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Travel Guide: Reconnecting With Nature on Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island

Nowadays, people are more connected and spend more time in the electronic world and less in the natural world. I believe that people who are connected with nature are happier, healthier and smarter. 

Nature is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Also, doing some outdoor activities such as biking, running, walking, swimming, etc. helps improve our physical health.

Situated at the west of the northern end of Cebu island. Approximately, 4 hours away from Cebu City is a laid-back place called Bantayan Island. An island which was divided into 3 municipalities namely, Bantayan, Sta fe and Madridejos. 

Home for less than 150,000 people including the nearby islands (2010 census). Without the presence of Malls, traffic, and high-rise buildings. My short stay in Bantayan which is famous for its relaxing ambiance, fine white sands, and clear water. Totally renewed my connection with nature.

How to get to Bantayan Island?

Coming from Mactan airport, you can take a cab going to Cebu North bus terminal. Located at Subangdaku, Mandaue City.

From there. You have an option to take an Air-conditioned bus 160php with Free Wi-Fi or Van 170php going to Hagnaya Port. Food stalls are available inside the terminal.

Have a heavy breakfast if possible, since travel time is around 3 hours with 1 quick stopover.

Daily Trip Schedule Hagnaya – Sta Fe v.v. As of January 2015

From Hagnaya port to Sta Fe port is another 1-hour travel via Ferry for 170php plus 10php terminal fee. From Sta Fe port you can ride a tricycle going to your hotel.

Where to Stay in Bantayan Island?

Different kind of resorts ranging from budget to fancy one can be found on this island. Most of them are located in the municipality of Sta Fe. Prices are ranging from 500php (single fan room) to 5,000++/night

Recommended accommodations are Anika Island Resort, CouCou Bar Hotel, and Sunday Flower Beach Resort.


Where to Eat and Drink in Bantayan Island?

Many restaurants, carinderia (local eatery) and bars are available in Sta Fe. Best Restaurants that I tried are;

  • HR Music Bar and Restaurant
    • Recommended; Seafood curry.
HR Music Bar and Restaurant
  • Balikbayan Restaurant
    • Recommended: Crispy Pata
Balikbayan Restaurant
  • Blue Ice Bar and Restaurant
    • The liveliest place to drink on the island.
Blue Ice Bar and Restaurant

Other top restaurants at Sta Fe based on Tripadvisor are

  • Caffe Del Mare
  • Cou Cou
  • Bavarian Beer Garden

What to Do in Bantayan Island?

  • Swim inside Ogtong Cave
    • Crystal Clear and warm water awaits you inside Ogtong Cave.
    • Entrance fee is 100php
The famous Ogtong Cave is privately owned by the management of Ogtong Cave Resort.
Ogtong Cave is an underground Cave.
Swimming in the crystal clear water of Ogtong Cave.

Swim and enjoy the white sand and crystal clear beach of Sta Fe

Coming from Sunday Flower. I highly recommend going to Sugar and Kota beach for swimming (left side facing the sea). It saddened me to see trashes everywhere. Mostly on the right side of the beach going to ogtong cave which is a residential area. I hope that locals and tourist will be more concerned about the environment.

The Virgin Version of Boracay 🙂
The way to Ogtong Cave
Sugar Beach
Bantayan: Where the Blue skies meet the Crystal Sea
I love this Picture #Bantayan

Rent a bike or scooter

Thanks to Bantayan Island I learned how to drive a scooter. You can have your own tour around the island and drive as fast as you can. I rarely saw four-wheeled cars around the island so it’s safe even for first-timers. Enjoy the view and feel the fresh air while driving. Whole day rent is 250php but you will shoulder the gasoline.

Visit the oldest parish in Visayas and Mindanao; Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Church

Initially constructed by Augustinian on June 11, 1580. This five-century old church is standing strong in the heart of the town. The church is made of corals and stones endemic in the island. If permitted, climb the belfry of the church to have a great view of the town

Sts Peter and Paul Parish Church 1580 A.D
View inside the Church.
View from the Park.

Relax and Do nothing.

YES! this is the best thing to do in Bantayan. Relax and do nothing. Since there was no crazy and wild nightlife here on the island. Once the sun has set the place is very quiet and relaxing.

While on the beach, grab a beer, play music or appreciate the very smooth sound of the waves and feel the fresh, cold air. Indeed, one of the best places to relax.

Other recommended things to do

  • Do island hopping and visit Paradise beach and Virgin Island.

My trip to Bantayan will always be on top of my favorite places. This is the beginning of my travel exploration here in the Philippines this year. 

I’m still hoping that the local government will be more serious in resolving this issue.  I remember sending an email to DOT Cebu for them to take a look about this concern. I even received a confirmation that they will take a look about it. yet,  was there a serious notable action taken so far?

Have you been to Bantayan lately? How was the condition of the beach area? I hope to hear something good this time.


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