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Country > Philippines > Cebu > Bantayan Island
Date > 2024 > March
Activity > Traveling


Bantayan: in search of a home March 23-26, 2024

Bantayan: in search of a home

Location Google Map: Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines

The Universe Talking
Marky brought up Bantayan after the workshop. There's that word again. I remember asking Mikko a year ago what place he will settle down for life if Cebu City was no longer an option. He said Bantayan. Hmmm...maybe this is the universe talking to me. This is the best time to visit Bantayan in search of a new home since I was already in Cebu City. Impromptu, I asked Marky if he would like to go with me to Bantayan the next day, all expenses paid. I'm glad he said yes. I handed him all my earnings from the workshop as our pocket money.

En Route
There wasn't much time to prepare or book a place. Marky and I met at the North Bus Terminal adjacent to SM City for the 9 am Ceres Bus bound for Bantayan Island. The trip took 4 hours until reaching the port of Hagnaya. From there, we boarded the ferry for the 90-min trip to Santa Fe, the tourism capital of Bantayan Island. At the Sante Fe port, we simply walked towards the main town, inquiring at lodging places along the way. The rates averaged P1000/night for an a/c room.

Stevrena Cottages
Finally, we reached Stevrena Cottages which was the cheapest on Agoda at P500/night, no a/c. We even haggled a discount with the owner, who played an interesting role in our stay. It was a handy location close to the market, the eating places and the beach.

Holy Week Snag
I arrived in time for Holy Week. Every home owner was busy preparing their homes for the holiday rental. It was bad timing. Still, I managed to see a few houses for rent but the location was right smack in the middle of a local community - it would be a noise and privacy issue for me (the exact thing I'm leaving Siquijor for).

In the 3 days I'd been there, I was fortunate to meet 3 groups who could help me in my search.

  1. Audrey - I met her through Marky. There was immediate connection. She helped me look for a possible house, taking me on a tricycle through several rentals. She's also managing Hoyohoy villas, one of the most idyllic resorts in Bantayan where Gwen Garcia, Cebu's governor, stays when she visits Bantayan Island.

  2. Audrey
    Audrey joining me and Marky for breakfast at the mercado

  3. Leonidas - her family owns Laag Cafe in Bantayan Poblacion. I was having my caffeine doze when I met her, her sister and her father. They helped me find the best danggit (Bantayan's specialty, butterflied dried fish) at the dried fish market.

  4. Leonidas
    meeting Leonidas, her sister and Darlene at the Laag Cafe

  5. Stevrena sisters - Marky and I checked in at Stevrena Cottages. The owner, Charmagne, does yoga together with owners of Sante Fe's resorts and hotels. She treated us to dinner together with her 2 other sisters, Joy and Gina. They assured me that they would help me find a suitable place in Santa Fe even during my absence.

  6. Charmagne, Joy and Gina
    dinner with Marky, Charmagne, Joy and Gina at Stevrena Cottage

Bantayan Island: Getting our Bearing
Having settled down, I tried finding our bearings. Bantayan Island is comprised of 3 towns: Bantayan Poblacion which is the commercial hub of the island, Santa Fe which is the tourism area, and Madridejos which is a somewhat forgotten sleepy town at the northern tip of the island.

Santa Fe
For a tourist, the essential spot is Santa Fe. This where the best beaches are - wide, long, fine white sand and surprisingly not too crowded (unlike Boracay). Much of the resorts are also lined up here on the coast. My priority location for a home is Santa Fe - the beach, the interaction with travelers and the people I've already met here.

*** 8:15 and 10:15 am, a Ceres bus passed by Santa Fe going to Madridejos (in case you want to skip the tricycle and jeep rides).

canopy walk
canopy walk towards the beach at Santa Fe

Bantayan: in search of a home
yoga by the beach by one of the Sante Fe resorts

Bantayan Proper
From Santa Fe, Bantayan Proper is 12 km West and P60 by tricycle. This is the economic hub of the entire island. It's a viable working town where people live and make a living. The market place is huge with several sections - barbeque, dried fish, veggies, dry goods, etc.

15 km north of Bantayan Poblacion is the sleepy town of Madridejos, P60 by jeep. It's quiet with not much going on. I guess it's because its port does not connect to any major capital in the Visayas - thus it depends on Bantayan Poblacion for its supplies.

Ceres bus leaving Madridejos for Cebu City begin their ply here - 12:20 am (hmmm, the first ferry leaves at 3 am, so that's a long wait at the port).....8 am....1 pm and 3 pm (last trip). You can take this bus going back to Santa Fe.

