San Vicente Marine Sanctuary is both an eco-tourism destination and fish and marine life conservation area.
It is just a 20-minute boat-ride from Mactan Island being located on Olango, and island group consisted of other six satellite islands.
This marine sanctuary offers you great opportunities to experience nature, especially marine life, up-close and personal – face-to-face with fishes and harmony with mangroves, and sea, among others.
This environmental project is supported by and under the jurisdiction of Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Visitors and tourists of various ages, national, educational and other backgrounds come here and stay for an hour, do camping and stay overnight or so and other activities permitted by the management.
One of its very prominent feature is the bamboo bridge (about 500 meters long) cutting through the mangroves and ends at the makeshift above-the-water observation structure for one to watch the ocean and the nearby islands and the visible cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu.
As a project supported by the local government, San Vicente Marine Sanctuary is established due to the need of protecting the livelihood and marine resources which serve as the major source of income among the local inhabitants.
In other words, this marine sanctuary has the mission to protect and promote marine diversity in the area to keep the resources, such as fishes, mangroves, seashells, from being threatened of over-harvesting them.
In means that helping the locals (and even outsiders of the island) maintain the balance of biodiversity by not over-harvesting or using destructive fishing methods (e.g. dynamite fishing).
In this kind of project, it is unavoidable to be in conflict with people who are not fully aware of their actions that result into destructive and non-sustainable effects.
So, many of the staff and people involved in this project become sea-watchers (or ‘bantay-dagat’ in Cebuano language) and they have some authorities to apprehend people who violate local and environmental or marine protection laws.
Such group of organized ‘bantay-dagat’ or the sea-watchers are quite common collective groups, either non-governmental organizations or supported by local officials, in Cebu province where there is so much marine life diversity but from time to time abused by some.
The staff and management of San Vicente marine sanctuary protect the mangroves in this particular area.
Mangroves abound in this island and its satellite islands.
If you already know, I just want to repeat that mangroves functions in the life cycle of marine life and offer great symbioses with most of sea creatures.
For one, it is in the mangroves that fishes lay their eggs and start their young life to become mature fishes.
Besides, mangroves do not only support oxygen, give home to fishes and provide green environment, but they also protect islands and people from being directly hit by big waves and similar sudden rush of waves, such as tsunami.
Visitors of Olango Island can do lots of interesting and worthy activities. Including at this marine sanctuary, visitors can do camping, cycling and sea water activities they may choose to accomplish and enjoy with.
At San Vicente Marine Sanctuary, you can book for or make requests of the following activities and facilities.
I suggest you make a booking for this activity especially during high season, such as summer and break seasons. That is, to make sure you have the nicest spot and for your group.
It is not expensive to do camping using their camp ground. (Besides, I forgot to ask how much it would cost per tent or person!). You may contact the number below this page.
Bicycling is an environmental activity that can be very enjoyable, besides being affordable. You can take with you a bicycle from Cebu or Mactan Island via boat.
Many visitors of the island come to cycle for a day or so taking advantage of the island’s landscape, very easy and navigable routes and flat topography. Yes, you don’t really get tired since the roads are mostly concrete, but even the dirt roads are not rough.
Rental providers are available if you ask around where you can get from 20 pesos above.
However, if you rent it from your resort, it would costs around 100pesos per hour and additional 20 pesos for each succeeding hour.
This activity is one of the most fun sea activities being offered by Marine Sanctuary. You need to deal with the rate and other necessities with them directly. I reckoned you will get a fair offer for this activity at this facility.
The snorkel gear can be rented or freely offered when you rent a boat depending on the policy of the provider.
I honestly would say that I haven’t don’t this one yet, but you can certainly imagine that great feeling being surrounded by lots of colorful fishes begging for food up-close and personal.
Make sure you got a nice snorkel gears to be sure you get a nice view of these creatures.
Island hopping is another fantastic activity you can do for a day when visiting this sanctuary. You are usually given or offered to visit three satellite islands of Olango.
While island hopping you can snorkel, swim; do photo sessions, fish, among others.
Of course, you can enjoy your lunch or prepared food supply and drinks. For food, you might have to arrange for a lunch package deal or depending on your arrangement with the management.
Yes, I saw fresh and young coconuts by the entrance and office of this sanctuary. It means that you can make requests to arrange for food supply during your visit or stay.
I believe that barbecuing in the vicinity is allowed as long as you keep some rules and have asked the permission from the management. Certainly, not a problem!
To offer and make more people aware of the mission of this marine sanctuary, there are some things that need to be established and done in this area.
While chatting with the manager, I have learned a lot regarding this project including some of their struggles to keep this place going and serving interested visitors and environmental-minded people.
I noticed that the road to Barangay San Vicente, where this sanctuary is actually located, is not concrete or asphalted. It is still a dirt road but actually looks okay. However, the problem would arise during rainy season making visitors to come with great challenge – mud and water!
I heard that negotiations are ongoing to concretize the road and just hoping it will happen soon to attract more visitors to enjoy, support and become more aware of the project’s environmental and sustainable missions.
Aside from the issue of road connection, the barangay also needs to avail an electricity supply. This will certainly provide more opportunities to locals and service providers to develop better and offer better services to visitors.
An internet connection will help promote this project and make the whole world know about its mission. It will make life better for everyone in the community aside from offering environmental awareness education to all.
This website or blog supports any form of environmental initiatives, campaign and projects. It is not a business strategy (since this site does not really make money) but a door or extension of the author’s background and experience in environmental-related activities.
The author invites everyone to become more aware of the environmental issues and effects of human’s daily activities. A small but collective carbon-emitting activity by people is contributing a daily harm to the fragile environment and its living beings.
So, if you happen to be traveling and doing fun activities, you may visit this sanctuary to support its activities and mission to protect and promote environmental awareness and education.
I am not aware if the San Vicente Marine Sanctuary offers environmental education lectures to visitors or any. However, I have a positive guess that they can offer if requested in advance or on site. Certainly, they can provide this since they are good at what they do.
P30 per person is the entrance fee they ask. This is your ticket to the long bamboo bridge that cuts through the fully-grown mangroves and then to the open sea. Both sides of this bridge are being planted with younger mangroves.
The usual rate for a day’s island hopping boat rent is 3,000 pesos per boat (outrigger) that can accommodate more than 10 persons. This rate is quoted this year: 2015, September. Since it could change as time goes, please inquire for any update.
This marine sanctuary is located on Olango Island Group and quite easy to access even with your meager resources. Here’s how you to contact the place or visit yourself directly…
Name of Site: San Vicente Marine Sanctuary
Address: Barangay San Vicente, Olango Island Group, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
Mobile Numbers: 0919-4815052; 0932-6378551 (Mr. Erwin P. Eyas, Manager)
If you have an updated contact details, please let us know to help others who try to avail the services or visit this sanctuary.
Thank you for visiting this page and hope you’ll have a relaxing and fruitful travel wherever you go.
Have a great day!