Amidst Behind-the-Scenes Drama, Okada Manila Reopens The Fountain
There are many things to see and do at Okada Manila, the largest integrated resort and casino in Entertainment City, but its dancing water fountain has to be one of its top attractions. Unveiled in 2017, The Fountain, as the water feature is called, was built at a cost of about $30 million (about P1.7 billion) and is reputedly the largest of its kind in the world.
The Fountain measures 37,464 square meters and is about as large as 50 Olympic sized swimming pools. Its design was inspired by similar fountain features in other parts of the world, including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
According to its profile, The Fountain has 739 water nozzles that shoots water up to heights beyond the property itself, 2,611 colored lights and 23 speakers. It used to do daily shows for customers and guests of the property, until the pandemic shut down all public events and amenities. It had remained closed for over two years, even after the resort-casino started welcoming guests back last year.
On Sunday (July 17), however, Okada Manila reopened The Fountain with a splashy event. Inclement weather threatened to derail the attraction's comeback, but after a performance by singer Morrisette Amon, guests were finally treated to a dazzling “performance” of The Fountain set to piped-in classical and pop music.
The Fountain’s comeback happened amidst drama behind-scenes as two factions are trying to wrest control of the billion-dollar property. On one hand, there’s Kazuo Okada and his Philippine business partner Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco, who built and ran the property until Okada was ousted in 2017 for alleged misuse of funds. Since then, Okada Manila has been run by Tiger Resort Leisure and Entertainment Inc (TRLEI), which is 99.99 percent owned by Hong-Kong based Tiger Resort Asia Ltd. and Tokyo-based Universal Entertainment Corp (UEC).
However, in April 2022, the Supreme Court issued a Status Quo Ante Order that effectively ordered the reinstatement of Okada. In early June, a group of about 50 private guards and escorts led by Cojuangco and building contractor Dindo Espeleta showed up at Okada Manila and forcibly took over control of the property. TRLEI has since filed a motion for reconsideration at the Supreme Court and filed criminal charges against the group of Kazuo Okada and Cojuangco.
It's business as usual for the property itself, however, which has been operating normally despite the legal tussles.