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Olaer Springs Resort rediscovered

Bariles could not even remember the last time he visited Olaer Springs Resort.

Located in a secluded portion of Barangay Apopong‘s steepsided valley formed by the Silway River, and nestled on its  right banks, Olaer’s “cold” Springs Resort was the choice weekend destination for most families in General Santos City during the 70s and early 80s.

The cold Olaer Springs Resort invites you

Earlier before the Martial Law era, the citizens of downtown Dadiangas would just simply hie off to the old Lion’s Beach (now the Queen Tuna Park) or the Pearly Shells Beach at Barangay Bula for their weekend picnics.  These black-sand beaches were unspoilt and clean then but most of all, they were FREE.

When the public market was transferred there however,  after a massive fire razed it to the ground, these beaches along Sarangani Bay started losing their luster. The beaches of Alabel and Barangay Tambler back then were considered too far and the roads were still unpaved.

The only choices left were the cold springs resorts farther inland, and there were quite a few good ones in the city:  Mateo Springs (now Meljois), Lumanta Springs (now closed), Dacera Springs (now El Pueblo) and the most popular, Olaer Springs.

The shallow pools for kids at Olaer Springs Resort
“The shallow pools for kids at Olaer Springs Resort, located farther inside the compound.”

Thus, for most of the Martial Law babies, Olaer Springs was where they experienced their initiation rites for PMT, CAT, WATC, ROTC; their YCAP and YDT tree-planting projects and their Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts campings.  And with the generals’ penchant for making any excuse to party, Olaer was where thousands of festive birthday, baptismal, victory and holiday parties were held.


Additionally, for Bariles and his generation, this was also where most of them first learned how to dog paddle, jump head first and eventually swim the free-style, the backstroke and the butterfly.  And who could ever forget playing the pool tag games, the “longest time underwater” game, the swimming contest, the underwater obstacle course, the shark game, water polo using plastic beach balls, and so many more.

All these were not lost on Bariles when he was invited by fellow blogger Jinky Olaer-Borela for an early morning swim during the Izra Wal Miraj holiday two weeks back.  And yes, he was not disappointed.

As soon as he stepped on Olaer Springs Resort‘s territory for the first time after only God knows how long, all he got was goose pimples with the ensuing flood of memories that followed.

Let these following pictures by Bariles explain what he means….

Who could forget The Rock where as kids, was where the Holy Grail was. Climbing on top of it meant jostling with other eager kids wanting to do the same.
“Who could forget The Rock where as kids, climbing on top of it meant jostling with other eager kids wanting to do the same.  It was our own version of Mt. Everest!”


In the background is Olaer Springs Resorts THE SOURCE where all its cool water comes from.  Thats Bariles in the foreground.
“In the background is Olaer Springs Resort’s THE SOURCE where all its cool water comes from. This was sacred ground for the young kids before.  That’s Bariles in the foreground.”
The Main Pool and deep portion of the kilometric Olaer Springs Resort.  Photo was shot from near the entrance of the resort.
“The Main Pool and deep portion of the kilometric Olaer Springs Resort. Photo was shot from near the entrance of the resort.”
Do you remember THE BRIDGE separating the deep and shallow portions of the Main Pool?  Thousands must have waded or swam under THE BRIDGE ala The Bridge of Sighs in Venice.
“Do you remember THE BRIDGE separating the deep and shallow portions of the Main Pool? Thousands must have waded or swam under THE BRIDGE ala The Bridge of Sighs in Venice.”
This used to be our version of THE NIAGARA FALLS as kids, the water massaging our heads, necks and backs.  Its where all the water from Olaer Springs Resort exit.
“This used to be our version of THE NIAGARA FALLS as kids, the water massaging our heads, necks and backs. It’s where all the water from Olaer Springs Resort exit.”
This was and still is the Olaer Springs Resort way of chilling beer.  Things have not really changed since our youth.
“This was and still is the Olaer Springs Resort way of chilling beer. Things have not really changed since our youth.”

The best time to visit Olaer Springs Resort is from 6am to 10am when the throngs of masses have not yet descended upon its still cold, crystal clear waters. It is also time to savor the relaxing silence because once the competing voices emanating from the karaoke machines scattered all throughout the resort start, then good luck. It’s one big FIESTA at the Olaer Springs Resort once again.   Welcome to the biggest weekend party in town!

How about you? What do you remember about Olaer Springs Resort?

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+ - If you need more info on any of these fields, please leave him a message.

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  1. Aileen Apolo says:

    Oooohhhh parang ang sarap mag-dive!!!
    .-= Aileen Apolo´s last blog ..How Lola Techie Uses Google =-.

