The sound of the blue waves lapping against the white seashore and a break of dawn welcomed our vessel as we approached the port of Sta. Fe in Bantayan Island. That moment then I realized and have set the bar that I’m gonna be having a blast on this vacation.
I haven’t had enough sleep that night because I started traveling since 11:45 PM from Cebu City. Transportation was so fast because it was midnight and there was no traffic. The people in the bus were surprised that it only took around 2 hours to travel from Cebu City to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio. Everyone then proceeded and bought each of our own tickets and waited an hour and a half to depart going to the paradise.
It was breaking dawn when we arrived at the port of Sta. Fe and the much-awaited break begins! Unlike its normal days, it is known that Bantayan Island has so many tourists because it is Holy Week. I don’t know the actual reason why but people say because it’s the feast in Bantayan but my friends told me that the feast is on June 29th.
From the port of Sta. Fe, I embarked on a motorcycle ride going to Bantayan to meet Chasing Potatoes whom I asked a favor to spend the night at their home. It around 30 minutes for me to reach their place and the glorious sunrise made the travel time like 5 minutes. I’m thrilled for the adventure that awaits but I was asked to catch some z’s as soon as I arrived at their house. It was still 6 in the morning and it was way too early to start the jaunt. My soul was ravishing with excitement but my four-eyes chose to rest for an hour at least.
The sound hitting plates and utensils started to wake my sleeping body then Tita Cynthia called my name because it’s breakfast time. Ohh yummy! I went to the dining table and started eating. It’s funny how shy I was that Chasing Potatoes and her mom was asking why I am so silent. Maybe it was still that early that my frolicking smile was still asleep. Haha! My tummy was surely stuffed and was satisfied with the delectable food. Thank you, po!
It was 9:30 in the morning that the Four-eyed Laagan and Chasing Potatoes embarked for the adventure. We went first to Laag Sparkles’ house to have a quick visit then we proceeded to Sta. Fe to rent a scooter.
The journey to explore the beauty of Bantayan Island started even we had the scooter. It was around 11 in the morning that we embarked to our first stop – Sta. Fe’s beach – before we got our scooter around 12 noon.
We had an amazing ride amidst the fiery heat of the sun and here are our destinations that day that we surely had an amazing time:
Sta. Fe Beach
This is undeniably one of the best spots in Bantayan. The pristine turquoise water, white fine sand, and the rejuvenating sea breeze are already enough for you to have an amazing staycation at the island. The beautiful shoreline is vast to accommodate thousands of people. It has a lot of resorts but there are also free areas to pitch own tents.
The crystal clear water is too inviting for you to quickly take off your shirt and jump into the water. It will give you refreshing vibe that would give you deep breaths.
By the way, both sunrise and sunset are lovely that will make you wish to stay there like forever.
The Ruins is also located in the municipality of Sta. Fe just a few meters from the Kota Beach. It is an abandoned and unfinished structure that’s so Instagrammable. This attraction is located just along the small cliffs on the shore that would invite everyone to take a jump. I actually did one! And it’s FREE!
Omageica or Obo-ob Mangrove Garden Integrated Conservation Association is located in the municipality of Bantayan. The haven of mangroves serves as their way of ecosystem preservation. It has bamboo bridges that lead towards its heart where the estuary is located.
It’s a great way to freshened up with its green scenery that’s so pleasant in the eyes.
Just a few meters from Omageica, you can find one secluded spot which is called Langub, (translated in English as Cave). It does not resemble as what we expect when we hear cave, but it’s like a small pool surrounded by rocks and plants. This spot is not maintained and I was saddened when trashes are dumped on the area. Nevertheless, the water is still as clear as crystal and the tiny fishes are still happily swimming.
From the series of destinations, we’ve been to in Sta. Fe and Bantayan, we had one longer road trip going to the other side of the island but still also in the municipality in Bantayan. This spot, the Quarry, is located on the higher lands of the island. From its definition, these are mountains that its minerals were extracted long time ago. This site for me is bittersweet. It saddened me the thought that few mountains were gone because they mined rocks and minerals but it somehow provided me a spark of excitement as it created some beautiful rock formations. It’s unnatural but it’s still beautiful.
The Big Cross
Just a few meters (again) from the Quarry, comes the highest point of Bantayan Island. I love how they made it holy as they constructed a Station of Cross with a huge cross at the top! It stands around 20 feet (my estimations) and it also offers a stunning 360 view of the entire island. Surely, sunrise and sunset are more glorious in this spot.
By the way, it would take you around 5 minutes of trekking to reach the spot, so better be prepared.
Madridejos Man-made Forest
From the higher lands of Bantayan Island, we descended to the next municipal in the island – Madridejos. I love how amazing we felt as we approached the municipality. The stunning man-made forest welcomed us as if Mother Nature was greeting us. The shade from the canopy wiped away the sweat and frowns from the heat of the sun during the road trip.
We had some quick snapshots and proceeded to the next destination.
Kota Park is one of the top attractions in Madridejos. The ruins of the fort the were built by the Spaniards can be located at the park but it was closed during our visit for rehabilitation. We headed to the boardwalk at the beach front and it offered vibes to chill out, grab some coolers and even sing with the Karaoke machines. The sunset is perfectly viewed here as this spot is located in the west of the island.
We wished to stay longer to wait for the sunset but we needed to get back to Bantayan town for the Solemn Procession.
From the destinations, activities, food and people, we had during that day would always make me want to revisit the beautiful paradise of this island. I have few more things to do like caving and spending the night the beach which I failed to do during that day.
Going to Bantayan from Cebu City:
Most popular means of transportation going to Bantayan Island is by riding a bus from North Bus Terminal in Cebu City going to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio for around 2-4 hours.
From there, take the vessel from the port going to Sta. Fe for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Bus Fare from Cebu City to Hagnaya Port – P140/pax Non-AC
Ferry Fare from Hagnaya Port to Sta. Fe – P170/pax + P10 Terminal Fee
Motorcycle Taxi Fare from Sta. Fe to Bantayan – P100/pax
Scooter for Rent – P500 per 8 hours
Tricycle Ride from Bantayan to Sta. Fe – P25/pax
Omageica Entrance Fee – P50/pax