Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sights: The Laid Back Feel of BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU

Whenever I hear people tell stories about Bantayan Island, they would always say that the island is the perfect place to beach bum. I recently got the chance to find out if what people have said was true. The island is located at the northern end of Cebu. One has to ride every possible means of transportation to get there, from the air, land and sea.

Bantayan Island

The journey getting to the island starts with a plane ride to Mactan International Airport. From the airport, we hailed a cab to bring us to North Bus Terminal for a 3 hour bus ride to Hagnaya Port. We then rode a ferry to bring us to Bantayan.

Almost there....


The ferry docked at the municipality of Sante Fe, the same place where the beach resorts are found. As soon as we checked in in one of the resort, we made our way to the beach. The vast white sand shore and clear waters looked so calming and all we wanted to do was stare in silence.

The Beach Area in Santa Fe

Staring Out Into the Open


The sun was still glaring so we decided to go around the area. Seeing vehicles with four wheels is a rarity here, motorcyles, bicycles and pedicabs are the main way of transportation. There are numerous places where one can rent motorcycles and bikes, so take your pick. You can choose to rent it on a per hour or per day basis.

Motorcycles and Bikes for Rent


Going around was easy since the roads were smooth and well paved. There were trees all over and in some areas, they would even serve as shade from the glaring sun rays. The roads were quiet and peaceful, the breeze felt so fresh and it was so nice biking around.


Smooth Paved Road

The Main Mode of Transportation in Sante Fe


After biking around, we went back to the resort and decided to take a dip. The shore was clean, the sand was fine enough to go barefoot and most importantly the water was clear and refreshing. One thing that I found kind of a mood buster is that you can see the docking port and ferries from the beach.


The Ferries and Port from Afar


The next day we decided to go island hopping and snorkeling. We rented a whole bangka from one of the local bike peddlers we met during lunch in the market area the previous day. He picked us up at the resort and went straight to the public market to buy food to be cooked on the island.


Our Rented Bangka

Since Santa Fe is a fishing village, the different kinds of fish was so cheap, a kilo of fish would cost less than a hundred and some would go as cheap as 40php to 50php a kilo.




Buying Fresh Fish in the Market

After buying the necessary stuff for lunch, we boarded the bangka and made our way to Virgin Island. The boat ride took around 20 minutes. As we got near the island, one thing was evident, the sand looked finer and whiter plus the waters looked clearer.


Docking at Virgin Island


There was an entrance fee of 500php good for five people. Cottages were also available for rent for a hundred. The island looks beautiful, palm tress surround the whole area and there was even a smooth patch of grass at the center. We were told that a resort was in the process of being built in the island, we were lucky that we got to visit the island before the resort is built.


Virgin Island

Palm Trees and Patch of Green Grass at Virgin Island


The local and boatman  got the food we bought from the market and proceeded to prepare our lunch while we got our snorkels and went straight for a swim. As soon as we step on the water, there were already little fish swimming around. Beautiful colorful varieties of fish greeted us as we snorkeled around the area, there were a good number of them. We had such a blast.








After an hour or two, the boatman called our attention, the food was already cooked and ready to be feast on. As what they suggested, they've prepared grilled fish, grilled eggplant, tinolang isda (fish soup cooked with ginger) and a huge platter of rice was place on one of the cottages we rented. It looks simple but everything tasted so sweet and fresh.

Lunch

We had so much fun at Virgin Island, we could have stayed for a whole day but before the sun sets we had to go back to Santa Fe. I hope in the future, the island will still remain as beautiful and still be filled with so much marine life even when the resort is built.

The Lively Marine Life in Virgin Island

Virgin Island


Before leaving, we decided to visit the said first and oldest church established in Cebu, The Parish Church of Saint Peter and Paul or more familiarly known as Bantayan Church. The church is located in the town proper and luckily the resort's van let us hitched a ride to go there. It was relatively a short 15 minute ride to go there.

Bantayan Church


As I've mentioned before, Bantayan is a fishing island. Aside from the fresh fish in the market, we also came across a plastic bag of freshly cooked Scallops and a 'just caught' Clam.  The sweet tasting scallops were sold around the docking area, each plastic bag has around 12 to 15 pieces of scallops and it only cost Php15 (this is not a typo, it was really that cheap!!!)


A Bag of Scallops

Freshly Cooked Scallop

Around the shore area we were approach by a local who was carrying a pail, she asked us if we wanted to try a clam that her son just caught.


Clams being sold

When we agreed at a Php60 for a clam, she proceeded to prepare it Ceviche style. She chopped the clam, onions and tomatoes, place it back on its shell and poured vinegar on it. It tasted so fresh and delicious.