    1. bariles says:

      @Aileen, this was where Ms. Janette Toral performed her first WATER JUMP. Check out her Facebook Account. Will love to take you here once you are back. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  2. bernie allen says:

    Hi Bariles,

    This place looks great. it has improved a lot and the good thing is the water is still perfectly clear.

    just like before.

    How do I remember this resort?… hmnnn, ahhhh ohhhhhh, let’s keep it that way. I love this place.
    very much!!!

  3. gensanite says:

    nice… i saw some photos where they have “unfamiliar” structures… malamang, may developments nga nahitabo… haven’t been in this place for almost 5 years, if my count is correct… hehehe… 🙂

  4. jinky says:

    wala akong masabi but WOW! Thank you, Bariles!

  5. fahdingding says:

    Wow…Ganda ng pagkakuha mo kuya AVEL… maganda na talaga olaer ngaun pero may mas maigaganda pa to if idevelop talaga… as in! sarap tuloy maligo!

  6. purple24 says:

    my family used to have picnic all the time at Olaer in the late 80s..i missed all those fun that we had there and what i remember most is that i almost drowned there and it was where my uncle was teaching me my basic swimming lessons. lamig2 ng tubig..kaka-miss maligo dun!

  7. Rica Serenio says:

    My God, it’s almost 10 years now and I haven’t been home since…I just miss that place soooo much. I remember me and my schoolmates in gradeschool skipped our afternoon classes just to enjoy the water and was swimming in our school uniforms. So many good memories and yeah…it’s where I definitely learned how to swim.

    Thanks for the pictures….

  8. lito says:

    very nice post!i have many memories of olaer the 80s,we used to go there every weekend.
    di ko malimutan… one saint john’s day in 1987,punong puno ang oaler we had to picnic on the grass…we met many friends and gabi na kami umuwi…
    .-= lito´s last blog ..miss gay 4 sis resto bar =-.

  9. kulot says:

    sad to say wala ata akong matandaan about olaer hehehe already a decade n un eh! pero maganda pala dun ano…ang sarap-sarap maglublob lalo na sa panahon ngaun sobrang init dito sa kung san ako!

  10. I missed Olaer pool. It was used to be our regular venue of our batch get-together.
    Water was really cold and clean.

  11. rrrrr says:

    yeah,na rember ko parin ang resort na ito,nung 2005 ang huling bisita namin. may pagbabago ba sa resort?

  12. BrAvO SiX says:

    i really love this place….

    it’s been so long since the last time i visited Olaer, 1992 pa! whew..!

    things have changed in the resort physically but the way of cooling bottled drinks is still the same…Olaer’s tradition!

    thanks sir avel for that rediscovery..

  13. Chris Dearne says:

    My first ever visit to General Santos was in 1982 and one of the high points of that trip was a visit to Olaer Air Springs! I remember soaking the beer in the waters to cool down and at the end of the day my wife Ellie and our group of relations were all on or around the rock shampooing their hair and preparing to leave!
    This is a very good memory for me!
    Chris Dearne.

  14. Mindanao Bob says:

    Even though I lived in GenSan for 2 years, I never visited Olaer Spring Resort. I heard of the place, but have never been there. The pictures sure look inviting, though. I might have to make a visit one of these days.
    .-= Mindanao Bob´s last blog ..My Equipment =-.

  15. ache says:

    It has always been a family affair for us at Olaer, many many fond memories as a child 🙂
    we also brought a lot of friends and relatives there who are not from gensan and they loved the place too…

  16. naxxe says:

    ganun pa rin…pang masa pa rin sya…may free hilaw na magga pa ba??

  17. rosilie says:

    I quite remember the happy times my family and friends had in this place. Last time we were there was more than 5 years ago. There could indeed be new stuffs there and really looking forward going there again!!!

    Ate Jinky, adtu mi dira sa inyuha!!!!!

    Pwede ba mag blogger meeting sa olaer.hahahahahha!

    TC! we miss you alot!

    Greetings from me and my other blogs.

  18. Renato B. zubieta says:

    When I saw the pictures i went back to the years when olaer was our second home. We use to go there on week ends with our group the “muskratz” of notre dame. Bong josep, bobby montilla and her sister use to be there to help their grandma.

    We have lot of mermories to share. I remember we stay overnight at totoy guinto’s farm house and kill some native chicken for dinner and of course tanduay then in the morning cross the river towards olaer or pass by tatang sias bonifacio’s farm and pick up more chicken then carding decenorio is the egg killer the old man complains lossing eggs.

    To mention our group, bong menor, rene zubieta,carding decenorio,willy tupas, boy quizon, denden reblando, bong josep grandson of the olaer’s,edna chua now Kho, abet cruz, onio faunie,fred and art sendico,willy ,pinoy cortes, renato sosobrado, Father sergio arenga, carlos del rosario, marcy arenas, boy osuna. It was after graduation from high school 1968 when I remember the last time have been in olaer.

