A Piece of Paradise: Bantayan Island, Cebu
Thanks to my boss for assigning me to work in Bantayan Island. It is indeed a paradise. Stayed here for 9 days.
I have noticed that there are a lot of expats from different countries all over the island. Maybe because of the peacefulness and its magical beauty that they decided to live here. I tried to immerse myself with the locals. In every trip it is the locals that I have a great respect for. It is their place and I want it to stay that way. Aside from the fact that I looked like a local of every province in the country, I try to act as if im one of them. How they eat, where they eat and go, what they do on a daily basis. I just wish that I get to go around places without being restricted of having a limited time so I can feel them more and learn from them more. I always have this heavy heart whenever I leave a place I visit. It is the people that makes a place special.
This is one of the places I want to go back to. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. And since the trip is work related, I’ll only be featuring places, activities, restaurants that you can try during your stay in the island.
Check out how peacefully beautiful this place is.
Things to see and do:
1. Sta. Fe town – it is where the paradise is
2. Rent a motorbike for 250/day and drive anywhere you want to.It is a small place, you’ll get to be familiarized with it easily
3. Check out the long stretch of Sta Fe’s white sand beach
4. Enjoy the sunrise and sunset
5. Dine at the foreign owned restaurants in the area where good French and Italian dishes are served. Coucou Restaurant and Tristan’s Beach Resort’s Restaurant are some of it
6. Go to the town market on a Sunday morning to buy some fresh seafood and cook it yourself or have it grilled by a local for you like I did
7. Buy some grilled chicken for 25 pesos a piece
8. Smile at the locals and hangout with them; they are very friendly and kind
9. Go Island hopping
10. Try snorkeling or even scuba diving
11. Visit the town, market and their church
12. Chill and enjoy the moment. Live like a local
Where to you can stay:
1. The Coral Blue Oriental Villas and Suites (5,500-7,500/suites or villa)
2. Tristan’s Beach Resort (1,500-2500)
3. Guesthouse with no name but has nice rooms 600-700/night with Kitchen, A/C, TV (at the back of Tristan’s Beach Resort)
From Cebu International Airport, you can ride a cab to North Bus Terminal. Fare would range from 120-140.
Air-conditioned bus fare would range from 140-150. The trip will take 3-4 hours.
The bus headed to Hagnaya Port left the terminal at 8am. There are trips to Hagnaya Port every after 30-45 minutes.
At the Hagnaya Port, you have to pay around 170-180 for a ferry ride to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. It will only take an hour and 15 minutes. The boats run from 5:30am to 5:30pm.
When I get off the boat, I asked a motorbike man to take me take around the area where the resorts/lodges can be found. Luckily I found a place for 600/night. It is good for two and the room has air-conditioning. There are a lot of resorts and lodges that range from 600-1500/night. I prefer to stay in a guesthouse as I would like to feel at home and with kitchen, so I can cook. 🙂 The guesthouse is just at the back of Tristan’s Beach Resort, almost a front-beach guesthouse.
And so I put my bags down and hurried to see the rest of the Island. Rented a motorbike for 250/day for 10 days. Spent the rest of the afternoon driving around the island.
After sunset, I had my dinner at Tristan’s Beach Resort. Bought a 10 inch Shirmp Pizza and it was pretty good. Tristan’s Beach Resort is just a few steps away from where I am staying.
This is how my mornings in Bantayan Island looked like:
I drove around the town and noticed that the students use bicycles to go to school. Bikes and motorcycles are their primary means of transportation. You will seldom see a 4-wheeled vehicle here.
Another glimpse of the beach.
Working and chillin’ at the same time..This is just infront of the place where I am staying.
Do not forget to have a refreshing drink from one of the stores in Bantayan Island, you can also get this from any resort in the island. I got mine for free. 🙂
Had my lunch at one of the canteens located at the local market. Just a 3 minute drive from where I am staying.
Worked and chilled at Kota Beach Resort.
Had another glimpse of the beach at Kota Beach Resort.
Finally had my dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in the island. I had Marinara Pasta for 210 pesos. It was good and they serve big.
I was lucky I was the only guest at the guesthouse for the rest of my stay in the island. I get to use the kitchen and the living room, too. The room is air-conditioned and can fit 2 pax. They have kitchen utensils and a refrigerator at the kitchen, and a TV and stand fan in the living room. They clean my room everyday. How nice!
The next day I was scheduled to meet the President of the Bantayan Resorts Association and the GM of Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort. It took me 30 minutes to reach the resort. Going there is a bit tricky so always ask someone when you are not sure where to turn. Locals are very friendly but some of them can’t understand tagalog.
I had a tour around the park. Thanks to the GM who was very accommodating and generous.
The park has a number of animals that are properly taken care of by the staff. They have infinity pool and villas that are ideal for a group of travelers and families.
You can book a room by contacting them here.
I stopped for a couple of minutes to talk to the children. They were all very friendly and adorable.
Before I finally head back to the guesthouse, I had a quick Bananaque meryenda at a food stall nearby. Since then, I became their regular customer. 🙂
Here is where I dine and work for 2 days. The Coral Blue Oriental Villas and Suites. I became friends with the Operations Manager, Ms. Arlene, who is very friendly and generous enough to offer me a free overnight stay at the resort. During weeknights, they feature a local reggae band that will suit the night chill mood. They serve good food, too, at their restaurant.
Ms. Gehanne is the new OM of the resort. You may book a villa here.
I chose to spend the afternoon visiting the Island’s Parish Church. It took me 30 minutes to reach the municipality, where it is located, by a motorbike.
The Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church is now 50 years old. Went inside and said a little prayer.
In front of the church are the elders selling candles. Their look on to the camera made me feel awkward, but they were nice and even smiled at me after this shot.
Just across the Plaza is the Wet Market where you can buy a bunch of fresh seafood especially during Sunday morning.
And so I drove slowly going back to the guesthouse. Who would not enjoy driving this place.
Thanks to the carecater of the guesthouse, Ate Linda, for helping me cook my dinner. Seafood fresh from the market.
Asked them to join me as I bought it for us, but they chose to eat it later when I am done.
Ate Linda is so kind enough to give me some of their food for dinner, too.
Hangout at night at The Coral Blue Oriental Villas and Suites.
Thanks to Ms. Arlene for my free meal and drink!
Now, it is weekend and it’s time for some adventure. It’s snorkeling time! I asked around if they know someone who can give me a cheap rate for an island hopping trip. Lucky me I was referred to a guy who can give me 500 pesos for the trip. Normally it would cost 800 to 1000 pesos for an island hopping boat trip.
I am so tanned and I got it from living in Boracay for 4 weeks and surfing in Leyte for 3 days. I love it.
Look how clear the water is!
Spot me! 😛
I don’t want to get out of the water!
I don’t want to get out of the water. The world underwater is heaven.
And then finally, after the 2-hour snorkeling trip, it is time to go back. I am so burnt. Check out the kids bathing freely and happily.
And the weekend is over. Its time to grind again. Worked and chilled at Kota Beach Resort. Thanks to the owner for the mangoes.
Magical sunset at Bantayan Island, Cebu.
I will surely be going to go back to you and spend more time with you. See you again, soon, Bantayan Island!
’til next time, thank you so much, Bantayan!