The heart has always been reputed as a fragile being caged behind the shatterproof ribs. It is delicate and should always be treated warmly as it easily gets bruised, wounded, and scarred. This is what we have come to believe when we got our hearts broken, heard stories of betrayal and dishonesty, saw in plain sight relationships falling apart.It is easy to believe; and much easier when emotions overpower us.
But what we have forgotten was the fact taught to us by our Science teachers: the heart is a circulatory muscle that pumps blood through our veins and arteries and provides the body with oxygen and nutrients. It beats. And it keeps us alive.
After the successive weekend major hikes we had – to Pulag, Kanlaon, Mandalagan, and Alto Peak – I suddenly found myself getting tired of camping and venturing into the wilds. Anti-climax. Unexpectedly, taking a rest and some time off became a necessity. Obviously, my friends started to notice this. For the past weekends, I stayed at home, declined their invitations, watched documentaries, read books, and marathoned TV series. Without delving, I embraced the norms of mundane life. Or so I thought. I forgot that wild hearts don’t change. Once a wild heart, always a wild heart.
On a Tuesday morning, I packed my things and headed to Punta Engaño. I wasn’t exactly sure if I’m doing the right thing but I felt my heart beating fast… pattering like it’s about to burst out of my chest… pounding like crazy the way it used to back then. It continued when I was in the motor bangka bound to Olanggo Island. There was excitement… and fear; but when the vessel started to roar to life, I knew there was no turning back.
The trip took twenty minutes before I found myself in unfamiliar territory – an island where I don’t know anybody. I approached a habal-habal driver and asked where I can rent a bicycle to be able to tour around the island. He channeled me to a fellow tricycle driver and instructed him to bring me to a bike station owned by one of the councilors of the barangay.
Before I continue this overly-dramatic narration, I’m going to confess something: I haven’t tried biking on legit roads. Yes. I know how to bike but that was way back in grade school days – back when our area was still spacious and houses didn’t grow like mushrooms, back when there’s still room for biking. Fortunately, there were two other young girls who came renting as well. They were trailing behind me and it was no time to be a crybaby. Taking several breaths, I tighten my grip around the handlebars then started to pedal. The salty breeze came dashing in and I knew I was set for a day of adventure.
It was easy to navigate around since the coastal road leads directly to Olanggo’s famous tourist destinations. But before I reached those parts, I saw a narrow road leading to a secluded beach area fronting several rock formations. Nobody else was there but I followed my guts and hovered around the area. I stayed there for a couple of minutes and just stared at the wonders set before me. I checked my heart, it’s still pounding with joy and enthusiasm. I checked my bike, it’s still there, lurking on one corner, waiting to be acknowledged for the purpose it should serve.
I continued the interrupted journey and discovered that more than just the long stretch of beaches and wide array of mangroves, Olango also takes pride in its picturesque roads that are canopied by different kinds of plants and trees. Its boardwalks are immensely beautiful, much more the kindhearted people that dwell in the area. Now I understand why birds of varied species found a home in this little paradise. Their hearts lead them there. Mine as well.
Though sunsets are best captured on the island as it’s facing west, I decided to head back to Cebu City a little later after lunch. I despised getting caught in heavy traffic. It’d be a gruesome way to end a perfect day. Moreover, I think I have found the drive inside me to keep going, to reach more summits, to chase more islands, to cliff jump unto the unknown, and to discover more about myself.
There will always be days like this – when we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. But it’s not every day that in the middle of nowhere, we find ourselves. We understand ourselves. And we feel that very flesh beating erratically inside our chest, behind those shatterproof ribs.
We have to remember that we are provided with a wild heart that cannot be tamed, restricted, and undervalued. A wild heart that keeps pumping blood through our veins and arteries so that we’ll be reminded that we are alive. It beats and will continue beating until we set it free. Until we set ourselves free from the things that have been long holding us back.
Sample Itinerary and Budget for Olanggo Island Trip (from Cebu mainland)
8:30am – ETD (Colon to Parkmall) – P10.00
9:00am – ETA Parkmall
9:05am – ETD (Parkmall to Punta Engano) – P15.00
10:00am – Movenpick Port
10:05am – Motor Bangka to Olanggo Island – P20.00
10:30am – Tricycle to Bike Rental Station – P8.00
10:45am – Start of Island Tour (Secluded Beach area, Olanggo Marine Sanctuary, and Olanggo Bird Sanctuary) – P30.00
1:00pm – Head back to Sta. Rosa Port via habal-habal – P15.00
2:00pm – Back to Park Mall – P35.00
3:00pm – Home Sweet home
Entrance Fees: P50.00 for the Bird Watching and Marine Sanctuary
Total Expenses (excluding lunch and snacks): P183.00
Tips for going around Olanggo Island
- If you don’t mind getting home late, wait for the sunset.
- Bring your own food; but if you want, meals are available around the area.
- Souvenirs are cheaper at the Marine Sanctuary.
- Habal-habal and tricycle are available just in case you don’t know how to bike.
FRIENDLY REMINDER: Always be a Dakila. Be a responsible hiker. Be a responsible traveler. Let’s follow the LEAVE NO TRACE Principles and keep the integrity of creation. Let’s stop the hate; rather, let’s educate. See you on trails!