I have visited some of the islands in the archipelago already but Bantayan Island is making on the top of my list. I never thought that I would be able to call myself as an Island Girl when in fact I don’t know how to swim in deep waters. But living the island life in a short span of time makes me think I am home.
As I was counting the remaining weeks and days before I offer myself to slavery in internship, I was thinking of giving myself a reward for passing third year. So, I choose the Island Therapy!
The Bantayan Island comes from the Cebuano term which means “A Place to Watch” because during the 16th century, the Moros or the Muslim marauders were able to find a way up from Mindanao to Visayas invading the Christian settlements. Since, Bantayan Island served as a natural barrier for entrance ubti the Visayas there were small watchtowers around the island as a lookout post for the invaders.
Amidst the bipolar weather during our stay, we had an amazing three days and two nights in the island.
WHERE WE STAYED:
1. Budyong Beach Resort, Sta. Fe
Since we are frugal travelers, we always opted on the resorts with good reviews in Trip Advisor as long it is within our budget. On the first day, we checked in at Budyong Resort and it is really perfect for those who wants to travel cheap. But I am giving a 2.5/5 rating because their cheapest room (P800) has a poor ventilation. Good thing our itinerary on the first day was to tour around the island the whole day. And in the evening, it rained cats and dogs so it wasn’t that really hot in our room.
The only reason why I will recommend Budyong Beach Resort to others is that it has a captivating beachfront view with powdery white sand and it was well maintained. It is less crowded and it’s quiet and very relaxing.
2. Kota Beach Resort, Sta. Fe
On the second day, we stayed at the famous beach resort in Bantayan Island which is the Kota Beach Resort or also known as the Camp Sawi. Since the first day we stepped on this island, the locals were always mentioning the places that were shot by the movie, Camp Sawi which was starred by Sam Milby and the other five female celebrities. Camp Sawi is said to be the place where the brokenhearted people go and redeem themselves from an awful break up. Well, that was the movie tried to convey.
Kota Beach is just located next to the Budyong Beach Resort but it is more expensive and rooms are very cozy. We got the deluxe room on the third row which is very cozy.
WHERE WE WENT:
Supposedly, this 3D/2N stay in the Bantayan Island was just a plain “staycation” but I realized that we’d miss out a lot of awesomeness if we just stay in one resort and be a potato. So, we rented a scooter for only 300 pesos/day and toured around the island.
1. Ogtong Cave
Our first stop was the Ogtong Cave Resort and I really thought that it would be the same like we saw in Camotes Island which is well lit, wide and less crowded. But this underground cave is an exact opposite. There was a full pack of one family and another bunch of circle of friends dipping in the freshwater. We paid 100 pesos each for the entrance fee. The Ogtong Cave Resort is actually an annex of Santa Fe Beach Club which is the pioneer resort in the island.
2. The Cliff
This is still part of the municipality of Sta. Fe and as I have remembered, this is the place where Sam Milby and and.. I forgot the name of the female actress, jumped off the waters. There is an instagrammable ruins beside this cliff which I wasn’t able to take a photo.
3. Fort of Kota Park
Kota means fort and this park is an old Spanish Fort in Barangay Lawis, Madridejos. This is located in the northernmost edge of Bantayan Island which served as a camp and a watch tower to protect the place and its people from the Muslim invaders. It was said that the fort was turned into a cemetery until 1950’s which gives an eerie ambiance when your walk through the walls.
4. Madridejos Man-Made Forest
As you enter the Municipality of Madridejos, you’ll be greeted by their stunning man made forest. This reminds me of the man made forest we encountered in Bohol.
5. MJ Square, Sta. Fe
MJ Square is our go to place and I tell you, your Bantayan Island experience won’t be complete if you haven’t tried Panyangs. We were surprised when we ordered the buy 1 take 1 back ribs and the native chicken tinola because after consuming everything, we were in a 5 second food coma. It was very delicious. This is also the place if your want to chill and grab a bottle of beer for a night.
The means of transportation going to the island is by taking a bus from North Bus Terminal in Cebu which heads to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio with 4 hours travel time. From the port, there is a Roro going to Sta. Fe with a travel time of 1.5 hours.
There are still a lot of things to do in the island like island hopping, sky diving and other places to visit. But since our main purpose in the island is to rest and relax, I believe we will be having a part two anytime in the near future.