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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

 

Almost there…

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

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About Avel Manansala

Avel Manansala aka Bariles, is a native of a bustling city down south of Mindanao Island. He is a consultant on Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing . He is co-founder and head of the SoCCSkSarGen Bloggers and manager of Google Business Group (GBG)- General Santos. You may add him to your circles on G+ - http://plus.google.com/+AvelManansala. If you need more info on any of these fields, please leave him a message.

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Comments

  1. rj says:

    wow what a wonderful and relaxing place, hehe., i hope walang terorista jan pumupunta,.heheh, ,.and im sure magclick yan sa mga tourist na divers,..nice pics….

  2. Allan Loi says:

    Wow! ! ! Ang taray ng adventure. Ikaw na ged ang well travelled bloggers. I like it and I am impressed with the place and your shots. Pang WOW Philippines. Good Luck to your next adventure.

  3. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By rj
    wow what a wonderful and relaxing place, hehe., i hope walang terorista jan pumupunta,.heheh, ,.and im sure magclick yan sa mga tourist na divers,..nice pics….

    Hi rj, Olaniban Island is peaceful… that includes the whole of the municipality of Balut island. Try to visit it and see what I mean. Salamat for commenting. 🙂

    Where are you from? 🙂

  4. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By Allan Loi
    Wow! ! ! Ang taray ng adventure. Ikaw na ged ang well travelled bloggers. I like it and I am impressed with the place and your shots. Pang WOW Philippines. Good Luck to your next adventure.

    Allan, you think so? Wow, thanks. I hope you could come with me. Bring your own baon lang ha? Hehehe! Love you allan. Hehehe! 🙂

  5. rj says:

    nice to hear that naman, your welcome, now im hir sa manila,kac my ina asikaso ako now dito..pero tubong general santos ako..balik ako this august,hopefully..

  6. Wow new discoveries…Help this place to attract more tourist pang Boracay and dating…Astig din pala…Why not to bring to Travel Show like Trip na Trip…

  7. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By jerwiJermaine
    Wow new discoveries…Help this place to attract more tourist pang Boracay and dating…Astig din pala…Why not to bring to Travel Show like Trip na Trip…

    Hello jerwiJermaine! Haba ng name mo…hehehe! It should be Davao del Sur’s Tourism Office who should make plans to let the whole world know about the wonders of Balut and Olaniban. I hope Trip na Trip will be able to go there and discover the place. Thanks Jer. 🙂

  8. gensanite says:

    what a getaway!!!

    a great place to backpack…

    an overnight stay wouldn’t be bad either…

    cheers!!!

  9. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By gensanite
    what a getaway!!!

    a great place to backpack…

    an overnight stay wouldn’t be bad either…

    cheers!!!

    Gensanite! it’s a backpacker’s paradise definitely. Hey, did you get the address and contact numbers which Fr. Manny wrote somewhere in one of the posts here? 🙂

  10. purple24 says:

    ang taray mo kuya! sexy pose!

  11. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By purple24
    ang taray mo kuya! sexy pose!

    Purple Ivy, Thanks for the compliments! Pinangalandakan ko na tlaga no? Hehehe! Sayang naman ang workouts ko kung di ko idisplay ang yaman gensan ko. Hahahaha! 🙂

  12. gensanite says:

    @bariles

    yup… i got it form the article… thank you so much for your help…

    nice pic on the beach anyway… i thought you were one of the candidates in the bikini babe and hunk competition… 😀

    anyway, i’ll get in touch with them soon enough…

    all my best…

    God bless… 🙂

  13. orman says:

    nice talaga pala nyan! sana we can do away with the boat ride and just teleport ourselves to the island. but really, the pictures are breath-taking lalo na yung lumba-lumba na nag-pose jud. kaw na ged, kuya avel!

  14. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By orman
    nice talaga pala nyan! sana we can do away with the boat ride and just teleport ourselves to the island. but really, the pictures are breath-taking lalo na yung lumba-lumba na nag-pose jud. kaw na ged, kuya avel!

    Ormz, the ABS-CBN guys are planning to go there. A former colleague of theirs is based there and owns a big grocery or something. We better contact Kuya Germs right away. 🙂 It’s really a great vacation site, kahit na maigsi lang.

  15. blackmeat says:

    Sir Avel,

    Kaw ba gitabunan pa jud nimo imong 6-pack ba. Ahehe! Kung sakali maka adto ko didto magpa picture pud ko sa akong 6-pack awww jumbo pack man diay ning ako.. Ahaha! Regards

  16. Michelle says:

    Hey Vel,

    Ever considered to work for Discovery Travel – you get paid to travel too! You are getting good at stuff like that. Am truly enjoying your updates of Gensan on your blog! Sorry I took so long before leaving a comment – have been bz right up to my neck!

    Thanks for the beautiful update on this wonderful island! A surely not-to-be-missed if I every get to Gensan one day! Keeping my fingers crossed! Raymond has been there before, now’s my turn yah!

    Keep up the great job Vel! Love you!

  17. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By blackmeat
    Sir Avel,

    Kaw ba gitabunan pa jud nimo imong 6-pack ba. Ahehe! Kung sakali maka adto ko didto magpa picture pud ko sa akong 6-pack awww jumbo pack man diay ning ako.. Ahaha! Regards

    Blackmeat, hahahaha! Buing gid ka! Gitago gani kay strict akong mga parents! 🙂

  18. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By Michelle
    Hey Vel,

    Ever considered to work for Discovery Travel – you get paid to travel too! You are getting good at stuff like that. Am truly enjoying your updates of Gensan on your blog! Sorry I took so long before leaving a comment – have been bz right up to my neck!

