Apr 6, 2014

Bantayan Island - Cebu's Hidden Paradise

Visayas is blessed with many collection of beautiful islands and beaches and one of them is Bantayan Island. Perfect for thrill seekers and vacationers.
Last January 2013 , we took a short flight from Davao City to the "Queen City of the South", Cebu City. Every third week of January, devotees, tourist alike and us  flock to Cebu for Sinulog Festival. Our visit to Cebu this year was the most unforgettable travel experience.

Three days before Sinulog's grand parade, we decided to visit Bantayan Island located north of Cebu. We arrived in Cebu past 3 pm already and the ferry from Hagnaya to Bantayan island runs from 5am to 5:30pm only. Basically we can't make it. The first bus to Hagnaya port ( Jump off point to Bantayan Island) is at 2 am so we have plenty of hours to spare before making our way to the North Bus Terminal. 

Sta Fe. Beach

Sta. Fe Bantayan Island

Around 10 am we took a jeepney to the North Bus Terminal at Subangdaku, Mandaue City. The bus terminal have maintenance issues and hopefully the DOT or local government will make repairs in the future to attract tourist. We patiently waited for the sleeping driver and four hours later we were off to Hagnaya. The Ceres bus fare cost around Php 150 for non-ac and Php 165 aircon  for the three hour journey. We slept for the whole trip and woke up just before reaching Hagnaya port. We got off the bus and walk a few meters to the ticketing booth inside the port. There were already a lot of people inside waiting for the ferry and most of them were already here since yesterday because the coast guard cancelled the ferry service because of adverse sea conditions. Fortunately, the coastguard gave clearance for one vessel only. My hubby squeeze his way in to purchase ferry tickets. The  ticket cost around Php 170.00 and terminal fee of Php 10.00.


Bantayan Island had been exempted from abstaining from eating meat during holy week.

Friendly locals aboard a fishing boat

One hour later, we arrived in Sta. Fe.We took a short pedicab ride to Yooneks Beach Resort in Sta. Fe. The room is spacious  with all the basic amenities. The room rates are not that bad, however we have to climb steps from the pathway to our room. 

Our welcome drinks at Yoonek's Bar.

Bantayan took the  no. 5 spot on  Cnn's best top 10 Philippines best beaches and islands. 

The turquoise waters of Bantayan gently lap the soft golden sands that enticingly await.

Happy kids playing along the shores of Santa Fe
The filipino spirit of "Bayanihan" 

Pretty soon though it started to drizzle, and within minutes it evolved into a heavy rain. Thank god the our resort is just meters away from the beach. 

Sto. Nino Parish Church

Bantayan isn't the easiest island to get to, but it's well worth making the effort. I would not recommend this place if you're looking for beach activities, but if you're looking for serenity, paradise and pure relaxation then this is the place for you.

Tuklasera Tips

Cebu North Bus Terminal Schedule: 2:00 am 5:30 am, 6:30am, 7:30am, 8am, 8:30am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12noon, 1pm (note these times are only estimates; they do change, so plan to wing it if your bus has left earlier/later than is listed here).

Cebu North Bus Terminal is located at Subangdaku, Mandaue City. The bus routes include Bogo, Daanbantayan, Maya, Medellin, San Remigio, and Hagnaya, among others. The mini-buses ply the towns of Sogod and Borbon.
  Rundown of Expenses

Accommodation - Php 1200 / day
Jeepney to North Bus Terminal - Php 10.00 / pax
Bus (Cebu to Hagnaya) - Php 165.00
Ferry ride to Sta. Fe -  Php 170 + terminal fee Php 10.00
Food - P500.00 / pax / day


  1. Bantayan is awesome. Hopefully they will be able to recover from the wrath of typhoon Yolanda. I heard it was badly damaged. Here's the guide that I used to visit bantayan. Baka makatulong sa ibang byahero. :)

  2. Thank you for this post! :) Very helpful, I am still having a hard time to decide where to stay in Bantayan (budget constraint)! Gab of www.taragumala.blogpsot.com

  3. thank you for the information, your information was really use full. But I had really bad experience. i rent a scooter in Cebu, http://ceburentalmotorbike.wix.com/ceburentalmotorbike. i had really fun driving scooter all the way from cebu to bantayan. when i arrive to the port, they charge me 580 paso for my scooter to bring with me. it was fine i paid. then they charge me CPI fee 45 i paid then 20 paso terminal i paid. then they ask me 170 to put my scooter on the farre which i refuse. i ask why are you charging they said we will put your scooter on farry. i said i can do it my self. and i did it. it was easy drive on the farry. we had alot argu but i did not pay. same thing happens when i arrive in bantayan. they ask again to pay. we had big arrgue and i said why should i pay i took my bike by my self. so becare full with this . they will just try to make money out of you, take the roro if you have scooter with you .

    1. Hi, Arth Rose. I've read your comment and I feel bad that you've experienced this. It shouldn't be that way. I'm planning to bring the motorbike I rented to Bantayan Island too, and I'm afraid that they might ask several fees from me. Would you know if it is still ongoing? Also, I checked the website where you rented your scooter. Looks good! I've rented mine from Book2wheel.com . You might want to consider this one too in your future travels. It does not restrict you in Cebu only, but also to other places like: Bohol, Dumaguete, and etc. Check the website yourself and see what I'm talking about.

  4. hi, do we need to check in at any resort before we could at the beach? what if we're staying at cebu city and decide to just swim at the beach?

  5. This looks great. Thanks for this amazing blog on the hidden paradise of Bantayan Island. Thanks for this.


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