I have heard a lot about Olango Island and have started doing my homework about it for quite some time.
Olango Island is actually a group of islands which is called Olango Island Group. It is a group since it the main island – Olango – has satellite islands and islets. At least, there are four islands recognized as belonging to the group. These satellites are the best places to see and enjoy with.
Yes, even just thinking about the place or hearing its name I feel excited. And so, I tried to draw up a plan to actually see and tread the place not just in my imagination.
What I can see in my mind’s eye (influenced by some photos online) is a low-lying island with greens and some or most parts are transparent although under sea water.
Now, before going there got me more excited especially when I finally decided to see the place and booked my resort accommodation.
What excites me most, if you ask, are the sites of the islands, the fishes, crystal clear water, birds, mangroves and nature in general. The islands really look amazing when the tide starts to rise and see the waves dancing and lapping on the islands’ shores or rough and rugged rock walls.
As you know, excitement and the feeling about it can be more important that experiencing the real place or situation right? It’s good to enjoy and relish that feeling because it adds value to your experience. It expands the time you will enjoy in actual situation. At least, that’s my feeling and experience.
At Mactan Airport
My plane arrived very early morning (actually dawn) and thought that I should stay in the airport for about 3 more hours after queuing and passing through the immigration and collecting my small luggage. I thought I can find a 24-hour coffee shop or fast food outlet but none. After asking from the airport officers, I was told that there is a couple of restaurants (or café) that serve meals and snacks. There I found my resting place where I was enjoying my early breakfast and the waiting for the first light of day on the island. If you ask, these cafés are located close to the international departure area, opposite are the souvenir stores.
After waiting for a couple of hours in the airport, I decided to leave and took a taxi for the boat terminal. Since it was quite early in the morning, I easily got a taxi and arrived at Mactan Island’s port located on the left side of Movenpick Hotel & Resort. I just walked down to the port area, passed through the main gate and went inside where I found passengers waiting while some are lining up to buy their tickets.
I couldn’t exactly remember how much (maybe around 20 pesos), but that’s the amount I paid for my boat ride. It was around 8 in the morning and there I was sitting on the ‘pumpboat’ (or Bangka) that was scheduled to transport the passengers to Olango Island. I thought I was early and saw only a handful of passengers. I was waiting and asking what time we will take off, and as usual, they answer “very soon” or “now”.
About 10 minutes had passed, still nobody came after I took the boat. Suddenly, the sky turned dark and moments later I could feel rain drops. Then the operator started to crank the diesel engine and we started moving while a very young and muscular guy made sure we move out safely by pushing or guiding our boat carefully and away from other boats standing by. And the raindrops grew heavier and intense by then. The waves started to grow higher and the wind blow stronger than usual. I realized that I was the only passenger except for the operators and other guys who are related to the operators themselves. Our boat was plowing the waves while the rain kept pouring down and we were seeking some corner inside the boat where the waves and rain won’t reach us.
Dealing with a motor cab
Yes, we did it! We reached the Olango’s Santa Rosa Port. While on the boat, I was worried that it would be rainy days and that would be a disaster for a traveler who wants to sightsee or explore the island. Fortunately, I was relieved upon arrival since the rain stopped and the sky turned bright again. I got off, walked the port path and reach the parking area where the tricycles (or motorcabs) are waiting.
One of the older guys approached me asking for my direction which I answered mentioning my resort’s name. I was told it would cost me 120 pesos (about 3 USD). I started to bargain and finally I can pay only 70 pesos (120 is supposed to be shared by 6 passengers) because I was the only rider. It only takes about 12 minutes from the port to my resort on an asphalted and concrete road. Yes, the feeling was high and I thought it would be a great time to explore the island.
The motorcab driver brought me inside the compound of the resort and feeling so happy to arrive there safe and satisfied with the environment as my first general impression. I was not so surprised when I entered the place and saw the swimming in a short distance with an overarching small bridge, and beyond them I can see the sea and the mainland of Cebu.
I was greeted by a kindly woman and helped me with my light luggage to the reception area located by the swimming pool with sparkling waters during this early mid-morning. Of course, accordingly I was led to the room which I booked some days back. And there is my room – spacious, huge bed – as I continue searching and inspecting the whole accommodation – satisfied! Looking out from my window, I have a view of the lawn and lightly decorated garden. Outside my door I have my own sits and a table for relaxation and lazy time. Sagastrand Beach Resort has a small beach and with a concrete pathway that leads further out into the sea where you can fish. Around, you can see the mangroves growing healthily and where the fish and other sea animals make their home and reproduce abundantly.
After my lunch and peaceful rest, I already got excited to go out and explore the surrounding area. I asked the reception about possible means for exploration and was told that they have bicycles and motorbikes. Yes, I got excited because I considered myself good at biking and have just learned a year ago motorbiking. First, the guy introduced me to the motorbike which I refused since I don’t use a clutch and it could be a bit pricey. So I decided to take a bicycle – I didn’t mind using the feminine-use type bicycle, although I prefer a mountain-bike type just like my own at home.
There I went, breathing the refreshing air and feeling the tranquility of the surrounding.
In the next two days, I have enjoyed my trip on the island in the following great places…
Olango Island Fish Sanctuary
Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Asinan Island Eco-tourism
Yes, I tell you that I honestly and fully enjoyed them. Just check them out. By the way, if you want to a nice hotel and resort with fairly good rate, you can check out Sagastrand for more photos and details.
Thank you so much for reading through this travel guide page.