Last August, I finally bit the bullet and booked a flight to Cebu to finally make it out of the city and explore Bantayan Island. It just so happened that I won Airbnb credits at a contest, and there was a beachfront house listed. Perfect.
Traveling for almost 12 hours from my house to Sta. Fe is quite taxing, but that place was worth traveling by air, land, and sea. The weather is still quite cool in the Philippines this time of the year, and most of the locals are either recovering from the Christmas season or traveling to the Sto. Niño festivals in Kalibo, Iloilo, or Cebu. It’s mostly foreign tourists we saw in Bantayan, and there’s not a lot of them either.
We pretty much had the beach to ourselves at times, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, this meant that whenever we’re outside, we always get approached by vendors selling their wares or pedicab drivers asking if we want a ride.
Sta. Fe is quite small, and we were able to walk anywhere. The only time a ride was required was on trips to the Bantayan town proper, and to the Sta. Fe Port. What’s great about Sta. Fe is that you have easy access to fine white sand beaches that is not crowded, have access to restaurants with good pizza, yet it still remaining a small sleepy town.
|January 11-13, 2015|
|1 Tickets on Cebu Pacific bought last August during a piso fare promo. No baggage, except for one 15 kilo allowance on the flight back to Manila|
|2 Taxi to and from the airports in Manila and Cebu|
|3 Tricycles costs Php 25 per person from Sta. Fe to Bantayan town proper. On our last pedicab ride to the port, our driver said that the standard price is Php 20 per person from Sta. Fe, we just gave him an extra Php 5 per person.|
|4 We rented a beachfront house through Airbnb. This comes out free, as I used the free credits I won in an Airbnb contest. Sign up using my referral code to get Php 1,000 credit!|
|5 This is a combination of carinderia food and restaurant meals.|
|6 Terminal fees at Hagnaya and Sta. Fe Port, gate pass at Sta. Fe Port for our pedicab, and a Php 2 fee to use the toilet at the bus’ stopover.|
Bantayan Travel Notes
- If you take the 3am flight from Manila to Cebu, you’ll be able to catch the first bus to Hagnaya, which leaves at 5am.
- There is actually a Ceres bus that can take you from the Cebu North Bus Terminal all the way to Bantayan. It leaves Cebu at 00:30, 3:30, 10:30, and 12:30. These buses would also be making the return trip to Cebu. I don’t have the schedule, but there is one that leaves Bantayan town at 1:45 pm. The bus is parked in the town plaza, near the Bantayan Multi-purpose Center.
- To go to Bantayan town proper from Sta. Fe, walk to the main road (F. Roska St, C. Batiancila St., Bantayan-Sta. Fe Road), and hail a big tricycle. These are the ones that has a wider body and can seat up to 10 passengers. The fare is Php 25, and takes about 20 minutes.
- There is a market in Sta. Fe, but if you want cheaper prices, it’s better to buy from the public market in town.
- Caffe del Mar has really good pizza.
- On the way back to Cebu, a Ceres bus meets the ferry docking, so you can board a bus as soon as you get off the boat. It leaves as soon as the last ferry passenger has disembarked, but it will pick up passengers along the way.
- The bus ride between Cebu and Hagnaya takes about 3 hours.
- If you are flying out immediately after getting back to Cebu City, you can ask the conductor to let you off at Pacific Mall, Bridges Town Center, or Park Mall, to avoid the traffic in the area near SM and the North Bus Terminal.
- If you get off at Park Mall, do try Cebu’s Original Boneless Lechon Belly. SO GOOD. It’s just a small kiosk at the outdoor dining area.