Bantayan Island has been dubbed one of the best beach places you will see in the Philippines. It is also said that it can rival that of Boracay with the perks of having a non-existent commercial vibe to the island. I’ve been planning for years to visit this place but there was always something that hindered me from getting here. Case in point was the tragic typhoon that struck our country last 2013 which largely affected the Visayas region. As a result, we took it off our list and went elsewhere.
Come by 2014, we again re-considered coming back. I already had an itinerary (for years) but the trip just never materialized. After a few inquiries here and there, we were assured that the island has recovered. Finally, we were set to visit one of the must-sees in my bucket-list!
Getting there: Take a flight via Cebu Pacific from Manila to Cebu. (Like 70% of the time, our flight was again delayed which added much to our frustration). Once you reach Mactan Airport, take a cab and head straight to the North Bus Terminal near SM. Get the bus headed to Hagnaya Port. It will take between 4-5 hours before you reach the port. Once you’re at the docks, take a ferry headed to Santa Fe (in Bantayan Island). This will take another 45 minutes to an hour before you reach the island.
Once we reached the island, the staff from Anika Island Resort picked us up from the pier. They have been in contact with us even before we boarded our plane. Those simple gestures really made a big difference. Since we were here for the beach, we booked their Ocean View Room. Best view in the house!
Our first day was more of a relaxed day. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived so all we did was check the beach and chilled by the veranda at night. We hanged out by the veranda until it was time to rest.
We didn’t catch the sunrise during our second day because the weather was quite gloomy. From morning until afternoon, the rain was pouring really hard. Since we were already at Bantayan Island, we tried our best to make the most of this trip. When the rain subsided a bit, we pushed through with our trip to Virgin Island. We brought our rain gear and a few bottles of beer to keep ourselves dry and warm.
Contrary to its name, Virgin Island is privately owned. The island has an entrance fee and you have to pay if you want to use any of their amenities. Though we would’ve preferred the island to be more bare, it is quite well-maintained.
It rained throughout the whole day (but the rain did stop for a few minutes) when we were at Virgin Island. Due to the mostly bad weather, we had the whole island to ourselves. After our island excursion, we were so tired that we didn’t even make it to dinner time.
During our last day, the weather was better and we were lucky enough to catch the sunrise. I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos since I took a video of the sunrise. The sunrise is absolutely more stunning in person.
Our island trip ended with an early checkout after breakfast as we still had one more night in Cebu City. The ride going back seemed to take longer and it was not as comfortable as getting to the island. And yes, it rained again when we reached Cebu City. I guess this was part of the whole experience. Hate it or love it!
Bantayan Island is what I exactly expected. I wish we could have stayed longer as we did not really wander around due to the bad weather. Maybe next time!
– The Tourist Pao