    1. toti dial says:

      bossing renato salamat sa post i remember the last name of my classmate in grade 6 bobby montilla,sa dadiangas west….kapitbahay lang kami ni bobby & joseph nasa papaya st. kami nasa kabilang kalye lng sila..kilala ko din si carding magkapatid sila ni ernesto boy quizon tatay yata niya yung pintor?kapitbahay namin sa papaya st…i remember olaer,nuong maliliit pa kami,palon or falon ang dating pangalan ..the last time na visit ko ay 1975 pa yata…tagal na kaau…salamat kay sir avel..sana makabalik pa kami diyan…

      1. @toti dial, walang anuman. Hopefully, makauwi ka uli sa mahal mong Dadiangas at makapag-swimming sa Olaer. At mas importante, makasama mo uli ang mga kaklase mo’t mga kaibigan at mga kapitbahay sa downtown area. Cheers!

  19. donna says:

    it’s bee such a LONG time. I miss OLAER!!! I’m so excited to go back there. I have a lot of GOOD old memories of that place!!! i just can’t help but smile.
    .-= donna´s last blog ..Make-up Artist (my budding career) =-.

  20. Joannapaula says:

    @ marlene: korek.. di ka nga talaga general kapag di kpa nakakapunta dito…weee! naligo kami dun sa ligo na olaer banda. yung may mini water falls. weee. ang sarap. den may lumitaw bigla. (poop! it became pupu crunch.!) hehe. biglang disperse ang drama. wahahah

  21. Ayel says:

    Oh. The last time I went there was when I was still in kindergarten. How long ago was that? 17 years ago? 😀 Hmm… nice post sir Avel.
    .-= Ayel´s last blog ..Ladol Again =-.

  22. elmerceq says:

    How do I remember the “everlasting” Olaer! back in the 70’s, we used to drop by the place along with my brothers, and they had that drinking spree and the acoustic guitars whining – ala muziklaban at its acoustic vibe. I was 8 years old then. In high school, Notre Dameans always trooped the place. Siyempre girian with the other high school dudes from other schools. Thanked God, I wasn’t involved in any melee and scuffle, jejeje. In college, I was baptized then as a Betan at the upperend of the resort. That was the first time that I ever shouted “I love Beta Phi Omega!” That was then… my heydays! Was it worh remembering? Absolutely!
    .-= elmerceq´s last blog ..Tuna Pop Songwriting Competition =-.

  23. fahdingding says:

    SARAP! kagagaling lang namin ng OLAER Kahapon! LAMIG ng TUBIG!

  24. hecky says:

    ang sarap lumakbay sa nakaraan habang nagtatampisaw
    gunita ang mga bakas ng kahapon sa Olaer Spring Resort
    lamig ng tubig ang gumising sa aking mahabang paghimbing

    tara na mga kapatid,
    huwag maglasing, masaya, malamig,
    muling magtampisaw sa tubig

    hay… mis ko na ang Olaer Spring
    ang mga masasayang kahapon

  25. Rea says:

    ahahaha. i miss this place. sobrang lapit lang sa bahay namin so after class nung grade school, we always go there to swim! wuhooo.

    and i was even amazed before kasi may nakita akong postcard ng Olaer na binebenta sa bookshop. oha, world-class. weee!
    .-= Rea´s last blog ..Yellow Day =-.

  26. Mikko says:

    Waaaw, elementary pa ata ako last nakapunta dito. More than 6 years ago. Waaaa.

  27. Raymund says:

    ang sarap naman…naiinggit ako..ang init pa naman ngayong linggo na to

  28. Dexter says:

    Wow! just saw the pix of olaer.. hehehe… galing naman ng photographer… kakamiss magtampisaw jan ah… kaso may nakita me na dugong??? hehehe joke lang kuya avel… peace… just missed gensan… praying to visit there by september…

  29. lyn2 says:

    wow!!!grabe na jud ang improvements!!!grabeee mingaw na au mi ligo dha!!!!dri sa manila wala jud ana kanindot nga spring!!!!!WHEW!init au dri lami na au maghumol sa OLAER!!!

  30. Edyn says:

    hmm..Olaer ba may-ari ng resort?as in olaer family name?

  31. Naomi Olaer Hoover says:

    i heard this Olaer resort but i havent been there…but im planning to see your place in the future…How are u related to Anselmo Roxas Olaer ? he is my father……
    pls send me some response regarding this matter… thanks!

  32. jR_olaer says:

    me and my cousins used to sneak out just to go swimming in this beautiful resort. our compound is just few blocks away from the resort. although were free of charge, my grandpa won’t allow ‘coz were all kids and nobody will look after us. we were about 6 – 10 years old then and the eldest of us, jonathan, was our team leader. it was very memorable. how i wish our family can celebrate a grand reunion at this resort this christmas break. ive been far from my home since 1997.

