Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island
"Pacific island Dream"


Bantayan island, the shining tropical paradise in Asia is commonly known as an island paradise in Philippines. Tourists as far as Europe fall in love with its fine white sand and crystal clear blue waters. Many of these foreigners even settled down on the island to spend the rest of their lives. They build single-cottage beach houses along the shore but as time went by, construct a couple of new cottages instead to accommodate the growing number of tourists who seeks safe haven on the splendid island paradise. Two of the main attraction of the island is its crystal-clear waters and it's long stretch of powdery white sand. The stunning sunset will really spice those romantic walks on the beach. One of the reasons the island is famous is its peacefulness, the way a resort should be. Unsaturated beauty and a combination of sweet smiling natives made the island as it is now.

When you get to cool, crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, pleasant town folk and delicious sea foods ... you're in the island of Bantayan. Coming to Bantayan is like coming out of a time machine. It's like entering the time and place when life was simple and quiet.

The island, which is composed of three municipalities, specifically Bantayan, Madridejos & Santa Fe is also generally known as the “Egg Basket” in the neighboring regions because it has been generating over one and a half million eggs a day to supply the growing demand of eggs for mainland Cebu, Negros, Panay and even Leyte.

In Bantayan, there are 405-year-old church the one-and-a-half century house of Anun Escario, the Ogtong Cave and the rest of the ancient unarmed caves the old Spanish kota (fort) in Sta. Fe, the beautiful island in the district and the sunset at the pier.


The people in Bantayan island is mostly Christian, aside from the fact that it has the oldest church in the Visayas and Mindanao, it is also named as the Lenten capital of the Visayas. Many people from Cebu and as far as Manila go to Bantayan not only for a swim and relaxation but also to witness the holy week procession and to observe the most solemn practice of faith. Because of this, almost all resorts double their rates at this time of year.

During holy week, on Maunday Thursday and Good Friday, both locals and visitors get together by the thousands at the town center of Bantayan to be part of the Lenten procession of religious symbols and images symbolizing the Passion of Christ. Such religiosity only reflects the Bantayanon's unquestioned faith in Christ therefore making the island one of the safest place in the country.

But there is also the human aspect. You see kids with even tan running around the beach lines, naked, simple-hearted and friendly. Bantayan Island has a remarkable dialect, mixture of Ilonggo, Waray and Cebuano but one that is Greek to both Cebuanos and Ilonggos. And its tone changes from town to town. The people in every town just have their own of expressing it.

Like its dialect, each of the three towns has its own character. Bantayan considered as the town proper of the island has 25 barangays and the basic infrastructure. The town is known for its mouth-watering dried fish and squid. Aside from fishing, the people are also into rock phosphate and limestone mining.

If the other two towns are busy with their income projects, Sta. Fe is busier during the Lenten Season with hundreds of people who gather to its white sandy beaches. Reservations to Bantayan's beach resorts for the Lenten Season should be done six months to one year earlier. As early as February this year, the resorts have already been fully booked.

With regards to the food in Bantayan, a combination of cuisine is served on the island with a taste of restaurants serving Filipino, Thai, and Japanese to European menus. A massive selection of sea foods fresh from the day's catch is very well dished up since most of the people of the island are fishermen that cast their nets on the abundant Visayan seas. One can even visit the wet market to see fishermen unpack their precious catch from the sea. Fresh live fish from groupers to blue marlin's are just two of the many surprises. Shrimps, crabs and lobsters are displayed in large quantity in the market. After a full meal one can choose a selection of fresh fruit shakes with choices from mango to choco banana.

Your stay in Bantayan would be a dream come true.


Bantayan Island Map


HOW TO GET THERE

You can go to Bantayan island by plane from Cebu or by Bus and Vans for Hire from the North Cebu Bus Terminal.

From Cebu City
One may take the plane via SEAIR (Flight suspended) flight departing from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport or take a bus ride at the North Cebu Bus Terminal which will take you about 3 hours to Hagnaya from which one desires to take the Island Express Ferry Boat for the 1 hour ride to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. Flying time to Bantayan Island is about 25 minutes or less. Recently, there is already a Ro-Ro boat going from Hagnaya to Santa Fe, you can take your car or SUV from Cebu all the way to Santa Fe for a fantastic island getaway!

Vans, Buses, Ferries and Planes
(subject to change without notice)

Vans
From the airport or seaport to Hagnaya.
Good for 6-7 persons.
Non-stop trip
CHARGE: 3,500 pesos to 4,000.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 2 hours to 2 and half hours

V-Hire
From White Gold Terminal to Hagnaya.
Very crampy ride.
Must be there earlier so you can have the best seat on the van.
Van leaves every hour or when the van is full.
CHARGE: 100.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 2 and a half hours

Buses (Phil-Cebu Bus Liners, Rough Riders)
From the City North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya,
4:30 AM and every 30 minutes thereafter until 3:00 PM daily
CHARGE: 60.00 pesos to 70.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 3 - 4 hours

Ferries (Island Express Shipping)
From Hagnaya to the port of Santa Fe and vice versa daily.
CHARGE: 60.00 pesos to 70.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 1 and a half hour (maximum)

Fastcraft(Aznar Fastcraft)
From Hagnaya to the port of Santa Fe and vice versa daily.
CHARGE: 100.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 30 minutes (maximum)

Ro-Ro Boats (Shuttle Ferry Service)
From Hagnaya to the port of Santa Fe

Boats (Don Martin, Palacio Shipping Lines)
From the city to the port of Santa Fe
CHARGE: 150.00 pesos - 200.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 6 to 7 hours

Boats (Lapu-lapu Shipping Lines)
From the city to the port of Santa Fe
CHARGE: 150.00 pesos - 200.00 pesos
TRAVEL DURATION: 6 to 7 hours

Airplane (via SEAIR) Temporarily suspended
From the Mactan-Cebu International Airport
CHARGE: 990.00 pesos (promotional price) / 1,350.00 pesos(standard price)

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