Bariles could not even remember the last time he visited Olaer Springs Resort.
Located in a secluded portion of Barangay Apopong‘s steepsided valley formed by the Silway River, and nestled on its right banks, Olaer’s “cold” Springs Resort was the choice weekend destination for most families in General Santos City during the 70s and early 80s.
Earlier before the Martial Law era, the citizens of downtown Dadiangas would just simply hie off to the old Lion’s Beach (now the Queen Tuna Park) or the Pearly Shells Beach at Barangay Bula for their weekend picnics. These black-sand beaches were unspoilt and clean then but most of all, they were FREE.
When the public market was transferred there however, after a massive fire razed it to the ground, these beaches along Sarangani Bay started losing their luster. The beaches of Alabel and Barangay Tambler back then were considered too far and the roads were still unpaved.
The only choices left were the cold springs resorts farther inland, and there were quite a few good ones in the city: Mateo Springs (now Meljois), Lumanta Springs (now closed), Dacera Springs (now El Pueblo) and the most popular, Olaer Springs.
Thus, for most of the Martial Law babies, Olaer Springs was where they experienced their initiation rites for PMT, CAT, WATC, ROTC; their YCAP and YDT tree-planting projects and their Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts campings. And with the generals’ penchant for making any excuse to party, Olaer was where thousands of festive birthday, baptismal, victory and holiday parties were held.
Additionally, for Bariles and his generation, this was also where most of them first learned how to dog paddle, jump head first and eventually swim the free-style, the backstroke and the butterfly. And who could ever forget playing the pool tag games, the “longest time underwater” game, the swimming contest, the underwater obstacle course, the shark game, water polo using plastic beach balls, and so many more.
All these were not lost on Bariles when he was invited by fellow blogger Jinky Olaer-Borela for an early morning swim during the Izra Wal Miraj holiday two weeks back. And yes, he was not disappointed.
As soon as he stepped on Olaer Springs Resort‘s territory for the first time after only God knows how long, all he got was goose pimples with the ensuing flood of memories that followed.
Let these following pictures by Bariles explain what he means….
The best time to visit Olaer Springs Resort is from 6am to 10am when the throngs of masses have not yet descended upon its still cold, crystal clear waters. It is also time to savor the relaxing silence because once the competing voices emanating from the karaoke machines scattered all throughout the resort start, then good luck. It’s one big FIESTA at the Olaer Springs Resort once again. Welcome to the biggest weekend party in town!