Fresh Clam

Kinilaw (Ceviche) 


What I heard people say about Bantayan Island was so true, it was indeed a perfect place to beach bum. I was pleasantly surprise how quiet and peaceful the island is. It has an indescribable calming effect on me, all i wanted to do was take in the breeze, gorge on fantastic fresh seafood, take a dip in the clear blue waters and keep my feet prop up as I stare out into to the open. Bantayan's laid back feel makes it the perfect place to forget about everything, do nothing and relax.


Bantayan Island


37 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. hi michy! you should! its a great place to beach bum!

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  2. Nice detailed post. Will go here next month!

    And wow! Ang mura ng scallops :D

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    1. Thanks Kat! I'm pretty sure you'll like it there! And est some scallops for me!!!=)

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  3. May I know the name of the resort you stayed in? Tnx =)

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    1. Hi! There are a lot of resorts to choose from. We stayed in Beach Placid.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Rene! It was really nice biking around Bantayan, we had so much fun too!

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  5. wow! bantayan island is so nice. I'm proud to be a bantayanon!!!!!!!mwah.

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    1. hi! Bantayan is really a beautiful place! the locals were also so warm and friendly!

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  6. sana you posted din the prices especially sa boat. ehehe.

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    1. don't avail of the boats provided by the resorts (overpriced!!!), go to the market and find boats for hire. there will be a lot of boatmen who will offer their services there. if I remember it right I think we paid less than a thousand.

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    2. hello Yaj, we are booked now for vacation to Batayan Island, regarding boatmen who offer services, what services did you had from them? we want to take a tour kasi,. thanks.
      hope we could chat sometime :D

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    3. Hi Tasha! The boatmen and boat we hired are for the trip to Virgin Island and snorkeling site. For land tours, resorts provide services for it. Also you might want to ask the tricycle drivers around town, they might also be willing to provide you with a tour. You can email me at yajscheng@gmail.com and I'll be glad to help you out.

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  8. Im eggcited to go to Bantayan Island this coming month! hopefully we can avail an affordable island hopping. lack of budget pa e! hehehe :) -Ponga S.

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  9. i know !! i coming sooon home !!

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  10. hello how much po ang biccle rent or motorcycle rent.. were going there in october 11 and we booked already in beach placid.:)

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    Replies
    1. beach placid has bikes and motorbikes for rent but I suggest for you to rent outside the resort. there will be a lot f places to rent bikes and motor bikes. there are per hour and per day rates, it will range from php30 to php200. Enjoy!

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  11. Hi, lets me know duration from airport cebu to virgin island. Is it long journey?

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    1. Hi Fadhilah! total travel time would be around 5 to 6 hours.

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  12. Hi! We were there around 2 weeks ago and Bantayan, esp. Virgin Island is indeed gorgeous! I would suggest Kota Resort forthe best shoreline view (w/o the view of docking ferries hehe) plus the sumptuous food they offer :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi! thanks for the tip! will try to check out Kota resort next time I visit the island again.

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  13. Hi is it possible to just go to bantayan island without checking in to any of the resorts? Is there an entrance fee?

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    1. hi rylie! yes, I think that's possible. you can take the first ferry in and take the last ferry out of santa fe. The shore line is pretty long and I don't think the resorts own it. There is no entrance fee to use the beach, just walk around and pick your favorite spot.

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  14. Can't wait for January 2014. Thank you for your blog.

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    1. Enjoy Bantayan! i do hope they already have recovered from the devastation of the typhoon. the people there were all so warm and friendly.

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  15. Hi, is it possible to just have a day trip in Bantayan Island?

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    1. Hi Lara! Yes I believe its possible for a day trip. You can catch the first ferry to the island which starts at around 6am then catch the last ferry back in the afternoon. Enjoy!

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  16. Good read! I'll be in Bantayan Island on February 6 to 8. Will be staying at Beach Placid resort. I hope I will get to enjoy the place as much as you did.
    Cheers!
    -Tim

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    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure you will! Enjoy Bantayan Tim!!!

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  17. Pwede isasakay ang motor s ferry?magkano ang room per night sa beach nyo?pwedi den ba kaya mag tent lng pra mad thrill?

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    1. Hi Bernard! parang pwede naman po magsakay ng motor kasi malaki ang ferry baka may charges nga lang. depende kung saan kayo tutuloy, merong mga rooms for rent na mura lang doon. wla kaming nakitang naka tent doon pero baka pwede naman kasi malaki at malawak naman ang lugar

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  18. One of the best place in Cebu if your looking for a perfect getaway. I've been there like a couple of times already and still can't get enough of bantayan island.=)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Xylem! I agree! Once you stepped on the island, the relaxing feeling just takes over the whole body.
      Is everythingcebu.com your website?

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  19. How much yung cost to go to virgin island and snorkeling?

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    1. Back then we got the boat for 900php but Im assuming that prices got more expensive already. It might cost around 1.2k to 1.5k. My tip for you is go to the market area, a lot of tricycle drivers would offer boat tours, always haggle. Don't get tours from the resort, more expensive!

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