Some visitors prefer to skip the city and head straightaway to Sta Fe, Bantayan Island after arrival in the Mactan airport. Can this be done? Yes. But if I may suggest, I’d recommend that you spend the night in Cebu City and then make your way to the Cebu North Bus terminal around 4:45 AM.
If you are the type who prefers the ‘no-sleep- adventures’, arrive in Mactan airport late night, then take the first trip to Hagnaya at 1 AM. There is another one at 3 AM. But this can be taxing on your body, so make sure you have the stamina for the long journey.
The first trip on the aircon bus bound for Hagnaya wharf in San Remegio is at 5:30 AM. This is a good time to start your journey, you’d be skipping the usual heavy morning traffic of Mandaue and Consolacion. Fare is P160 per pax.
Travel time from the Northbus terminal to Hagnaya is around 3 hours and a half, with one stop-over in the town of Carmen.
When we arrived at the port, we bought tickets to the Island Shipping ferry that was set to leave within 10 minutes of our arrival. The bus drivers are aware of the ferry departure schedules and they try their best to make it in time, to the port.
*Super Shuttle Ferry and Island Shipping Ferry alternatively leaves Hagnaya for Sta Fe every hour starting at 5:30 AM until 5:30PM. The Hagnaya – Sta Fe boat crossing is approximately one hour. Boat fare is P170, terminal fee is P10.
Budyong Beach Resort (the second time around)
We took a tricycle to get us from Sta Fe port to Budyong Resort, at P20 per pax. Budyong Resort is a good place to stay in Sta Fe as they’ve got beachfront accommodations. It’s also affordable and walking distance to the public market, where you can find most carenderias and restaurants.
We got two rooms with 10% discount. Don’t be shy to inquire about discounts especially during off-peak seasons, who knows your request will merit a nod. 🙂
We booked two air-conditioned rooms in Budyong, one good for 4 person at P1,800 a night, and the other is P1,600 good for two pax. Discounts already applied to the room rates indicated. We stayed at this affordable Bantayan resort for 2N/3D, our second time here.
*Budyong Resort is a family friendly budget resort in Sta Fe, Bantayan. Room rate does not include free breakfast. The resort has a restaurant that serves the usual breakfast silog fares at P70 to P85 per plate. They also have ala-carte choices, but note that the restaurant is close on Saturdays in keeping with the owner’s religion. You can read more about Budyong by visiting this post.
* Power interruption is normal in this sleepy town, during our stay we’ve experienced 3 brownouts. Two instances that lasted just 20 minutes, the 3rd brownout was for almost 3 hours.
Our native huts were on the second tier, not exactly beach front, but near enough that we can still see the sandbar and the sea. The beachfront huts were around P500 more expensive than the second tier.
Sandbar in Sugar Beach
Seafood Prices when we were there last June 2015: Bantayan Blue Crab at P200 per kilo. The pitik pitik, local lobster is also P200 per kilo. Fish is P175 per kilo. Octopus was P90 per kilo. Fresh scallops out of their shells is P50 to P60 in the market.
We had these calamares and chilly scallops for P100 per order at a local eatery.
Unfortunately, your patience will be tested by peddlers offering their products around resorts. An example – we bought scallops on our first lunch in the island from a roving vendor. It was just one hundred bucks for 20 grilled scallops still in their shells. He asked where we were staying, we said Budyong. We shouldn’t have said that since he visited us 5 more times in the resort on an increasing level of annoyance. Tsk.
If you want to buy dried fish, danggit, pusit etc. go to Bantayan town proper mercado, they are cheapest there. Also, once in the market, it is better to pick from the dried fish baskets as opposed to picking pre-pack danggit and pusit.
GOING AROUND THE ISLAND
Tricycles are the popular mode of transport. Fare from Sta Fe to Bantayan town proper is P25 per head. Budyong Resort to Sta Fe Port is P20 per head trike ride. *Some resorts has a free shuttle service that can picked you up at the port, ask about it when you make your reservation.
Bicycles and motorbikes are also available for hourly or daily rental.
Habal habal motorcycles are available too.
Walking is best unless you will go to Bantayan town proper, when a tricycle or multicab ride is warranted. If you plan to explore just within Sta Fe, hit the road and walk.
*Tricycles drivers in Sta Fe are persistent. Learn to say no, and be firm about it if you don’t want to take a tricycle.
RORO BUS BANTAYAN TO CEBU and Vice Versa
There is a Ceres RORO bus that goes direct from Cebu north bus to Bantayan town proper. This bus leaves the Northbus at 3 AM, 10 AM and 12:30 PM.
If you wish to ride this bus on your way back to mainland Cebu, head to Bantayan town proper. The bus waits for passenger near the public market and town plaza. We saw the 10:30 AM, 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM bus parked on the street when we went dried fish shopping in Bantayan market. There could be more roro trips, ask the Ceres conductor for the complete list of roro bus schedule to Bantayan and vice versa.
*If you are NOT taking the roro, no worries, there are Cebu City bound buses waiting at the Hagnaya Port.
AIRPLANE TRANSPO STA FE BANTAYAN TO MACTAN AIRPORT, vice versa
For those with extra funds, you can skip the hour long ferry ride plus 3 hours bus ride by getting on-board a plane that can get you from Bantayan to Mactan airport and vice versa. Airplane Fare is P5,000 one way per pax, minimum of four persons.
SKY DIVING IN BANTAYAN
We saw an advertisement for the Sky Diving in Bantayan. How much it is? P18,000. Ugh we don’t have the money to sky dive. Maybe next time, eh?
Hotels and Resorts in Bantayan
Visitors flock to two beach areas in Sta Fe, Sugar Beach and Alice Beach. Where to stay in Bantayan Island depends on your budget, you can find luxurious accommodation options as well as simple inns and pension houses.
Sunsets that awe!
Bantayan sunsets change hues, see what I mean by visiting the Bantayan Photoblog post on Penfires.
SUGAR BEACH ACCOMMODATIONS
Budyong Beach Resort
Contact No: +63 32 4385700
Mobile No: +63 999 4949473 or +63 921 3145275
Marlins Beach Resort
Contact No: +63 32 4389093
Sunday Flower Beach Hotel and Resort
Contact No:+63 32 4389556
Mobile No: +63 933 6299249
Kota Beach Resort
Landline Nos: +63 32 4165013 or +63 32 4389042
Contact Nos: +63 917 3107791 or +63 906 3093166 or +639154320633
Ogtong Cave Resort
Contact Nos: +63 32 4380165 or +63 32 4389129
Mobile No: +63 920 8999456
Coral Blue Oriental
Contact No: +63 032 4389009
Mobile Nos: +63 917 3128243 (Globe) or +63 933 6223359 (Sun)
ALICE BEACH ACCOMMODATIONS
Anika Island Resort
Mobile Nos: +63 917 3284898 (Globe) or +63 922 8439517 (Sun)
Sta. Fe Beach Club
Contact Nos: +63 32 4389090 or +63 32 4389107
Mobile Nos: +63 918 9199101 or +63 928 7787770
St. Bernard Resort
Mobile No: +63 917 9636162
Beach Placid Resort
Contact No: +63 032 4389070
Mobile No: +63 917 7222993
Check this post for the visual reasons why Bantayan continues to capture hearts and spark wanderlust.