Sunday, February 20

30 Before 30 Checklist: the Dolphin Encounter

Most everyone I know, who has a proverbial bucket list, counts swimming with the dolphins pretty high up on their Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die or any similar less grimier version... And why not, the dolphins are one of the most beautiful creatures on Earth.  You look at them and you are instantly transported to kid-like state of happiness.

Last Monday, Dear Hubby gave me the greatest sweetest surprised since, well, his last greatest sweetest surprise.  He took me to Subic Ocean Adventure at Subic Bay, Olongapo City for some much desired swim encounter with the dolphins.

Swimming with the dolphins is fast becoming a popular travel activity in the area. However, reservations are still ideal since the park usually only accommodate a handful of lucky participants.  On weekends, swim encounters are suspended due to huge tour group, mostly Korean visitors at the Park.

Subic Ocean Adventure offers a number of ways you can enjoy the dolphins company.

There's the Beach Encounter for only Php 2,800, where your dolphin adventure starts with a big dolphin greeting by the beach shore.  Then you have a chance to touch, hug and even kiss this friendly mammals. And of course, there's plenty of time for some photo ops. (adventure: 30 minutes)

Second, is the Swim Encounter, which is what the Hubby and I did. For only Php 4,200 you have direct water interaction with this lovable creatures.  A 20-minute swim encounter, plus some dolphin training and a handful of other activities (i.e. dancing with the dolphins) Truly a once in a lifetime experience, worth every centavos. (adventure: 45 minutes)

Dear Hubby and I were just all smiles all throughout.  The trainer gives a 5 minute briefing about the different types of dolphins at the beginning of the session.  There we find out that ours is named, Cito, a bottleneck dolphin rescued in the bay area.  Excited as I was I tried very hard to listen to the instructor, but I was more worried about who will take our pictures. (Professional photographers at the park charge Php500 for the first 15 shots they will take) And finally our session was about to start.  We walked towards the beach and saw two dolphins making their way into the shore. *dies of happiness*  The instructor tells me to just grab onto to the fins and lay my body flat on his back.  It was pure awesomeness, I tell you.  Better than bungee jumping and cliff diving combined, IMO. (2 activities I had previously checked off my list, 2 equally exhilarating activity yet still manages to just come in second or third next to the dolphin encounter)

Third, for the dive enthusiasts, there's also the Dive Encounter at Php 5,500+.  Dive instructors will take you to one of the bay divisions for an intimate underwater experience with Flipper. (adventure: 30 minutes)

And lastly, there's the Photo Encounter, if you're like some and all you're after is a photograph and not the actual experience then for Php 500 you get your close-up time with the dolphins.

Total Adventure Cost: Php 6,000/person (includes tickets, meals, snacks, gas, and tollway fare)


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