Sunday, May 23, 2010

Talima Adventure And Water Park

This new adventure and water park is located in Barangay Talima, Olango Island, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu. It is owned and operated by the Islands Group which everyone should probably recognize as owners of the Islands Souvenirs T-Shirts! It was all over the various media, advertised as a grand new place. Their website also said the same grand thing. So we headed for it today and here was our story!

I called up their customer service numbers and the friendly lady (they are always very friendly) told me that Talima Adventure and Water Park has just opened and ready to give me a new thrill! I learned that there is an entrance fee of P100 per person and that the boat transfers (shuttle) from Mactan to the Island is P50 each way. Exciting rides have different prices but there is a “ride-all-you-can” package. Food is not allowed as they have two concessionaires at the island that sell the same. So we said “let’s go”!

To the wharf
I was told to go to the wharf just beyond the Hilton Hotel over at Punta Engano. Hmm, I discovered it is not beyond but just beside the hotel. The narrow pathway leading to the wharf actually kisses the hotel’s high concrete perimeter wall. Easy to find! Wohoa!

The approach to the wharf has something in common with the Batangas City Pier, Tagaytay/Talisay going Taal Volcano, Pagsanjan and the corner of Cebu City’s Juana Osmena corner Mango Ave., at night. Got it?! Ah you’re a slow thinker today! THAT MEANS… men (many of them) knock on the glass of your vehicle’s windows, running alongside as you amble along. They shout out their wares or service for you to avail of. And if you make the stupid mistake of opening up, they’ll all be there in a scrimmage for your patronage. Hah! Anyway…

We got to the wharf easily by ignoring the men inviting us for “island hopping". We stood in front of a small building with a lot of people crowding both inside and outside. There are glassed windows with announcements as to how much is the terminal fee and so on, but they were closed. I looked for Islands’ booth or anything similar. None. I called up their customer service and the girl told me we were in the correct place, she will call their crews at the area and call me back. We waited, under the sun, as the wharf area’s every available shade was occupied by people either waiting for their companions or waiting for their respective boat rides. Hmm, I learned we were not all going to Talima. Others were going elsewhere also from this wharf and many others were going to island hop.

It was taking long and the pesky burly men offering their services were now crowding at us. I was getting tired of saying “no” or “dili” many times. So I called up again and just asked for a description of their crews at the wharf, so I can look for him/her/them because a lot of boatmen were almost pouncing on us with their invitations. The girl said “I’m sorry sir”. Am not sure what that was for hehe. But I got it! Orange t-shirt with the Islands logo on left chest. Asus! The guy was almost beside me about two meters away very busy (even stressed) on his other phone – he has two! I approached him and he told me the previous boat already left, we should wait for the next. I asked where. He told me we should go to the waiting area inside the little building and pay one-peso for terminal fee after paying him the P50 boat fare.

Tickets in hand, we entered the building, paid P1 each and sat at the waiting area. Hah, finally out of the mob of boatmen, we watched MagTV and it was showing the just concluded Lapyahan Festival of San Remigio. Great! And we were seated near the giant electric fan! Yeah! I must tell you, on a Sunday, this place teems with people, it is hard to find a comfortable waiting space whether out in the sun or in the comforts of the wharf’s building. Oh of course, mas daghan gayud ang K people (koreano ba!) than all of us locals!

In no time our boat to Talima arrived, we were all asked to head to that fine white boat. Yehey!

Boat Ride
This ride is a short 15min on calm waters where you have a wonderful view of Mactan’s leisure infrastructures in the area such as Shangri-la, Hilton, etc., The boat is a big clean white with capacity of 50 passengers – not all seated on the usual bench. Why? Because there are big white leather bean bags scattered and there are white upholstered sofas at center of the boat. Yet there is more (sunny)space at front for anyone to sit on the floor – even let their feet be caressed by the water as the boat ambles along. Interesting!

Oh, the 15 minutes is during high-tide. In our case, which was a low tide, it took an extra 15 minutes more of something that actually was an entirely new experience for me! Being low tide, our boat could not get to shore and we were still at some waist-deep to chest-deep of clean clear emerald waters. But the crews (all active, swift and eager) towed an orange colored plastic contraption to “ferry” us from the boat to shore. The thing is a series of connected big cubic plastic that becomes a raft. Interesting and my first time to see this. Its like giant lego pieces connected together to ferry 50 passengers – and there’s no need to get wet! Mind you, amongst the picnickers in us all were a baby (oh an infant) and a semi-wheelchair bound old man. And we all managed to get on this fantasy ride! Ah, crews even threw in the bean bags and other cushions for some of us to sit on and bring out to shore. Hmm, I think this orange thing is something that is
used as a pontoon in yacht clubs and similar facilities.

Well, those who were eager and excited need not join the slow orange platform as they are just pulled and pushed by three of the crews. Some young and old kids swam along and some young adults walked their way on the waist-deep waters!

The Adventure and Water Park
Well, its new and they told us they just started operations yesterday (22MAY2010). Upon emerging from the wooden landing, you climb up a wooden rampway to reach the “ground” which actually is the top of craggy sharp rocks – and that is ground level! Then you all pile up at the entrance booth to either pay just the P100 entrance or the ride-all-you-can package. And you look for a place to sit and settle your things down – that is if there is still any!

Let’s describe the adventure park more.

