoo.

Camayan Beach Resort

 Right next door and associated with Ocean Adventure is the Camayan Beach Resort. This offers first class accommodation, and excellent restaurant, a beautiful beach as well as facilities to dive or canoe...or just chill out. A big plus is free WiFi in all the rooms. This is so often essental today and to be honest I cannot see how hotels get away charging for such an amenity.

Camayan Beach Resort

Somewhere to chill out

Sunset in Subic

I have two criticisms

I have just two criticisms about Ocean Adventure and approach both these from the viewpoint of an average Manilan.

The first is that it is easy enough to arrive in Subic or Olongapo but it is difficult to reach Ocean Adventure from there. It is not a five minute drive but more like half an hour and there is no regular public transport...in fact you would be lucky to find any at all. Taxis are available but they are in the region of 350 Pesos which is well more than you would pay on a bus journey from Manila.

The second is the cost of entry to the park. It is well beyond the means of the average Filipino. The 100 mile catchment area for Ocean Adventure has something in the region of 22 Million people. Of these it is doubtful that less than a tenth could actually afford the entrance fee.

A footnote

I find it sad that just down the road from the finest animal collection in the Philippines is located on of the worst at 'Zoobic Safari'. This has no connection with Ocean Adventure and is an example of pure animal exploitation. Interesting to note though that they did send staff to the Zookeeper Training Workshop unlike the infamous Manila Zoo.

But Ocean Adventure? Brilliant! Well worth a visit.

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Comments 11 comments

deegle profile image

deegle 6 years ago from Ventura County California

I have been to Ocean Adventure back in 2004. From the pictures it hasn't changed much. If I have a chance to I may visit while I am here in Olongapo. I do agree though that it is a beautiful experience. Also with the fact that it should be made more accessible by improving the roads and the cost is a bit high for locals to visit.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Nice photos and an excellent hub! I never heard of this place, but should I find myself in the Philippines, I will certainly go here!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thank you Austinstar - I is certainly worth a visit. The Philippines to. Different but a great place for an interesting holiday.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...we're planning to visit Subic to escape the stressful world for a while and somehow to see the real heart of the place...thank you for these information Sir. ^.^


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia Author

pinkhawk - I hope you will enjoy your stay...I know I did. Visited three times now. I hope that I will again.


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 5 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

I enjoy your perspective. Flag up and useful.


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia Author

dallas93444 - Many thanks. Historically interesting in as much as this is built on the spot where all the boats left headed for Vietnam back in the war days.


adomika 5 years ago

I'm a Filipino and I've been in this place. As much as I wanna promote tourism in our country, I want to stop the stupidity of mankind on putting dolphins and whales in captivity. There's a lot better place here in the Philippines where you can actually experience real nature such as Palawan or Camarines sur. STOP DOLPHIN SHOWS!!! Watch the documentary "THE COVE" and you'll see:

www.takepart.com/thecove


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia Author

adomika - I too have visited this place as well as a number of others. This one is good and run and managed by people who genuinely care. It needs good places for people to see and experience the animals so they realise their value in the wild. Without places like Ocean Adventure fewer people would care.

As to 'The Cove'. Yes, I have seen it. So hard hitting it hurts but it also skims around the truth.

Follow up this link

http://zoonewsdigest.blogspot.com/2010/08/zoo-news...

and watch the two videos Dolphin Show = Dolphin Kill? An Investigation of The Cove Part 1

and Part 2

Keep an open mind.

Thanks for commenting


ChristinCordle12 profile image

ChristinCordle12 5 years ago

WOw, such a wonderful place to go and spend a vacation sometime. love it!


Peter Dickinson profile image

Peter Dickinson 5 years ago from South East Asia Author

Thanks Christin

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