Up Close And Personal… With the Dolphins!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I got a fabulous invitation from my fabulous mother to join her in their annual company summer gathering. Knowing that it was going to be an all-expense paid trip, I said yes right away. (Hmm… Don’t judge me. We all get to be cheapskates too, right?). But my excitement was heightened when I found out that the trip will be in Ocean Adventure in Suic Bay Free Port!
I’ve got some pictures for you if you join me in this fabulous journey!

The sun was up and traffic filled the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), very early in the morning due to an accident. But the thirst, heat and numb bottom were all worth it when I got to hold and had my picture taken with the dolphins! And yes, it was free again! Thanks to mom’s friendly co-worker. She was actually late that day and missed the company bus. We brought our own car so we decided to pick her up so she can still join the gathering. I guess she was pretty entertained the whole trip and very thankful that she was still able to enjoy her day. As a token of her appreciation, she talked to her friend, who was one of the trainers of the sea lion, who talked to his other trainer friends and got us a chance to have our pictures taken! Woohoo! It was a superb experience! Truly great! From GeekPinoy, thank you Meanne!

While waiting for our turn, I had a chance to talk to Mr. Don Cerezo, the trainer of Kyle the sea lion. He was very nice and was open to answer my candid questions. I learned that being an animal trainer is a whole new and very different from our regular 9-6. First of all, they weren’t required to wear business attire everyday. Instead, they came to work in their very comfortable wet suits, board shorts and sandals or aquatic shoes. Second, their office was the beach. Beautiful and serene sea is definitely my happy place. Third, their work would include an accounting or inventory of frozen fish they use as reward for the animals, not to mention the physical stress they endure when they practice with the animals. It seems challenging. But who really works if you love what you do, right? Don is really passionate about what he does. Well, I think it’s a talent and a skill. He has to develop a relationship, coordination, timing and strategy with a living thing that has very different characteristics from human beings. But like any special education teacher, he has to bond with the animal too. Get to know its highs and lows. Don mentioned that they also rotate to the different animals and try to establish a bond with them too. So it’s like they have a community of their own. Pretty cool, huh? I wonder if they do play dates as well with the trainers and their animals? Hmm…

(on the left picture that’s Meanne right behind me and Trainer OP giving his pose too!)

Don was also kind enough to introduce me to some of the dolphin trainers particularly trainer OP. He’s one of those who swims with the dolphins. I was really amazed every time they just pop back up to the surface. It’s like the dolphins give them a push and it would seem like they jump out of the water. With the dolphin trainers, it also takes some grace and timing as the dolphins cannot understand our language. They only rely on the hand signals and gestures. One observation that I couldn’t pass on was that the trainers were all fit! You feel safe and secured around them. Yummy! … I mean, >ahem< >ahem< … going back…

One thing that I also loved about Ocean Park was their jungle adventure where Kuya Billy taught us how to cook rice and food using a bamboo! Basically, how to survive when you’re out in the wild. He was very candid too! He looked serious but he gave out his one-liner punch lines very strategically that really caught his audience. His punch lines were so effective as it registered to our memories even after the show. Actually, I think even until now! There were some other animals as well like the bat, a kind of an eagle, a python, cat, dog, a cat that looked like a fox, etc. it was really educational and entertaining. Plus, they let you feed the bat and have your pictures taken with the eagle or bat.

Finally, I admire Ocean Adventure’s dedication to saving Mother Earth and all of her creatures. They’re goal is to make the people understand that we’re sharing only one planet and that we should all do our part in preserving what we have for one another. I am an advocate of making the Earth clean. So geeks, please recycle!

GeekPinoy would like to say thank you to all who made this trip memorable! Till the next time Geeks!

Posted by Soraya Peralta