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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrBantayan is known as a shipping tropical paradise in Asia, located in the west of the northern end of Cebu province. The Island’s name “Bantayan” is derived from the Cebuano term, “Bantayan sa Hari”, meaning place to watch for a King.
In the time of the Spaniards, the island was used as an advanced warning system for the larger island of Cebu, the entire area of Visayas, and Luzon. Because Muslim people were harassing the isle and wanted to invade the protected land, watch towers and stone walls were built in numerous areas throughout the island. The towers functioned as a look out and allowed the people to spot the possible arrival of the Moro vessels (Muslim people). Some believe that the individuals living on the island were from Leyte and Bohol, or they were possibly locals with mixed dialects.
Before the Spaniards came to Bantayan, the Chinese and other global traders were the first people to set foot on its shore. This is the main reason why porcelain and other artifacts from China were discovered in specific barangay of Bantayan. Evidence of their ancient culture are still evident today. The people had a special style of clothing, specific dances, and magnificent architecture.
Bantayan is a very small island (7 by 16 kilometers) with three municipalities namely; Sante Fe, Bantayan and, Madridejos with 25 barangay.
Tourist Destination and AttractionsAt the Santa Fe Beach Club, their main attraction is the popular Ogtong Cave. It truly has a wonderful panoramic view of the bay. It has a particularly popular feature which is a little spring fed swimming pool in the cave's entrance with direct access to the beach. Santa Fe Beach Club is in close proximity to the port. It is a small and relatively quiet resort yet very clean and simple. The beach has crystal blue water and fine white sand. The resort was constructed from natural limestone with the added feature of a landscape garden. There are also a few outdoor activities offered by the club such as volleyball and a trip around the small island within a relatively small banca .
Tiyaba Cave known as “langob” or “bat cave” is also a vital source of water for the locals. The water is very clear and placid. The cave has several small crystal chambers in various forms. During World War II , the cave became the hidden-hole of the Filipino armed forces who battled against foreign invaders. Until now, skulls are still found mounted on its wall.
Juagat Cave is the most mysterious among the caves. Locals refer to it as an enchanted place because of its history as the place of anchorage of elegant frigates. Locals call it “The mini chapel of the Goddess”, where people, long time ago, used to borrow plates, wedding gowns, and also utensils for any occasion.
Kota Beach Resort is popularly known for its beautiful and very visible sand bar. Most say that Kota has the best beachfront. The sand is powdery and white. There are also a variety of activities that are offered by the resort which includes kayaking, boating, relaxing massages, and reflexology services.
Marlins Beach Resort is a white-sand beach with clear, turquoise water. The area is very accessible and is within close proximity to the local market, shops, bars and many restaurants. They also have a range of different activities like banana riding, water skiing, wind surfing, volley ball, kayaking, triangle tube riding, fishing tours, and island tours.
Virgin Island is the ideal location for any tourist who has a passion for explorations and adventures. The water in this island has a greenish-blue tone and is extremely clear.
Saint Peter and Paul Parish Church is the first and also the oldest parish built in Cebu. The church was built in 1580 and is made of coral stone but was, unfortunately, destroyed by a fire and soon reconstructed. This parish is located at the heart of the Bantayan town. The church also became a hiding place during calamities and wars.
Bontay Bay walk is a boulevard that stretches up to 187 meters. The place is located in the northern town of Madridejos and known as "Lawis” to locals.
Kota Park is the oldest watchtowers of the Bantayan Island which are made from stone. For a long period of time, the area was converted into a park that is open to the public. This is just a walking distance from Bontay Bay walk.
Things to do on Bantayan Island
- Island Hopping (Virgin Island, Silion Island, Cabulauan Island)
- Rock Climbing
- Fire Dancing
- Scuba Diving or snorkeling
- Shell collecting (Souvenirs)
Foods to eatBantayan Island is known for their fresh sea food dishes, here are some tasty local dishes to choose:
- Barbecue chicken/pork
- Kinilaw na Isda (raw fish)
- Sugbang Isda (Roast Fish)
- Fresh Vegetable
- Fresh Fruits
Where to staySanta Fe Beach Resort offers flexible accommodation which can range as low as ₱1,200 ($26) per night, the room is equipped with an electric fan and can accommodate up to two people. Breakfast is not included in this price.
Kota Beach Resort offer rates as low as ₱900 ($20) per night for a standard room with no air conditioning and accommodates up to two people. Meals are not included but breakfast can be added for ₱160 ($3.52) per person.
Marlin's Beach Resort offer rates as low as ₱1,800 ($40) per night with breakfast included. The room can accommodate two people but can also be available for a maximum of five people.
How to get there
By airBook flights with any airline traveling to the Philippines. The nearest place to get there is Cebu City so you must travel by sea or land to get to Bantayan from Cebu.
By sea/landFrom Cebu City, take a ferry, there are numerous ports in Cebu. You may also take a bus at the north bus terminal which cost ₱150 ($3.30) per person. This can take up to 3 hours or more to get to Hagnaya Port. From there, take a ferry to Santa Fe for a price of ₱170 ($3.74). This ferry ride can last up to 75 minutes.
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Author: rochemyrtle. Last updated: Feb 05, 2015