898 Accenture’s Ocean Park with Gentle Hands
Written by Vice President for Internal, Ate Charmain Tan
It’s our first event of the year at Manila Ocean Park. It was also our 898th event to date as we still continue celebrating our 10th year anniversary this year. Today, employees of Accenture from different departments arrived early at the park to meet the children of Gentle Hands. The kids also arrived early at the venue as it was mostly everyone’s first time to go to Ocean Park. Accenture does regular activities like tree planting and others but it was their first time spending it with marginalized children. I talked to some of them and it was mostly everyone’s first time participating in an outreach activity for the children. Since they are from different departments and Accenture has several offices in different locations in the Philippines, some of them did not even know each other prior to today’s event. It was also a good opportunity for them to get to know those from different departments.
It was a full day as we started early in the morning. We paired the volunteers with the children and they were all inseparable for the entire day. Our first stop was the newest attraction Barnyard, which only opened last November. It is the home of the adorable rabbits, hamsters, ducks, rats, and chickens. The bunnies were so adorable that the volunteers had to stop the kids from reaching over and trying to touch the animals. We had fun watching the bunnies drink from containers and the ducks running all over the place. There was also a huge hamster training wheels that the kids were able to play in. It took a while to get them off the wheel as they had so much fun running in it mimicking the hamsters.
The next stop was the Sea Lion show. I have watched this show for more than 5 times but I always have fun watching it. It’s always a delight seeing the park’s cutest sea lions from South America. The kids all stood up watching in excitement as the sea lions performed awesome tricks. They would clap, glide, dance, scratch their heads, and the best part was when they swam really fast and flipped in the air. The kids also got to enjoy some hotdogs and popcorn from their ates and kuyas while watching the show.
After that we all headed to Pinoy Delights for our lunch. The children sang a prayer song to bless our lunch. The ates and kuyas sat with their kids and happily ate with them. After lunch we headed to the Oceanarium where there are about 14,000 marine creatures from 277 species. Most of the marine life found here were from Palawan. We passed through the popular underwater tunnel which ran 25 meters longs. Of course everyone couldn’t help it but take so many photos with the kids. There were sharks, stingrays, manta rays, and so many other fishes. We all looked up as the fishes swam above us. The ates and kuyas took photos of their partner kids while the kids also took some photos using their ates and kuyas’ phone. The ates and kuyas always made sure the kids were doing ok while the children always looked for their ates and kuyas whenever they saw something nice to show them. It was really nice to see the volunteers bonding with the children.
We passed through the Trails to Antartica where we saw the cutest penguins being fed. We then headed to another popular attraction, Yexel’s Toy Museum. As always I had fun in this attraction. Even if I’ve been here so many times it’s still one of my favorite attractions in the park. We had photos taken at Minions and the Iron Man room. The kids enjoyed posing with Spiderman, Superman, and Batman. The kids also had so much fun in the upside down room where the photos came out like we were standing on the ceiling. The ates and kuyas got them some cute toys from the gift shop. There were spiderman toys, stuffed animals, jelly balls, and others.
For our last stop we went to the Creepy Crawlies where we saw snakes, spiders, insects, and others. There were colorful frogs and a lot of lizards. These creatures usually adapt to their environment for survival and protection. Sometimes it was a challenge to find where the creature was as they were really good in camouflaging and concealing themselves. It was my first time to see neon-colored frogs they had to blend with their surroundings. There was even an exhibit of the different kinds of cockroaches!
At the end of all the attractions we saw we gathered outside as we shared our favorite moments of the day. I talked to one of the Accenture volunteers, Alyana. She said this was her first time doing an outreach activity with children and she had so much fun spending it with her partner kid. I asked one of the kids from Gentle Hands, John Vincent what his favorite attraction was and he said: “Si Kuya”. It was so heartwarming to hear that from him. As I asked him again he just kept saying he really had so much fun with his Kuya Doyle. Before we said our goodbyes the ates and kuyas gave out school supplies for the children. We then took some photos of the kids with the volunteers while the kids thanked them for the wonderful day.