BANTAYAN ISLAND TRAVEL GUIDE | RESORTS, WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO GET THERE
One of my favorite vacation destinations in the Philippines is Bantayan Island. So peaceful and quite, a perfect vacation getaway if you would want to run away from the noise of the city life. To many, it is known as an island paradise in the Philippines. Very recently, the island made so much noise when it was made as the main shooting venue for a local film entitled “Camp Sawi”. Because of this, more tourists were lured to visit the island. The movie which starred Arci Munoz, Andi Eigenman, Bela Padilla, Yasi Pressman and Sam Milby were taken in most places on the island. To name a few, these include Virgin Island, OMAGIECA of Brgy. Obo-ob and Kandugyap and Kota Beach Resort.
But even before the movie was shown, the Island had already enticed many International guests. Some of this tourists had fallen in love with the place and decided to stay for good in the island.
Amongst the many reasons why I love the island, is its fresh seafood, so cheap and so abundant. I remember the first night we were hosted by my old friends’ Martin and Lanie Vaflor when she said she prepared scallops for us, I was already thinking that I can count the number of scallops on a plate. But was stunned when she served a huge bowl filled with scallops—we weren’t able to consume everything.I also like the laid-back lifestyle in the island—stress-free and perfect for vacation. No taxis are found on the island. So you must take a tricycle to get around. The simplicity of the place is simply amazing.
Bantayan Island is also known as the egg basket capital of the region. It has been producing eggs which supply commercial establishments in Cebu, Negros, Panay and Leyte. You would know this the moment you pass by some poultry farms on the island. Just don’t mind the smell. Most of these poultry farms were destroyed during the Typhoon Yolanda, but luckily they have already fully recovered from the calamity.
The locals of Bantayan Island speak Cebuano. However, they can speak well Tagalog or Filipino. While not everybody can speak well the english language, majority can understand the language.
The currency used on the Island (The Philippines in general) is Peso. You can exchange your dollars at the airport. There is only one ATM Machine on the island. It would be best to bring enough cash. Some resorts and restaurant do not accept credits cards.
INTERNET AND MOBILE CONNECTION
Big resorts have internet connections. Internet signals are also quite strong in the island. So, the possibility of staying online while having your vacation is not really a big problem.
- Bantayan Island has beautiful beaches, bring enough sunscreen with you.
- Don’t forget to bring your dry bag when doing some island hopping
- There are drug stores in the area, however, if you have some maintenance it would be best to bring enough of those medicines. What you are taking might not be available on the island.
- Energy bars are very important when doing some Island hopping.
THINGS TO DO IN BANTAYAN ISLAND
The three major towns of Bantayan Island namely: Santa Fe, Bantayan Proper and Madridejos offer amazing interesting activities for any vacationers. Apart from their beautiful beaches, the following are a must-tries:
MUNICIPALITY OF SANTA FE
- Try Snorkeling at the Marine Sanctuaries of the Island
- Rent a boat and do some Island Hopping
- Experience Natural Cave Swimming at Eden Resort
- If you love the nightlife, you can do some Bar Hopping in various resorts in the Island
- Don’t forget to buy “Danggit” at the Fish Market, they are fresh and very cheap
- Try to visit very old and historical Saint Peter & Paul Cathedral
MUNICIPALITY OF MADRIDEJOS
- Experience the beautiful sunset at Kota Park
- Try to visit the fish market and see how cheap the scallops are.
HOW TO GO AROUND BANTAYAN ISLAND
Getting around Bantayan is very easy and simple.Here are some tips:
- Tricycles are the most common transportation used when navigating the Island.
- Ask for your resort where you can avail of Motorbike Rental
- Some establishments are Renting Out Bicycles. This is also a fun activity when on the Island.
- If you are quite adventures there are Small Paddle-boat or “Banca” for rent in Bantayan Island
Hoyohoy Beach Resort
LIST OF RESORTS AND HOTELS IN BANTAYAN ISLAND
Bantayan Island has various hotels and resorts ranging from the expensive ones down to the budget friendly. Please take note that during the Lenten Season most resorts double or increase their room rates. Click here for the List of Resorts and Hotels in Bantayan Island.
PETER AND PAUL CHURCH
One must see destination when in Bantayan island is the 405-year-old church, the St. Peter and Paul Church. In my recent visit, I took the time to linger at the place and inspect beautiful details of this old church. The Church which is made of coral stone and bricks had stood the test of time.
For obvious reason, the people in Bantayan Island is mostly Catholic Christian. Aside from the fact that it has the oldest church in the Visayas and Mindanao, Bantayan Island is also named as the Lenten capital of the Visayas.Tourists from various provinces visit Bantayan not only for its beaches but also to witness a unique holy week celebration. This is the only place I knew that people would prepare lechon during the holy week. During this time, almost all resorts double their rates.
The Gate of the Kota Port
Inside the Kota Port/Park
KOTA PORT (PARK AND RESORT)
The Kota Port is one historical spot in Bantayan Island. This is where we stay when we visited Bantayan Island because they still offer some rooms during that time. The Port is now converted into a park. The entrance to the fort provides a good spot for visitors to have themselves photographed.
Unlike some other Filipino tourist sites, this one is free of souvenir sellers . Though as a tourist I want to take home some souvenirs aside from the photos I have taken.
nice cottages of Ogtong Cave Resort. These villas gives the guests an amazing view of the beach
I am not in my “senti” mode in this photo…Ogtong Cave Resort is just so quite, that it gives you moment to relax and reflect….
Ogtong Cave. As the name suggests, Ogtong Cave Resort is famous because of the cave found inside the resort. The place is relatively peaceful. It has beautiful cottages set amidst the beautiful garden and offers a beautiful view of the ocean. The cave has a concrete stairway, giving the guests an easy entrance.
Address: Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu Phone: (032) 4380165 Mobile: 09208999456
The sugary white sand at the Sugar Beach
One of the most popular beaches on the island is the sugar beach. It has a long beach front which makes it a favorite destination for many. The Sugar Beach has various resorts which vary from the low cost to the expensive one.
Maias Beach Resort
MAIAS BEACH RESORT
The Maias Beach is quite and peaceful. It has a swimming pool which you can enjoy apart from the beach which is available anytime. Maias Beach Resort has fully air-conditioned Cottages. They have only 6 cottages, so a prior reservation is a must to avoid frustrations of being denied especially during Summer and Holy Week.
the motorized boat from Cadiz City
HOW TO GET TO BANTAYAN ISLAND
FROM CADIZ CITY NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
From the Ceres Terminal in Cadiz, get a tricycle to bring you New Cadiz City Port in Banquerohan. From Banquerohan, Cadiz a big motorboat will take you to Bantayan Island at an approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours depending on sea conditions.
FROM CEBU CITY
From Cebu City, you may take a bus ride at the North Cebu Bus Terminal. The travel time will take you about 3 hours to Hagnaya from which you can take the Island Express Ferry Boat for the 1-hour ride to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. Travel time to Bantayan Island is approximately 25 minutes. A Ro-Ro boat going from Hagnaya to Santa Fe is also available. You may opt to bring your car or SUV from Cebu all the way to Santa Fe.
Ferries are servicing the island from Hagnaya to the port of Santa Fe and vice versa daily.Travel time is approximately 1 and a half hour.
Fastcrafts are also available from Hagnaya to the port of Santa Fe and vice versa daily. Travel time is approximately 30 minutes.
Ro-Ro Boats (Shuttle Ferry Service) are another option in going to the Island. You can take these boats from Hagnaya to the port of Santa Fe Boats. From the city to the port of Santa Fe.Travel Time is approximately 6 to 7 hours.