As with any place frequented by tourist and visitors, there are bound to be tourist traps and not so good practices. Bantayan is no exception. I’m just hoping that local government and stakeholders will change ways a bit to make the island even more ‘tourist friendly’ than it already is.
Tourism is everybody’s businesses and everyone should ensure that what tourists and visitors bring back from their trip are wonderful memories, not memories of being harassed, or the feeling of being ‘scam’. There is always a room for improvement is what I am saying.
For Cebuanos it is easier because we speak the same language, but for Tagalog and English speaker, trying to negotiate a fair deal can be difficult because of the language barrier.
This post is a continuation of “Bantayan Island Cebu Travel Guide.” <– click this to go to 1st part.
So what you should watch out for?
The moment you disembark from the ferry that took you from Hagnaya to Bantayan, porters will come and try to wrestle you out of your bag. If you don’t want assistance, be firm in saying no. It is there livelihood, yes, but sometimes the over eagerness and zealousness by which they try to pitch their service can be cause for a not so great first experience in Bantayan.
Then you come on land, and the second wave of over-eager habal – habal drivers will converge on you with an offer to take you to your resort or to bring you to the resort they are affiliated with. They can be really insistent. Say No Firmly again if you feel harassed.
Pier to the public market cost P20 via pedicab or tricycle, most habal – habal also charges the same. You can actually walk the distance but it’s a bit far at approximately 1 kilometer away.
From public market to these Bantayan resorts – Budjong, Kota Beach, Marlin Beach Resort, Sugar Beach – you can walk from market to your resort. It’s not a long walk, just about 3 blocks away.
For other resorts, go to the public terminal in the market complex; get on a multicab or tricycle. It’s how the locals go from one place to the other. Of course, the disadvantage to that is you wait for the vehicle to get full. If you have extra money, well, you can take the less hassle but more expensive solo ride.
Public Transpo – Multicab in Bantayan Island
Not So Great Experience
This is a personal lamentation and experience. It’s a sad thing when you approach some local to ask them ‘where is the way to the market’ and you are answered with either ‘I can take you there for only P150” or “I know someone who have motorcycle or multicab that can take you there’.
The question was left unanswered, only offers for transportation was given. This was not an isolated incident, it happened on four instances for the group. We were not looking for a transport, we were just asking for direction on how to go somewhere, yet the answers were not at all helpful. Tsk. It makes you wonder what has become of ‘hospitality’ and ‘wanting to help?’
I am not generalizing all locals because I know that won’t be right or fair. In fact, I have friends who hails from Bantayan and I know if they are approach, they will answer truthfully and will not grab the first opportunity to make money out of hapless tourists. But I do hope that more of these helpful locals are present in the beach area and in the port area too.
Case in Point:
We asked a local guy loitering in the resort vicinity whom we think maybe connected to Budyong Resort since he seems to be always around. Anyhow, we asked him ‘how to go to the Sta Fe Church’, the answer given to us was ‘I have a motorcycle I can take you there for P150 each person”. We know this was an instance of overcharging, so instead of taking him up on his offer, we went to the frontdesk clerk to ask her the same question. The clerk answers helpfully ‘Just go to the market, you can catch multicab or tricycle there and fare is only P25’.
Imagine the fare difference!
These incidents remind me of Siquijor where they do things better and more organized. At the port of Siquijor, everything is clear about transportation cost from one town to another. The fare and rates are on a big tarpaulin in the Tourist Assistance Center and tourist police are helpful. I hope Bantayan Island authorities will also have this implemented, put up tarpaulins of the rates of transportation and tour fees in strategic places so everything is clear to locals and visitors alike. So in turn ‘overcharging’ and the feeling of you were ‘had’ will not taint somebody’s vacation.
Will Bantayan have Penfires recommendation?
Yes of course, as has been mentioned, all popular tourist places are riddled with issues and problems but still it makes one hope that in the future things will improve, things will become better. The main reason for sharing these tourist traps is that visitors especially first timers can avoid them.
Tourists who comes back from a vacation with wonderful experiences tend to invite and encourage their friends to also visit the place they’ve been to. This makes island tourism everyone’s business from government authorities to the local community.
Bantayan island is beautiful, the countryside scenes makes it more charming and endearing. Cebu is indeed lucky to have this serene beach vacation destination.
If you want to unwind, to relax, to get away from the madding crowd, come to Bantayan Island in Cebu. Bonding with your special someone, friends and family can be more meaningfully too as there are fewer distractions compared to other popular beach destinations in the Philippines.
Plus, sunsets are awesome too!
But what I love most about Bantayan though is how you can gaze at the millions of stars twinkling on a clear night sky, reminding you how vast the universe is and how little you’ve seen of it.
Told you, Bantayan makes you think heheh. \o/
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Daghang Salamat for reading!