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Honeymoon on Bantayan Island and day trip to Virgin Island (pulo diyot)

Mar, 02 || No Comments |

Bantayan Island, Beach at Kota Beach ResortBantayan Island, Beach at Kota Beach Resort

Welcome back in the beautiful Philippines! Honeymoon part 2 on Bantayan Island. Week 2 in the Philippines. We are on the way from Malapascua Island (via Maya Pier) to Bantayan Island. After we boarded the bus in Bogo we went straight to Hagnaya pier and took the ferry to Bantayan Island (Santa Fe pier). The ferry is about 170 PHP one way an additional 10 PHP clearance fee for the terminal. The journey from Hagnaya Santa Fe takes about 1-1.5 hours, depends on the ferry and weather conditions. If the weather is too bad only the big ferry companies like “super shuttle ferry” (see the ferry timetable below) will leave. The small ferries may cancell the trip short time before. Important to know: There are ATM’s on Bantayan Island but I never used or tried them. Better bring cash with you. One ATM was just before you arrive to “Bantayan City” on the main road on the left (close to Alberto’s Pizza). It’s about a 20 Minutes drive from Santa Fe by multicab. At least some money exchanger are located in Sante Fe but I didn’t make any experience with them.

Ship going from Hagnaya Port to Santa Fe (Bantayan Island)Our ship / ferry going from Hagnaya Port to Santa Fe (Bantayan Island)

Ferry timetable Hagnaya-Santa Fe-HagnayaFerry timetable Hagnaya-Santa Fe-Hagnaya (click to enlarge)

Ferry port in Santa FeFerry port in Santa Fe

Arrived on Bantayan island walk the long pier down and get a trike to your hotel or resort. A lot of drivers are waiting for new costumers so don’t worry if you haven’t prebooked a transfer to your final destination. They start charging at least 20 PHP per person for a short ride (like our hotel Kata Beach Resort at Kata Beach) if you are a foreigner. The normal price is 10 PHP per person.

Multicab chicken transportation on Bantayan IslandMulticab chicken transportation on Bantayan Island

After a 5 to 10 minutes ride we arrived at Kata Beach Resort (link to the hotel click here), our hotel for 1 week. The whole resort is so nice with a lot of plants and trees and is situated at one of the best beaches on Bantayan which is just in front of the first row from the bungalows / cottages. We stayed in a deluxe cottage (2nd to 4th Row).  This rooms are quite basic equipped without any paraphernalia (just cold water shower and no safe, no fridge) compared to the Beachfront Suite cottages in the first row, but enough for a comfortable stay. Sometimes / often was an electricity shortage in the resort, especially during night time.

Kota Beach Resort Deluxe CottageKota Beach Resort

Kota Beach Resort Deluxe CottageKota Beach Resort, our Deluxe Cottage

Kota Beach Resort Bantayan at the beachKota Beach Resort Bantayan at the beach

Kota Beach Resort Bantayan at the beachKota Beach Resort Bantayan at the beach

Kota Beach Resort Bantayan at the beachKota Beach Resort Bantayan at the beach

Kota Beach Resort Bantayan Beachfront SuiteKota Beach Resort, Beachfront Suite with stunning reflections from the beach

Kota Beach Resort sunsetKota Beach Resort sunset

We really loved the beach at our resort. We only missed some more beach chairs because the resort only offered a hand full. So we chilled with our towels under the coconut trees and enjoyed the amazing and spotless view. But not only nice beaches can be found at our resort. When we were walking around to Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort (link to the hotel click here) or rode a trike for example to Anika Island Resort or Paradise Beach we were happy to find more and more stunning beaches and places. This island really has a lot to offer.

at Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort Bantayanat Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort Bantayan

at Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort Bantayan beware of falling coconutat Amihan Beach Cabanas Resort Bantayan beware of falling coconut

Walk around Kota BeachWalk around Kota Beach

Aside from Kata Beach resort we spent one afternoon at Anika Island resort (link to the hotel click here). Another great hotel with affordable prices and a paradisiacal garden and beach.

The guard will let you pass to the beach and hotel even if you aren’t a guest. Just tell them you wanna see the rooms (room inquiry) and have a drink or meal at the restaurant.

