Have You Gone to Exotic Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is one of the Philippines’ more than 7,200 islands. It is a dot of an island (110.7 square kilometers in size) northwest of the northern tip of Cebu.
Though small in size, it looms large when it comes to tourism. Its tropical weather, remarkable white sandy beaches, clean and crystal clear blue waters have captivated visitors, foreign and local, needing peace and quiet for a change.
I’ve heard so much about it that it also piqued my curiosity.
An item off my bucket list:
After hearing so much about the island I resolved to make the trip – someday.
That “someday” came last July 9 when I finally got in my car very early in the morning to take that 3-hour drive to Hagnaya,” the jump-off point to Bantayan Island.
That trip checked out one item from my bucket list.
How to get to Bantayan Island:
Bantayan Island can be reached from downtown Cebu only by land.
You can either take a bus from the Mandaue North Bus Terminal, a van-for-hire, or a taxi.
Whatever transportation mode you take, the trip will take approximately three hours to Hagnaya – including a couple of stops for food, to stretch your legs or a mad rush to the toilet.
From Hagnaya, it is a one-hour trip by ferry boat to Sta. Fe, the entry point of the island.
You get your first impression of the island once your feet hit dry land.
The pier is clean and organized; the usual dock hands, common all over the world, are courteous and polite. They don’t hustle or crowd around you but keep their distance as they offer their services.
They even speak passable English.
I hired one, a baggage handler and a pedicab driver rolled into on, who persisted in tagging along with me all the way.
I walked around later in the day and observed the same neatness I saw earlier at the pier. The island is definitely laid-back, life is easy and as slow as the rising and falling of the tide or the rising and setting of the sun.slow. It is laid-back, life is easy and slow.
The people, so used to tourists, are nice and indifferent to see one aimlessly walking among them.
Where to stay in Bantayan Island:
Bantayan Island has a disproportionate number of resorts for an island its size. It has resorts for backpackers to people awash in cash.But getting a
Getting a reservation is a problem though, even in during off season.
Not only are some of the resorts not connected to the Net, the rest don’t update their info in their appropriate travel sites.
And if you are a senior citizen, don’t book online because you lose your accommodation discount privileges.
To be sure, book your reservations by calling them directly to avoid screw ups in prices and amenities. Don’t rely too much on TripAdvisor reviews either.
For example, the resort in checked into had positive reviews but it was not that positive for me.
The Coral Blue Oriental Beach Villas and Suites is anywhere near its name.
It’s nothing but an 8-room, beach front resort with bamboo slats on the exterior to give it an exotic look, which it is not.
To be fair, it is clean and the staff is courteous and helpful. But the only thing that denotes quality in its food is the price, not its taste. It is so darn expensive, notwithstanding that they serve poor-quality rice.
There is wifi connection both in the rooms and the lobby, but my room was too small to accommodate a table for my laptop. So I did my Internet work in the dining room.
Everything was bearable until I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night to pee. To my horror, my room was flooded with water leaking from the second floor. The gods must be kind to me, the leak did not fall on my bed.
But there other well-reviewed resorts in Bantayan Island like the Marlin and Amihan.
A meaning of Mother Nature:
In Bantayan Island, you get the full meaning of the words, “Mother Nature.”
Like a mother, Bantayan Island soothes, nurtures, and heals. It makes you forget all your cares and makes you feel good about yourself.
It allows you to live the moment in the midst of sea, sand, and sky.
Life is in slo-mo. No need to rush from here to there, no need to be stressed about undone things, no need to think of tomorrow.
You can walk around to explore, rent a bike or a motorcycle cover a larger part of the island. There is absolutely nothing to worry about, except your physical condition, maybe. The nearest hospital is in Bantayan, a neighboring town a good 10 kilometers away.
In Bantayan Island, you can have a life for a change.
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