Saturday, 26 January 2013

Revisiting Bantayan Island

Fishermen coming in with their catch early in the morning
From Malapascua, Gia and I proceeded to Bantayan Island for an extended vacation. We initially considered renting an outrigger boat from Malapascua to Bantayan, but seeing the waves and the more than 2 hours trip, I decided to ask the van driver to drop us at Hagnaya Port to catch the ferry to Sta. Fe port in Bantayan, instead.

The ferry ride took about a little over an hour. We then hired a tricycle to Sta. Fe Resort. The resort is actually a few meters away from the port. About 5minutes ride.

I have been to Bantayan Island several times in the past and I enjoyed the trip all the time. What I love about Bantayan is that, it has the same fine white sand beach as the popular Boracay, but without the crowd. We had a great 3 days of mom-daughter bonding.  Frolicking on the beach, riding the tricycle around the island to check out some of the places to see, "binge-eating", and just lazing around. What a very relaxing trip!

Bantayan Must-See and Must-Do:

 1) St. Peter & Paul Church - a five-decade old church located in the town center. It is made of corals and stones from the island.  It is the center of the island's  unique Holy Week celebration.

St. Peter & Paul Church (photo by pickled_newt)
2) Ogtong Cave - a natural underground shallow cave where one can swim in its cool waters. The owners of Sta. Fe Resort developed a resort around the cave. Not as spectacular as most caves though but I found it unique with its cool clear waters. You descent a few steps of stairs to the cool waters.

Ogtong Cave (photo from the web)

3) Island hop to Virgin Island (Or Sillion Island) - a privately owned island with same white sand beach as Bantayan. We passed up on this as I felt I had a fill of white sand beach already for this trip. But for hardcore beach bums, I recommend you go.
Sillion Island (photo by Beach Placid Resort)
4) Hire a bike or tricycle and explore the island - visit the local market, visit other resorts, see bucolic living inland, try out other restaurants or go on a photography jaunt. Everything is possible and safe around Bantayan Island. We did just that and we totally enjoyed it.

5) Stroll along the glorious beach - did I say, that the sand is white and soft you can practically go barefoot? The beaches in Bantayan is worth the stroll. Unspoilt and no crowd!
Bantayan beach
6) Enjoy the peace and quiet - just that. Watch local life going on around you. Or space out and enjoy the silence. Meditate? very possible!

Inviting to just laze
7) Eat seafood - this is an island after-all. Never miss their dried "danggit" fried until crunchy. Not too salty.  Nor the "kinhason" (seashell). Yum Yummm.

8) Try some water sports - snorkel or try the banana boat for that adrenaline rush.

9) Spend Holy Week here - they have a unique celebration during these holy days. You will see "lechon" (roasted pig) being paraded and/or served during this period. Being an island, seafood is their staple food and fishing is their livelihood. So, for them to join the Holy Week celebration, they were given special permission by the Catholic Church to eat meat to prevent them from fishing.

No, visitors are not exempted from abstaining from meat, even if they visit this place on said days. And most thought so.

10) Don't miss the sunrise - calming, peaceful, relaxing. Then, watch local fishermen come home with their catch. You may just be lucky and be offered to buy them at such a bargain.

Glorious sunrise


  1. I was not able to go to Ogtong Cave when I went to Bantayan Island. Fantastic post!

    1. Thank you Rene. Thank you for dropping by, too. :)