Tag Archives: white sand

Cebu (Part I: Bantayan Island, Virgin Island)

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.

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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!

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Getting there:Β 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 toΒ 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Head toΒ Cebu (Part II: Cebu City, Henry Hotel)

– The Tourist Pao

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Subic – Olongapo – Zambales (Part III: Anawangin Cove and Talisayin Cove)

It was officially January 01, 2015 at this point. What better way to spend the first day of the new year than to be spontaneous. After brunch, I invited my brother to try to reach Anawangin Cove. Prior to this trip, I have already researched a few details on how to get to this place. I also inquired with the hotel staff and they said that it’s doable. It was raining hard in Subic at that time but the staff said that there might be less or no rain at all in nearby areas. It was oftentimes like that around the area.

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Due to our persistence and new year good vibes, we decided to push through with our trip. We took the same path exiting through the Kalaklan Gate heading north viaΒ the RH5 National Highway. With the simple help of Google Maps, we followed the route towards the port town of San Antonio. Before reaching the destined port town, you will pass by the towns of Castillejos and San Marcelino. It took us around 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach San Antonio. We were lucky that there was no traffic and the rain subsided as we headed further north.

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From the port town, you will easily pass by several properties offering parking spaces. We were charged P50 to park our vehicle. On the same spot, there were several locals there that we approached and inquired about getting a boat ride to Anawangin. Because it was almost sun-down and we were very impromptu about our whole trip, we agreed to pay P1500 to get us to both Anawangin and Talisayin Cove and return us on the same day.

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To reach Anawangin, you will pass by several rock formations and Agnain Cove. It probably took us around 20-25 minutes to get to Anawangin Cove. As a reminder, you will experience dead spots to zero signal once you head out of the port town.

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We only had the chance to stay in Anawangin for around 10-15 minutes as it was nearing sun-down. The weather was also gloomy so we had to take that into consideration as the waves might grow stronger. Since we didn’t stay long, we only caught a glimpse of the forest trail in Anawangin.

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As it was nearing dark, we were still able to navigate through to reach Talisayin Cove. The boat ride took another 15 minutes from Anawangin.

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Talisayin is a quitier version of Anawangin. One of our boat men owns several huts in Talisayin. He boasts that unlike Anawangin, tourists who stay in Talisayin have the privilege of a generator. In addition, there are less tourists around this area if you want more privacy.

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After our visit to Talisayin, we headed back to San Antonio. It was already nighttime when we navigated back (with only a flashlight in hand). Luckily, our boatmen knew what they were doing and getting back at night was not a problem. We arrived in Subic around 8 in the evening.

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All I can say is, we will definitely be back for sure and will do an overnight camping in one of the coves. Whatever you’ve read or seen in other blogs are true. Anawangin and Talisayin (and the rest of the other coves) are a must-visit. Soft white-sand, clear waters, fresh air, secluded, no cellular signal, pine trees…paradise within reach…it’s all true.

Our trip ended on a high note with this one!

– The Tourist Pao