I’ve always longed to go back to this place! I first discovered the Bantayan and Malapascua Beaches almost 5 years ago. I fell IN LOVE with the beach. Both the islands have a different attraction — Malapascua is so charming that it is regarded as Boracay more than 10 years ago… while Bantayan, is how the beach should be and where you can find peace and serenity. I’m starting this [Bantayan+Malapascua Series] to share with you this joy and my love affair with these beaches. In fact, I’m planning to buy a beach lot in Malapascua — that’s how I love this place. I do hope this remains to be a secret paradise in the northern tip of Cebu… For now, only foreigners know about the secret, a few locals, and now my readers of Awesome Planet 🙂

The adventure starts as you travel to the northern part of Cebu where these beautiful islands are located. We decided to go to Bantayan first then Malapascua (although I would recommend the other way around). It takes two and a half hours (2.5 hrs) from the Cebu City to the Hagnaya Port where you will need to ride a ferry or a fastcraft to go to Bantayan island.

This is a story of 6 travellers and might as well introduce them to you. From left to right: (Francis, Carlo, Tots, Noel, Chris and Anton– the photographer 🙂 This is the scene in Hagnaya Port. This is already a lot better than the Maya port going to Malapascua. You have two options: take the fast craft which would cost you P100 and a terminal fee of P10 (less than an hour to Bantayan), or the ordinary ferries which would take you to Bantayan for almost an hour or so. The fast craft time could change but in our case we were able to catch the 11.30am Fast Craft. So if you leave for Cebu at 5am or 7am in Manila, you’ll just be in time for the 11.30am.

I’ve always wondered what a fast craft looked like, and I took a picture here so that you’ll manage your expectation on how small it could be. Since this is almost close to noon, expect unfriendly waves so if you are the type that easily get seasick — Beware! At this point, you’ll get excited with the adventure that awaits you, and savor the experience!

When you arrive in the Sta. Fe, Bantayan port, this is the scene that would welcome you. A long line of white beaches and this famous Sta. Fe Beach Resort. I checked out Sta. Fe in the past, and the accommodation and beach are fantastic! The only problem is this is near the port so you could imagine how the water could be oily or dirty at certain points of the day.

You’ll be greeted by this welcome sign as you go to your transportation going to your hotel. It is best that you already arrange with your resort to have someone pick-up you. Just a word of caution here, people would try to bring your bag (the porters) and they would expect a high tip. If you give them P20,
they would ask for more like P50– Unfortunately, this little island has been exposed to Tourist prices early so for some foreigners a $1 tip would be the minimum. So be prepared, and it is really suggested that you act as local cebuanos on a vacation — so its a plus if you have someone who knows how to speak the dialect.

Finally! We arrive at my favorite resort in Bantayan — Kota Beach Resort! This is the best resort for me where you stay in single detached huts — not much of amenities (no hot water) and simple beds and capiz windows. But this is how resorts should be where you’ll find peace, serenity and oneness with nature. It’s very difficult to describe the view, It is like staring out to the beach in an open sea in one gigantic cinema screen of pure Nature — clouds, beach, sand, and the waves crushing to the shores…. It’s soo beautiful!

OK — now, I don’t plan to scare you with this picture. I was experimenting on this photo using available light. This is actually how the rooms look like in Kota Beach, simple bed — normally double beds in a single detached room. If you are the type that you need a sophisticated accomodation and this is more a priority for you, then there are other resort options in Bantayan including Marina’s Beach Report, or Sta. Fe Beach Resort.

Finallly, good old Filipino lunch with nature and the beach in your background! Since you are in the province, time slows down and so expect to get your food one hour after ordering them 🙂 The food in Bantayan is not that spectacular but definitely it is home cooked 🙂 At last, you now can feel that you are in a beach paradise where all your worries are swept away and you feel one with nature.

KOTA BEACH RESORT STA FE, BANTAYAN ISLAND Cebu #: 032- 4196135, 032-4389042, email: kota@cebu.i-next.net about P1500-P2000(beachfront) per room Anton