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


  1. Anonymous23.2.09

    Hi, just want to ask is this place backbackers friendly? And how much would budget would you need for a small group 6-8 to people. Planning to visit it this summer vacation.

  2. I believe so. It's very popular to foreigners thanks to Lonely Planet. You could survive on P500-800 a day per person if you find good lodging which would allow you to squeeze into a big room.

  3. Anonymous24.2.09

    Hi! Just sharing our budget when we went there in May last year.

    from Manadue, Cebu to Hagnaya = 55
    Hagnaya Roro to Santa Fe = 140
    cottages: from 1700 to 2300, good for 4
    popular mode of transpo: Potpot (pedicab)

  4. Yes, just about right. With food, that would be P500 to P800 a day.

  5. I love Bantayan Island! My friends and I went there for our graduation trip and we had an amazing time...and it was really affordable too! I wrote about it on my blog here: :)

  6. Anonymous25.2.09

    This is on my travel list. I love Cebu!

  7. Anonymous4.3.09

    you may check the website:

  8. Anonymous4.3.09

    mundayou may check the website:

  9. Anonymous7.3.09

    hi! anyone planning to go to bantayan during the holy week? i'm alone for a project assignment here in cebu and i don't want to spend the season in my apartment alone so i'd rather go to bantayan for some escapade.
    maybe a first time goer would be nice for us to explore the island. lol!

  10. Anonymous9.3.09

    I've been to Bantayan Island and did a series on it. I love Bantayan and the serenity of the place. And one doesn't have to spend a lot in order to enjoy this place. :-)

  11. Anonymous3.4.09

    I'd love to go back to Bantayan! there are so many things you can do in that beautiful place!

  12. Anonymous12.5.09

    Hello Mr. Ivan.. Gusto k yung mga travel destination m.. We plan to go sa Bantayan dis June.. ask k lng if ever day trip lng kmi alis kmi ng earlyn morning makakabalik kaya kami ng hapon on same day...

  13. How much mag pa tour sa habal habal? 3 spots lang ba talaga ang mapupuntahan dun with the habal-habal?

  14. Ward4.7.09

    I just got back from Bantayan today, not for pleasure but for work, never the less, the island itself is so beautiful not to mention the gentle people it has. Worth mentioning is the STK restaurant fronting Sta. Fe market. Its called ARJAMAY STK, prices there are so cheap and they cook pretty well too.Every time I visit the island, I always have my meals there.

  15. Anonymous15.12.09

    Hello. Is there a place where they offer tents for rent (for low-budget visitors)? I rather like doing a back-packer-kind of thing than rent rooms which are not only expensive but just an impractical way of spending since you won't be staying in your room the whole day ....0) I only need a safe "place" to stash my things then commune with nature. 0)

  16. Tents, I'm not sure. And it's not safe to stash things in a place you can't lock. I suggest you go for a homestay. It might even be cheaper than renting a tent if there are any.

  17. Anonymous1.3.10

    hi! i would just like to know if you think 2 days and 1 night is enough time to spend on bantayan island.

    thanks for your help!

  18. Anonymous26.3.10

    were you able to go to camotes island?

  19. Anonymous26.3.10

    Hi Ivan,

    Were you able to go to Camotes Island?

  20. Ivan, what a nice article about Bantayan Island on your Blog - nice snapshots too, along with specking the type in your photos.

    The cool thing about the Island is that it fits nearly ANY travel budget with rooms starting at aprox. P300 on the low end, a wide assortment of accommodation from P500-P750, P1,000, P2k, P3k; Suites & Villas at P5k to P8k, etc.

    See you on the Island!

  21. Anonymous8.7.11

    i think the cave you were referring to was the ogtong cave, not in kota beach


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