Sunday, January 30, 2011

Santa Fe Beaches, Bantayan Island

The road to Bantayan Island is long, and I mean really loooooooooooong. Unfortunately, it’s not one of the easiest islands in the Philippine archipelago to get to, perhaps, the reason why it appeals, well sometimes, to adventurous travellers like me.


There are a few ways to get to Bantayan Island but they only come by land and sea. Bantayan Island actually has a small airfield and the reason why it is left to rot is, well, you can surmise, that certain individuals want some grease but helaas are not getting it. If the airport in Bantayan Island is further developed and opened commercially to the public, I am sure this is going to be the next Boracay. It has lots of potential.

Anyway, we chose the land and sea combi option, which is the best choice as you get there faster. I think the drive from Cebu City to Hagnaya, San Remigio took about 4 hours. It’s amazing to see how traffic has developed in Cebu when back then there were very few vehicles on the streets, this was some 25 to 30 years ago when we regularly go on road trips to the north. And on the way we saw 2 accidents! A big lorry truck went down the ravine and a small truck carrying water jugs drove straight to a tree. The roads are good but the more north you drive, the more crisscrossed the roads are which is dangerous when you drive too fast. Some drivers never learn at all.

So we finally arrived at Hagnaya port where we bought our boat tickets and in the process gotten bombarded by aggressive porters (baggage helpers) which I thought was unnecessary as we have 3 abled men who can more than handle all our baggage but I guess these people need to earn a living as well. The boat trip to Santa Fe, Bantayan Island took an hour, it was uneventful and luckily the waves were calm.

We stayed in Santa Fe. The town is probably the most developed area in Bantayan for tourism. Aside from the pier which is very handy as it is nearby, you can find several modest accommodations, facilities, restaurants and shops in town. Here is a quick map reference of Santa Fe (click) on resorts, restaurants and entertainment. For more information on holidaying in Bantayan Island, go here: wowBantayan.com (its a personal/commercial site but it has the best information on the island so far where the department of tourism has failed to deliver)

All fotos were taken on different days so some have blue skies while others have cloudy skies. Top to bottom: A surfer patiently waiting for that little wave to come; two fishermen fishing on the shores, that was a first for me to see something like this; and some beach shore and boat scenes.

More beach scenes here:

Top to bottom: Fisherman tinkering on his boat and I just like the idea of the colourful laundry hanging beside his boat tent; more beach shore line fotos and moi in a restaurant on the beach; on the last foto on the right you can see an islet called Hilataga-an Island.

I am sure the beaches are lovelier, clearer, bluer during the summer season. We were there in July, not really the best time to go as it is rainy season in the tropics.

And here are more of the barrio scenes:

Top to bottom: Typical scene in the barrio, a trike driver taking a nap; sari-sari store; more trike drivers waiting for customers, sometimes they pester you to great lengths; barbecue scenes on the corner street of the main road; fresh coconut drink; pawnshops thrive in the provinces in the Philippines and the island have implemented their green environment program.

Top to bottom: Historical Spanish pre-war house that badly needs a face lift; 2 girls climbing to get some biyatilis/ipil-ipil fruit; house with pretty patchwork, banana tree with a banana cluster and banana heart/inflorescence hanging at the tip; Philippine flag; schoolgirl in the tricycle; vendors outside the school and school girls cleaning the street; halo-halo iced snack and chili crab; proud rooster; fresh catch of the day - take your pick and they will cook it for you; and us chilling the night with San Miguel beer.

Travel Period: July 2009

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