It was definitely my first boat ride in Cebu and my first time meeting some strangers that would become my ultimate barkada in the Queen City. A balikbayan forumer came home and promised a treat that the forumers based in Cebu would never forget. Island hopping from Mactan Island to Olango Island and back and hitting the big waves of the southerly wind also known in the Philippines as habagat.
It was a year ago.
And it was also clealy my first time entering Mactan Shangri-la Resort, a top-end hotel located in the eastern portion of the Island of Mactan in Cebu, Philippines. Itself the beaches are exclusive for hotel guests only. Sayang! Although I’ve got a glimpse of its beach. Anyway, this hotel became the official residence of the 12th ASEAN Summit which was held earlier this year.
Paris’ Pink Sister and the Port
So we went off to Punta Engaño Port, the main entrypoint for Olango-bound passengers and tourist. We rented an outrigger boat for P2000 for the whole day. The port is located just behind the posh Mediterranean-inspired Hilton Resort and Spa which is a condotel (condominium and hotel) and a resort in one package. It is the tallest skyscraper in Mactan Island and can be seen as far as Carmen in mainland Cebu.
Back to the banca, i noticed that the sea between Mactan and Olango islands were choppy. At first, I’m having doubts of cruising with this kind of situation. No, there are no typhoons at that time nor rain, its just windy. After the negotiation, we went off to Olango island hitting gargantuan waves.
Korean Stilt Colony
Why Korean colony? We were hungry and searching for a community that has fresh bountiful harvest from the sea. The banca operator told us that there are restaurants on stilts in the northern Olango shores and guess what, they are choosy. And they choose Korean citizens to dine in. And also, the price: it was immensely dollar rated! You might spend more than PhP10,000!
After crossing the choppy waters, so we have no choice but to take a rest, dine and enjoy the strong habagat wind. Fresh seafood that is but with a price that is too steep for a local tourist.
We planned to go to the bird sanctuary but it was not the season, so we just went cruising on the shore of Olango Island and yes, we were hit by those whitecap waves again. I just imagine that scenario in the Perfect Storm! It was a rocky one hour ride beside the western coast of Olango facing Mactan and seeing Cebu in the distance.
Now, we were at the end of the southern tip of the island, its time to cruise back to Mactan, this time, its already mid-afternoon and the waves were stronger then ever.
Crossing the treacherous waters
We have no choice but to go back to the Maribago area of Mactan island with the waves strongly hitting against the banca. As we head to Mactan, our banca is already slanting towards the right side since the waves were hitting us on our left portion (starboard, port, someone help me here!). There is one wave that hit us so hard that I was panicking. Boy, it was so close, and still Mactan is 30 minutes away!
The waves subsided as we approach the Mactan shores. We saw a lot of tourists in jetskis and banana boats and resorts were jampacked despite it being a weekday. Mactan’s eastern shore is lined up with high-end to low-cost resorts. It is one of Metro Cebu’s assets since city living is accompanied by island living. Plantation Bay in the south all the way to Hilton Resort in the northern shore, the beaches and the sea was full of Asian tourists.
And so we cruised slowly along the coast. It was relaxing rather than having an adrenaline rush earlier, so we took pictures.
We ended up our day tired and so, after that 5 hour cruise, we went back to Punta Engano port.
It was an experience that I could never forget. It was one July Tuesday. It was the start of the friendship that I had with my barkada in Cebu. It was the time I realized what Enya sang in the Orinoco Flow… “From Peru to Cebu, sail away!”
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