Hilutungan Island (Cebu, PH)
Hilutungan Island, a marine sanctuary, is one of the seven satellite islets that forms the Olango group of islands off the coast of Mactan, Cebu that is a great place for beginners to dive and snorkel. The island is a low-lying coral island with an elevation of no more than 10 meters above sea level. Besides the rich marine life, it also boasts a stretch of white sandy beach, a sand bar and a resort ideal for a weekend or overnight staycation.
Although it is a protected area, the local government allows snorkelers, divers and beach-lovers who wish to experience the beauty of the island. Besides Hilutungan,the nearby islands of Caohagan Island, Cabulan Island, Nalusuan Island, Olango Island, Sulfa Island and Talima are also marine sanctuaries open to visitors.
There are sea patrollers (civilian volunteers) around the area who watches Philippine coastal waters from the shore. They are said to have trainings on conservation, protection, management and development of fisheries and aquatic resources; they also restrain destructive fishing practices and illegal fishing in the area. A fee of Php100 is collected by these patrollers to every tourist who wishes to visit Hilutungan, with which the money collected is being used to protect the marine sanctuary.
So, what can one do in the island? Being a marine sanctuary, this place is heaven for SCUBA diving enthusiast. You can also snorkel, skin dive or just bum around the area and bask under the sun to get your skin tanned. Photography enthusiasts will also love the underwater beauty of the place as it features an array of corals and fishes.
How to Reach Hilutungan Island:
From Manila, take a plane bound for Cebu. Upon arrival at Mactan International Airport, take a cab to either of the following options: You can rent an outrigger at the Hilton Pier in Mactan, or take the regular ferry at Angasil pier to Olango Island. From Sta. Rosa pier in Olongo, there are outrigger boats that ferry passengers to and from Hilutungan. There are also organized transfers when you’re booked at dive resorts. From there, one can go and see other nearby islands like Olango and Sulfa Islands. Another option is to go to Maribago area where one can take a traditional outrigger boat (called ‘pumpboat’ or bangka) that takes around 35 to 45 minutes to get there.
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