The whole area including the other end of the zip line is not even bigger than Shangri-la Mactan’s lobby! There are three big kiosks that could easily fit 2 to 3 monoblock tables. Alas they were not fitted so and those who came ahead hugged the kiosks – a family each. Can’t blame them since they paid P1000 for that. There are big orange umbrellas with tables and chairs but all were taken. There were too many of us that others settled in front of the dive-shop counter and yet others at the side of the building just across the shower/comfort room areas. And there are no big trees as the place is new and sits on a rocky place.

I found the one little tree with a shade at the side by the fence perimeter of an adjoining resort. At about 8 or 9 ft tall, this is the biggest tree so far! So I headed there and asked the crews to let me borrow at least a cube of those lego-like orange things so we could make it as table. He got the last available but unfortunately gave it to a bigger group. I did not complain. I pitied that group as they were too many and huddled by the wall of the small building across the CRs. But what was admirable were the crews. They got busy and made a way to let everyone settle. We saw them borrow more monobloc tables and chairs from the quiet resort beside and they were transferring those over the fence near my tree! Soon there were enough tables for everyone though not enough chairs.

The food? There are three concessionaires in the area 1) Cheaverz (that famous restaurant), 2) a fruit-shake stand and 3) a novelty store that sells swim wear, cell-phone covers and soft drinks! Ack! Here is more… Cheaverz does not even have a place yet since the building is not done. So their food, supplies and the grill were laid out just in front of their unfinished stall. Fruit stand stands in an otherwise guest area as its real stall is not also done. The store that sells sarongs and soft drinks (I think its an Islands Souvenirs Shop) has crews who we kept teasing hehe! They have a big two-paneled standing freezer and drinks are lined inside – just like at any 7/11 or any supermarket. People would go there and get their drinks, then complain that it was not cold. Then crews (two girls) would explain that those were just really display items and their real cold drinks are outside in a portable cooler! The cursed freezer is not yet operational as it has just been installed hehehe!

Good that many, (almost all except us, actually) brought their own food – even if bringing of food is not allowed. Why good? Because Cheaverz could not cope with the demand. There were just too many of us there. They were kept busy by the orders coming in from all of us and their supplies were easily wiped out.

Ah the rides?

The zip line is almost the shortest I have seen. Probably just a few inches longer than that one at the top of Riverstone Castle in Argao!. Its called ‘Zip-n-Splash’ but there is no splashing! Fact is, the line runs from the main rock to a smaller rock. And you wouldn’t like to fall off that thing as water below is just about a few inches deep. But it’s good enough for the kids to practice their ‘daring abilities’ – if we can call it that. And we were no kids, so we left that out. By the way, there is no return zip if you were thinking its just like at Busay or La Mesa Ecopark. Your P100 ride is one way, then you walk back, its just a few steps anyway!

The giant slide is not really ‘giant’. It is just a triangular inflatable where you climb the stairlike side, reach the top and shoot down on the other side of the triangle. Folks can hang around at the base of the triangle though. It would probably even be more fun if those at the base would jump and shake the thing to give extra scare to those wanting to slide hehe. Yes adults can slide too. Spintacular is that transparent plastic that looks like a zorb but tubular (not ball) and all you do is get in and start running or crawling to let the thing roll on water. That’s P100 for 10 minutes. The fun technique is do your thing against the will of others inside. As it will probably be awkward or absurd to be doing the thing alone, be prepared to parry other people’s limbs dropping at you, or your whole body landing on them! Ah the trampoline is big and fun too. But I would rather see folks jump real high on those and land on water. Hmm, I take that comment back. All these inflatables are in the seawater at just waist deep. Might not be safe for anyone to bounce high up and land on water hehe! Ah there are mini-ATVs at P400 for 30mins and the mountain bikes are at P100. The wall climb for kids is just about 9 or 10 feet. Many other rides and/or facilities are “coming soon” and are not yet “now showing”!

In sum, the place is “fantastic” enough for the pesky little rascals. But for us adults, be prepared to be the attentive yaya as the ride-versus-price will be riridculous! Then again, the snorkeling and diving expeditions will surely be great as this facility sits near a conservation/protected area.

My other notes:
A stationary contact area/person at the wharf is needed. Good if there can be a kiosk. I heard though, Islands is making its own wharf. Make it fast please! My companions got scared with the tapping on the glass by those men where the force is somewhere between a knock and a bang!

Entrance should be paid before departure and not on arrival at Talima. The queue can get very long and under the scorching Mr. Sunny’s wrath!

Don’t believe them when they say “no bringing of food or drinks”. Aside from there is lack of that at the adventure park (and there are no neighboring stores there), Cheaverz and the t-shirt store cannot cope with food and drink requirements of the guests. Example: I was early and just got one coke-in-can as all the rest were sprite or royal. It easily got wiped out!

The areas back of the “adventure park” is rocky just like where it sits, and while those sharp edges could really hurt if you are not careful, do look around again… it’s a different kind of view and rather scenic at times!

Lastly, Talima is an island yes, but who said anything about sandy beaches? There is none! Period.

Out and about
Now now… we were no kids when we visited. So, we went out of Talima Adventure and Water Park to roam the rest of Olango. We knew we could make our way to Sta. Rosa and even further to the Olango Island wildlife Sanctuary and return home via a different route than taking the water park’s expensive P50 ride. And that’s just what we did – which I will describe in the next entry!

1 comment :

  1. hey, thanks for the info..I heard about this waterpark just recently and we're kinda excited to check it out. but after reading your blog, i'm hesitant to go there hahaha!