Cebu Destinations : Everything You Need To Know of Bantayan Island

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The idyllic island most synonymous to Cebu more than anything else in the province and often compared to the world class shores of Boracay. Bantayan Island offers a recluse to any soul seeking peace with her mesmerizing white beaches and leisure for the party animals in the specific time of the year. Many tropical islands in the province have rise up to compete with her reign in recent years but none so far have dethrone her. She may be known for her spotless coasts but there are actually more to Bantayan for tourists and travelers alike. I will try to cover in this post everything you need to know about the island and some tips to boost your stay.

NOTE: This is a work in progress and will continue to update any new information of the island as I continue to explore it.
My previous visit just months after the super typhoon ravaged the island.
I had an opportunity to stay longer in the island last week and discovered a lot things I didn't know in my past visits. Bantayan is more than just your average tourist destination in Cebu and it benefited most of the influx of tourists in recent years. 

The super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) may have devastated the island but she slowly recovered after a couple of years and is now on a fresh start for everyone who wants to experience her splendor. More luxurious resorts have opened, lots of accommodations to cater various tourist needs, so much more interesting activities and different spots discovered to offer options for visitors.


GETTING HERE:

FROM YOUR PLACE to CEBU. There are so many direct flights offered going to Mactan Airport from international airports but it is easier to pass through Clark Airport / NAIA. Regular ticket sales are offered for different airlines for the Manila to Cebu route so book your flight in advance to get the best deal.  

FROM CEBU to BANTAYAN ISLAND. The starting point is in Cebu North Bus Terminal which offer regular AC & non-AC buses leaving every hour starting around 2:00 am and last trip of around 11:00 pm. 24 hours during peak season usually during summer and holidays.

NORTH BUS TERMINAL in CEBU --- via bus ( Php 170.00 ) for ETT 4 hours ---> HAGNAYA PORT in SAN REMIGIO --- via ferry ( Php 150.00 ) for ETT 1 hour ---> SANTA FE PORT in BANTAYAN ISLAND  --- via habal-habal ( Php 50.00 ) ---> anywhere in SANTA FE --- via Motorela ( Php 25.00 ) for ETT 20 minutes ---> BANTAYAN TOWN PROPER --- via Motorela ( Php 25.00 ) for ETT 20 minutes ---> MADRIDEJOS 



SANTA FE


Undoubtedly, Santa Fe is the place to be in the island not just for its shores but because it is the center of tourism in the island. You'll see countless resorts lining up by the shoreline, restaurants & bars are plenty in the center of the town, souvenir shops can be found anywhere and you'll get better options here for your accommodation depending on your budget. It is also the closest municipality from the port going to the mainland of Cebu. 


WHAT TO DO :
  • Beach bumming from the powdery soft whitesand of Sugar Beach to the picturesque beach front of Kota Resort that forms a mini sandbar depending in the time of day.
  • Jump-off point for island hopping ( namely Virgin, Hilantagaan & Poho Island )
  • Visit the famous subterranean natural pool of Ogtong Cave.
  • Food trip & night life.
WHERE TO STAY :

Kota Beach Resort ( Beachfront )

 
TIP: The infamous mini sandbar in Bantayan island is just in front of Kota Beach.

room rates starts at Php 900.00 ( standard fan rooms ) Php 3,800.00 ( beachfront suite )
Telephone #  +63 32 438 9042
Cellular #  +63 948 799 3787
Email : kotabeach@gmail.com

Budyong Beach Resort ( Beachfront )


room rates starts at Php 800.00 ( third line fan rooms ) Php 7,000.00 ( house mate rooms )
Telephone #  +63 32 438 9285
Cellular #  +63 999 4949473
Email: budyongbeachresort@gmail.com

Santa Fe Beach Club ( Beachfront )


TIP: You can enjoy the Ogtong Cave Resort amenities for free.

room rates starts at Php 900.00 ( cottage back twin ) Php 3,500.00 ( deluxe room triple )
Telephone #  +63 32 438 9090
Cellular #  +63 928 778 7770  /  +63 932 541 2954
Website: www.stabeach.com 

Ogtong Cave Resort  ( Beachfront )



