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Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

By on August 12, 2010 in Travel & Expat Living

After fisting on fresh fish cooked over a native charcoal fire washed down with fresh coconut juice (buko) and taking a stroll along the beach we visited the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary which referred to as the Olango Bird Sanctuary by locals.

The first thing we encountered was a sign with the cost of entry from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the apparent discrimination between foreigner and local.

Being from a western country where such a distinction would not only be illegal but also considered by many to be morally wrong I can imagine how many foreigners would be offended by this on a matter of principle.  The money is not the issue here.

A better approach would be to have a price for local Residents and a price for non-residents.   This is actually accepted even in western countries based on the idea that local residents are already contributing to the upkeep of the reserve via local taxes and should be entitled to a subsidy.

I implore the Filipino authorities in charge of setting such entrance fees to adopt a similar approach to help improve the image of the Philippines as a Tourist friendly non-discriminatory destination.   They don’t even need to be too diligent in enforcing the local resident rule with Filipinos but it does remove something I know many foreign visitors would find offensive.

Now to the bird sanctuary itself.  

As I mentioned it is referred to by locals as the bird sanctuary because the main attractions are the many species of migratory birds than flock there at various times during the year.  You drive into the main administration area where park the car and then proceed on foot to the observation points where you can view the birds from a distance.  

Around the walls are pictures of the birds found at the sanctuary and information about them.  We were only able to identify a few of them but apparently it was not the best time of year anyway.   I did not even bother to try taking pictures of the birds so far away as my small digital camera was totally inadequate. 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources are to be commended on setting up and maintaining this sanctuary protecting these birds.

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