Ending Thoughts
Bantayan resonates. It's very similar to Siquijor - tiny island, surrounded by beaches, friendly people, tourist destination, provincial, etc. But Bantayan's energy is radiant and engaging. The fact that in the 3 days I stayed, so many wonderful things already happened is a sign that my universe is making a strong statement about my moving there. Committed to my move, even with no place yet, I purchased a big luggage to transport my stuff. Here in Siquijor, I've started selling the things I can't bring with me. I'll take whatever unit is available in Bantayan and find a suitable place when I am already there. This way, I won't have to pay expensive daily hotel rate but a cheaper monthly rate. Once I find a suitable place, I can resign to a long-term residency where I begin to invest in amenities for comfort and efficiency.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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Goodbye Siquijor Traveling

Goodbye Siquijor

(April 18, 2024) After 15 months in Siquijor, it was time to say goodbye. I thought I could stay here until I was old and gray but despite its beauty, I was left wanting. Wandering into Bantayan sparked new vigor into what was becoming stale resignation over Siquijor. It was time to pack again....more »»

Bantayan Island Info

Google Map: Bantayan Island

Google Map Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines

tourist attractions in Bantayan tourist attractions
  • Virgin Island in Bantayan Virgin Island - island with marine sanctuary, P250/pax entrance fee for first 2 pax, then P100/pax
  • St. Peter and Paul Church in Bantayan St. Peter and Paul Church - built in June 11, 1580, it is claimed to be the first and oldest parish established in Cebu
  • Paradise Beach in Bantayan Paradise Beach - stretch of white sand beach on the south east of Bantayan Island
  • Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden in Bantayan Omagieca Obo-ob Mangrove Garden - mangrove forest, P25 entrance
  • Fort of Kota Park in Bantayan Fort of Kota Park - fort built in 1790 with limestone, coral and eggs!
hotels in Bantayan beach resorts
Bantayan FYI / Tips
  1. the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located in Santa Fe. Best to take a jeep or tricycle to Santa Fe arriving in Bantayan Port, P25/pax.
  2. cheap stays at Randy's Grill - bunk bed in a dorm room for P300 if you're on a budget. But if you're really down and out, there is Chipolito's (you won't see any sign, but ask any trisicad driver) for P150/night - but don't expect much!
Bantayan Cost Index (US$1 = Php 49.58 as of Jan 6, 2017)
  • PHP 55 Pale Pilsen beer with live band at Randy's Grill
  • PHP 5 pedicab ride, short distance
  • PHP 35 about 10 scallop shells, cooked, sold by vendor on foot
  • PHP 80 brewed coffee in a resort
  • PHP 150-200 resort plated breakfast
Bantayan to Cebu City

(current as of March 2024) From Santa Fe, you can gauge the bus trips to Cebu City (P 260 from Santa Fe) by the schedule of the ferries - the buses need to board the ferry so they have to time their trips according to the ferry schedule. There are 3 ferry companies plying the water route to the mainland of Cebu

Santa Fe (Bantayan) to Hagnaya (Cebu mainland)

  1. Super Shuttle Ferry - P359 + P25 (terminal fee), 1.5 hours

    Super Shuttle Ferry
  2. Island Shipping corporation - P300 + P25 (terminal fee),

    Island Shipping corporation

Santa Fe (Bantayan) to Medellin (Cebu mainland)

  1. Aznar Roro - P250 + P25 (terminal fee), 55 mins

    Aznar Roro

Bantayan to Estancia (Iloilo)

(current as of January 2017)

Bantayan Port (Bantayan Poblacion) to Estancia (Iloilo)

  1. via Bantayan Port, a boat (Balt Bep, 0949.883.3551) leaves Bantayan for Estancia, Sun-Tue-Thur at 9am, P300, 4 hours

Bantayan to Cawayan Port (Masbate)

(current as of January 2017)

Santa Fe (Bantayan) to Cawayan Port (Masbate)

  1. Island Shipping Corp - daily trips (1pm) P170

Bantayan Blogs
  • Bantayan: in search of a home March 23-26, 2024
  • Visiting Virgin Island, Bantayan January 7, 2017
  • Demystifying Bantayan Island January 4-10, 2017
  • Cebu Province Info

    Suggested Destinations in Cebu
    1. Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
    2. Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
    3. Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
    4. Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
    5. Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
    6. Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
    7. Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
    8. Barile Waterfalls - Barile
    9. Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
    10. Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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