Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cebu: Bantayan Island, Cebu is rich in heritage and great beaches!

Bantayan Island has always been on my wish list. So I made sure to visit the island when I found out I was going to Cebu. As soon as the conference was over, we rushed to the North Bus Terminal in Mandaue to catch a ride to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio. Take note that Metro Cebu had two bus terminals and the North Bus Terminal services the towns and cities north of Metro Cebu. The bus ride was three hours and we got a preview of some old churches along the way which we planned to stop by on the way back.

From Hagnaya, you could easily purchase a ferry ticket to Sta. Fe town on Bantayan Island where most of the beach resorts are located. The ferry ride was a little over an hour. Take note that prices of tickets vary depending on whether the competing ferry company also has a trip at the same time. If there are competing trips, prices are slashed by as much as half!

Anyway, when we got there, there were a lot of agents touting the available resorts. We chose the resort nearest to the port which was the Sta. Fe Beach Club, so that we did not have to rush the next day if anything happened. I was surprised they accepted credit card payments.

As soon as we dropped our bags in our rooms, we rushed to make a round of the island before sundown. We had arranged for a habal-habal to take us around and went straight to our first stop, the ruins of an old fort in Sta. Fe. Unless you are really interested in these old fortifications, there's nothing much to see and not worth the stop for now.

From there, we sped off to Bantayan town where an old church still stands. We were pleasantly surprised that there were a lot of old structures all over the town despite a big fire in the 1970s which wiped-out a lot of Banatayan's old houses.

The Bantayan Church itself was amazing! The bas-reliefs on the exterior and interior of the church were very intricate. So I made sure to walk around and appreciate these works of art.

We made one last stop in Madridejos where there is another ruined fort. But again, if you're not into fortifications, it's not worth it since Madridejos is really far.

We were advised to have dinner at this restaurant called D'Jungle where they serve sumptuous buffets every Friday and Saturday. When we got there, we were in food heaven! They have more than fifty dishes in their buffet spread which included a wide variety of seafood, meats and greens cooked in various styles. At PHP295 per head which includes bottomless iced tea, how could you go wrong? It’s most definitely worth it to come back to Bantayan if only for this buffet.

The next morning, the weather was not good. So I decided to cancel my trip to the caves and Kota Beach Resort and went back to bed. We had to leave the island early since our next overnight would be in Carcar, Cebu on the opposite side end of Cebu!

Part 2: Visita iglesia in Northern Cebu
Part 3: Lechon, chicharon and more from Carcar
Part 4: Visita iglesia in Southern Cebu
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