Olango Islands

Thanks to Cory, Olango Islands can breathe for now. Ramsar (Convention) promotes the conservation of wetlands all over the world.

My trip to Candaba brought to mind Olango last week. Another seasonal destination for many migratory birds. How they reach Cebu is entirely innate – an acquired instinct – as if continuing their specie’s tradition.

How come these delicate creatures can do something like that and we humans seem to have problems preserving what has been handed down to us?

Someone told me that these migrations are purely driven by survival –  nothing to do with tradition because animals do things to preserve their specie. But you know, traditions are the same because they’re established to preserve an identity – the continuity of our way of life.

When the tides are low enough the birds dig clams and whatever they could get their beaks on...

I was in Olango in ’09. I hope it’s still the same today. Its an Amazing island- the kind that you only see in your dreams. I was worried then that the islands human population are increasing – and as always is the case – a recipe for disaster. It seems that the only way to protect our environment is to rid it with people.

Although I’m not a birdwatcher or a birder (as they’re called) I’m an environmentalist at heart. Olango made a lasting impression on me because it has so much unique natural beauty – to this day I find myself using the imagery of the island to calm my spirit and push all annoyance out of my mind. Cory was right when she declared portions of it sanctuary – we must preserve it for all future Filipino generations to enjoy and experience.

The exposed flat seabed with all its small creature is why the birds come here to snack - this walking big bird included!

Olango is not far from the apartment I rented in Cebu City. A short jeep ride to Mactan followed by a boat ride crossing the strait of Cebu and you’re in bird town. I regret not having a good camera that could shoot long range when I visited. The local guide pointed out some rare species waddling around. On a borrowed binocular I saw these beautiful creatures at a distance.

The observation house of Olango is an elevated structure guarded by friendly dogs – they too are birders. It houses interesting scientific artifacts and literature about birds. The house has been erected through funds that came from local and foreign donors. The binoculars are donations from Japan I was told. From Olango the coastlines of Mahanay Islands of Bohol can be clearly seen. I wish to come back one day with proper equipments and hopefully set up camp and stay for days!

The visit made me understand why so many people are hooked with bird watching. I thought that these people are a little bit mad but they’re just a  bunch captivated by the sheer beauty and elegance of birds that traveled several thousand miles across the continents.

Weather patterns are said to be altering these natural migration process that has been going on for hundreds of years – we really have contribute significantly in protecting the environment if want to keep these wonderful gifts.


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