By Joyce Deocareza
As sun-worshippers flock to the usual summer destinations, Bantayan Island beckons travelers of the less beaten path—its pristine coast a stretch of powdery white sand caressed by crystalline water that glimmered in the sun on a backdrop of azure sky.
There’s no hurried way to get to this idyllic island tucked at the northernmost tip of Cebu, but its three municipalities of Santa Fe, Bantayan and Madridejos exude a small seaside town charm that enthralls guests seeking a more laidback destination.
Santa Fe serves as a gateway to this paradise and it defines the entire Bantayan Island experience with a gift of picturesque sunrise and unspoiled beaches.
Head to the beach front of Kota Beach Resort—a dazzling tableau of turquoise lagoon girdled by a fine white sandbar fringed by coconut trees on one side and by the open sea on the other, capped with clouds that seem to always remarkably hung low across the horizon.
Soak up the sun, frolic in the sand and plunge into the water of the paradise that is Bantayan Island! And oh, remember to carry your camera for those postcard-perfect snapshots!
HOW TO GET TO BANTAYAN ISLAND
From Mactan-Cebu International Airport or Cebu City hail a cab to the North Bus Terminal. P160 bus fare takes you to Hagnaya Port in the town of San Remigio in three hours. There, a ferry or RORO to Santa Fe Port in Bantayan Island costs P170 with 1-hour travel time.
WHERE TO STAY
Most travelers stay along the beach of Santa Fe. Kota Beach Resort is known for having the best beachfront but Anika Island Resort is generally considered to be the better accommodation. I personally prefer a beautiful beach to a better room. Whatever the budget, there’s a number of accommodations to choose along the beach and around town.
In Santa Fe, tricycles and pedicabs offer rides at P10 minimum. Most tourists opt for bicycles available for daily rent in most resorts or motorbikes from some establishments.
- For the best Bantayan Island experience, it is highly recommended to visit on dry months.
- It is best to take early morning flights from Manila to Cebu, a flight at three in the morning and an uninterrupted trip over land and sea should get you to Bantayan Island by 9 or 10 in the morning still with a full day ahead of you.
- In case of delays or interruptions, keep a sunny disposition, you’ll never know who or what good thing fate has in store for you. It happened to me the first time I set out for Bantayan Island and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.
Joyce Deocareza is an entrepreneur on weekdays and self-proclaimed adopted daughter of Cebu on most weekends. She is a yogini and a traveler who tries to write and take photographs well.
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