Bantayan Island

I spent three nights in Bantayan Island accompanied by Michelle, a friend whom I had met the last time I was in Cebu back in November.

On the way to Bantayan, I was so tired. I had to wake up at 6 AM and take a Grab taxi to the Cebu North Bus Terminal, then I waited for Michelle to arrive. We paid 300 PHP per person for a van since we thought it’ll be faster than taking a bus. As it turned out we were crammed into the van with little space. When we got to Hagnaya port we ate a small lunch at a canteen before spending 325 PHP per person for the hour and half ferry ride to Santa Fe, Bantayan Island.

We checked into the Casa Isabel Hostel and I noticed none of the toilets in all three bathrooms had toilet seats. I was tired, grumpy, and mad. “How does anyone take a shit without a toilet seat?” I asked the woman at the front desk. She didn’t get mad and apologized to me. I appreciated her calm attitude, but I was not happy. Later that day, Michelle informed me that they had installed a toilet seat in one of the bathrooms. I was glad my complaint worked, but I felt bad for raising my voice at the woman, so the next morning I apologized to her.

The room in the hostel wasn’t good, either. It was small and lacked sunlight. I had booked for three nights at the hostel, but Michelle suggested we book a hotel room on the last night. So we went to the Adelaida Pensionne Hotel, which was ten times better than the room at the hostel at about the same price.

We stayed at the town of Santa Fe, which is close to the beach. On the second day, we saw the sunrise and chilled in the ocean. We discovered a cafe/restaurant called World Touch Cafe that served very good food. We ended up eating three meals there in total. The owners are an older white man and a Filipina woman. They worked great as a team. At night, Michelle and I chilled on the beach. We laid on the reclining benches and watched the stars in the clear night sky for a long time. I spotted the constellation Orion and we listened to some of my favorite music that Michelle has never heard. I have never watched the night sky for that long and it was great to see the curtain of stars move. I showed Michelle an app on my phone called Sky View that showed the names of the stars. It was a night that I’ll remember well with the beach, the ocean, the stars, and a friend.

On the third day, Michelle and I decided to take a trike and visit The Ruins, Mangrove Garden, and the town of Bantayan. We took some photos at The Ruins then walked the bamboo path at Mangrove Garden. In the town of Bantayan, we went inside St. Peter the Apostle Parish. The paintings on the ceiling was impressive. I haven’t been to the Sistine Chapel, but this church is comparable. Michelle and I lit some candles outside the church and we each made some prayers. I wished for good health and safety on my travels.

For lunch, we ate at Kermit’s Cafe and Pastry. The food was good but the cakes are to die for. We had a slice of mango cake and a slice of chocolate cake that were the best cakes I’ve tasted on my travels. Too bad I didn’t take any photos of them, but I assure you that they were delicious!

The day after, we had to come back to Cebu. I feel like three nights is just enough for Bantayan Island. If I knew how to ride a motorbike we would have explored more and stayed longer.

Michelle and I took the ferry from Santa Fe back to Cebu province and decided to take the bus back to Cebu City instead of the van. It was 245 PHP per person and the bus was more comfortable than the van even though it took 30 minutes longer on a three hour ride. We had a farewell lunch at The Majestic inside the SM City Cebu mall before saying our goodbyes.

From my interactions with Michelle I felt we became great friends. We have many things in common, such as the love of traveling, and we got along great. I hope to come back to the Philippines in the future and meet up with Michelle again. I would have never gone to Bantayan if it wasn’t for Michelle. I’m glad I took this trip.

Sunrise on Kota Beach in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island

The beach at Santa Fe

Great place for meditation

Watching the night sky on the beach

The Ruins

Me and Michelle

Walking in the Mangrove Garden

View from a tower

A tower made entirely out of bamboo.

Mangrove "tunnel"

The sign at Mangrove Garden

Bantayan Public Plaza

St. Peter the Apostle Parish

The ceiling in the St. Peter the Apostle Parish

Michelle lighting candles before we prayed.

Dried fish at the Bantayan fish market

The market in Bantayan

Pasta and salad at World Touch Cafe

Free breakfast at Casa Isabel Hostel