Playing Hooky at Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Playing Hooky at Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

You know that Resorts World commercial they keep playing on the radio? The one where the sultry, smoky female voice says “Resorts World Manila” like this:

*Resorts World Manilaaaah…*

She says it in a soft whisper, almost in your ear, as if to seduce you. Well, ever since we drove by this freshwater aquarium back in March, and I made a note of their April 25th grand opening, that’s exactly how I’ve been saying it to Ren as I waited impatiently for that day to come.

*Las Farolasss…*

If you know what a dork I am, then you’ll know that I’m not kidding. I promised Ren that until I went, I would say it just like that, so almost everyday since March, I’ve been whispering to Ren in my most seductive bedroom voice:

*Last Farolasss…*

She’d laugh and get annoyed at the same time. ๐Ÿ˜†

But alas, because of a heavy workload, opening day of April 25 came and went, with me moving the

*Las Farolasss…*

note in my phone a week later each time. I wanted to take a lot of pictures for this blog, so I wasn’t willing to go on a weekend, when a lot more people would undoubtedly be photobombing my shots.

Five Fridays later, I couldn’t wait any longer. Taking a much needed break from work, I played hooky for a morning and rewarded myself with this long overdue trip. DSLR in hand, and annoying seductive whisper finally laid to rest, here’s how my day at Las Farolas went.

For anyone looking for driving directions, entrance fees, or contact details, you can find them by scrolling down to the bottom of this post.

Las Farolas from the outside, with Ark of Avilon Zoo directly behind. Las farolas, in Spanish, means “lighthouses”, hence…
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

“The First and Only One of its Kind in the World!”

A quick background on Las Farolas, which you’re welcome to skip if you’re not as nerdy as me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Did you know that freshwater biodiversity is among the most threatened in the world? It’s estimated that 7.5 million people depend on freshwater fish for food and income. Human activities such as overfishing, pollution, and economic development have pushed more than a third of the world’s freshwater species to the brink of extinction.

Apathy, inadequate government support, and lack of understanding have all played a role in preventing any effective and sustained freshwater fish conservation programs from really taking off. Though commendable, efforts by lead government agencies and private advocacy groups are, at present, inadequate.

This is where aquarists, who help maintain species that are essentially extinct in the wild, can play a pivotal role. By keeping the population of endangered species viable, the fish-keeping community is essentially protecting them from extinction. When and if reintroduction to natural habitats is possible, it will be to the credit of aquarists.

It is for this reason why Las Farolas was conceived four years ago, to study, protect, and preserve the rich biodiversity of both our endemic, and exotic, freshwater aquatic resources.

Without question, a noble cause indeed.

The Exhibits

Barrel One

Las Farolas is comprised of two main buildings called “Barrels”. Soon as you pay, you enter the ground floor of the first Barrel, following a convenient set route that guides you through the exhibits. Though they do allow you to take pictures, flash photography is strictly prohibited. Don’t do anything stupid like tapping or sticking your gum on the glass either.

First Floor

As you can tell from these pictures, they paid just as much attention to the interiors as they did with the actual exhibits. Though artificial, you do feel like you’re in a lush, watery, somewhat mystical environment.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

L: Fun, creative information stands adorned with old diving helmets. Here you can read which species of fish are housed in each biotope. R: In the center of the room is this island/microenvironment with cascading waterfalls and an open top, so you can view the fish from above. To get a clearer view of the fish from the side, you have to bend down pretty low, so I’m guessing these are for the benefit of children, or Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. You’ll get a clearer shot of this microenvironment in the next picture.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

See? Perfect viewing height for kids or midget ex-presidents.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

What better way to whet your appetite, than with these giant Pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) from South America? Housed in the very first biotope, these specimens are still relatively young, only around 4-5 ft each, but impressive nonetheless.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Amazing, beautiful creatures, check out the much larger specimens of arapaima at Avilon Zoo in Montalban.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Literally, a wall of Arowanas (Scleropages formosus). I love these fish.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Emperor Cichlid (Boulengerochromis microlepis)
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

A closer look at the emperor. A relative of the Flower Horn, how someone managed to fool people into seeing auspicious Chinese characters in its side markings is pure marketing genius. ๐Ÿ˜†
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy)
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

I love this picture. It was almost as if they were posing for me.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Beautiful and elegant Giant Featherback Knife Fish (Chitalachitala). How they manage to stay perfectly still but buoyant was impressive.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Albino Iridescent Shark (Pangasius hypothalmus). If you’re becoming strangely hungry looking at these pangasius fish, it’s because they’re more commonly known as cream dory. Yes, THAT cream dory.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Some type of piranha (Characidae), or better known in Cartimar as “pogi”. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Second Floor

At the end of the first floor exhibit, you’ll be led up to the second floor which has a similar microenvironment at the center of the room. This one though, as you’ll see from the pictures below, has a bridge that traverses it, giving you even better, more dramatic views of the exhibit.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Cool eh? Kids would love this.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Unlike the first floor which showcases giant biotopes, the tanks on the second floor are much smaller, housing just one or two fish at a time. According to one of the guides, these are temporary exhibits, the fish inside being rotated every so often to give guests a closer, more intimate look at each species.

