Sunday, April 12, 2015

Travel Guide to Bantayan Island, Cebu

Last November 2013, typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippine Archiepelago and left devastating aftermath in most parts of Visayas. One of the most hard hit by the said typhoon was Bantayan and Malapascua. At first, I was hesitant if I should go to the Northern part or Southern part of Cebu but my eagerness to see how the northern part rise after the devastating typhoon motivated me to visit the place.

If you are planning on your first backpack trip, I highly suggest that you visit Bantayan and Malapascua. It is a very tourist friendly and your craving for island paradise will be satisfied! 

How to get there:

From Cebu City:

You must ride a bus or van from Cebu North Bus Terminal going to Hagnaya Port or if you are lucky ride a bus that goes straight to Sta. Fe. There is an hourly trip from Cebu to Hagnaya Port from 4:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon. 
From Hagnaya Port hop on RoRo going to Sta. Fe and from there, you may opt to ride a habal habal or walk!

From Malapascua Island: (This was my route)

Hiring a pump boat is definitely a NO-NO for a solo backpacker like me. Don't worry, traveling from Malapascua Island to Bantayan Island is like a piece of cake. 

1. Ride a passenger boat from Malapascua Island going to Maya Port (40 Php)
2. Wait for a bus that is bound for Cebu and ask the driver to drop you off at Hagnaya (70 Php)
3. Take a public tricycle from highway to Hagnaya Port (25 Php)
4. Ride a RoRo going to Sta. Fe Port. (147 Php - Student Rate)

Where to stay:

Bantayan is cheaper compared to Malapascua and there are lots of accommodation waiting for you to discover. Since I stayed here for 2 nights, I opted to try the cheapest accommodation and a high - end resort that is still under my budget. 


This nice place is very accessible! It is just few minutes away from port, market and it is along the national road, you could just wait outside for a jeep going to the town of Bantayan. 

I loved the simplicity of this because the staff are accommodating and I only paid 650 Php for an overnight a/c room with shower. Ooh, and you can cook your own food at their kitchen, for FREE.

I recommend that you stay in this place if you are on a tight budget but does not want to sacrifice comfort.  



I read a lot of bad reviews about this place but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and they did not disappoint me. Kota Beach has the best beach front along Sta. Fe Beach, mainly because of its sandbar. Though, their staff are a bit arrogant, maybe they cannot speak fluent Tagalog. Nevertheless, the view is really amazing! I didn't try their food because it was expensive and the service is soooo slow.

The rooms are really nice, the accommodation can range from 900 - 5,000 Php per night. I stayed at a standard room which costs 1,400 per night. Fair enough, the room is air conditioned plus hot and cold shower. All their rooms are newly refurbished because it was damaged during the typhoon Yolanda but some rooms are still under renovation. 

 What to do in Bantayan:

1. Stroll around the long stretch of white sand beach of Sta. Fe!

2. Set up a hammock and drift all your worries away.

Met new friends through this hammock. Shoutout to my new hungarian friends who really enjoyed being in the hammock! :)

3. Bike your way to the places. It is eco -friendly and budget - friendly at the same time! :) Naka - tipid ka na, nakapag -burn ka pa ng fat.

4. Visit Ogtong Cave, Bantayan Town Proper and Kota Ruins via bike or motorcycle or jeep.

5. Try their KFC (Karlito's Fried Chicken) partnered with Puso!

6. Join a tour going to Virgin Island early in the morning. Shoutout to my new found friends from Cebu! :)

7. Party all night long at a local bar.

8. Watch Bantayan Sunrise!!!

  • Rent a bike, it will save you a lot of time and money from going to places. Bantayan is very small but if time is of the essence, biking is the most convenient and cheapest way to explore the place. 
  • Food are really cheap! You just have to explore the place. 
  • Always talk to the locals, you will learn a lot from them and they can bring you to places in the cheapest way possible. 
  • Hydrate. Bantayan heat will really penetrate in your skin!
  • ENJOY!

Verdict of  Tara Gumala:
Bantayan Island is suitable to all ages. This is one of my favorite summer destinations. 
I will definitely come back and bring my friends.

I hope my post helped you, if you have any questions feel free to put it in the comment section!