Olango Island: Update After Four Years


I heard myself talking to a certain teenager while I was biking my way to Barangay Tingo, the northernmost area of Olango Island. He called me, “Maam Angel”. I smiled back at him and scanned my long-term memory of this teenager. 
“I was your student before Maam. Grade 8. 2014. I am Mark.” He introduced himself to me while I recollected my thoughts with this boy.
“How are you? You were batchmates of …” I started mentioning his classmates’ names and he seemed to be delighted that I was able to recognize him.
"Walked our way from the port and I managed to capture these happy kids"

Olango Island is one of the islands I would never get tired of visiting. With my previous posts, I made a living and a life in the island for two years. It was my island of choice when I started my teaching profession and even these days, I could never get enough of Olango. It is undeniable that I left the greatest portion of my heart in this island.

My story about Olango Island recently was somewhat planned. I invited my friend to go biking in Olango Island. Her zesty and carefree attitude fit in the kind of living in the island. For sure, she could appreciate things not found in the city. Thus, our adventure began.
"This is Maribagini now..."

As usual, we headed to Ate Juling’s store for a bike rental. It is more accessible here from the seaport. As you know, Ate Juling is like a mother to me everytime I visit Olango Island. I know I am always taken cared for. We rented bikes and at 11:20, we started pedaling our way towards the Wildlife Sanctuary. It was her first time for this experience and I was glad that we did it together. Though the sun was scorching hot, we still managed to have fun while I was telling her the walks of life in the island, and my two-year experience here.

Finally, we reached my favorite spot – Maribagini. It is a simple yet picturesque view of trees which somewhat form a 100-meter tunnel-like pathway. There is something in the place which I would never get tired of. However though, my heart was a bit crushed when I saw its recent status. The natural pathway of sand and soil was already a cemented road. It gave me a pang of realization. Development was slowly changing the phase of Olango Island. The cemented road stretches from Bas Daku up to the Wildlife Sanctuary which erased the laidback feel of the place.
"I would never get tired of this view since 2014"

We then arrived at the Wildlife Sanctuary. I remembered my days that I visited this area early in the morning – 6am the usual. I needed not to pay any entrance fee and I could still feel the morning breeze and see the vast wetland. This time, I learned that you have to pay for an entrance fee of 30 pesos per person. Of course, I quit complaining. Change brought me here in the island, and at the same time, change also took me away from this island two years ago.
"I couldn't contain myself not to dip in."

We spent an hour in the Wildlife Sanctuary. We were basking under the heat of the sun, and quenching our selves of the island view. The high tide was tempting so was the fine white sand of the sanctuary. I breathed in the fresh air. I allowed it to fill my lungs and cleansed my body of the toxic city life and my sedentary lifestyle nowadays. Olango Island never failed to heal my weary soul. It always works best for me. Though the time was short, Olango Island will always be my island of choice even after four years.
"Always the perfect view before leaving Olango Island"

Olango Island Update:
1. The boat ride in Angasil costs 15.00 pesos for regular passengers while 12.00 pesos for students. (I forgot if to ask if teachers were still discounted.)
2. It has a widened and cemented seaport and its terminal was already well-regulated.
3. The ride still costs the same. Regular fare is at 10.00 per one barangay. If you had to reach two or three more barangays, you have to pay an extra 10.00 pesos.
4. They have a newly-built bridge which connects Sta. Rosa and San Vicente. There is an on-going road construction from Bas Daku near Sagastrand Beach Resort down to Casa Blanca. As I said, from Maribagini, the road is cemented up to Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
5. The entrance fee of the Wildlife Sanctuary is 30.00 pesos. (I wonder if it’s still the same with the foreigners. I remembered when I was younger; I knew that there was a fee difference between locals and foreigners.)
6. There was a new vessel style for passengers. I was informed that the local government is phasing out the old vessel style – the traditional one. This concerns about the safety of vessels and passengers at sea.
7. Bike fare hasn’t changed for the last four years. It still costs 10.00 pesos per hour. Though I must say that the competition of biking rentals is becoming tighter.
8. Environment Alert: I saw big machines before reaching San Vicente. I noticed piles of sand and gravel. The kind of thing when you thought of an on-going construction. Further, when I was in the Wildlife Sanctuary, I saw a bunch of Korean kids with fishing nets and an adult with a fish container with small fish inside. My heart cringed! Are they actually fishing in the sanctuary? I would not want to believe that they are but if that is the case, that is something very alarming.
9. With all its development, I hope the island will never lose its touch as a sanctuary. Things may change but would it be nice if it is geared towards improvement and preservation of its natural resources? Let us be concerned!

Check these previous posts about Olango Island:
1. My first post and how I managed myself in the island. Olango Island: Not Just a Bird Sanctuary. It is Home.  
2. My life story and how I was discouraged to stay in Olango and how I embraced the island once again. Olango Island: Loving the Right Way
3. I went back to the island together with the Manila guy: Olango: Back to My Island Home
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