Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

O N E 



A surprise can come in two faces. One that's rigged with regret to disarm you and leave you without a decision to make. Then there's a certain kind of surprise that's charming that it will leave you in awe. It's something that entices you to move forward and experience more. I had the latter one evening in Pueblo De Panay, Roxas City. My countenance definitely showed it in response to an invite by one lady who mysteriously calls herself Aph. The target destination was Olotayan Island, off the coast of the city and the call time for boarding the hired boat was early morning the next day.

Unplanned Stopover

Surprises did not stop during the meetup. En route to the island, our boatmen veered the banca to make a quick stopover at an islet. When asked what it was called, it came with many names. One local, however, insisted that he knows it to be Butongtalian, an inventive combination of the Tagalog words "buto" or bone and "talian" or attachment. Hearing it conjured images of a person's neck, shoulder, and back where one's spine is. This contention can't be argued because I also happen to know that Islas De Gigantes, an island chain, is just nearby and it's rightfully called as such because old folks firmly believe that giants used to visibly roam the vast expanse of the Visayan Sea. This is why Olotayan's name resulted from combining the Tagalog words "ulo" or head (olo) and "tiyan" or stomach (tayan).

Vanishing Sandbar

Pepe, our local guide, informed me that the islet has a vanishing sandbar that disappears during high tide. Our stopover was fortunately a perfect time for the sandbar to show itself, so I alighted the banca to linger for a few minutes in the area. The waves were strong around Butongtalian, proving what a Roxas City-based relative of mine confided to me about the coast. I was told to take caution if possible, hinting that the trip was dangerous for a tourist like me. However, I've had worse boat rides. This one was just reminiscent of a delightful carnival ride I had in Manila.

The Surprise With Regret

Interestingly, I also had the other kind of surprise all throughout the trip -- the one with regret -- for not having a life jacket on my body, especially because I don't even know how to float myself to save my life. From the Banica port, the Banica River, all the way to the quick islet stopover, I was being tossed back and forth aboard the boat not just by waves, but also by indecision. I could have canceled on the trip, but the lure of the sea and its awaiting islands was so enticing. I held off pressing the stop button one too many times in the duration of the 30-minute ride. Pun intended, it was the right stop that I needed. For lack of a better term, the islet was amazeballs!

Soon, I heard a call from one of the boatmen which I heeded. We had to leave the area because high tide was imminent. I could see my footsteps on the sand disappear in just a few minutes. We definitely had to leave.

Fresh Catch

As our boat turned around to visit one side of Olotayan Island, we spotted a local fisherman clad in diving gear. We were no more than a couple of minutes on the ride when he raised a big fish. Our local guide reckoned that it probably weighed almost 5 kilos. He was willing to buy it from the fisherman as he was on the phone with his wife about it as soon as the catch was delivered up close. He was giddy that it would be served in so many ways -- steamed, fried or grilled -- for a week. Captured with a bow, the fish was still alive on board the banca as most seafood are at the port in Roxas City and neighboring ones. It couldn't get more fresh than that. Even most Boracay-based resorts and restaurants get their seafood from the Capiz capitol I was told.

At Banica Wharf, Roxas City, with Aph and Pepe
An hour had past already since we left Banica port and we haven't reached our target island barangay yet. With all these surprises, I can attest to the adage that the journey is sometimes better than the destination. Oh well, I did not know that there were more surprises to be had until we docked at Olotayan, but you have to revisit the blog for the next post soon.

Special thanks to Pepeng Tour Guide

Photography by Josua Chan
and Karl Ace

Visit Olotayan

A boat ride to Olotayan Island is available at Barangay Banica.
Phone: 0919-3080592 or (036) 621-1058
Email: olotayan@capisnon.com

Check out my "I Love Capiz!" Blog Series Tour posts:

Timelessness of Nature In Capiz Bay Resort
Expertly Crafted Blends At ACC Coffee & Crepe
+ My Refreshing Morning At San Antonio Resort
My Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Suite At Roxas President's Inn
Urban Manor: Pueblo De Panay's Emerging Modern Accommodation
Coco Veranda: Roxas City Seafood Dining By The Shore
+ Tasty Treats At Mamaita's House of Sweets In Roxas City

More Photos Below:

With Aph and her big fish


  1. The waves look a little rough, Good thing you caught that islet before high tide :) I'd probably spend all afternoon there checking out the coral deposits.

    1. Yeah. The stopover was so unplanned. I wish I had more time to linger.


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