I’ve been to a number of islands (including the best island in the world) but I can confidently say that I am willing to stay here for more than a month or so. Or maybe even live there for a life time if given the chance. Imagine miles of fine white sand and crystal clear water. Bantayan Island’s pristine beaches are a panoramic mecca to both photographers and beach-lovers.
This trip is probably my last hooray for summer. The habagat season has arrived and the rain season, likewise. Days before we fly from Clark to Cebu, my friends and I were still deciding between Moalboal or Bantayan Island. So what I did is surveyed and asked my friends who have been to both places and yes, I feel that going north of Cebu is the better choice.
The Arrival and Travel to the Island
It’s my first time to travel late in the evening and gladly, our flight was 30-minutes earlier from the scheduled flying time. It was a smooth flying though a not-so-good weather seems brewing when we arrived. It’s past 11 and we quickly decided to go directly at Cebu’s North Bus Terminal for a chance to take an early trip to Hagnaya Port. And yes, lady-luck was ours and we arrived there with a Ceres bus ready to go at 12 midnight.
Our first land travel in Cebu was rather quiet and slow. I couldn’t sleep because I want to see how it looks like outside. I am looking for stars when it runs slow because I am thinking of milky way to shoot. In less than 3 hours, we arrived at the port and headed to the ticketing office for the first ferry trip to the island. I know it will be a slow trip so I tried my best to sleep for a while. Fast-forward an hour after and the sky’s dark horizon is now transforming into a beautiful abstract painting. And there you go, we arrived safely at Sta. Fe Port. The island looks gorgeous from afar! I know we made the right choice.
The Resort-Hunting and the Beach Life
As we arrived at the port, a number of porters will greet you with loud shouting and wide smiles. So make sure to haggle and get the best deal for your transportation needs. We asked the driver to bring us the most affordable resort he knows and so we went to Budyong Beach Resort. They allowed us to check-in early so that is great.The room we had is just ok. Aircon is working fine though quite old. It’s just a basic room and its just what we need.
The quality of sand in Sta. Fe is remarkable and comparable to that of Malalison Island in Culasi, Antique. But this one is longer, shallower and more serene. The azure sky blended well with the crystal clear water. It’s magnetic to be honest and a few minutes after we fixed our things, we hit the beach and had a first taste of our beach life. We also had a quick stroll at the sand bar facing the nearby Kota Beach Resort and some selfies of course until we decided to eat our lunch and rest a bit as we are planning to check the town of Madridejos.
A couple of hours later, we are all set to go to Madridejos, the northernmost town of Cebu. We have little expectations about this idyllic town of the island. All we want is to see the boardwalk and catch the sunset. We have our service (trycycle) to bring us there. At first, the road looks ok but as we go farther from Sta. Fe, it becomes nastier and nastier. It was rather a bumpy-ride but it was still a great experience! After almost 2 hours of rough travel, we reached Kota Park almost close to what we are looking for-the sunset!
The main attraction of Kota Park was actually the ruins of the Old Fort (derived from the word kota, kuta=fort) serving as a look-out to pirates during the Spanish colonial times. We headed directly at the boardwalk as the kids at the shore caught out attention. As we get closer to them, we realized they are hunting or collecting crabs and seashells for dinner. As you see, kids in the cities are surely busy with their tablets during that time of the day while kids here were trained of something more important.
A few minutes later, the sky is now being painted with tangerine, crimson and more! Our eyes were delighted and the loooooong travel to this town is worth! We left our hearts with great memories and photos to share. Soon after, we reached Sta. Fe and our hungry tummies are demanding a great meal for dinner so we ordered Sinigang na Hipon, Pork Liempo, Grilled Pusit, some salad and shakes. It’s a gastronomic feast kind-of-dinner. We had beers and a view of the Milky Way over our veranda to cap the night.
The island is just so much to enjoy! There are some places I visited I would think twice to revisit but this one is exceptional! I think its charm is magnetic and dynamic and I will surely comeback. I left my heart in Bantayan.