TIP: If you are not checked-in to the resort outsiders will have to pay Php 100.00 to enjoy the facilities of the resort ( 3 swimming pools ) including Ogtong Cave from 8am to 6pm. Santa Fe Beach Club will have free access of the amenities of this resort.
room rates starts at Php 1,200.00 ( standard fan rooms ) Php 7,000.00 ( deluxe suite with jacuzzi )
Telephone #  +63 32 438 9129
Cellular #  +63 920 899 9456/  +63 932 4336282
Website: www.ogtongcave.com 


Bantayan Cottages ( Town Center )

TIP: This is the cheapest accommodation in Santa Fe.
room rates starts at Php 400.00 ( backpacker fan rooms ) Php 1,600.00 ( deluxe rooms )
Telephone #  +63 32 438 9358
Cellular #  +63 90 8309 4717
Website: www.bantayancottages.com

WHERE TO EAT :

Corner Inn Cafe



Food To Order: budget friendly full breakfast with American Breakfast costs Php 120.00 & Continental Breakfast costs Php 150.00
Cuisines: Filipino, American
WiFi: Yes
Phone # 032 438 9066
Cellular # +63 91 7723 2197 
Email: hrmusicbarnativerestuarant@yahoo.com 

HR Music Bar and Native Restaurant


TIP: You can order one half each flavor to get two or more different flavors in one order of pizza.
Food To Order: the pizza is really delicious 
Cuisines: Filipino, American
WiFi: None
Cellular # +63 94 9710 3442
Email: hrmusicbarnativerestuarant@yahoo.com 


BANTAYAN TOWN

 
The main town in the island where you'll get everything you need that Sante Fe might not have. They have more choices of shops, restaurants and the public market is found here. Bantayan Town also have its own port that is still open to the public want to head to Negros & Iloilo.

WHAT TO DO :
  • Good place for sunset watch.
  • Visit the five century old St. Peter & Paul Parish Church.
  • Jump-off point to Estancia in Iloilo for Isla de Gigantes and Sagay in Negros Occidental for Himoga-an River Cruise, Molocaboc Island & bio-diverse reefs such as Carbin & Macahulom Reef.
  • The only national bank in the island with an ATM machine ( PNB ) is found here. 
  • Visit Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort for another subterranean natural pool in Santo Nino Cave, enjoy the infinity swimming pool and mini zoo.  

WHERE TO STAY :

Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort 


TIP! There are so much activity offered here from the must experience subterranean cave pool inside Santo Nino Cave, infinity pool with adult & children separate space, mini zoo with sea hawks & peacocks, Captain's Bar & Restaurant and so much more. If you don't want to stay in the resort then you can avail the day tour which costs Php 150.00 per pax.
room rates starts at Php 1,100.00 ( standard garden view cottage )  Php 4,100.00 ( deluxe bungalow )
Telephone #  +63 32 514 44420/21
Cellular #  +63 928 506 4468
Email: bantayan.naturepark@gmail.com 
Website: www.bantayansislandresort.com


WHERE TO EAT:

Kermit's Snack Bar



Food To Order: all burgers are delicious! 
Cuisines: American
WiFi: None
Cellular # ---
Email: ---


MADRIDEJOS


Kota Park and a good sunset spot in the island are the only reason why you should visit Madridejos. It is the least touristy municipality in the island and rightfully so because there's not much to see here. I couldn't recommend Kota Park because there's nothing special with the spot unless you are that bored and it is crowded with locals killing time. The park does have a ruined fortress if you are into that thing and the white sand is just as good. If you want to do some sunset watch you can do it as well in the main town of Bantayan.

WHAT TO DO :
  • Best place for sunset watch in the island.
  • Visit the century old fortress in Kota Park.

Christian Vincent Literatus

Travel Blogger

Chris just loves to travel, and for a long time now has been drifting from place to place around the Philippines. With his combined passion for travel and photography, he’s managed to find himself in the middle of some magical moments and mind blowing scenery. The Bisdak Explorer is Chris’s way of sharing his experiences with you, and showcasing not just his travel photography, but the moments and stories behind those photos.

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