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I'm just one ordinary Tarlaqueno who loves to travel and travel and travel and revel in God's wonderful creation. Through this blog, I get to share my travel experiences with everyone.

Bird Watching at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

Towards the viewdeck - Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
On the way to the bird watching area.

Cebu has loads and loads of attractions to offer. I have visited the province five times already yet I still haven’t gone to many places, especially the far ones. I usually toured just around Cebu City and Mactan Island. During my 5th visit to the province, I only had 7 hours to tour the province and at first I couldn’t imagine if I’d be able to visit at least one interesting place off the city.

Fortunately, my friend suggested a place outside the city that we could visit with our time available. It’s Olango Island, a small island 4 kilometers southeast of Mactan Island and is under the jurisdiction of Lapu-lapu City. The island is home to the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS), a 1,030-hectare wetland where almost 100 species of migratory and resident birds can be found. This makes OIWS the area in the Philippines with the largest concentration of migratory birds with a total number of 48 species.

Ferry going to Olango Island
Ferry boats at Hilton Pier
Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island
Once you see these three towering buildings, you're getting closer to the pier

Located in the southern barangay of San Vicente, the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary can be reached by riding a ferry boat from Hilton Pier (beside Movenpick Hotel) and renting a habal-habal or a tricycle upon getting to Sta. Rosa pier. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources protects and manages the area. Applicable fees for entrance, camera use, overnight stay, and additional activities are being collected at the sanctuary office.

Sta. Rosa Pier Olango Island
Sta. Rosa Pier in Olango Island

Sta. Rosa Pier Olango Island
Sta. Rosa Pier Olango Island
Reminds me of the long walk out of the pier in Siquijor

Depending on your chosen activities, DENR provides tour guides who will accompany you to the bird watching area and provide you with the necessary information.  An entrance fee of 20 pesos per person is to be collected apart from the corresponding fees per activity. In our case, an additional 10 pesos per person was collected for the bird watching fee, inclusive of a long-range telescope and guide. Another 10 bucks was charged for the use of point-and-shoot cameras and SLR cameras with lens of focal length shorter than 200mm. Any other lens would be charged a fee of 500 pesos. That’s why I did not bring my telephoto lens in the bird watching area, hence, no pictures of the birds. Sad.

Entrance to Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Welcome signage

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary Office
Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Changeable para tipid :)

The sanctuary which is all flat and filled with mangroves is a haven for almost 40,000 migratory birds coming from China, Japan and Siberia. They come to Olango during the months of September to May to escape the cold weather in the said countries. These migratory birds interact with almost 50 local species. Some of the species that we spotted include the rufous-necked stint, grey plover, ruddy turnstone (talingting), terek sandpiper (plows the sand through its beak to find food), and the near-endangered Chinese egret (a bird that walks sideways). These birds were so far from where we were standing that they were not visible to the naked eye.

Trail to the view deck of Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Path to the bird watching area. Dramatic
Pandan Fruit - Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Pandan fruit
Mangroves at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Mangroves everywhere
It was during the time of the late President Cory Aquino that the sanctuary was proclaimed a protected site, by virtue of the Philippine Presidential Proclamation 903 dated May 14, 1992. It was given international recognition in 1994 when it was declared as the 1st RAMSAR SITE in the Philippines during the RAMSAR Convention in Iran for the Preservation and Protection of Wetlands of International Importance.

Toward the viewdeck of Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
The long path

Mangroves at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
More mangroves on the side

Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Concrete steps

I’m not really a fan of this type of activity, but the experience was really overwhelming. It feels good to know that the Philippines has something like this and is exerting efforts to preserve such an ecological wonder. Glancing at the birds through the telescope made me appreciate nature and the environment even more. It is good to see these creatures fly and roam around the flatlands without all the threats and dangers.

Spotted bird at Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
This is my closest shot of a bird. It's a heron, I think. Thank you telescope.
Chinese egrets feared of getting endangered. Photo courtesy of http://www.olangowildlifesanctuary.org/

From Mactan International Airport, ride a taxi and ask the driver to take you to Punta EngaƱo Pier (also called Hilton Pier or Mactan Pier). This is just beside Movenpick Hotel (formerly Hilton Hotel). Fare is around 120-140 pesos and travel time is 15 minutes. At the pier, buy a ticket for 15 pesos and pay 1 peso for terminal fee. Ferry boat to Olango leaves every hour. Upon reaching Sta. Rosa pier in Olango, hire a tricycle or habal-habal to OIWS in Brgy. San Vicente for 120 pesos, one-way. You can negotiate with the driver if you want him to wait for you. Roundtrip fare costs around 200-250 pesos depending on how long you plan to stay in the area. Travel time from Sta. Rosa Pier to OIWS is 20 minutes.

High range telescope Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Telescope donated by JICA

Bird's nest
Nest made out of dried leaves, sand and water

Entrance Fee:
Filipino Adults – 10 pesos
Foreigners – 100 pesos
Students/Senior Citizens/Children – 10 pesos
Camping fee – additional 25 pesos per night, maximum of 2 nights

Bird watching – 10 pesos per person (inclusive of guide and telescope)
Nature walk/Trekking – 20 pesos per group
Photography (for commercial or promotional purposes, any type of lens allowed) – 500 pesos per camera
Camera use (point-and-shoot, SLR with lens of focal length less than 200 mm) – 10 pesos
Movie/Video coverage – 3,000-5,000 pesos
Use of comfort room – 5 pesos

Make sure you bring gears to protect you from the heat of the sun because you will have to walk several meters to the bird watching deck without shade. Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is open from 9AM to 5PM daily.

Spotted a starfish

1 comment:

  1. Tarlac is one of the beautiful place in the Philippines. Aside of the beautiful places and scenery, there are some species of birds that can capture your attention. I love bird watching there.

    bird watching Philippines


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