Archive for bantayan island

the vanguard island: madridejos

Posted in artifacts, culture, food, history, locales, nature, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by mijodo

(preceding story:

Island gatekeeper. You then haggle with your guide to bring you to your final destination – Madridejos, specifically at the Kota Park. This is where you get to see vestiges of fortifications that had been all around the island during the Spanish Era.

The island during the 17th century had several mortal and coral watchtowers and two fort settlements which were protecting other neighboring islands such as the whole Cebu Island, Leyte, Masbate and even other islands in Mindanao from seaborne Moros hence the appellation  “Bantayan” (to guard).

But you need to wait for the sunset at its coastal line to appreciate the incredible beauty of the area. There you get to make out silhouettes of people as they pick some crablets for dinner from rockstones where the seawater has receded. It can be a powerful picture of the quintessential coastal life. And the long newly constructed way to its viewdeck just enhances the drama of the beach.

Daing for pasalubong. As you end your travel, with very inexpensive daing na danggit (dried fish) just bought from the market at Bantayan Proper as homecoming treat, and as the sea changes its hue from aquamarine of the shallow waters to blue cobalt of the deep ocean while taking a ferry out of the island, then you realize that Bantayan is only a memory that will linger for many months to come.

the vanguard island: bantayan proper

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2009 by mijodo


ppppp  bantayan 139

(preceding story

Against the usual tradition.  If you just want to roam around Sta. Fe, then the padyak (foot pedalled cab) will suffice enough. But if you want to visit the two other towns,  like Bantayan Proper, then you need to hop on to a motorbike, and hold on to the driver for an easy ride. In Bantayan Proper, this is where you get extra cash when needed. There is an Allied Bank Branch which dispenses money at its ATM (automated teller machine).  Of course, even in the resort hotels of Sta. Fe, there are credit card facilities as well so pretty much, money may not be a problem in the island once it becomes depleted.

But in Bantayan Island, people don’t run out of being spiritual and being religious. It is manifested in its coral-stone edifice of the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul. At 430 years old, it is the oldest church not only in Cebu but in the whole of Visayas and Mindanao.  It is a magnificent architectural and heritage piece constructed by the Augustinian friars. Inside, stone statues abound which depict saints and their lives. More often, the wood carved statuary are used as decorations in the interiors of other Philippine Churches. There you get to see old ladies sell candles, and young men play basketball at its four quadrant plaza.

 If its church is inspiring, you may a little bewildered by its atypical Holy Week ritual. People of Bantayan Island are exempted to abstain from eating meat. In fact it is said that there is a Papal approval by LeoXII during the 19th century allowing the people to feast on chicken, beef and even Lechon even on Good Friday. Apparently, people during the Spanish colonial period had to ask the Pope for such immunity from the usual Lenten practice, as the fisherfolk  during Holy Week would skip going out to the seas to catch fish to observe Lenten Season. Although the reason may be a little convoluted, you will be just in awe at how piously people observe Good Friday as life-like statues which illustrate the passion of Christ’s crucifixion parade through the streets.

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the vanguard island: sta. fe beach

Posted in history, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2009 by mijodo

kid floats on his back at sta. fe beach

You gaze at an island with its white shores, abundant coconut fronds, and native dwelling structures, increasingly coming into view. Your heartbeat raises a bit as the ferry slows down to a halt at the pier of Sta. Fe. You anticipate how this place can rock you out with its facilities and yet relax your fragile body and soul, without much of the clutter of commercialism in other popular island destinations. Afterall, this is Bantayan Island, Cebu Province’s Northern most tip, far away from the hustle-bustle of its metropolis.

 Bantayan Island can be reached from Cebu City, with a two hour bus ride from the North Bus Terminal, although it can be accessed as well with airconditioned vans for hire, at SM Cebu. Then once you arrive at Barangay Hagnaya Port at the town of San Remigio, another one hour ferry boat is to be taken to the beaches of Sta. Fe which is among the three towns at Bantayan Island. Madridejos and Bantayan Proper are the other towns which offer inviting aspects for you to explore and encounter.

Mingle with its waters and people. There are just no two ways about it – because of the proximity of the waters and Sta. Fe town community, as you admire the fine powdery white sands of the shoreline, and the expanse of the turquoise colored waters, you also unobtrusively observe the simplicity of the people living in the area. In the morning, kids prepare for their flag ceremony, and by lunch time, they just hang out, at the sandy beachfront, not exactly cognizant of their fortunate existence in Bantayan. Some teens and adults will happily oblige you to some short conversation about life in the island.

The beachfront during the weekdays is almost deserted, save for some locals and travellers, taking a sampling of its calm sea. There are lots of dwellings to choose from. The more uppity Sta. Fe Beach Club, and Ugtong Cave Resort, pamper you as any five star hotel will do. But Ugtong Resort has a bonus, you can swim in the shallow pool inside the natural cave as its name implies. But if you are in a budget, there are good cottages at P350 per night. During the summer months, particularly during Holy Week, room rates can triple. But during lean months of June, July and August, price points take a dip. And you wish that Sta. Fe and the rest of the island will forever remain inconspicuous to marauding guests so as not disturb its tranquility and unassuming character.

For food, there are several open-air restaurants, usually in native hut motif which tempts you to savor its seafood delicacies owing to Bantayan’s rich amount of crustaceans, seashells and large fish. Have them your way – grilled, fried, adobo and kinilaw (raw food, usually fish, soaked in vinegar). You may even want to partake its famous rock lobster for about P160 pesos a piece. Mingle with the owners, some from foreign lands and are lucky enough to have beautiful native ladies for their wives.  Then develop deep friendships with travelers alike while having such meals. Afterall, the island can be intimate enough – balmy nights, secluded place, and in many instances, very few guests.

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menu for living the life at bantayan island

Posted in artifacts, food, lifestyle, locales, nature, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by mijodo

deliciously grilled fresh scallops

Puso (4 pcs) – P8.00

Petso (2) – P50.00

Chorizo (2) – P30.00

80z Pepsi (3) – 30.00

Total – P118.00

Yups, that’s what the  total bill is  for a late lunch at the dining area of Aling Maribel near the market at Bantayan proper.  And that is good for two people. Amazingly, not bad.

The food stalls there serve different grilled seafood and rice packed inside coconut palm leaves (puso).

Bantayan is the northern most island of Cebu. And there are three municipalities which qualities are different from each other. Sta. Fe has the powdery white sand beaches to boast about.  Bantayan proper has its 430 year old church that truly impresses. And Madridejos has the magnificent sunset view to wow its guests. 

Bantayan Island is a three hour trip from the Metropolis of Cebu. Take a Ceres bus at the North Bus Terminal or even the faster van for hire at SM Cebu to the wharf of Hagnaya. Then ride a ferry towards the port of Sta. Fe. Then you may need some help for you to explore Bantayan’s three towns. Just look for Don-don and Danny to assist you as they have their padyaks (foot pedalled cab) and motorcycle. Just call them at this number 0907-6445218. 

And since Bantayan Island has access to the freshest, mouthwatering seafood – crustaceans, shells and fish alike, particularly in this unassuming grillery, Arjaymay near the beaches of Sta. Fe. The owners can even cook up the famous rock lobster at P160 pesos per serving.

And of course, don’t forget to buy your pasalubong afterall, this is where a significant portion of dried seafood of Cebu come from. There is danggit, and there is danggit unsalted for those health conscious. Just get such just before you go on board the ferry back to Cebu city.

There is much more in living life at Bantayan. And definitely there is much more to talk about in the coming posting as well about the three towns of the island of Bantayan.