Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bantayan Island and Malapascua Island


Bantayan Island is situated fff-aaa-rrrr north of Cebu. Yes, I deliberately stretched the word FAR for a reason. The trip to the island was dreadful as it took forever just to get there, a gruelling four to five hours. It didn’t help that we caught a non air-conditioned bus raging on dirt road and a bus driver who honked his horn like he owned the road to himself. All you wanted for such a long bus ride was to at least get a few hours of sleep to kill time. But it was in no way possible to achieve that in the situation we were in. Just can’t. I felt like I was bathing myself in dusts and fumes. In my head, I told myself that this island had to be worth it for it was such an agonizing trip.

We arrived the port of Hagnaya, looking distressed as if we just came from a battle. I wiped my face with wet tissues, and collected all the dirt on my face. It was appalling looking at a white wet tissue turned almost black. We hopped on a ferry that will take us to Bantayan Island. This time it was better as the ferry was air-conditioned. An hour later, we arrived Bantayan Island. We were welcomed by the pristine beach and crystal clear water of Bantayan Island. What a relief, I said to myself. The arduous trip was definitely worth it after seeing the fa├žade of the Island.

Bantayan Island’s appeal to me were beyond than the white beaches that surrounded it. I loved how small the island is that you could go around the barrio just by walking. A short habal-habal ride would then take you to other towns. There’s not much to do in Bantayan Island, but the quietness, the serenity does something to you. It’s so inviting you don’t want to leave the island anymore. I even considered renting a humble house just walking distance from the beach for only 1,800 a month. We stayed for two nights in the Island. In the morning and afternoon we’d spend it just frolicking around towns and beaches. We capped each night with a couple of beers and doze off to sleep.

Bantayan Island is definitely something to consider if you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and seeking for some r and r. I’d definitely come back to this island, no doubt about it.

Malapascua Island

From Bantayan Island, we moved to Malapascua Island. It was a different route we took as we didn’t come from Cebu city. So we caught a jeepney from Bogo, a town near Hagnaya, to take us to Maya port. Just when I thought that I had the most agonizing bus trip to Bantayan Island, the jeepney ride to Maya port was yet another story. This time it was more uncomfortable as the seats of jeepneys aren’t really built for comfort. The trip took two to three hours. Worse than the other one I tell you. Thankfully, the view from the jeepney were captivating, at least it got me amused for a few seconds.

We arrived the port of Maya and hopped on an outrigger to Malapascua Island. It only took half an hour to get to the Island so it wasn’t that bad. Tina told me earlier that she’s been told that Malapascua Island can be compared to Boracay during the 80’s. I have never been to Boracay during that time so thankfully I had nothing to compare it with. When we got there, the beach didn’t seem appealing at all. Outriggers were parked too close to the shore, it seemed so packed almost no place to bask in the sun along the shore.

Thankfully the next day, with the abundance of the sun, the island redeemed itself. And shown its beauty to us.

It wasn’t that bad, althought Tina said it cannot be compared to Boracay during the 80s. At the other side of the island, the sand was blindingly white and the water was clear and blue. We only stayed for a night, so I can’t really say that I saw most parts of the island. But I heard that Malapascua Island’s reputation to foreigners was that it had a number of great dive spots. Maybe when I learn to dive, then I’d come back to Malapascua.

How to get there?

Bantayan Island- From the North terminal of Cebu, take the Ceres Bus Lines that goes straight to Hagnaya. Bus fare is from 50-80 pesos. The bus ride would approximately take four to five hours. Quite a long trip if you come to think of it. From the Hagnaya Pier, take the ferry that will bring you to Bantayan Island. Fare is 65 pesos including terminal fee (10 pesos). The boat ride will approximately take an hou

Malapascua Island-From the North terminal of Cebu, hop on the Rough Rider Bus or Ceres Bus Lines that will take you straight to the port of Maya. Bus fare is 50-80 pesos. From the port, take the boat to Malapascua Island. Boat fare is 50 pesos. Boat ride will approximately take half an hour.

Where to Stay?

Bantayan Island

Kota Beach Resort
Kota Beach Resort’s beachfront is so pristine with a white sandy beach. Cottages are for as low as 800 pesos. To book call +63 32 254-2726/ 254-5661

If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay, there’s a decent lodging house near the beach. For only 500 pesos a night, you room with a double bed, electric fan and your own toilet and bathroom. For an extra 300 pesos, you get a room with an air-con.

Lodging House- To book, call 09103712053

Sugar Beach Resort is also something to consider as it offers a long stretch of pristine white sand. Here are the rates:

I didn't get to have Sugar beach resort's number and so as it cannot be found on the net. But once arriving you can tell the habal-habal driver to take you to sugar beach resort, they have a lot of cottages so it's impossible not to get a cottage.

Malapascua Island

There are a number of resorts in Malapascua, most of them fronting the beach. Rates are from 800-2000 pesos. But while in Malapascua, we were told by Paul, the canadian guy we met in Camiguin to stay in Danos Resort. They have electricity during the night and the cottages are cheaper only 600 a night. Malapascua Island is only powered by a generator, so there are certain hours where there is no electricity.

To book call, 09156661584 or 09273817894.

Til Then,

The Lost Sputnik.


mayumi said...

Such comprehensive travel review. =)

Anonymous said...

which one's better? :)