  33. rolando olaer says:

    maganda pala mag swimming dyan sa resort mo.. wala pako maka anha pero base sa aho nakita makaingon ko nga nindot jud..This is rolando olaer taga guindulman, bohol ug nagplano me nga muanha diha s inyo resort this week.. hope nga magkailhanay ta.. kasi parihas tayo ng apelyido.. you can email……

  34. Ahh Olaer! 🙂 I remember all those bottles of Coke that we soaked in the water for chilling back in those days when Coke was still sold in bottles instead of cans.

  35. kahrl says:

    OMG, cant wait to go to Olaer with my high school friends, we really had so much fun and memories, tinuod jud ng imohang mga comments, I miss the place and my friends, last time maybe I was in Olaer was 1997….

  36. JOEL T. says:

    OMG, the rock in the middle of the pool is still there, I am 28 now, but back to the old days, we’re always hanging out with my relatives and friends when I was young at 5 (1986-1992), since our house was just a kilometer across Silway river and take note we’re just crossing it to reach Olaer spring. Such a reminiscing pics. Thanks. And the old still alive,wow!

    1. bariles says:

      @Joel T, you’re welcome. Hope you can come home soon. 🙂

  37. Mackay says:

    It’s so heart warming reading all these comments. You have rekindled great memories with your post Tito Avel. Awesome.

    I too have great memories there. From Sunday swimming traditions to HS and college antics. I love that place.

    Because of your post and fondness of Olaer, I have suggested that for our 10 year reunion of Irineo Santiago Elementary School batch, we celebrate it there. Nature and familiarity will make it perfect for a fun reunion don’t you think? Affordable pa for everyone!

    1. bariles says:

      @Mackay, thanks for your kind words. Olaer has been a part of every general’s life and hopefully, for the rest of the young and future generations to come. We just have to let them know that it still exists. As for your reunion, make sure you do it early in the morning or if not, do it on weekdays so as to have the resort all by yourselves!

      Thanks for writing again! 🙂

  38. Toinks says:

    I love this place. I’ve had fun and good memories here. ^-^

  39. Lydia Yuro says:

    i wont forget that rock…. during highschool days…. maliit pa yan…
    i love OLAER SPRING RESORT>… congrats to the owners… to alpha olaer orbita my office mate… thanks sa mga badge…

  40. QUEENOFHEARTS23 says:

    HI! very nice and beautiful place u have there.very interesting to go…do u have fishing area in resort?we want to visit there this end of month october..we wait ur reply..thanks..

  41. I will make sure that on my next visit to GENSAN I will drop by to this resort. 🙂 Olaer resort is owned by my relatives, but I haven’t met them yet. 🙂 So it’s pretty exciting to give a time to visit this place. 🙂

  42. After 40 years I visited OLAER SPRING last Sept. 5, 2012. We have our BOWLING TOURNAMENT. It’s a NATIONAL GAME. We are all about 27 bowlers from Manila and Pampanga to compete in this event. This National tournament was hosted by MR. NESTOR UGSAD. Am so happy that after that long, long years I”ve seen again this place. As to the place nothing changed except that cottages and some amenities has already exists. Many thanks to my relatives who prepared our foods. It’s amazing! Hope to be here again.

  43. Rove says:

    Oh! What a reminiscing photos, there’s a lot of changes now in Olaer resort. I remembered when i was a kid, we used to go there every weekend and walked from the highway down to olaer resort for how many kilometres maybe more than 3 Km that’s my visual how far carrying a heavy load of clothes for washing under the falling waters of that spring and helped my Mum and sisters to wash our clothes. while my brothers are busy jumping on the swimming pool on top. sometimes we cross the river just to try to get in…. and jumpin the bulb wire fench…lol those are the days during my kid days., what a memorable thing i had. As i can see the photos the water still the same very clear,I can feel and imagine the coldness of the new photos that published on this website. Maybe someday when I go back home in Gensan that’s the first resort that I’m going to visit.

    1. bariles says:

      @Rove, Olaer has not lost its charm up to these days. The best time to visit it is during the early hours of the morning when the picnickers have not arrived yet and during weekdays too. See you around here and thanks for your comments. 😀

  44. Juan Paulo Rico says:

    Wow, so refreshing. I set my feet at Olaer more than 21 years ago (Dec. 1992). Nice to see that the spring is still ingenuous. Preserve not to become sophisticated. Will visit on the near future their with my friends from Iloilo.

    1. @Juan Paulo Rico, that’s great to hear. You will surely enjoy the better managed Olaer Resort upon your return. Wishing you well, kabayan. 🙂

  45. […] going out of your way is not your thing, the Olaer Cold Spring Resort is only 10-15 minutes away from the city proper. You can also take a stroll down Plaza Heneral […]

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