Olango Island offers tour package-A A +A
Thursday, December 16, 2010
SEEING a demand from the European market, tour operators are hoping to sell a day tour package in Olango Island, some 5.5 kilometers off the coast of Mactan.
The Olango Bird Sanctuary and Village Tour hopes to entice tourists who are looking for interactive attractions.
Alice Queblain of Southwind Travel said Olango is an ideal tour because of its proximity to the top resort hotels in Mactan.
She also believes that even those in the city will be attracted to this tour package.
Aside from bird watchers, the tour hopes to attract those who want to experience life in a small island village.
The whole day tour allows visitors to see how coconut is harvested and turned into wine and vinegar while fishermen will orient them on traditional fishing techniques.
They will also see a demonstration on shell craft and will be allowed to make something themselves.
While Olango has long been known to the bird watching community, Queblain said this alone is not a sustainable tour product, which was why they had to involve the community.
Olango residents will be the tour guides and lecturers. They have formed the Suba-Olango Eco-tourism Cooperative (Soec) and will be given honoraria for their time spent during the tour. They will also be able to improve their livelihood by selling their products to the visitors.
They will also be responsible for serving local cuisine at lunch.
The tour will end with a swimming, snorkeling or fish feeding activity at the marine sanctuaries.
Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 Director Rowena Montecillo lauded the Cebu Association of Tour Operators (Cato) for organizing the tour.
She assured members of the Soec that her office will provide trainings to the islanders on how to handle and guide tourists.
She will also be coordinating with the Hotel Resorts and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) to ask them to help in training the members of the cooperative on the diet requirements of some cultures so they can adjust their menus.
Montecillo added that the tricycle drivers also need their own training so they know what tourists want while moving around the island.
After the training, Montecillo said her department will also produce marketing materials to help promote the tour. In turn, she asked the residents for their commitment to sustain the tour and to cooperate in maintaining the package.
The tour covers three barangays in Olango–Santa Rosa, Sabang and San Vicente.
Santa Rosa Barangay Captain Braulio Inoc admitted that some tourists complained that the streets were dirty, which is why he has to gather the islanders and convince them to clean up.
He hopes the Lapu-Lapu City Government will provide them with brooms and trash bins to maintain cleanliness in the area.
For his part, San Vicente Barangay Captain Cyrus Ejas said he has confiscated several improvised guns that islanders used to hunt birds. He also called the attention of those who cut the mangroves.
He has also set aside an honorarium for persons he tasked to make sure that the entrance to the sanctuary is kept clean.
Aside from foreign tourists, the tour is also open for students, who get a cheaper rate.
The tour is priced at P3,380, a uniform rate for all tour operators.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 17, 2010.