475 Ate Des Manila Ocean Park with Kythe
Written by Vice President for External, Charmain Tan
The U! Happy Events team once again headed to Manila Ocean Park to celebrate Ate Desiree’s birthday. For the last five years Ate Desiree has been celebrating her birthday with the UST-Kythe cancer survivor kids.
This is a heartwarming event as we are able to share the inspiring stories of these children, of how strong they are to battle cancer and how some have succeeded in beating cancer. We’ve known some of the kids since they were teenagers and now some of them are already in college. Rudy, one of the kids, suffered from Leukemia six years ago. Now, Rudy is now 20 years old and already college. He just passed his 5 year check and is officially in remission beginning February of this year. These kids have shared a bond with each other as they saw each other through their treatments and also at the regular gatherings that are organized for them.
We started the day by pairing the volunteers with the kids and divided them into our groups. Then we gave them some time to get to know the members in their group.
We first went to the Oceanarium. We went through a mini rainforest where the kids were able to see crocodiles, birds, and some fishes. We then went in the main oceanarium. It is home to 14,000 marine creatures that can be found all over the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The kids were in awe as there were sharks, stingrays, stonefishes, starfishes, reefs, anchors, and many others. At the center of the Oceanarium is a 25 meter long, 220 degrees curved walkway tunnel where we got to experience fishes swimming above us.
After that we headed to Trails of Antarctica. As we passed through the exhibit we learned more about the continent. We got to see the cute penguins and they swam and played around. These were Humboldt Penguins, which came from South America. The next attraction was the Snow Village. We were given jackets as the temperature was freezing. The kids had lots of fun as they got to experience “white christmas”. They played with the snow and had their photos taken with the snowman and the gingerbread house.
We then took a break from walking around headed to the fantastic Sea Lion show where the kids were able to see two Sea Lion performed different tricks. The sea lion were from South America. The kids watched in delight as they clapped, swam, rolled, and made funny sounds.
After that we headed to the newly opened Yexel’s Toy Museum. The museum didn’t fail to impress everyone as there were life-sized minions, chipmunks, spiderman, and others. There was the trick room where all the items were in the ceiling. There we had our photo taken and flipped it around to make it look like we were standing upside down on the ceiling. There was the Spiderman room where the photo came out like you were climbing with Spiderman on the walls.
There was the Iron Throne from the TV Series Game of Thrones and Yexel’s extensive collection of action figurines. Then of course the highlights were the Star Wars Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and Ironman. The collections were amazing as the full sized figurines were greatly done as to look as close to the real thing.
After that we went to the last attraction, Jellies Exhibit. There the kids were able to see the beautiful jellyfishes as they danced while the glass changed color.
We then had our lunch. Before that the kids and the volunteers sang a song and prayed before the meal. We did our profile exchange where the volunteers wrote messages for each of the kids. Then we sang a “Happy Birthday to ME” as Ate Des blew out the candles of her two birthday cakes. Two of the survivors, Rudy and Aivy, gave Ate Des their birthday gift and also their message thanking her for always celebrating with them. They look forward to March every year as they know Ate Des always remembers them. Ate Des then gave her heartwarming message to the kids as she has grown to know and care for all of them for the past few years. She also gave out her individual gifts for both the children and their parents. As we said our goodbyes Ate Des reminded the kids that today was not just her birthday but it was everyone’s birthday as we are always celebrating life.