Unfortunately, most of the tanks weren’t labeled, so you have to ask which species is housed in each. Those two eels handcuffed in a love embrace are called Fire Eels.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Smile!
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Barrel Two

As soon as you’re done exploring the second floor of Barrel One, you’ll be led through a bridge that connects both barrels, emerging on the second floor of Barrel Two.

Second Floor

Just as interesting as the first, this room features smaller tanks with schools of smaller fish. Along the center of the room are these bahay kubo (nipa hut) structures housing aquariums on all sides. Pretty creative eh?
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Unfortunately, none of these exhibits were labeled, so I can’t tell you what each of these fish were.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Some type of freshwater puffer fish
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Ebony and ivory freshwater stingrays
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Beautiful, dainty-looking angel fish
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

I think these are oscars. They always look so suspicious.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

First Floor

The last floor of exhibits, this room again showcases bigger biotopes with larger fish. If I remember correctly, they call this room “Exotic Mindanao”, hence all the Moro weapons and Ikat weaving patterns.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Marbled Lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus). Kiss me, beneath the milky twilight, lead me…
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Marbled Eel (Anguilla marmorata)
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

More albino Pangasius or cream dory. They look every bit as beautiful as they taste.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

More majestic-looking arowana
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Kiss me, beneath the milky twilight, lead me…
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Pet Shops

Soon as you exit Barrel Two, you’ll be met by a few alleys of aquatic pet shops, owned I believe by proprietors independent from the Las Farolas group. This was a great way I thought of generating extra revenue apart from the entrance fee.
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

One of the more stunning specimens for sale
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

Gorgeous albino knife fish
Las Farolas: The Fish World, Frontera Verde, Pasig

With my Las Farolas visit finally in the blog, a big congratulations has to go out to the good people behind this place. Going through all the exhibits, it’s evident that they spared no expense not just in putting it up, but in maintaining it as well. I can only imagine the upkeep required to sustain a place like this, which is why I’m not complaining about the PHP 400 entrance fee. Admittedly, I initially found it to be a little pricey, but after visiting Las Farolas, I understand that it’s well justified, especially knowing that my money is going to a noble cause.

If you enjoy fish and haven’t visited Las Farolas yet, then I encourage you to do so. With two large, hangar-type buildings of river monsters and ornamental freshwater fish to admire, it’s a unique experience to say the least, one that’s vastly different from the typical reef aquarium. You won’t regret it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Las Farolas: The Fish World

Frontera Verde, Ortigas Avenue Corner C5, Pasig
Tel: 571-7634
Facebook: Las-Farolas-The-Fish-World
Website: lasfarolas.com
Email: lasfarolas@yahoo.com
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri, 9AM-7PM | Sat-Sun, Holidays, 9AM-8PM

Entrance Rates

Regular entrance fee: PHP 400
Children (below 12 years old): PHP 350
Students (with valid school ID): PHP 300
Senior citizens: PHP 300
Tourist (I guess by this they mean non-Filipinos?): PHP 400

How to Get There

  1. Driving along Ortigas Avenue towards C5 (E Rod Jr Ave), turn right onto Frontera Drive. It’s the street right before E Rod Jr Ave.
  2. Las Farolas will be on your left, at the first corner.

More on Philippine Animal Encounters

Amazing Avilon Weekend Part I, Ark of Avilon, Frontera Verde, Pasig
Amazing Avilon Weekend Part II, Avilon Zoo, Montalban, Rizal
Swimming with Whale Sharks in Oslob, Cebu, Philippines

JB Macatulad

JB Macatulad

JB is one half of Will Fly for Food and its chief itinerary maker.ย ย He's the one to blame for all the crappy photos and verbal diarrhea on this blog.ย ย Don't listen to him.
JB Macatulad


There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Mr Oscar at 3:29 pm

    Those are not oscars (11th pic). Those are Giant Gouramis.

  2. Caca at 2:49 pm

    do you still need to pay the entrance fee to visit the fish pet shops?

  3. JB Macatulad at 2:57 pm

    Hi Caca, I don’t think so. Judging by the way the place is set up, I think you can visit the pet shops without having to pay the entrance fee. You might want to call them though just to be sure – 571-7634. Hope that helps. ๐Ÿ™‚

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