Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Manila Ocean Park

It was a good news last year to hear about the construction of an ocean park in Manila. Most countries in Asia already have this kind of attraction. Hong Kong has Ocean Park, Jakarta has Seaworld and I guess they also have it in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and China for sure.

So with so much excitement we toured Manila Ocean Park. And here are my observations:

1. The park is half finished--- but the work in progress is for a hotel and restaurant. The aquariums are all set.
2. Too little space--- it has at least 4 sections and, with all the aquariums cramped, this place will always be crowded.
3. The 350 (kids) to 450 (adult) is not worth it. You can finish the tour in 1:30 minutes. Theres is nothing much spectacular specially for visitors who have seen HK Ocean Park or even the Seaworld in Jakarta. It may still be worth the price for kids who will see such species for the first time.
4. The surrounding restaurants are expensive. For tourists on a budget they need to drive away from that area to get some reasonably priced restaurants.

Here are some snap shots:

I am a bit frustrated since this could have been a major attraction for the city of Manila. The location is perfectly at the shore of Manila Bay and very accessible--- there could be no better place for this. This was the best chance to build something in Manila that stands out-- no one will invest to build same kind of theme park in larger scale.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Random shots @ Sukhumvit

TRAFFIC-- This is Sukhumvit,the shopping district of Bangkok. It was a working day and the traffic got jammed quickly around 5pm... just like any other south east asian city.

CONCERT -- Heard from a Malay colleague that a female pop group "famous" in south east asia are having some gigs... but never heard of them... perhaps not in the Philippines.

CARSHOW-- There was a ferrari car show at Centralworld. This one has nice "gills"...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Airport Taxi

There's a new airport-taxi system at the NAIA Terminal 2 (aka Centennial Terminal).

Manila's old rickety taxis sometimes don't use meters or overcharge passengers... and the old "airport taxis" with their better maintained cars are just expensive. Airport taxis charge at least Php450+ for a drop to Makati... they actually fixed the taxi-rates in a way you will not mind the change e.g. Php460 (OFWs will probably just give away Php500).

But with the new airport-tax system all cars are brand new and metered. The minimum flag down is at Php75. Going to Makati will just cost around Php250. Taxi stand is at the international airport arrival area which is also accessible from the domestic arrival.
By the way, the old NAIA is just getting older. The building is old and looks bleak with the dim lights... and the transport system is worst. Sadly, this is where all international flights land (except PAL) and where foreigners get their first impression. The new terminals are of course exclusive for Philippine Airlines.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mang Mario

Google (ph) "car air-con repair" and it will bring-up Mang Mario in many car forums. Google Mang Mario and it will show forums on car air-con repairs.

My car is E30. Those familiar with BMW would know how old it is. One typical problem for old cars like this is the not-so-cold air from its "air conditioner". I have consulted few shops in Makati area and the usual diagnostics was "kulang ang freon". In the last 4 months, I had my freon topped-off twice for at least Php300 each refill.

Then Google introduced me to Mang Mario. With so many good words in car forums about his shop, I decided to drive all the way from Makati to Bago Bantay in Q.C. And indeed Mang Mario is one of a kind repair shop! They cleaned the motor blower then topped-off freon and billed me just Php100! I just cant believe it... so I just paid double the bill with the half given straight to the mechanic.

And the air-con? It worked perfectly.

Mang Mario is a small family business not the commercial type of car repair shops. Just check Google for more details.