Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Ocean Parks Adventure

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



I love the Ocean because of the colorful varieties of the species of fish and marine animals and the excellent marine life with an abundance of hard and soft corals. It is fascinating to have a date with these water species as I scuba dive or snorkel.

But I could not always go under water when I like to, because of some limitations like bad weather, cold water (i can't handle it really!!)during winter months or in the Philippines "cool" months from October to February and of course the hassles and the expense of going and traveling to far away locations just to see these wonderful marine species. For this reason, I really love the idea of Ocean Parks and Sea Aquariums. With these structures I am able to enjoy underwater life without getting wet during the colder months.

I have been to several underwater theme parks abroad like Underwater World Aquarium in Guam,Ocean Park Hong Kong, Underwater World in Singapore,Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Thailand, Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sydney Aquarium Australia in Darling Harbour and just last weekend, November 28, 2009, to our very own, Manila Ocean Park.

UnderWater World - Guam



Last January 2006, I visited Guam as part of my work as an International Legal Manager of the Office of General Counsel - Asia. With my colleagues Keith and Mary Ann Worley, Associate Legal Counsel of OGC-Asia, we went to the Underwater World Guam to eat at Sam Choy restaurant. UnderWater World Guam is one of the longest tunnel-aquariums in the world and the only oceanarium in Guam. The aquarium opened in 1999 and has more than 2,000 animals representing more than 80 different species. Many of the animals included in the aquarium are native to Guam and the surrounding Marianas Islands.



Ocean Park Hongkong


Ocean Park Hong Kong, is a marine-themed amusement park that I visited with my friends (Jean, Marcs, Ping and Nilo)in January 2007 as part of the birthday celebrations of Jean and Nilo. The park is huge and separated by a large mountain into two areas, The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland).

The theme park currently has 35 rides in addition to the different Aquariums - Pacific Pier which features Californian sea lions and different species of seals; Atoll Reef which is a four-story high aquarium holding more than 2,000 fish in 250 different species; Chinese Sturgeon Aquarium, another aquarium exclusively for 5 Chinese sturgeon; Ocean Theatre where you can watch the performances by dolphins and sea lions; Ocean Park Tower, a sort of observation deck that rises high enough for park-goers to survey the South China Sea and the Sea Jelly Spectacular, an aquarium built to display more than 400 jellyfish.


Aquaria KLCC, Malaysia


The Aquaria KLCC is an underwater park located beneath Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre within Kuala Lumpur City Centre development precinct. It features a 90-metre long underwater tunnel and houses over 250 different species and over 20,000 land and aquatic animals from Malaysia and around the world. I have seen the Aquarium during my first visit but didn't go inside during my visit last September 29, 2009.

Underwater World in Sentosa, Singapore


Underwater World Singapore is an oceanarium located on the offshore Singaporean island of Sentosa. Opened in 1991, it has more than 2,500 marine animals of 250 species from different regions of the world. The oceanarium is underground and has a 83-metre (270 ft) long travelator that moves visitors along a submerged 6-millimetre (0.24 in) thick acrylic-windowed tunnel from which they can look at an array of marine life including coral reefs, stingrays, moray eels, turtles, sharks and others.

Siam Ocean World Aquarium

Siam Ocean World is the biggest aquarium in Southeast Asia located at the heart of Bangkok. It is Thailand’s first world-class aquarium. The aquarium is open daily from 9am-10pm and the entrance fees (for both locals and foreigners) are Bt450 for adults and Bt280 for children (with heights between 80-120 centimetres). I've seen it in 2001 during my first visit in the country and don't have a good camera. I should visit it again when I go to Bangkok so I can have some digital pictures.

Sydney Aquarium Australia



I went to Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour when I bumped into Kenzie and Caleb from Colorado last July 8, 2009 although we didn't go into the Aquarium on the same day because of limited time. At Sydney Aquarium, you can walk under water and explore Australia's rich and diverse aquatic life and habitats.

Manila Ocean Park



The Manila Ocean Park is an oceanarium in Manila, Philippines which was opened only last March 2008 behind the historical Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park. Unlike Hongkong's Ocean Park with rides attractions, the Manila Ocean Park boast only to an oceanarium, which they said is larger than the Sentosa Underwater World Oceanarium in Singapore. The Oceanarium includes Agos (Flow) – a rainforest motif complete with 8 tanks of freshwater fishes; Bahura (The Reef) – exhibition of artificial corals in 48 tanks; Laot (Fishing Ground) – features big fish and Eagle-spotted rays in a long tank; Buhay na Karagatan (Living Ocean) – the main attraction of the oceanarium is a 25-meter long walkway tunnel with 220-degree curved acrylic walls similarly seen in Ocean Park Hong Kong, Underwater World in Singapore, Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, Thailand and Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The difference between MOP's is a 220-degree curved tunnel as compared to the standard 180-degree curved tunnels seen in other Asian countries; Kalaliman ( The Deep ) - showcases marine animals found in the deepest parts Philippine waters;Pagi (Sting Ray)– variety of rays fly over while you're under this unique Overhang Tank; Pating (Shark) – features several species of shark.

