Bantayan Island: one of the lesser known islands in the Philippines with powdery white sands and crystal clear waters. What I love most about it is that it’s very affordable to travel to, it’s safe and the people are kind. You can just leave your bike on the street without locks and no one would steal it (if it gets stolen, it would probably be by someone not from the island).
How to get there
You can ride a bus or a V-hire from the Cebu North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya Port in San Remigio. We rented a van and spent Php 150 each (for 11 passengers). You have to haggle with the owner/driver to get a cheaper price. It was a two-hour trip non-stop. It would take longer by bus because of the stopovers. Leave at dawn or early morning to avoid the heavy traffic.
From the Hagnaya Port, there’s a Super Shuttle Ferry to Bantayan Island for Php 170 plus Php 10 terminal fee. The trip takes an hour or less.
Where we stayed
We stayed at the Kota Beach Resort. The place was nice, affordable and it was near the public market and restaurants/bars/cafes. They can arrange a shuttle service to pick you up from the port to the resort for free. Click here for more information and the rates.
Virgin Island is a short boat ride (around 30 minutes) from Bantayan Island. I prefer this secluded beach because the water is clearer and it immediately gets deep after a few steps from the shore. It would be best to bring your own food and drinks since these are more expensive on the island. Try bringing bread/rice on the water and small fishes would swim towards you.
Day use packages are for Php 500 for two persons and Php 100 additional per person in excess of 2. Available cottages are for Php 300, Php 500, Php 600 and Php 1000. Overnight accommodations are also available. Please check “Virgin Island” in Facebook or contact them at +63 922 726 6579.
Tip: Before heading back to Bantayan Island, ask the boatman for a stopover at the “coral reef”. It’s perfect for snorkeling because you’ll see a lot of fishes but because of global warming, the corals are bleaching. Don’t forget to bring some bread to feed the fish. 🙂
There are other things to do and places to go to in Bantayan. You can rent a bike the whole day and tour the island. Try eating the steamed scallops that the vendors sell in three packs for only Php 100! Eat more seafood especially the danggit (salted, sun dried rabbit fish). Visit the Ogtong Cave. If you’re adventurous (and have a lot of money to spare), try skydiving. If you’re a solo backpacker or you want to try solo backpacking, this is also a good place to travel to.