April 27th, Manila, Philippines.
After meeting Careen for the first time the day before, I was looking forward to spending more time with her as we toured the Ocean Park attraction in Manila.
At 8:30 George, another sponsor who was visiting his student, showed up at my hotel and the two of us headed out in a Taxi. Traffic was lighter than we expected and we arrived an hour before everyone else was going to get there. We sat on the steps and talked for a while. George is from New Mexico and he sponsors Ronnie, a bright young man who will be finishing his degree in the next few months.
Right at 10:00 the student’s and their families arrived with Ate Minnie, a Compassion Philippines worker who helped facilitate our visit. Careen came with her mom, Carmen, and Ronnie came with his Mom and his sister. While Careen had traveled before with the Compassion LDP activities, it was her mother’s first time in Manila and to get there she had taken her first ride in an airplane!
Me with Careen and with her mom.
We got tickets that let us into a few different areas of the park. First we went to see the South American Sea Lions…
There was only one Sea Lion in the exhibit, but it was still neat to watch it swim. I was just happy to be there spending time with Careen. It would not have mattered it the tank was empty. Ronnie and Careen took lots of photos.
Then we went to the Sea Lion Show…
Next we went to see the Oceanarium. There were tanks full of every kind of fish imaginable. Some were tiny and others huge, Some were beautifully colored and one kind looked like rocks! Careen’s favorite were the sharks. I especially liked walking through the glass tunnel at the end and seeing the fish swim right over my head.
Touching a starfish
The seahorses were pretty cool, as were the fish that look like green sticks. Yes, they really are fish!
Careen Liked to touch the tank and follow the fish. Some of them move really fast!
These little ones were eels… I think ------- The Coral and the tiny fish are so beautiful!
Inside the Glass tunnel
Careen with her sharks
Next we went to the Jellyfish exhibit. They had the Jellies lit with changing colors and the room was filled with classical music. It was pretty cool to see all of the different kinds of Jellyfish.
After we admired the jellyfish we ate a quick lunch, then went swimming in the pool. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone take pictures while we were there :( We had a great time in the pool having swimming contests, doing tricks, and playing freeze tag. Careen’s mom and Ronnie’s sister also came in the water with us. They loved the freeze tag and could not stop laughing as some people were impossible to catch. The water was really warm and it was a beautiful day to be outside.
We finished up our day with shopping at the Mall of Asia. We were able to pick out some nice blouses and shoes that Careen could wear while doing her journalism job. We also found a backpack to carry her laptop, and a pay-as-you-go internet stick so that she would be able to submit her assignments to her editor.
It was a really good day together. It was hard to say goodbye at the end, but I was happy because I knew that I would be seeing her again in just a few days.