Going to Pangan-an island by boat is easy, but if boat rides make you dizzy, you can take a walk….
Pangan-an is an island-barangay that belongs to Lapu-Lapu City. It is situated east of Mactan and right next to Olango. It used to be a legendary fishing ground with fish stock abundant enough to feed China. Fishermen from faraway places regarded the waters surrounding the island as a place in which to fish, and the island itself as the place on which to eat - kan-anan (dining area). In time, kan-anan became Pangan-an and the name stuck, but the fish stock gone.
An old riddle asks, in the middle of the sea, what can you see? The letter “e” you say? Wrong! In the middle of the sea is - a waiting shed! Yes indeed, a waiting shed stands proudly right in the middle of a channel that separates Olango Island from Pangan-an. It is used by tricycle drivers waiting for riders, and vice versa. Tricycles, in the sea? That’s right. At low tide, the area will be completely dewatered as if a hole underneath sucks the seabed dry. This is not your typical sand bottom seabed, but an immense flat-coral-bedrock. You can see the two-wheel mark that snakes across the channel and thins toward Pangan-an. It is a visible nautical highway. But who needs a ride, when you can walk? You will see flocks of birds in v-formation against the backdrop of all imaginable cloud formations. If you are lucky you will see a distant rainfall or a rainbow. It is a walk you will not soon forget.
Halfway through on our way back, water started to seep on our path. As if having minds of their own, little headwaters crawled toward our feet. The sea has awakened. Within minutes, this vast expanse of flat rock was covered with sparkling ankle-high water. At this time, the waiting shed was half-submerged and we were soon surrounded by waste-high seawater. It feels like Moses’ Red Sea crossing. The walk was longer and tiring, but the open space and the ultimate freedom it brings was worth tiring for. On the edges are coconut islets, protected from strong waves by walls of mangrove forests.
It was late afternoon. The clouds already started to pale on the horizon. We met locals along the way, traveling the same path as we did. I waved hello and was rewarded by shy smiles. I figured, our ancestors from faraway places came here not necessarily on land bridges, but on foot, just like we did at low tide when seawater retreated to reveal that flat bottom bedrock….
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