Summer days are up so going over beach trips and getaways are very much on hype these days.
But for a working law student like me, summer break actually means more time to review notes and catch up with the unread books and cases during the school season.
It is also the best time for me to afford better sleep and not get too stressed out at work. Hence, partying or going to places “I do not know where…” is the least of my priority.
All I really want to do during summer is a sound sleep for some few good days and spend the rest of my free time catching up with the missed seasons of Game of thrones, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Korean dramas! (I love Ji Chang-Wook, a popular actor from South Korea)
Now, you might be confused why am I writing a travel post when I say that I do not even travel?
I am writing a travel post now because since 2018, I have realized that at some point in my life, I also need to get out of my comfort zone, go to good places, and treat myself some getaway.
Of course, becoming a lawyer through passing the bar is my short-term goal and practicing law is my long-term goal.
However, in between, I also see the need of diversifying my interests through trying out other things and learning lessons from experiences outside my field.
Last summer escape
It was in the summer of 2018 when I started to use some of my leave credits at work to have some date with nature. This is quite rare because as a working law student, I mostly consume my work leaves for school purposes.
In this article, I will be sharing one of my best getaway at Olangao Island, Cebu City, Philippines.
OLANGO ISLAND is a place in Cebu where one can find different splashes of nature. There, you can find beautiful beaches, marine and bird’s sanctuary, trees and fresh air.
So, if you are someone who is dealing daily with a stressful life, this place might be the best for you.
Who would not be captivated by the isolated haven’s refreshing ambiance and its friendly refuge to wildlife? Even the photos that I have taken could not justify its well-deserved praise.
How we got there?
The island is not yet as famous as other islands or beach destinations in Cebu. That, however, is an advantage because of the Olango Local Government Unit’s effort to rehabilitate wildlife like marine species and birds in the place. The lesser the visitors are, the more peaceful and safer it is for the treasured species in the sanctuary.
Although, the place is not yet at the peak of its popularity, it is easy to go to. Here’s how we arrived at Olango from Cebu City.
- From Cebu City, we rode on a private vehicle going to Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City.
- There are available parking areas at the port for a reasonable 20 php per hour. However, since we arrived around 10 A.M. already, the parking area was already full so we had to find another available space. Good thing, we were able to find a private space just a walking distance from the port for only 15 php per hour.
- Now, if you are planning to commute through a public vehicle, it is recommend that you to start your trip early to avoid heavy traffic.
- You need to ride a jeepney from your location to SM City Cebu. From SM Terminal, ride a Van-for-hire to Gaisano Island Mall Mactan. And from the said mall, you have to ride a jeep or multicab to Punta Engaño.
- Upon our arrival at the port, we bought tickets to Olango Island.
- When we reached the island’s port, there were standby motor vehicles which transported us to our chosen destinations- the San Vicente Marine Sanctuary and the Bird Sanctuary.
The Olango Island Bird Sanctuary
On Saturday, our first destination was the talked-about Bird Sanctuary in the island. We arrived there exactly an hour before lunch so we had enough time to prepare for our island-vibe meal.
The place is relaxing with chirping birds in the background. It is actually a good choice for team camping or when you really just want get away from the stressful workloads or tons of reading materials.
For me, visiting the place is therapeutic and good diversion from the black and white pages of my law books and mechanical work.
We set-up a tent in the land part of the sanctuary while watching the coconut leaves being blown away by the wind.
I definitely enjoyed the place, the ambience, the green lush as its main view, and the music of nature that I even wanted to hear even after I arrived home.
San Vicente Marine Sanctuary
The highlight of our trip was our visit to the San Vicente Marine Sanctuary.
From the Bird Sanctuary, we rode a motorcycle going to the San Vicente Marine Sanctuary.
In the place, the local officials were exerting efforts to regain biodiversity. This, according to the locals, is to protect the sea and its creatures through creating a safe haven for the marine species without compromising the tourists desire to witness the beautiful mix of man-made and natural creations.
Before exploring the marine sanctuary, we paid first for our entrance and environmental fees. After payment, we attended a quick orientation regarding the do’s and don’ts during our visit, which was facilitated by one of the local officials.
We walked approximately 420 meters from the entrance to the sanctuary. The boardwalk itself is really picturesque. It is covered with tall mangroves and there are signage hanged on it.
After a long walk, we finally arrived at the sanctuary which is also the base point when you want to take some swim. Accordingly, there are schools of fish and beautiful corals in the deep part of the sea, but, unfortunately, I was not able to witness those because I did not bring with me snorkeling materials. Should you want to avoid the hassle of bringing your own equipment, there are snorkeling masks available for rent in the sanctuary.
But even without snorkeling materials, I still saw school of fish from the elevated cottage, though may not be as many when I would use appropriate tools.
Overall, the experience was really worth our time and effort. The natural cues and the man-made boardwalk are attestations that the combination of nature and man’s efforts to protect our mother earth results from nothing less but undeniable splendor.
It was in this trip that I realized how important refreshing with the aid of nature is.
While it is important to keep on track with your goals and give your all focus to succeed in whatever you do, it is also important to unwind, take a deep breath while enjoying the beauty of those around you.
When we are too busy with something or too focus on achieving a goal, we tend to disregard the little things that come in between.
But through traveling, I was able to escape from the reality that I was in. It served as a reward for all the hard work that I put into. The experience alone fueled my soul to maximize my subsequent days in order to surely take another getaway come next summer.
Rundown of expenses from the port:
Punta Engano to Olango Island port- 15pesos
-Olango Island port to Bird Sanctuary – 20pesos
– entrance fee for Bird Sanctuary – 20pesos
– From Bird Sanctuary to Marine Sanctuary – 30pesos
– Entrance fee for Marine Sanctuary- 75pesos plus environmental fee or corkage fee of 200pesos