There is also a marine-themed mall and the hotel, theme park, outdoor pools, Dr. Fish, Boat Ride and a Jelly fish Aquarium called "Jellies - Dancing Sea Fairies".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Own Doctor Fish Story

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



Once upon a time, on a sunny afternoon of November 28 in the day of our Lord 2009,I went to Manila Ocean Park located right behind the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park (Luneta).

A friend from my mission Arlene, with the same spirit of adventure, joined me..

Then my Vietnamese friend Ha arrived and joined us for the day of fun before she goes back to Vietnam on Monday, November 30. .

After our lunch at the Inasal resto in front of Ocean Park,

we headed to the topmost floor of Manila Ocean Park to go to the Fish Spa. We went straight to the Fish Spa without paying the P400 entrance fee for the Oceanarium

We paid P120 and were given a small blue towels each and after a few seconds took off our footwear, and dipped our feet in a shallow pool full of fish .

There are two pools -- one with smaller fish and one with bigger fish. We chose the bigger fish which were more aggressive but quite scary to behold .

The Doctor Fish, as they are called, nibbled at our feet and ate the rough dead skin cells
. .

It's really very ticklish at first, so we were laughing out loud to our hearts' content

but we got used to it after a while. After 20 minutes of Doctor Fish nibbling, our feet felt incredibly smooth and clean. And we left the fish spa with a one - of - a -kind experience, feeling pampered,rejuvenated and with healthy skin.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Musicals Extravaganza: A Makati Stake Roadshow Presentation

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



Also in November last year, I wrote about the three musicals I've seen - Sleeping Beauty, 100 Years of World Class Music and Hairspray. In that blog entry, I mentioned that it was the most number of musicals I have seen in just a month through out my lifetime, but may not be the last.



Tonight was the realization of that prophecy so to speak - because tonight I have seen Ten Musicals at the Makati Stake Musical Roadshow for their Relief Society Culminating Activity - The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Grease, High School Musical, Shrek, The King and I, Mama Mia, Fiddler on the Roof, Cats, and Evita. Wow! It was superb!! Kudos to each of the wards for doing such a great job!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


"When we begin our day with an attitude of gratefulness,it leaves little room for complaints and much room for grace to flourish"



Several friends greeted me on Facebook a Happy Thanksgiving Day and so I thanked them for the greetings but tell them that the Philippines does not celebrate Thanksgiving the same way they celebrate it in the U.S. or in Canada. For one, the fourth Thursday of November is not declared a holiday here!

I learned from Wikipedia that Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general.

In the same token though, Filipinos are very grateful people. They express thanks for the harvest and also express gratitude in general just for about anything. The only difference maybe with Americans is that the Thanksgiving celebration is not done on a national level. Well, former President Ferdinand Marcos had declared September 21 as the Philippines “national thanksgiving day”. But for some reasons the country has stopped observing September 21 as thanksgiving day. But in regional and personal levels, the Philippines continues to celebrate "thanksgiving days".



On a personal level, our family always have a thanksgiving celebration during graduation day, job promotions, board or bar examinations, school recognition day and birthdays of all family members.



On a regional level, each of the provinces has a kind of festival thanking God for the good harvest. Largely an agricultural economy, a third of country's 30 million hectares is used for agriculture -food crops, food grains like palay (unhusked rice), corn, coconuts, sugarcane, pineapples, bananas, mango and coffee and non food (pasture and cut flowers),and there is just always good harvest season to be thankful for and that calls for a merry making Thanksgiving celebration.

Over the years, I have attended Philippines ’thanksgiving day' celebrations. One of the example of such celebrations is the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon.


Pahiyas Festival
Pahiyas is an annual celebration every 15th of May, when people of Lucban, Quezon give thanks to San Isidro Labrador for a good harvest. Pahiyas means "decor". Thus, each houses in Lucban is decorated with brightly colored rice wafer, called kiping, a type of rice dough made from a traditional recipe. Other decorations includes local products such as fruits, grain, vegetables, and woven palm hats. Because I was assigned as an LDS missionary in Tayabas and Lucban, Quezon I usually go there during the Pahiyas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hanging Bridges: Bridging the Gap of Fear and Adventure

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



I'm an acrophobe. I'm scared of heights- especially fear of hanging bridges - the so-called rope hanging bridges that are meant for walking, or pathways to another place. The bridge no matter how sturdy or look safe, evokes danger to me for they seem to be too high off above the land or the river and it sway! I feel a twinge of anxiety and fear in simply walking across a hanging bridge. And so like many acrophobic people, I treat my fear through avoidance.

But wanting to be a gutsy woman and overcome this acrophobia, I started trying bridges gradually exposing myself in small steps from the least fearful situation to the most fearful ones. This allows me to adjust to each step and overcome the fear incrementally. So looking back at my travels, I have tried walking at several hanging bridges as part of my journey to gutsiness - first just looking at the bridge in Cagayan de Oro, then walking halfway thru a bridge in Bohol, then crossing completely the bridge at Sunway Lagoon in KL, Malaysia, and finally enjoying the bridge walk at Sentosa, Singapore. Wow, I had unique experience being able to overcome the fear of heights.


