Cebu and Bohol
Bird Watching at the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary
Cebu is an island that has a metropolis for a capital city, and a few other bustling cities around it to make it a rather urban locale. What may not be evident with the island being as urbanized as it is, is that there is actually a wildlife sanctuary nearby. The Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is considered one of the places where you can find the most number of migratory birds in the country.
Olango Island is located east of Mactan Island, and is actually the biggest of seven islands that belong to what is called the Olango Island Group. The island is a flat land that has offshore corals, mangroves, and warm seas that is home to numerous types of wildlife, and not just birds. The sanctuary itself is a 920 hectare piece of property that has become a shelter for migratory birds that come from places like China, Japan, and Siberia.
The sanctuary is open to visitors, however you can only come here between 9 am and 5 pm. They are open all week, but are closed during specific holidays like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Holy Week, to name a few. There are no restaurants or eateries on the island, so you may need to pack your own food if you are planning on staying long while bird watching. There is an entrance fee of P100 for foreign visitors, and an additional P20 for an entire group for the trekking and nature walk option that lasts an hour and is facilitated by a knowledgeable guide.
Getting to Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary is rather easy, since it is just east of Mactan Island. Just grab either a cab or jeepney to Punta Engano, then get off near Movenpick Hotel. The port beside the hotel will have boats that will take you to Olango island, with the usual fare being P20 and the terminal fee being P5. At the pier on the other side, take a tricycle to the sanctuary. Since there are no vehicles back to the port other than these tricycles, you might want to book them for the trip back as well. Roundtrip fare, including waiting time, can cost around P200 to P250, depending on your bargaining skills. Trip Guru recommends that you visit the sanctuary sometime between September and May, and time your visit a couple of hours before high tide to get the best bird viewing opportunities.