Las Farolas: A living museum in the heart of Ortigas

These days, Frontera Drive in Ortigas Avenue, Pasig has become much more than a destination for dining, and shopping but also an ideal place for field trips or simply an educational activity with the family.

In only less than three months after its opening, "Las Farolas, The Fish World" is attracting a growing number of both children and adult visitors who are curious to see the more than 2,500 exotic freshwater fish species from all over the world.

Unlike other water parks, the first-of-its-kind facility boasts of 100 percent freshwater aquatic wildlife with a touch of nature and culture. The museum features rare aquatic species such as Arapaima, Alligator Gar, Wels Catfish, Australian Lungfishes and the famous Arowana.

For Henry G. Babiera, president and CEO of Moment Philippines Theme Park Planner and Management Corporation, Las Farolas used to be his hobby which later on turned into an obsession.

"It's more than just money. Ang gusto ko talaga ma-achieve ay 'yung malaman ng sambayanan kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay proteksyon sa ating kalikasan, sa ating freshwater aquatic biodiversity, kung gaano siya ka-ganda, gaano siya kayaman at ang kanyang potential. Ang problema, nakatutok tayo sa tilapia, sa bangus, sa pagkain, pero 'yung ornamental aspect ay nakakalimutan," he explains.

According to him, the over 10,000 fishes they have in their breeding and growing-out facilities in Tagaytay and Parañaque City are all raised under natural conditions.

"You cannot breed all these fishes pag peke. What I mean is natural. Even though they're in the cage or aquarium, malalaking mga biotopes, mga ponds, we simulate their habitat," he says. "The most critical factors are the food they eat and the water parameters, 'yun ang ibibigay mong exact para mapaanak mo. But if you miss one of those, they won't reproduce. You're just wasting your time," he says.


Other features that make this water park unique are its facilities. In the first floor, the aquatic adventure starts with a tour of the flora and fauna in the country and a glimpse of history through the replicas of centuries-old churches in the Philippines.

The name Las Farolas is a Spanish word for lighthouses which are the main attraction in the upper floor of the museum. These, as well as selected tribal and cultural artifacts and houses of indigenous peoples in a diorama, are on display at this section.

Babiera explains that this distinct attraction elicits a certain radiation effect that enables Las Farolas to present a deeper and more intense message to its viewers.

"Ni-replicate namin ang mga luma, makasaysayan at hindi nakikitang mga simbahan at lighthouses sa buong Pilipinas. The radiation effect is we are promoting domestic tourism. Inuungkat namin ang edukasyon, kasaysayan, at kultura ng Pilipinas na madalas nakakalimutan kasi lahat nakatutok na sa internet," he adds.

With a 5,600-square-meter exhibition area, Babiera is planning to put in more attractions in the museum in the future. But that would all depend on the availability of freshwater specimens, he says.

"It's not on the commercial side. It's more on meron pa bang available na natitira sa mundo? Baka mamaya 'yung kanilang natural habitat tinabunan na at ginawa nang condominium, mall, o airport," adds Babiera, who is also the president of PHILZOOS, a national organization of zoo and aquaria operators in the Philippines. He is likewise the president of the Ornamental Freshwater Breeders and Exporters Association of the Philippines (OFBEAP) and the country representative to the board of directors of the Southeast Asia Zoo and Aquaria Association (SEAZA).

But besides generating awareness on the rich biodiversity of the world's freshwater resources, Babiera hopes that visitors of Las Farolas will leave the museum with a renewed sense of stewardship, particularly in fighting for the extinction of aquatic life.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

  • Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane
    Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane

    As Philippine officials continue to plead for a stay in the execution of death convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Indonesian government has sent a notice to her family ordering her execution at an undisclosed date, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Indonesian authorities also allowed Veloso’s family and her lawyers to visit her on Nebu Kambangan execution island. “The Prosecutor gave notice letter to the family of Mary Jane …

  • ‘Pinoys’ cheerful attitude backs tourism campaign’
    ‘Pinoys’ cheerful attitude backs tourism campaign’

    The 2015 World Happiness Report ranking the Philippines as 90th among 158 happiest countries is a validation of the government’s tourism campaign, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” a Palace official said yesterday. The news did not come as a surprise as Filipinos are naturally cheerful, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options