Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bantayan Island: Day 2 - Santa Fe, Bantayan, Madridejos

If you're in Santa Fe, you'd see bikes and motorcycles for rent (300/day for the motorcycles, cheaper for the bikes). If you are adventurous enough and could ride a bike or motorcycle, then you could go road tripping around the island. This is very possible since Bantayan Island is a small island of only 3 municipalities (Santa Fe, Bantayan and Madridejos).

Since my sister and I don't drive, we used the island's main modes of transportation to visit the most touristy spots of the 3 municipalities. Here's how you can go about the island:
  • tricycle - fare is Php20/person, for trips within a municipality. These can take you from one municipality to another. Php25/person for long rides (Santa Fe - Bantayan and back).
  • trisikad - fare is Php15/person. This is what we call pedicab or padyak here in Manila. Trisikads can only take you to places within a municipality.
  • jeepney - fare is Php25 (Bantayan - Madridejos and back). There are no "direct" jeepneys from Santa Fe to Madridejos (or vice versa), only "connecting" rides from Santa Fe to Bantayan, then Bantayan to Madridejos and back.
From Abaniko, we rode a tricycle(Php25/person) bound to Bantayan. It was a good 15-20 minute trip. When traveling, it is a must to know information about the place from the locals. So during the tricycle ride, I made small talk with another passenger and the driver and asked about fares and directions so we won't have the lost look once we've reached our destination.
Paved road to Bantayan town proper.
Moi and Ate enjoying the tryk ride.

Bantayan is a very compact town. Getting lost won't be easy here since most landmarks are properly marked. From townhall to birthing place.

The Bantayan Public Market is one of the cleanest markets I've been to in the Philippines. Unlike public markets in Manila, this one is as spotless as it can get. It wasn't fly free but it didn't reek. Wet and dry goods are separated.

I would have been saddened if I didn't find this lechon place in Bantayan. Cebu offers the most savory lechon ever and you won't get to eat it only in the city. Bantayan Island has Jela's Lechon! 1/4 kilo for only Php100! Way cheaper than the ones in the city. Jela's offer a wide range of other viands too. Early lunch only cost us Php170.
Lechon for lunch!

If you want the best tasting dried fish, Bantayan market is the place to be. Dried fish products coming from Bantayan are considered high quality in the city. They offer a wide range of dried fish, not just danggit and dried squid, at a very affordable price.
Dried squid: 1/4 kilo for only Php150
Unsalted danggit: 1/4 kilo for only Php90

We also visited one of the oldest churches in the country: The Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church.

Obviously, fishing is the main source of income here. 

After an eventful early morning in Bantayan proper, we decided to move along and head to Madridejos.

The 30 minute jeepney ride brought us to Kota Park where you'll find the old Spanish fort and Bontay Baywalk.
Infinity pool, anyone? ;)

Php1,000,000 was spent for the construction of this baywalk. And it was quickly built in 40 days and 40 nights. This is how taxpayers' money was spent. Fishy.

The old Spanish fortress is also home to the Municipal Museum.

After all the walking ang picture taking, we went back to Santa Fe via tricycle. Checked out the other side: Sugar Beach. It didn't disappoint me at all. Both sides of Bantayan has great, relaxing beach!

We then went to Batobalonos St. where most of the restaurants are. Early dinner was at Cou Cou Bar and Restaurant.
Calamari with thousand island dip.
Grilled tanigue.

Because we were too full from the food from Cou Cou Bar, we decided to walk from the resto to Abaniko. Half way to Abaniko, something came up so we ended up taking a trisikad instead.

Exploring all 3 towns in 1 day: CHECK! ;)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bantayan Island: Day 1 - Birthday at the Beach

I just love Cebu Pacific Air! One morning in March, my sister and I were checking out seat sale for domestic flights; forgot the occasion, but they did have Php10 seat sale. I have not been to many provinces in Visayas, so I asked my sister to accompany me to Cebu, she said yes of course! So for my 29th birthday, I celebrated away from home for the first time.

My sister usually helps me with the itinerary, but this time, she said that I should take charge since it is my birthday trip anyway. I did, it was easy. I've heard from friends that Cebu City is just like Manila, so I skipped the city tour part. There is this place in Cebu, the Bantayan Island, that I've been hearing so many raves about, that's where I wanted to spend my birthday.

I did my research on Bantayan Island, and I found really helpful travel blog sites:
Getting There, Where to Stay, What to Do, Where to Eat.

Originally, our flight to Cebu was at 4:55 AM, but I received an email from Cebu Pacific Air informing me that our flight has been moved to 3:25 AM. Landed at Mactan International Aport less than an hour later. My birthday destination was still 4 hours away, so being rescheduled was just perfect.

From the airport, we took a cab (NOT the yellow, airport taxi) to the North Bus Terminal (Php150). At the bus terminal, look for the Hagnaya signage and take the yellow Ceres bus. Boarded the aircon bus (Php160) since it will be a 3 hour road trip to Hagnaya Pier.

The 3 hour bus ride was spent for catching some Zs. After a while, it started feeling like we were on the road for too long so I asked the conductor if we were there yet, but he said "Ay malayo pa!" When we were finally at the port, I was just sooooo happy! My birthday at the beach was about to start!

From Hagnaya Pier, Island Shipping Corporation's RoRo, will be your ride to paradise. This 1 hour ferry trip (Php170) felt really longer than it should, maybe because I felt like we were really near, yet so far.

We rode a tricycle (20/person) to Abaniko Beach Resort, along Alice Beach. Accommodation was at it's cheapest (Php900/night) since September isn't peak season. Joy, the owner gave us Bungalow #1, a fan room with 2 single beds and our own bathroom. I really liked our home away from home. Everything was fairly clean. The best part was Bungalow #1 was just 15-20 steps away from the beach. Abaniko is right beside the very famous Anika Beach Resort.
Home away from home.

AH! The island, the beach! I seriously CANNOT believe my eyes! It was such beauty I saw. I'm so psyched that I get to celebrate my birthday and relax in this paradise.
Celebrating my 29th with Ate. :)

After basking in the sun, we finally felt the hunger. A friend who's been to Bantayan strongly recommended Tristan's pizza. It's at the other side of the port, but my sister and I decided that it would be fun to walk along the shore. I thought we'd never find Tristan's! I was starting to regret our decision to walk when we finally found it. We ordered 1 Mexican style pizza and I just loved it! The crust soft but it also has a crunch to it and the cheese was delicious. Perfect birthday lunch! We had leftovers and they were still delish after two days. Hahah! :))
Mexican pizza at Tristan's.
Tristan's Beach Resort is located @ Sugar Beach.

We took the same route going back to Abaniko. I wasn't able to go to the beach this summer, so I really didn't mind the heat and the long walk. I was actually expecting tan lines. ;)
Getting kisses from the sun.
Ate enjoying her fresh buko juice.

Bantayan Island really has it's own charm. No camera can't not capture it's beauty. I even got some real amazing shots from my GHD toy camera. 

I cannot be any happier. Spending my birthday in a laid back town, in a beautiful, far away island; away from the city is something that I can get used to. Happy birthday to me, indeed. :)