One of the best places to watch a sunrise or a sunset is Bantayan Island. The contrast of the sun against the azure skies and the turquoise waters cast a magnificent play of colors in the horizon. This is, indeed, a tranquil time that perfectly complements your twilight meditation. Bantayan Island is one of Cebu’s well-kept secrets, a must-see destination if you are after a peaceful commune with nature.
How to get to Bantayan Island
At the North Bus Terminal in SM City Cebu, there are Ceres and Autobus buses that leave every half hour for Hagnaya Port. The trip runs from 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours at average, with a 10-minute stopover in Carmen. Once you reach the Hagnaya Port, board a ferry that gets you to Santa Fe, Bantayan Island in an hour and 15 minutes.
Accommodations on Bantayan Island
You’ll be delighted to see that there are no mega-hotels on the Island and that all of them work with nature in giving you a wonderful view of the area. There are very cheap accommodations perfect for backpackers, averaging on 300 pesos per night, such as the Farview Lodge and Moby Dick’s. Mid-range accommodations run from 1,000 to 3,000 pesos per night, such as Budyong Beach and Marlin Beach Resort. There are also first class accommodations that provide you with different amenities such as Jacuzzi and luxurious interiors. Hoyohoy Villas is among the favorite high-class villa accommodation on the Island, which runs from 5,000 pesos per night.
Things to do on Bantayan Island
People go to Bantayan Island for its tranquility. Lying on the sand while taking in the beauty of nature is truly a luxury to many city-dwelling guests. Of course, water sports are largely popular here because of the rich marine life. Go to the Floating Bar for the perfect snorkeling spot, colorful fishes not too far into the water. You would also enjoy a picnic on one of its islands, the Virgin Island, an island untouched by modern civilization, no accommodations of any sort. Tourists are brought to the Virgin Island to appreciate its undisturbed beauty. If it fancies you, you may even rent a private plane at the Santa Fe airport and fly over the amazing Bantayan Island. The town of Bantayan is also a curious, sleepy little town. You may want to rent a motorcycle to go around the streets of this small place. Visit the Saints Peter and Paul Church, a church made out of corals and stones. This is the oldest parish church in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, dating back to June 11, 1580. There is also the Fort Ruins of Madridejos, a strong structure, which defended the town from Muslim marauders.
Where to Eat on Bantayan Island
The easiest choice is to get seafood at the restaurants on the Island because seafood can’t get any fresher than that. Popular choice is D’Jungle’s Grill and Buffet; menu offers a wide array of fresh dishes. Also rapidly gaining fame from word of mouth is Tristan’s Restaurant for its handmade thin-crust pizzas.