Bird Watching at Olango Wildlife Sanctuary

Cebu proves that its beauty is not limited to underwater allure. Olango Wildlife Sanctuary supports the largest concentration of migratory birds found in the Philippines! The sanctuary is where an estimated 40,000 birds refuel before flying to Japan, China, and other neighboring countries.

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Olango Wildlife Sanctuary is located at Olango Island in Northern Cebu. It is quite far from Cebu City but less than an hour away from Mactan International Airport.

How to go to Olango Island from Mactan Int’l Airport:

  • Take a metered taxi going to Hilton Port. Taxis in Cebu are recommended because they charge fairly and gives back the change up to the last centavo. It will cost you around 200Php.
  • At the Hilton Port, buy a boat ticket to Olango Island which costs 15Php.
  • The staff port will let you know once a boat is available. They come every 30 minutes so no worries.
  • Upon arrival at the Santa Rosa Port of Olango Island, there will be tricycles available at the Olango Port.
  • Hire a trike to Olango Wildlife Sanctuary. A trike ride from the port to the sanctuary costs 150Php.

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The sanctuary is about five and a half kilometers far from the port. Expect a bumpy ride!

At the sanctuary, you will be asked to pay an environmental fee of 30php.

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From the port to the wildlife sanctuary, you will be passing by a mangrove forrest – a mangrove is a tree that grows in salt water. We even found a bird, a Little Egret to be exact, feeling at home at the roots of the mangroves!

Before going to the bird watching deck, you’ll have to do a short trek…

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…and walk along the walkway above the waters where tiny fishes and crablets can be seen!

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It is highly recommended to go during the peak hour which according to the guide is at 10am. We went there late in the afternoon so we only saw a few birds.

Take note that the birds will be very far. Unless they come in flocks, you won’t be able to see them with bare eyes. I’m not good with estimates but let’s say a hundred meters – that far. There is a telescope available on the viewing deck which is free to use. I’m glad I’m using Nikon P600 which has 60x optical zoom!

Watch this short video of the birds present during our visit:

And here are some snaps that I took during our visit:

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At first, I thought it’s a bird with a long beak. But when I checked my gallery, it’s a Pacific Swallow with a twig! 😂
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Here’s another Swallow…
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I’m not sure of this bird’s specie but the guide said it’s not actually reddish – it just changed its color because it’s mating season. So cool!
This one is either a Whimbrel or a Curlew…
I’m quite sure this one’s a Grey-Tailed Tattler!

You can check out Olango Wildlife Sanctuary’s website for more information: http://www.olangowildlifesanctuary.org

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It’s really best to go during the peak season, September to May, when birds are flocking the sanctuary to refuel before migrating.

If you’re planning to go both to Olango Island and Cebu City, I’d recommend to put Olango Island at the end of your itinerary. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy and maximize your time relaxing in this secluded island.

Happy bird watching!

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