Thursday, April 26, 2012

Roxas City, Capiz – Legendary Island of Olotayan

Olotayan Island & Baybay Beach
According to legend, Olotayan Island in Roxas City was formed by the head and stomach of a wicked giant.
My second visit to Roxas City afforded a half-day visit to an off-the-beaten-track destination. The neighboring island of Olotayan – the only insular barangay of the city – harbors pristine beaches worth visiting. They’re strewn not with sand, but smooth pieces of coral that keep the waters crystal clear. Sure, it’s no powder-white Boracay; but there’s nothing as rewarding as enjoying a seaside getaway all to yourself.

Rarely visited by outsiders, there are no regular trips to Olotayan. As a matter of fact, the only way to get there is to arrange a private boat trip, or to hitch a ride on one of the bangkas (motorized canoes) heading back to the island from Banica Pier on the mainland. From the small port, the boat navigates through mangrove forests before going out to sea.

Olotayan Island
The rarely visited island harbors white coral beaches

According to legend, the island was formed by the olo (head) and tyan (stomach) of a wicked giant, who wreaked havoc across the land. He was struck by lightning by the anitos (native gods) when the villagers asked for help. His body parts were scattered all over the sea, forming the present-day islands found offshore from Roxas City. Other islands like Mantalinga came from mata (eyes) and talinga (ears); Tuwad are the buttocks; and Sepatos are the feet.

HOW TO GET THERE: For travel details to Roxas City, check out my DIY Walking Tour. Negotiate for a boat ride (45 minutes) to Olotayan Island at Banica Pier.

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