Paradise In The Rough: Bantayan Island Nature Park
Considered to be one of the most beautiful biodiverse islands in the world, the Island of Bantayan is true representation of what paradise is all about. Some people even call it Cebu’s version of the world-famous Boracay Island, minus the flock of tourists and obnoxious late-night parties. But for me, it’s simply the island paradise we all love, no more, no less.
The towns of Santa Fe, Madridejos and Bantayan make up the entirety of Bantayan Island. Santa Fe takes pride in its beautiful white sand beaches, the perfect location to capture the rising sun.
Commonly known as Lawis by the locals, Madridejos, on the other hand, possesses a different kind of charm. It is not just known as a fishing town but is also noted for its rich and colorful past.
The town of Bantayan, which is the center for trade and commerce in the island, is best known to be a good spot for picture-perfect and glorious sunsets. Bantayan is also where Saints Peter and Paul Church is located. According to historians, the said church was the first parish to be established in all of Cebu by the Augustinian monks in 1580.
In the far east side of town lies Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort, a diamond-in-the-rough in this tropical shangri-la where local flora and fauna endemic to the island is showcased.
During this year’s Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk, our group, Mobile Perspectives, spent a blissful day at the resort and boy, was it an experience like no other! It was a bit cut short, but well worth it.
Here are a few reasons why you should spend a day, or two, at the Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort:
Spending three days on the island, we managed to hop from one food hub to another. But not once was there any as unusual as the Danggit Pasta that you will find served here. From their Seafood Curry to the Bacalao, and the surprisingly delicious Gumamela Shake, this place is definitely one for the books.
Bantayan Island Nature Park is also home to Sumtin Fishy products, including the addicting Gourmet Danggit. Remarkably, gourmet heaven in a bottle!
Aside from their humongous swimming pool, this resort also boasts of a mini zoo, a fish spa, and a gorgeous cave pool. Yes, you read right. It is within the premises that you won’t have to traverse far and wide just to be in a cave. These amenities make of an exciting addition to your Bantayan escapade.
A shutterbug’s playground
For a photography enthused traveller, this resort has a lot of photogenic spots to offer. Facing the eastern side of the island, chasing the morning sun you might find to be your favorite sport will be as mesmerizing as your stay here.
In an industry where hospitality really means everything, Bantayan Island Nature Park and Resort lived up to our expectations. The staff were very courteous and always wore a smile.
How to get there
Bantayan Island, hearing the name always leaves me in awe. Here are some of the most convenient ways to get to the island:
- Head to North Bus Terminal and catch the bus that heads to Hagnaya. The ride from the city going to Hagnaya may take up to 4 hours, even more, depending on the traffic condition. Another option is to take a V-hire from the same terminal. Prepare at least 200 pesos if you are going to take a V-hire, while it will cost around 180 pesos for air conditioned buses.
- Once you reach the port of Hagnaya, take a ferry and prepare 185 pesos for the regular fare. The ride takes up to an hour or so, and you also need to pay 10 pesos for the terminal fee at the port.
- Once you have reached the port of Sta. Fe, you can choose to take either a tricycle or ask any of the trisikad drivers to take you to the resort.
- The resort offers free transportation, to and fro, if you book any of their air conditioned rooms.
- If you have snorkeling gears, bring them with you for there is a nearby marine sanctuary where you can get a glimpse of the island’s healthy marine life.
- The renowned Virgin Island is just across the Cebu Channel. Bring extra cash and book a trip going there.
- Last but not least, ensure to practice the “Leave-No-Trace” or “CLAYGO (Clean-As-You-Go)” Principle at all times. Please note that this paradise (or any place for that matter) doesn’t need any of your bs.
There you have it! Those were a few, but they’re all you need to know to go book your stay in Bantayan Island Nature Park. No muss, no fuss. Just pure bliss.