I was very fortunate to be part of the “A Special Intimate Encounter With Sharks & Rays” last October 5, 2013 at the Manila Ocean Park. It was also my first time at this famous aquatic resort facility. It was indeed a heart-warming experience to be able to see kids with special needs enjoy a worry-free day.
The program started with a prayer/song by Joshua and Jerome – two visually-impaired kids. It was followed by opening remarks by Francis Low, EVP of Manila Ocean Park, Agnes Lapena (PWD Team Leader), Alan Chng, President of Canon Philippines, and Armi Cortes, Vice President for Marketing.
This worry-free day for kids with special needs, their family and friends is part of the activities of Photography With a Difference (PWD) which was founded by Canon Ambassador John Chua. Beneficiaries of the PWD include kids supported by organizations like Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc., Autism Society Philippines, Parent Advocates For Visually Impaired Children (PAVIC), among others.
Kids enjoyed their encounter with the Sting Rays and the 2 Sharks. Guest celebrities were Ara Mina, who has a sister with Down Syndrome, and Patrick Meneses. After the encounter with the Sting Rays, the kids were given free access to the Oceanarium. It was indeed a worry-free day for the kids and their parents. A day that they will surely treasure for the rest of their lives.