Las Farolas, a new aquatic attraction putting freshwater fish on center stage

April 25, 2013 10:53 am 

PASIG CITY, April 24 — Said to be the first and only living museum that houses about 100 percent exotic saltwater fish in the world, the country’s new aquatic attraction, Las Farolas was inaugurated on Wednesday.

With about 2,500 fish of different species on showcase, Las Farolas is a living museum and oceanarium located within the Frontera Verde Complex beside Tiendestias on Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City.

According to the man who thought up the idea of building this aquatic wonder, Henry G. Babiera, who is also an ecologist and researcher, Las Farolas was established to feature the rich biodiversity of aquatic resources.

Babiera, who is also president of PHILZOOS, a national organization of zoo and aquaria operations in the Philippines, said that aside from the museum helping the country’s conservation and preservation aspect, it also aims to generate more domestic tourists as well as jobs.

Philippine culture is also introduced with its display of replicas of prominent features of centuries-old churches in the country and Spanish-built lighthouses, tribal and cultural artifacts.

So far, more or less 100 people were given jobs such as fish technicians, fishermen and many others including breeders and researchers.

Babiera also said that this was a good way to educate the Filipino people on the importance of freshwater fish since they were not given as much attention with its lack of commercial value.

“Freshwater fishes are not given as much attention because [they] have no commercial value, they are not fish food or table food,” Babiera said.

To him, the government was keener in culturing the fish as food, but he said it was still important to give attention to ornamental fish.

In contrast to the Manila Ocean Park which also holds the same advocacy in environmental protection and conservation as Las Farolas, Barbiera said that it does not intend to compete with the former at all.

“We are not competing, we are complementing because while the Manila Ocean Park specializes in marine, we specialize in freshwater,” Babiera said.

Total land area of Las Farolas is about 4,000 sq. meters but the total floor area is 2, 800 q. meters, according to Babiera.

It consists of two-storey barrels or hubs with the first floor dedicated to biotopes and the second floor to all-glass aquariums. It also has mini-lagoons.

“Our plan is that every six or three months, we change the specie on exhibition in certain areas so we can showcase the rest of what we protect and conserve for educational purposes,” he said.

Las Farolas will be open to the public daily starting April 25 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Free unlimited entrance will start on the same day from 9 a.m. to 12 n.n. (PNA)

CTB/ANP

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