Cheers to Air Asia‘s P1 fare, faith, hope, love, support (from friends especially Jade who booked the flight for me) and a little bit of pixie dust, my first trip alone is finally happening!
The northern tip of Cebu is endowed with rich waters and dotted with beautiful islands with white sand beaches. Bantayan Island is one of the many islands in North Cebu.The island got its name from the watch towers built by the Spaniards. These were set up so they will get alerted when the Moro (people from Mindanao who wants to take over the island) comes. “Bantayan” literally means to “watch over”.
How to get to Bantayan
Getting to Bantayan is not just a plane ride away, I’m afraid. You will arrive in paradise with a backpack full of swimsuits and a heart full of patience (plus a sore ass).
From Cebu Mactan International Airport, I booked a Grab Car (PHP 247) to Cebu North Terminal and from the Terminal I rode a Ceres bus to get to Hagnaya Port. Ceres busses are air conditioned have spacious seats. It’s a 3-4 hour trip and will cost PHP 160(Feb 2017).
From Hagnaya Port, I rode the public ferry to Sta Fe for PHP 170 (Feb 2017). Also there is a P10 Terminal Fee. Hold on and worry less, this is the last leg of the trip, it’s a one hour boat ride. From Sta. Fe, I was fetched by Kota Beach staff. I’m feeling like a princess already!
When you’re going home, ferries going back to the mainland leave every hour. Below are the schedule. Same price on the fare and P5 Terminal fee.
Where to stay: Kota Beach
If you want to enjoy solitude or go on a soul searching escapade, Bantayan is definitely the place to go. Also, this is where they shot “Camp Sawi”, so enjoy the damn feels.
I booked my stay through Kota beach directly. Breakfast isn’t included but their meal sets at the resort range from PHP 140-185. If you book through them directly, you can pre-order your breakfast during your stay here. And can I say that having breakfast with a view is the best.
I stayed in a Beach Cottage by the beach for P1900/night. It was quite spacious. I had a bed and a lounge sofa in the room. I had my own bathroom. Also, I had airconditioning! I had a terrace with a table and chair too.
Things to do in Bantayan
1. Enjoy solitude
This is the perfect place to enjoy solitude. It’s really Boracay sans the crowd. It’s just white sand and peace here. *happy sigh*
2. Bike around Sta. Fe
I rented a bike PHP 150 for the whole day. I did not fall off my bike or nearly died which is a good thing.
Bantayan Town is approximately a 40 minute bike ride away from the resort I was staying in. The road is cemented and new so if you’re up for the work out go for it! Be careful tho, there are roads going for renovation.
But I didn’t bike going there! I rented a bike to roam around Sante Fe. You can rent a bike for P150/ whole day.
3. Rent a motorcyle and see the island
For P500, I had a guide showing me around the island. I was very specific to places I wanted to go tho. The cliff where they shot “Camp Sawi” and around town. But kuya can take you to Ogtong Cave as well if you want for the same price.
Kuya Glen was very helpful. He can take you around the island on his motorcycle, he rents out bikes(P150) and offers island hopping(P700). Here’s his number (+63975 451 1058) so you can contact him when in the island.
4. Drink coffee at a Local Cafe
Having coffee at a local cafe is my ultimate travel thing. Paws Coffee and Bar is the only cafe in the island that serves real coffee, not instant coffee! It’s owned by Leah and Chris. They’re also number one in trip advisor!
You meet be welcomed by cutie Jon Snow. Go easy on him, he knows nothing! Leah and Chris just opened the restaurant in September 2016. Leah was very nice to introduce me as her friend to her customers who are also the regular people there. You see, as this is the only place that serves real coffee in the island filled with expats, they always have them around. Cheers to Barry, Daniel, Leah, Chris and ofcourse Jon!
The cafe opens from 12nn to 10pm.
5. Visit St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Yes, I did not burn when I entered. The century old church is definitely worth the risk of me burning. Also, the keeper of the church saw me roaming around and let me go up the bell tower! Perks of having a baby face!
6. Chill by MJ Square
Walking distance from Kota Beach which offers a wide array of restaurants! I am not kidding. Do you want Grilled Food, Filipino, Dessert, Greek or Mexican maybe? They have it!
Check out the Bantayan Burrito, their quesadilla are amazing!
Bantayan is a small island filled with character. Business is thriving thanks to the foreigners who loved the island so much they decided to stay and just live there. It has created jobs and has people coming over. Although, it is quite a long journey to get here, it is worth it.
To the locals who made my stay awesome and to my puppy friends who kept me company, thank you. Cheers, Bantayan!