    Thanks for the beautiful update on this wonderful island! A surely not-to-be-missed if I every get to Gensan one day! Keeping my fingers crossed! Raymond has been there before, now’s my turn yah!

    Keep up the great job Vel! Love you!

    Michelle! Finally, your first message (and hopefully not the last) all the way from Ipoh, Malaysia!

    Welcome to Bariles Republic! We really are blessed to have such a beautiful city in a beautiful island. Raymond, when he was here almost 3 years ago had the time of his life with so much of nature to enjoy.

    Do plan your trip now that the budget airlines are still trying to outdo each other in giving the best deals!

    We will all be waiting for you michelle…. including all the COMMENTERS here…hehehe!

    Ciao!

  19. Annabelle Schneider says:

    I was surprised to see the islands from someone else’s camera. I can just imagine how you truly enjoy the visit. I am sure that while you were there you realized how powerful nature was, not only because of her beauty but more because you are at her mercy. This island in particular seem so enchanted. Like you, we could not get our outrigger as close as we wanted…we had to approach the shores so carefully…almost with deference. Any moment we had that feeling that the waves could just hit us so forcefully to the corals causing injury. And yet the waters seem so calm and clear…the skies so blue and a gentle breeze caressing your cheeks… As that feeling exists so was the feeling of deep respect surfaced. I was once there too and considered it my best kept secret. Not anymore now. I am from Glan and i am quite spoiled by our nature in Socksargen. So spoiled that there’s only very few natural spots in the world left that can impress me.

  20. bariles says:

    Originally Posted By Annabelle Schneider
    I was surprised to see the islands from someone else’s camera. I can just imagine how you truly enjoy the visit. I am sure that while you were there you realized how powerful nature was, not only because of her beauty but more because you are at her mercy. This island in particular seem so enchanted. Like you, we could not get our outrigger as close as we wanted…we had to approach the shores so carefully…almost with deference. Any moment we had that feeling that the waves could just hit us so forcefully to the corals causing injury. And yet the waters seem so calm and clear…the skies so blue and a gentle breeze caressing your cheeks… As that feeling exists so was the feeling of deep respect surfaced. I was once there too and considered it my best kept secret. Not anymore now. I am from Glan and i am quite spoiled by our nature in Socksargen. So spoiled that there’s only very few natural spots in the world left that can impress me.

    Hi annabelle! Nobody ever described that Olaniban feeling more beautifully than you just did. You may have left this enchanted island but it never leaves you…. beckoning, whispering and inviting you to come back and embrace its mysterious beauty once again.

    Thanks a lot for your response and welcome to the Bariles Republic! 🙂

  21. Annabelle Schneider says:

    Thanks for the nice welcome! I was really delighted to discover Bariles Republic.

  22. Annabelle Schneider says:

    Is it possible to share with you my own pics of Olaniban? If yes, how do o do that?

  23. i really love go to the beach…mis ko na ang mag beach/

  24. melanie says:

    HI!!! OLANIVAN IS SO BEAUTFUL!!!!!!I HOPE I CAN GO THERE!!!SOMEDAY!!!

    GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!

  25. Ricky says:

    sana write ka lagi article about balut island, my cotages for rent ba dun and how to get there. kasi gusto ko magbakasyon dun at least for 2
    weeks to scape from busy city life
    .

  26. Jordan Ray Quinco says:

    Originally Posted By Ricky sana write ka lagi article about balut island, my cotages for rent ba dun and how to get there. kasi gusto ko magbakasyon dun at least for 2
    weeks to scape from busy city life
    .

    agree!!.. sige po kuya avel… details naman po sa balut island.. i want to go there.. pila tanan gasto ninyo?.. asa muadto?.. pila rent?.. asa magbangka?… etc.. tnx!

  27. inday guno says:

    hindi pa ako naka punta sa olaniban pero balut island is my birth place. marami pang ibang magandang tanawin sa balut island na napuntahan ko na yong malapit lang sa amin, kasi hindi safe magpupunta sa malayo kong wala lang sanang masasamang loob sa balut matagal na sanang dinadayo ng mga tourista at mga taga gensan na mahilig sa nature trip, magbabad sa beach at diving. I promise my self to go to olaniban next year for my vacation in the phils. I can’t wait to visit my relatives and friends in balut island.

  28. Edzel L. Rice says:

    To the author of this site..a warmest congratulation for the nice posted picture of some places in Balut Island…It was a great experience during my first trip there…Wa nako damha na nakaabot ko didto na lugar because I have no idea on that Island..But it was a promising moment when I have been there to see the natural beauty of white sand beaches especially Olaniban Island which is unspoiled from any environment destruction…mawa imong kahadlok sa pagtungas sa dagat tungod sa kanindot sa isla ky hastang pinuha sa balas murag pulboron sa godilocks….I was amazed on the lighthouse build during the american regime (ako ipahambog na nakasaka ko didto….very nice overlooking to Sarangani Island…)…grabe gid akong naaguman na kalipay tungod sa kaanindot sa area…hoping that it would be develop and be one of the tourist destination in the years to come…sa wa pa nakatry og adto didto…be confident to go there…..Dream..Believe..and Survived…yehehehehee……Nice didto kung naay Fear Factor in Balut Island Challenge…….hehehehe..thanks

  29. […] OUT for the next installment of My Journey to Balut Island, The Series: Olaniban Island Paradise Related posts:Balut Island – Unspoilt Holy Week […]

  30. Kaiser says:

    Been there last weekend, Municipality of Sarangani has a huge potential. It has a long stretched of white sand and I would agree that this is like Boracay 30 years ago. I hope they will not ruin this place in the future.

    Did you visit Tuke Maklang resort?


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