Anika Island Resort at the beachAnika Island Resort at the beach

Anika Island Resort wonderful garden and accommodationAnika Island Resort wonderful garden and accommodation

Anika Island Resort beach viewAnika Island Resort beach view

Later we hired a trike driver going to Paradise beach on Bantayan Island. It’s maybe a 20 to 30 minutes trike drive from Santa Fe. The last 10 minutes you need to walk down to the beach. It’s not possible to pass this path by car or trike. When we arrived at Paradise Beach, the beach was almost empty. Unfortunately half an hour later a chinese and korean tourist boat appeared and the peace was over. They charge 50 PHP for the entrance fee for adults and 25 PHP for children. It’s all worth it to enjoy a secluded beach with a well maintained garden. The beach is open from 9 am to 5 pm (every day). Important: There is no food or drinks available so you need to bring your own refreshments and don’t forget sunscreen.

Paradise beach, Bantayan IslandParadise beach, Bantayan Island

Paradise beach, Bantayan IslandParadise beach, Bantayan Island

Paradise beach, Bantayan IslandParadise beach, Bantayan Island

One day we hired a trike with driver and we did a whole day island tour. We paid about 600 PHP for us two the whole day. After a couple of days you will find a serious driver which will drive you everywhere at a reasonable price. So we were always driving with trike driver Kuya Jimmy. We made a stop at the famous Bantayan City fish market, at Omagieca Magrove Garaden (entrance fee is 50 PHP), at Kota Park at Kota Park Bontay Baywalk (free entry), Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort (200 PHP entrance fee per person. There is also a very small zoo. It’s only worth to stay at this place to enjoy the infinity pool and maybe the Sto Nino Cave (to enjoy cool air and water). I wouldn’t stay there overnight. It’s even a hotel with bungalows and a restaurant with sleeping staff :-D).

There is another attraction on Bantayan island, the Ogtong Cave but we skipped it for this time. It was an awesome and memorable day with a beautiful sunset at the end and an unexpected group picture with some random kids on the way back to our hotel.

Famous fish market in Bantayan cityFamous fish market in Bantayan city

Omagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan IslandOmagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan Island

Omagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan IslandOmagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan Island

Outside Omagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan IslandOutside Omagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan Island

Outside Omagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan IslandOutside Omagieca Mangrove Garden, Bantayan Island

Kota Park and ruins BantayanKota Park and Ruins Bantayan

Fort of Kota Park Bantayan Bontay BaywalkFort of Kota Park Bantayan, Bontay Baywalk

 

Bantayan Island Nature Resort Park and ResortBantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort

Bantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Sto Nino CaveBantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Sto Nino Cave

Bantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Sto Nino CaveBantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Sto Nino Cave

Bantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Sto Nino CaveBantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Sto Nino Cave

Bantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Infinity poolBantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, Infinity pool

Bantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, view from Infinity poolBantayan Island Nature Resort Park and Resort, view from Infinity pool

Our trike during our day trip on Bantayan IslandOur trike during our day trip on Bantayan Island

Bantayan sunset during our island day trip with a trikeBantayan sunset during our island day trip with a trike

Bantayan kids during sunsetBantayan group picture with the kids during sunset

The final sunset back at Kota Beach resort after a great dayThe final sunset back at Kota Beach resort after a great day around the island

If you are on Bantayan island / Santa Fe visit one of the many bars and restaurants. There is a little “strip” at A. Batobalonos Street in Sante Fe. Occupied with foreigners, expats and locals. We went to the following restaurants and bars and can recommend them to all of you: Arjay May (our favorite restaurant, the furnishing looks very very basic with plastic chairs but the food and the prices are top!), Caffe del Mare (nice atmosphere, sometimes they have live music), Bavarian Beergarden (funny stuff and cold beer), Blue Ice Bar & Restaurant (live music and cold beer and food), Cupcake Island for a dessert and finally Coucou Bar and restaurant to eat a Halo-Halo.