- Starting my first step in Cagayan de Oro hanging bridge in July 2007



-walking half way thru the hanging bridge in Loboc, Bohol in July 2007


-completely crossing thru the bridge in Sunway Lagoon, KL Malaysia in September 2009


-enjoying the bridge walk at Sentosa Bridge in Singapore in October 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Wanderings in Tsinelas!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



Cebu Pacific Airlines has launched an exciting contest dubbed as “The Wandering Juan Photo Contest,” which is a promo open to every traveler on the airlines to any local or foreign destinations. I was really excited for the promo because I love to travel. I love to take pictures of all my travels. And I love to wear “tsinelas”. And these are what the contest require. You have to take creative pictures with "tsinelas" together with a popular landmark or with local people and you might win free trips to top Asian destinations. All you have to do is fly via Cebu Pacific from July 1 to October 31, 2009, see new places, meet different kinds of people and tell your unique stories through images.



During the promo period I traveled via Cebu Pacific Airlines to Naga, Palawan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Cagayan de Oro and have taken lotza lotza pictures! Too bad, I wasn't able to download any of the pictures to the contest promo for some reasons. Anyway, it is the journey and not the destination that counts. I enjoyed every bit of the experience - the joy of approaching new people, the comfort of wearing tsinelas, the excitement of seeing people enjoying the comfort of their tongs, slippers, flipflops or tsinelas, and the sense of achievement seeing the creative photos I have taken.

I want to share the photos here on my blog.


-my friends at the Water Park of Sunway Lagoon, KL Malaysia


-A couple from Abu Dhabi enjoying the water park at Sunway Lagoon, KL Malaysia


-Ross and his wife from Melbourne, Australia






Johanna and Me at the Singapore Flyer


Singapore view from the Singapore Flyer


The tribe in Cagayan de Oro City


-at the Sentosa Singapore





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Sunday, November 22, 2009

LDS Members: Push Along,..

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



“The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth. (D&C 65:2)

Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the use of the word push to describe our duty. The stone that was cut out without hands will not roll without hands.


I taught Lesson 41 "Every Member A Missionary" in the Adult Doctrine Class. In my Lesson preparation, I always combined ideas in the Manual as well as Ted L. Gibbons lesson in LDS Living to which I subscribed, in order to create my own attention activity.

As part of my attention Activity, I told the class of a certain employer who is hiring people for a certain work and that He asked me to pre-qualify from among the class members. I told them I will not tell them yet what that the work the Employer wants them to do but once they are qualified, they will be given a Job Decsription.

The first qualifiers are those who are 19 to 25 years old single male.

- Their job description is in Deuteronomy 33:17 - Like Joseph, "xxx he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh"

The next qualifiers are All single males, regardless of age.

- Their job description is in Doctrine & Covenants 58:44,45, "xxx For, behold, they shall push the people together from the ends of the earth".

Then, All the single ladies who are 21 and above.

- Their job description is found in Doctrine & Covenants 66:11, "Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful; and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads".

Then the next qualifiers are All the fathers and mothers.

-Their job description is in Doctrine & Covenants 29:7-8, "Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked."

-Every one in the room has qualified and they were hired by Jesus Christ to be the PUSHERS and GATHERERS in Israel.

This responsibility to be pushers has been given to all members of the Church. We are to gather Israel. And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of the elect; cause the Lord said “for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts”.

As Ted L. Gibbons said, "In order for us to remember this duty, the word push has been placed in hundreds of thousands of locations throughout the world. Each time you approach the door of a commercial enterprise, either as you enter or as your leave, you will probably find a gentle reminder of your duty inscribed there: "PUSH."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Have a Bite of Heaven, Have Chocolates

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

My family is craving for some sweets tonight while watching tv. Good thing I have tons of chocolates in my storage - all flavors of Kisses, Herseys, Cadbury, Ferrero and my Beryl's chocolates from Malaysia.

I still remember how we stumbled upon Beryl's Chocolates while we were in KL last September 27-30, 2009. Of course, a sweet tooth like me will always enjoy a visit to a chocolate factory!



We got really lucky that day. We hired a taxi from Petronas Skybridge to go to the Bus terminal to get our ticket back to Singapore the next day. The taxi driver slash tour guide told us about Beryl's Chocolates that is near the bus terminal. I readily agreed to drop by and I was so glad we did!

At Beryl’s it’s all about delivering the best chocolates in Malaysia. To that end, Beryl’s Chocolate offers varieties of chocolate to suit every mood, taste, flavor and desire. And just like their motto - I had a bite of heaven!

We got lots of different kinds of chocolates - not the ordinary kind. I bought chili chocolate, bitter mint, Ghana Milk Chocolate, the Tiramisu chocolate series, and my friend Judith gave me Shabbath Milk Chocolate Tin Can Coin with a stuffed toy while Joseph gave me the Eternal Love Milk Chocolate.



Wow!Beryl's Chocolates really completed the birthday fun! And now, chocolates serve a practical purpose - bringing our family together. Thus, an old adage goes "A family that eats chocolates together, stays together!".

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