We left the house a bit late (our planned ETA was 6am but we ended up leaving around 7am) and we actually started off with a massive scare – I got caught in Subic for running a stop sign which we missed seeing since everyone in the car had their eyes focused on looking for the signs indicating how to get to Ocean Adventure. Then it turns out my nephew in the front seat didn’t have his seatbelt on since we had just taken a pit stop and we forgot to put it on him again when we got back in the car. But the worst of it was, apparently my license expired two month ago (naturally I did not pay attention to it during all the hustle and bustle of recent months)! Since no one else in the car knew how to drive, the initial option was that we had to be escorted out of Subic, but my mom was able to talk our way out of it (and honestly, I really wouldn’t have tried to weasel my way out of that situation if it was just me, but we had two kids in the car who would be extremely disappointed if the trip didn’t push through). In the end, we were let go with little more than a slap on the wrist and a warning not to go breaking any more traffic regulations ‘til we got out of Subic. Needless to say I was like a soldier the rest of the way, making sure I didn't run into any more infractions.
But aside from that hiccup, the rest of the day went fantastically well as we got to do practically everything you could do there. We arrived at 1030am, just in time to join the first dolphin encounter at 11am (the next one was at 445pm). My mom was initially thinking of just having the kids participate in the dolphin encounter (it was P2300 per person), but we decided that the kids may need adult supervision with the dolphins so I told my mom and my bro to do the encounter as well.
I decided not to go in anymore since I had already done one in Mexico late last year, and I figured it would be good for me to just take pictures and watch over all the stuff we had while they were in the beach with the dolphins. Ciera ended up getting scared so my mom had to hold him while he was with the dolphin (their dolphin’s name is Loki), but CJ was really excited. It was great too, because the people taking care of the dolphins genuinely cared for them (as they should of course). During the encounter, the dolphins actually sit on shallow part of the beach for a few minutes for picture taking, and the trainer said that Loki was tired of sitting still and wanted to swim a bit so that’s what Loki did before returning to the beach to complete the photo op.
We then had some lunch before heading to the El Capitan Stadium at 1215 to watch the first dolphin and whale show that day. It was great, the dolphins were “walking on water” and jumping several feet in the air. Then the false killer whales came out and started dancing with the trainers and performing all sorts of neat little tricks. At the end of the show, the dolphins and the false killer whales all came out together and jumped out of the water all at the same time. It was a great spectacle. The host then started talking to the audience how we should care for these animals and our environment.
At 1:30 we headed to the Nautilus Theater for the Sea Lion show, and it was great too. They started off the show by having one sea lion lipsync the welcome remarks of the host. I also didn’t know what the difference of seals and sea lions were before: I used to think it was only their size, but it turns out it is also the way they walk on land – sea lions prop up their front body by using their flippers as legs and as such can walk fairly efficiently on land, while seals practically crawl on their bellies. Apparently they are also really strong as they can lift up their entire bodies using just their front flippers (one sea lion even lifted her whole body with just one flipper much like a break dancer!). Then a few more tricks were done before the show was concluded by another lesson on the three Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) and how we should not throw garbage into the oceans as it is the cause of death of tens of thousands marine life every year.
We then headed to the Sea Lion encounter area where my nephews and I had out picture taken with one of the sea lions named Madison. Unfortunately, our digicam ran out of battery so we only have a hard copy of the picture they took of us with their camera (by they I mean Ocean Adventure staff).
After the show, we headed to the Discovery aquarium, which is a collection really well maintained aquariums with an assortment of fish and other sea creatures like sea cucumbers, starfish, and even a lobster. My nephews naturally loved it and kept jumping from one aquarium to the next and back. We left Ocean Adventure at around 230 after what felt like a full day of enjoyment (this also meant that we got to Manila in the early evening). The place is quite expensive actually (even the lunch we had cost quite a bit), and when you compare it to similar facilities abroad, it isn’t as good. However, I think it is a great place to bring kids to (make sure you save for it though), and a great place to have an encounter with a dolphin here in the country (they also have whale encounters, but you have to be at least 8 years old to join that).
The rest of the long weekend was spent chilling out in Oakwood. I booked a two bedroom suite for two nights in Oakwood, and we headed there right after our Subic trip. Once again it was a lot of fun. We had good food and the kids enjoyed swimming in the pool and just running around the room. CJ also started drawing impressions of the animals he saw in Ocean Adventure, and my mom kept them all and decided to put them in a photo album along with the other photos we took of that weekend. After checking out on Monday, we had lunch in Outback because they had this promo where kids in costume got to eat for free. Both CJ and Ciera dressed up in pumpkin costumes. All in all, another great weekend.