Contributed by Sea you later
Have you ever longed for a vacation where all you need to think about is what’s next on your itinerary? Where you have the luxury to laze around on white powdery sand as you sip buko juice? Where you have nothing to think of — just enjoying the beach and the beautiful view while breathing in the fresh air.
My recent trip to Bantayan Island looked like that. I was able to loosen up from work-related stress and let go of a little heart splinter. (Bigo ako, eh!)
Bantayan Island is situated to the left of northern Cebu. Aside from Bantayan Island, northern Cebu also covers two other municipalities: Madridejos and Sta. Fe.
There is no easy way to get to Bantayan Island, Cebu. You have to wake up early to catch the single day trip of SM Express Boat in Cadiz Port. Since I am from Bacolod City, my starting point was at Bacolod City North Terminal. Make sure to catch the 7am bus to Cadiz City.
The travel time is an hour and the ride costs ₱100. Tell the driver to drop you off at the place where tricycles go to Cadiz City Port. The trike fare is ₱25. The boat usually departs the port at 9am, but this depends on the number of passengers. If the passengers reach the total capacity before 9am, the boat goes ahead. The boat fare is ₱300 and the travel time takes two to three hours.
Upon arrival at the Bantayan Port, you can either ride a sikad for ₱10 or walk to the tricycle station. From the tricycle station, we rode to Sta. Fe — where we later witnessed its beautiful sunrise and famous stretch of fine white sand.
Where to stay in Bantayan Island
Most travellers prefer to stay close to the beach, where accommodation starts at ₱500 for a fan room. Below are my recommended places to stay.
Kota Beach Resort
- Beachfront Suite – ₱4,500 (with breakfast for one or two persons)
- Beachfront Cottage – ₱4,000 (with breakfast for one or two persons)
- Deluxe Cottage – ₱3,000 – ₱3,500 (with breakfast for one or two persons)
- Standard Aircon Room – ₱2,300 (with breakfast for one or two persons)
- Budyong Beach Resort
Located beside Kota Beach Resort, Budyong Beach Resort is walking distance from the town plaza and public market. They have their own restaurant, too. Room rates start at ₱1,300.
Ogtong Cave Resort
Ogtong Cave Resort has an underground cave inside its premises. You can explore this resort for a day. The day-use rate is ₱200 for ages 11 and above.
Kandugyap House by the Sea
This resort has been my go-to because it offers a unique staycation experience. I always love the idea of having an amazing and relaxing vacation with a very cool environment. Regular rate ranges from ₱2,700 to ₱5,000 a night.
Anika Island Resort
- Ocean View – ₱4,500 (maximum of four persons)
- Sunrise View – ₱3,700 (maximum of four persons)
- Garden View – ₱2,700 (maximum of four persons)
- Courtyard Room – ₱2,000 (maximum of two persons)
How to get around
For me, this is the most exciting part of every trip. Discovering what to do and where to go makes my butt itch for more adventures. The resort I stayed in has bicycles and motorbikes that you can rent for a day. This lets you visit all the destinations on your bucket list! There are tricycles nearby too, if you prefer not to drive. You can ask the tricycle drivers to take you to tourist spots. Just negotiate with the driver about the rate.
- Bicycle rental – ₱150
- Motorbike rental – ₱300 (plus gasoline)
What to do in Bantayan Island
We were in Bantayan Island for three days and two nights. From all of the reviews I read, my whole body was itching for its fine and powdery white sand and crystal clear waters. This was mainly the reason why my single ladies group decided to head up to this paradise of unspoiled beaches, crystalline waters, long sand bars, enthralling rock formations, peculiar cave pools, and palatable cuisine.
The German Ruins
The view from here is spectacular! You can see where the sea meets the sky. On the other side of the ruins, there’s a staircase that leads to a place where you can swim with the fishes. This is the place where Camp Sawi shot Bridgette (Bella Padilla) and head coach Louie (Sam Milby) diving.
Entrance fee: FREE
Ogtong Cave Resort
Ogtong Cave Resort is a pioneer resort on the island nestled in natural limestone rocks and beautifully landscaped gardens. The famous part of the resort, which is well-known to tourists, is their natural cave pool which is open from 8am to 4pm.
Entrance fee: ₱100 (use of the cave pool is free)
I must say that this is the best beach I’ve ever gone to. Its white and fine sand glitters under the sun. Plus, its crystal-clear waters pull you in to swim in its calming waves. It has hard rock formations fronting the beach that welcomes the boat upon docking. Virgin Island made this trip my best vacay ever!
Virgin Island, also known as Silion or Hilantagaan Diot, is a small island in the municipality of Sta. Fe. When you are in Bantayan Island, I suggest that you include this on your list. For more details, please do check out my other article: Virgin Island, Bantayan Cebu.
Kota Beach Resort
Kota Beach Resort has one of the most affordable room rates per night for a standard room, so we booked our stay here. For a double occupancy fan room, they charge ₱900. The resort serves a delectable variety of food and gives excellent service to its guests.
I know that almost all of you, especially the single ladies out there who have experienced getting their heart broken, didn’t miss the chance to watch Camp Sawi. Almost all of the shots of this movie were filmed in Kota Beach Resort.
My stay in Kota Beach Resort made this trip one of the most relaxing trips I’ve ever had. There was no need to rush. It was all like a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Breakdown of expenses
- Bus (Bacolod to Cadiz) round-trip fare – ₱200
- Tricycle (Cadiz to Port) round-trip fare – ₱50
- Boat fee (Cadiz to Bantayan Wharf) round-trip fare – ₱600
- Sikad (from Wharf to Market) – ₱10
- Tricycle (Bantayan Market to Sta. Fe) – ₱25
Food and accommodation
- Kota Beach Resort (two nights) – ₱25
- Lunch and dinner – ₱200
- Motorbike rental – ₱300/2 = ₱150
Virgin Island Tour
- Boat to Virgin Island – ₱800/4 = ₱200
- Snorkelling gear rental – ₱25
- Lunch – ₱125
- Entrance fee – ₱500 + ₱200 = ₱700/4 = ₱175
- Entrance fee – ₱100
- Dinner – ₱100
- Gasoline – ₱50
- Bottled water – ₱100
- Tricycle rental from Kota Beach Resort to Bantayan Market – ₱250/4 = ₱63
Total expenses per person: ₱3,073
Other areas you could visit:
- Paraiso Beach
- Kandugyap House by Sea (for stay-in guests only)
- Sto. Nino Cave
- Anika Island Resort
- Hilantagaan Island