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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Carl's Travels Continue - to Cebu Ocean Park, The Philippines!

Sea TREKs Carl Hanson travels to Cebu Ocean Park

Sub Sea Systems’ favorite frequent flyer, Carl Hanson, was off to the friendly skies again last month, this time for the long journey to our newest Sea TREK helmet diving location in the Philippines! With an opening date set for August 21, we’re excited about this new location and Carl’s journey to ensure their success. Here’s what Carl shared about his latest adventure:

Cebu Ocean Park Philippines

Where is the new location?

Cebu Ocean Park, in the Philippines. It’s the first marine park in Visayas and Mindanao, and the largest and deepest Oceanarium in the Philippines. The park is home to around 200 different animal species, and as many at 3,000 people will be able to visit the park at any given time.

Tell us about your travel route.
I traveled from Sacramento, California to LA, LA to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong to Cebu. ✈️

Cebu Ocean Park Philippines

What makes this location and park unique?

The area itself is outside of Mactan, a major tourism hub, but it’s far enough away to give visitors a more “local” feel of the Philippines. Cebu is known worldwide for whale shark swimming, so travelers interested in sea life have an additional opportunity to learn more about our oceans and conservation efforts. Cebu Ocean Park is committed to promoting environmental awareness and offers educational displays and attractions to engage kids and adults alike.

What kind of work did you do while visiting Cebu?

I set up a brand new Sea TREK backpack system. I trained staff, met with marketing teams and management staff, and met the facility owner to educate him and help set expectations. Basically, everything from scratch! The facility is so new that while I was there, they were still working on the details such as laying flooring. I was amazed to see how fast things were being done.

Cebu Ocean Park Aquarium

What did you do when you had downtime?

I ate… a lot! The food there is so inexpensive- a buffet for $3!  Local food was plentiful and varied, due to the Philippine’s unique mix of many cultures. The food is only eaten with hands, though, no utensils!

I got to participate in a boodle fight, which is a Filipino tradition! A boodle fight is a culinary experience where a big pile of food is placed in the middle of a table that is lined with banana leaves. Water jugs are placed on the side, used for hand washing, just before the “fight” starts. No utensils are used…just hands. The boodle “fight” originated with the Philippine's military, and symbolizes camaraderie and brotherhood. Definitely not a fine dining experience, but an experience just the same!

I also had the incredible experience of swimming with whale sharks in Oslob. Whale sharks can reach up to 40 feet (12 m) in length, and their mouths are over 5 feet (1.5 m) wide! However, they do not have teeth, and their throats are only the size of a quarter. I saw 5 of these all at once!

Cebu Ocean Park Philippines Sea TREK

What are some of the challenges the operator faces and how he is overcoming them? 

Currently, their biggest challenge is completing the facility. The owner of the facility is actually now living there, to ensure things are being done perfectly and in a timely manner. He’s there 24/7 and really cares about the facility being done correctly. I was there for approximately 1 week and I was impressed by how much they got done in such a short period of time.

Talk about the staff:

The staff is motivated and hard-working. They really want to do things right. They’re definitely a “no challenge is too big” group!

Cebu Ocean Park Philippines Sea TREK

What surprised you the most about this location?

I didn’t realize that the area is considered “up and coming” and thought it would be more tourist-y.

When will this new location open?

The target date is August 21st for both the aquarium and for Sea TREK!

We can’t wait to celebrate the success of Cebu Ocean Park. Stay tuned into our Facebook and Instagram pages, where we will be sharing images and updates!

1 comment:

  1. Thank You sir Carl. Hope to see you and eat bodle fight again with you soon :)


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