My Journey to Balut Island Part 2: Enchanted OLANIBAN ISLAND
A few minutes after we docked at the port of the town of Mabila in Balut Island Paradise, two motorized bancas approached the M/V Song of Dolly II at her right side, apparently pre-arranged by Ms. Tata Mondido (VP of Dolores Hotels and Resorts) to pick us up, while we were still groggy for lack of sleep but nonetheless excited for what lies ahead.
From afar can be seen the smaller Sarangani Island (which makes up the other half of the municipality of Sarangani’s two land masses) and its lush forest of coconut and other tropical trees.
My cameraman Marzz and I took the 2nd banca with the rest of the Dolores staff and their families, about 12 of us. The Bikini Babes and Hunks from last summer’s 2008 BIKINI OPEN at Dolores Tropicana Resort rode the 1st vessel.
One of the two bancas we rented to take us island hopping in Balut Island
After loading our things and a few gallons of fuel from island, we set off to our first destination: OLANIBAN ISLAND.
Enchanted Olaniban Island, about an hour and a half-ride away, is a 16-hectare coconut-filled island lying 1.5 nautical miles north of Patuco, the barangay to which it belongs. Owned by the RD Group of Companies, it is encircled by three kilometers of fine sugary white sand.
Olaniban Island, here we come!
Sailing past Sarangani Island, I had fun admiring the lushness of its forest cover and the colorful marine life underneath us which was clearly visible from the boat. It was almost mid-morning when we spotted Enchanted Olaniban Island Enin the distance.
The crystal clear waters of Balut
Upon arriving, and finding out that it was low tide, our bancas had to anchor quite a distance away from the shores of Olaniban. We all had to jump into the water and walk our way to the beach while our baggage were transferred to an even smaller boat.
Arriving at Enchanted Olaniban Island
We immediately unpacked our things at our campsite near the hut of a caretaker while Pastor Danilo Domingo, RD’s Farm Manager and our tour guide, announced that first-time visitors must first walk around the 3-kilometer beachfront as a tradition, to appease the “gods of the island” for “disturbing their peace”.
The two bancas a few meters from where we camped
Not wanting to anger some invisible force around us, I agreed to go but not before noticing that Olaniban’s sand has the same texture and same off-whitish color as that of Boracay’s.
Olaniban Beach, beach trekker’s paradise
But unlike Boracay, Olaniban’s beach is free from the green-algae which seemed to have permanently settled there due to the island’s poor garbage and waste disposal systems. It is also free of the numerous ugly buildings and resorts which have lined up Boracay’s beach fronts. In fact, Olaniban only has 2-3 makeshift huts peopled by her caretakers and their families and the whole island is heavily blessed with coconut and mangrove trees.
Olaniban’s settlers waiting for us
In short, Olaniban could have been Boracay about 30 years ago before tourists and developers came rushing in.
We immediately started our trek around Olaniban reminding me of Camiguin Island‘s Good Friday’s PANAAD. Even though the sun was shining down mercilessly upon our backs, a strong breeze was fanning the heat away.
We passed by an old lighthouse tower built by the Americans during the American regime and it since it was painted white it must have looked ghostly in the evening on a full moon.
Olaniban’s old lighthouse built by the Americans during the American regime to guide their warships enroute to Australia
We also reached the part where instead of sand, flattened rocks dotted the beach, a good area for picture-taking with Sarangani Island in the background.
Dolores Tropicana Resort Hotel’s Bikini Babes & Hunks pose dramatically at Olaniban’s flattened rocks at the beach
The trek which seemed like forever for chubs like me finally ended when we reached our point of origin at the camp site. All in all, the whole walk-around-Olaniban thing took 45 minutes. Gosh! Am sure, the islands gods were very pleased with us, especially me.
More of the Bikini Babes and Hunks at the Olaniban Island beach
At the camp site, Tata’s staff bought some fish caught by the island fishermen and had it grilled immediately. Since it was to be our BRUNCH, they also cooked omelets and other breakfast food that only the Dolores Hotel staff could deliciously whip out.
“Isda-sa-bato” grilled over live coals, Olaniban style
While partaking of the sumptuous feast laid before us, I noticed some small weird-looking hairy pigs eyeing us from under the trees. I found out later that these are wild pigs and there are about 20 or so in the island, whose ancestors were maybe brought in by stranded seafarers ages ago.
Wild pig of Olaniban
Pastor Domingo then announced that we have to leave before 12 noon, before the peak of the low tides forcing our boats to anchor farther up the sea. We then spent the next hour or so swimming and having our fill of the island’s allure.
Aisa, Olaniban muse, in her feeling mermaid pose.
Now for this part of the post, please make sure you are aged 18 and above. Don’t tell me that I did not warn you. 🙂
Bariles and all his republic in almost its full glory.
Then it was time to go. Since the small banca couldn’t carry all our baggage back into the two boats moored farther away at the sea at once, Tata’s men fashioned two large styrofoams into a floating vessel by tying them together. As for us, we started wading in the water again back to our waiting boats.
Time to go home by wading thru the water back to the boats
At this time, because of the chaotic waves caused by the now strong winds, I had so much difficulty balancing myself.
The Styrofore Boat
I also discovered that farther into the sea where our bancas were, the sea floor has now turned into a bed of corals and rocks, making it an even more difficult terrain for us city folks, causing some of us to slip and fall.
We finally decided to plop ourselves up into the styrofore floater so that we can easily reach the banca and transfer there.
The styrofore boat to the rescue against the chaotic waves of Olaniban
Finally, after we all transferred to our respective boats, some with scratches on their legs, feet and torso due to the corals, we again set sail, this time to Balut Island’s Sabang Sulphur Spring.
Watch out for the 3rd part of Balut Island Paradise, the Series…. by CLICKING HERE