Bantayan Island, Cebu

I’ve always wanted to go to Bantayan Island since I saw Camp Sawi. So when Gerald visited Asia, we took a 6-hour bus ride to check one thing off my travel bucketlist!

This is almost a year delayed in posting, I’m so sorry. I’m still writing because this might be useful to some of you guys. Okay, I am not really a travel blogger so I will make this short, simple and as helpful as it can be.

Gerald went to visit me in the Philippines last October. Of course, he stayed in Manila while I work. But we planned the whole two weeks – our first stop in his trip is Bantayan Island in Cebu. I have always wanted to go to Bantayan Island and have been planning to go several times and for some reason, it is always getting postponed. Since Cebu is on our itinerary, Gerald insisted that we go to Bantayan Island. To be honest, I kind of regret it for the main reason that it was a lot of travel time, and we only had three days in Cebu. It was not a smart move but he still enjoyed it so it’s still worth it, I guess. So tip, do not do land travel if you’re only going to this place for three days. Bantayan Island is in North of Cebu and it is 6 hours away.

How to get to Bantayan Island:

  • Go to North Bus Terminal. You can either take a cab or a jeepney. We were staying in Lapu-Lapu City, so we opted to take a cab.
  • Next, you need to ride a bus going to Hagnaya Port. It would take around 4-5 hours travel time going to Hagnaya Port. So it would be best if you go early.
  • Go down at Hagnaya Port and take a ferry going to Santa Fe. The Ferry trip usually takes an hour to 1.5 hours, but since we came late and it was raining, the boat had to go slow so it took us two hours.
  • When you dock at the Santa Fe Port, you can take a tricycle going to your hotel. We booked our hotel and transfer ahead of time.

We stayed at Camp Sawi – or Kota Beach Resort. We took the standard room so there was no television (though I don’t think there is a television in their rooms anyway). I think it’s fine because people would be out all day anyway. The room came with complimentary water for two and an umbrella (which came in very handy because it was raining when we arrived).

We had to transfer rooms because the roof in this one was leaking. It was kind of hard because there was no reception after 7pm, so the guards had to wait for the decision and all that, if we can transfer. They were kind enough to assist us. They transferred us to a room for three since it was the only vacancy. Photos from the resort website.

It rained all night so I was kind of anxious if our trip was really wasted. Good thing we were blessed with good weather the next day. We had free breakfast at the Kadlawon Restobar. Photos from the resort website.

So, our day tour went like this:

1. We had breakfast around 7 in the morning. I can get used to morning like this! The restaurant was right beside the beach and you can see and hear the sea, feel the fresh air. They also have a pool table right outside the restaurant – you know, to chill with your friends at night. Anyway, they had a number of breakfast sets; the traditional Filipino -silog breakfast sets, or the American bacon, eggs and toasts; all of them came with fruits and juice. Photos from the website.

2. We booked an island tour. It cost us PHP 1,500 plus tips. We went snorkeling – Gerald did not really like it. I for one am not a fan of snorkeling because I am scared of what’s under the sea. Haha!

3. We went to the Virgin Island. This is a small island about 30 minutes from the main Bantayan Island. And we had to pay PHP 500/2 heads then I think extra PHP 100/head.

If you ask me, it wasn’t really a virgin island. It has pretty decorations. There were some accommodations in the island. Our tour guide said that each cottage cost around PHP 3,000 for 24 hours. The electricity is only on for a certain number of hours.

According to the tour guide, there were cliffs where we can jump, but we chose not too. We’re saving the cliff diving for Canyoneering.

This cliff was one of the locations for the movie, Camp Sawi. You can actually jump off at some part of this. We chose not to.

We went to swim for like fifteen minutes, just so Gerald can experience the water. He loved it. He said it’s just right for swimming. We wanted to stay a little more but we don’t have much time.

4. Before leaving Bantayan Island, we went to visit The Ruins. To be honest, I expected it to be a little cleaner – Production Design really does Magic!

We had to hurry back to the city because we wanted to have a little tour if we still can. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time for that. We went to the Top of Cebu and tried the infamous Rico’s Lechon!