I am speaking for many girls when I say this: a lot of us want to experience becoming a mermaid. With the childhood influences of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and the more recent mermaid-inspired TV series airing on TV prime time, just dressing up as a mermaid is already half the dream. Learning to glide on water with a tail in place of legs is the other half.
When I was given the opportunity to try out the Mermaid Swimming Classes at Manila Ocean Park, I was extremely happy. I bought a new pair of swimsuits and even had my mom make me a headdress to go with it. I put in so much effort conceptualizing the whole mermaid experience, and I was just super excited!
The class costs Php 400 for a 45-minute session. They have two sessions daily, one in the morning, and another in the afternoon. Because I arrived at the venue late, I had to take the afternoon class at 3 PM. The sun was high up so I was expecting the heat. Thankfully, the “pond” had covered areas.
The trainers were extremely helpful, so even if you’re not naturally gifted in gliding with a mermaid tail, they’ll be patient with you until you get it. I never did get it til the end of my session, but they assisted me all throughout and never left me alone. The program featured training on basic swimming, how to glide with a fish tail underwater and proper breathing techniques.
The down side is that only participants are allowed inside the mermaid swimming area, so you don’t have anyone else to take photos and document the whole experience other than Manila Ocean Park’s photographers. The good news is that their photographers are really helpful, and they’ll capture every bit of your mermaid swimming experience. They even take underwater shots with their cool camera! And you can buy copies of your photos after the session. I didn’t even post process most of the photos of me in the mermaid swimming area, because they were already very bright and pretty. Every shot was a burst of color, which I love and particularly look for in my photos. Guests will receive a souvenir photo and do a mermaid pose.
Compared to other mermaid swimming classes in the metro, this is as authentic as it can get. The mermaid tail imported all the way from Germany is like a colorful spandex suit you wear over your legs. There are numerous sizes and colors to choose from, so you can coordinate your mermaid tail with the color of your swimsuit. You also get to swim with sea creatures like small fishes and starfishes. Since mermaids don’t swim in fresh water, the pond was full of sea water. I loved that the pond did not look like a pool, although in essence it is basically like a pool. There are areas with rocks which lends authenticity to the whole experience. There are also areas deeper than others, but the deepest is about 5 – 5 1/2 feet deep.
After the experience, I can say that being a mermaid is hard work! They glide so effortlessly in films and series, but the power that propels the glide comes from the back, so you can just imagine the back pain and delayed onset muscle soreness I’m experiencing as I type this post. It’s good exercise, nevertheless, and I’m pretty sure trying to glide and stay afloat with the heavy mermaid tail burned me a lot of calories!
If you only have one chance to swim this summer, make sure to choose Manila Ocean Park’s Mermaid Swimming Experience. Kids are also welcome to take part in the classes. Afterwards, you can check out Manila Ocean Park’s various shows like the Bird Show and Sea Lion show, or enter the Oceanarium to complete the marine life encounter. Come to Manila Ocean Park for an experience you won’t forget.
The Mermaid Swim Experience is available for online purchase through Manila Ocean Park’s website and at the park’s ticket counters. Individuals ages 5 years old and above may avail of this activity. Promo period runs from April 11 to May 31, 2014.
Manila Ocean Park
Behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta Park, 1000 Manila, Philippines
Contact (02) 567-7777 ext 118, 119, and 123
Like Manila Ocean Park on Facebook and Visit Manila Ocean Park’s website