The three hour drive all the way to the south from the main island of Cebu was okay-ish.
Apart from driving 10 – 15 km/h somewhere between Mandaue, Liloan and Danao, we did not really get stuck anywhere. To those who has never been to the Philippines, but is planning on visiting the country, please do! But I warn you, do not expect the roads to be like in Europe, where you can drive 120 km/h on the highway or more if you use the autobahn. During this trip, the maximum that my dad drove was 70 km/h and he’s not a modern day driver!
Golden tip: If you do roadtrips around the country, either you rent a car, by taxi or bus, because it doesn’t matter, please be reminded to CARRY YOUR OWN TOILET PAPER along the way! Toilet papers are hard to find in public toilets!
Request at your hotel if it is possible to pack some bread along the way if you don’t trust buying food on the sidewalk. We did this and JPark Resort Island Resort and Waterpark in Lapu-lapu City packed us a few sorted bread for the kids to eat.
There are 2 different boats that will take you to the island of Bantayan and they depart every hour from Hagnaya port to Santa Fe simultaneously almost every hour. I was glad we had our own vehicle to drive around the island. We could leave whenever we want and go wherever we want. However, it is also possible to contact the hotel where you are staying to have you fetched from the port of Santa Fe, but this can be pricy. You can also take the local tricycle from the port to bring you to your hotel.
We stayed at Kota Beach or Camp Sawi as it is better known now by the locals of Santa Fe because they filmed the movie Camp Sawi in that location. We stayed at their beach front cottage because their beach front suite was already occupied. For PHP 3400.00 + PHP 300.00 for an extra mattress (+/- €60 – 65) a night with breakfast included, we get to see the beach from our balcony. A total sense of relaxation for us! For reality check, the photos of their room accommodations look really great, but don’t be deceived by it! The bathroom is really small and we had a broken shower window! There is a sliding door that connects to the bathroom, but ours did not close properly and the wall that separates the bathroom and our room was broken. There is a built-in cabinet just in front of the main door and a fridge came in handy for us. With two adults, a 9 year old school kid and a baby, the room fitted us just fine. Despite of the downsides, we will not hesitate in staying at Kota Beach again whenever we come visit our friends in Bantayan island.
The island is crowded with foreigners, so don’t worry about where to get your dinner. In the main town, there are a lot of restaurants owned mostly by expats, so if you want taco or quesadillas for dinner? Not a problem!
What to do in Bantayan? Hop from nearby islet to the other that surrounds the island. Swim in the white sandy beaches, free dive or scuba dive if you know how, jump off a cliff if you dare or be like us, just admire nature’s beauty from the beach because neither my hubby nor I know how to swim! You can also skydive in Bantayan island but that will cost one a fortune. I believe my friend mentioned it costs around $500 per jump.