Bantayan restaurants and bar stripBantayan restaurants and bar strip at A. Batobalonos Street

Eating a halo-halo at Coucou Bar BantayanEating a halo-halo at Coucou Bar Bantayan

Liveband at caffe del Mare BantayanLiveband at Caffe del Mare Bantayan

Enjoying dessert at Cupcake Island BantayanEnjoying dessert at Cupcake Island Bantayan

Once we were passing the local police, they asked us for a survey and to enter the police station. To be honest, they just asked to take a picture with us. Funny situation and finally we also got a shot with the local sheriff’s.

Meet and Greet with the local Bantayan policeMeet and Greet with the local Bantayan Police

Last but not least we did a private boat trip to Bantayan’s Virgin Island (pulo diyot). This was the highlight from our trip to Bantayan. There are a lot of sellers for that trip (honestly the only thing you need is a boat and a driver, don’t join a group tour and order your private boat) so don’t be worried you will not find a boat. The trip is about 600 – 700 PHP per boat and including snorkeling gear. Additional 200-300 PHP for the lunch which the boat captain will prepare for you on the island. The lunch was yummi; fish and bbq pork with rice. On the way to Virgin Island we passed in front of Hilantagaan Island (it’s only for locals) for a small snorkeling stop. The entrance fee to to Virgin Island is 500 PHP for 2 persons and everyone additional pays another 100 PHP. Tent’s and tables (if you want or need them to eat your food) cost 300 PHP/ day upwards. For an overnight stay the island will charge you at least 1500 PHP for the “tent” (rentals for snorkels and rowboats  is PHP 100 per hr. The whole island is well maintained and let you submerge in a real paradise. Don’t arrive too late to avoid too much tourists or just stay longer in the evening or both. On the back of the island is a little hidden / secret beach. Have a walk there and enjoy the view and the peace. On the island is also a little restaurant / bar with more or less reasonable prices.

Boat trip going to Virgin Island (pulo diyot)Boat trip going to Virgin Island (pulo diyot)

Entrance fee Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanEntrance fee Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Welcome to Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanWelcome to Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Beatiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanBeatiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Beatiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanBeatiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Beatiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanBeatiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Beautiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanBeautiful Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Overnight stay cottages Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanOvernight stay cottages Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

A part of the beach of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanA part of the beach of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

On the way to the hidden beach on the back of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanOn the way to the hidden beach on the back of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

The hidden beach on the back of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanThe hidden beach on the back of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

Rocks close to the hidden beach on the back of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) BantayanRocks close to the hidden beach on the back of Virgin Island (pulo diyot) Bantayan

After a week we left Bantayan back towards Cebu City. Our plan was this time to drive back by bus from Hagnaya pier. We ended up by driving back by taxi. A taxi driver from Cebu just dropped his client and hadn’t any costumer back to Cebu. We got a deal for awesome 600 PHP back to Cebu City / Mactan to our hotel. There were some other limited offers by minibus for about 150 PHP per person. Everyone try to make his business once the ferry arrived :-)

The last days we stayed in Cebu and visited as always the famous Ayala Mall with terraces and finally I went back to the orphanage in Cordova / Cebu where I did my volunteering last April 2015. It was heartbreaking how the kids still remembered you and were running towards you once they recognized yourself. Here you find more information about the orphanage: Albert Schweitzer Orphanage Cordova Cebu Philippinen. Once I have enough time I will also upload a blog about my volunteering there. I can recommend it to everyone. All the money and effort is well invested and they kids can benefit completely.

Ayala Mall terraces CebuAyala Mall terraces Cebu

With the kids at Albert Schweitzer Orphanage Cordova Cebu PhilippinenWith the kids at Albert Schweitzer Orphanage Cordova Cebu Philippins (Children’s Haven)

Unfortunately the day of departure has arrived after 3 weeks. I flew back from Cebu via Hong Kong (with another 9.5 hours layover in Hong Kong) to Zurich. Emelyn extended some more days in Cebu for her quality time with her friends and family.

Cathay pacific aircraft from Cebu to Hong KongCathay Pacific aircraft from Cebu to Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific on board flightplan Cebu to Hong KongCathay Pacific on board flight plan Cebu to Hong Kong

Here you find additional information about Bantayan Island

Hotel overview on Bantayan Island (Agoda)

Tripadvisor restaurant and attraction guide

Lonely Planet Island guide

Thanks for reading. See you next time anywhere else on this world :-)

Bantayan Kota Beach dream beach

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