Visiting Camp Sawi | Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden in Bantayan Island
Where do broken hearts go? Edi sa Camp Sawi, lol, that’s one of the taglines of the 2016 Filipino comedy-drama movie Camp Sawi, where a group of broken-hearted women goes to a resort that specializes in healing broken hearts and helping people ease their pain.
This movie was shot on Bantayan Island, and one of the featured spots was the enchanted mangrove garden in Obo-ob. This place has gained immense popularity after being showcased in the blockbuster film, attracting a lot of tourists and becoming a favorite among island explorers.
Obo-ob Mangrove Garden Integrated Ecotourism Conservation Association, or OMAGIECA for short, is a community project of Brgy. Obo-ob, whose main goal is to protect the mangroves in the area. This place is about a 20 minute ride from Sta. Fe approximately 10 kms. away.
The garden is made up of 100 hectares of mangrove forest. To explore the area, visitors walk along a sturdy boardwalk made of bamboo and PVC pipes reinforced with concrete. This unique experience allows you to take in the breathtaking scenery. Visitors can go on walking excursions, take in the scenery from their rest stations, relax, and watch birds. The view is spectacular, especially as you go closer to the water. It is picture-perfect because of how the contrast between the green mangroves and the blue water just goes together.
The walk to the mangrove forest offers a calm and soothing experience. We saw a lot of small fish swimming amongst the mangrove roots, and they also sell fish food inside where you can experience feeding the fish while resting on the bamboo cottages. OmagIECA also has a restaurant that serves a lot of fresh seafood and other local favorites in Bantayan.
Of course, we couldn't resist the opportunity to take pictures with the iconic Camp Sawi and Camp Wagi signage.
It felt like stepping into one of my favorite Filipino movie!
There is also a bamboo tower located inside the mangrove garden that offers a 360-degree view of the place.
The tower is quite high, but the bamboo is sturdy, so there is no need to fear climbing up this watch tower unless you really are afraid of heights, like our friend Louj, who decided to stay behind and take pictures of us from below instead.
The place also offers other activities that tourists can enjoy, like kayaking and boat riding, all at very reasonable prices. If you are planning to visit OmagIECA, I highly suggest going there in the early morning to try and get ahead of the crowd. The park opens at 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, and The entrance fee is ₱65.00 ($1.17). The place gets really crowded during peak hours, but it is really worth visiting.
There are also a lot of stalls outside the park selling various souvenir items and other local delicacies. By supporting the mangrove park, we help the community and also create a zero-to-minimal impact on the natural surroundings, all while enjoying the perks of being in a tourist destination. As a Tourism graduate, I am more than happy to see such a good example of sustainable ecotourism on Bantayan Island.
So, if you're ever planning a trip to Bantayan Island, make sure to include the Obo-ob Mangrove Garden in your itinerary. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in nature, enjoy breathtaking views, and relive some of the magic from "Camp Sawi." Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
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