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SkyMan

Bantayan Island Trip (Kota Beach Resort) Report

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Finally got a chance to get a vacation in since friends were visiting from the US and went to Bantayan for the weekend. We road in a van to Hagnaya and one of the retreads blew out a few Kms from the port. Put the spare on which was pretty poor but got us there. Parked in some one's fenced yard for p100/day. Then caught the ferry over to Bantayan. Don't remember the ferry cost but it wasn't much, maybe p200 each. I think it was about an hour ride. And they run every hour or so.

 

Took a trike to the resort. The trikes there are like tuktuks where the motorcycle is in the middle and the cab is built around it. We had 7 adults and 1 4 year old in one with bags. Cost to the resort was p20 per person. For smaller groups, pedal trikes are also about the same price. And it's about 10 blocks if you know the way and don't mind walking to save a few pesos. The resort was pretty nice, owned by a pinoy named Rey who is on hand all day. Slow wifi is available in the resto and bar areas. Lots of pedal trikes hang around the gate to take you wherever but the good restos and market area are only three blocks away. p20 if you ride. There is also a dealer guy who hangs around the gate. He arranged us scooters for p300 per day and a banka to take us to virgin island for a picnic for p1000. I think he can also get mask and snorkels for p50.

 

The beach is very nice and lots of palm and other trees for shade. There's also a sand bar running across the front which makes a nice pool between the beach and the open ocean. The depth of the pool depends on the tide but it's somewhat shallow and stays warm. I'm told the sand bar moves around but it seems to be in all the photos I've seen.

 

2929-image.jpg

 

Dinner that night at the Blue Ice. Good food, decent prices, some of the worst and slowest service I've encountered. Stayed at the bar a bit afterwards and it was ok after the owner left and the music improved.

 

There are quite a few cottages and row houses. Prices range due to size, A/C or fan, and closeness to the beach. The first night we stayed in a fan room away (but not far) from the beach for p900. Nice enough and we didn't spend much time in the room anyway. Had a small double and a single bed. About 5AM the nearby chapel started playing music on bells. I heard it, enjoyed it some and went back to sleep. My friend from Texas couldn't get to sleep and was agitated about it. Depends on your time in the Rp I guess.

 

Next morning the scooters were there and we road in to the resto area to get breakfast because the resort was kind of pricey. There was a burger stand there and some of the things I would want well 'out of stock, sir.' Be warned their idea of 'cheese' is a mix of ketchup and mayo. I had 2 of the egg and bacon sandwiches (no cheese please) and took them next door to the bakery for shade and coffee. Then we went across the street to the market and bought fish, chicken, drinks, ice, snacks, uling and returned to the resort and the waiting banka. An hour and a half or so we arrived at Virgin Island which was nice and soft sand, much of it like ashtray sand. The For snorkeling you had to go out a good ways to get to interesting stuff but quite a few large schools of smaller fish and some corals. When we went about 4 years ago there was nothing on the island except what you brought yourself but now they have drinks and snacks and a nice CR. They have a good selection of cottages price by location and size. We got one well the right side which was plenty large enough for us and well away from most other people for p300. The boatmen cooked and we had a great time.

 

That evening we road to the city of Bantayan to see what was there. Not much. We did check out the stained glass in a church built in 1580 then rode back. Dinner that night was not at the Blue Ice but across from it at a nice place called the Cafe De Mare. Service was really excellent. Talked to the owner who said her Italian husband cooked and they had a pinoy for the pinoy food. Very good thin crust pizza and other dishes, price reasonable too.

 

Second night was in an A/C room on the other side of the resort because the fans rooms were already booked. A little larger room and larger CR. Bed had springs and very bouncy getting on it but comfortable enough.

 

My wife and I left the next morning while our friends stayed another night. Breakfast at the Cafe De Mare. I has a ham & cheese omelet for p120 and she had a pinoy breakfast. With coffees etc, I think p400 all. Took the newer A/C Cirres bus back for I think p200 each. No problems.

Edited by SkyMan
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Good info, thanks.

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Lots of info , but you left off  if you had a good time or  not ,  or  if you think the  journey was worth it.      Life's a Beach !  

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Lots of info , but you left off  if you had a good time or  not ,  or  if you think the  journey was worth it.      Life's a Beach !

Yes, a very good time. Would have been good if just the two of us but it was fun having good friends along too. I'm figuring the 2 of us will go again by ourselves fairly soon. Part of the reason we didn't go longer was because it was the first time our caretaker took care of our dogs including feeding. He did fine and soon our puppy will be a year old and they'll all eat the same so it will be even easier. I'm now ok with leaving for a week or so which we may do in September. Edited by SkyMan
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I have stayed at the Budyong Resort right across the street on the same part of the beach.  That is really a nice beach right there.  As I recall I spent around P350 for a fan cottage on the beach, but that was years ago and my then gf was a local who negotiated the price.  Higher now, I'm sure.  I like Bantayan but it's only good for about 2 nights before you run out of places to eat and things to do.  Good place to relax, as if I needed to be more relaxed!

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You mention snorkeling, but is there any scuba there?

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its amazing how beautiful it is at certain times of the year. If you go in the windy & rainy season ( around August) it can be a very different place, the beaches are fulled with seaweed and the water is murky. Also be careful around this time of year for Holy week, there are discos going 24/4 for several weeks in many resorts, can do your head in, not to mention your ears ;)

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You mention snorkeling, but is there any scuba there?

I don't think there is much for SCUBA there.  Didn't notice any dive shops.  I think the only draw for diving up there is Malapascua and that's just to dive with the sharks.

 

Forgot to mention the visit from a friend we had the second night there.

 

med_gallery_940_819_103869.jpg

Biggest hermit crab I've ever seen.

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Took the newer A/C Cirres bus back for I think p200 each. No problems.

200 bus fare back to Cebu from Hagnaya? That is huge. The fare can fluctuate and has been as low as 50 for me when there is competition and they are having a bit of a price war, can be 150 I think that is what I paid last time, but I would expect about 100 usually. However these are mostly good buses now compared to the awful ones that predominately used to do it, For 8 people I would have looked for 2 car taxis at 1000 each rather than pay 1600 on the bus. However there might not be 2 taxis waiting for the ferry. Though there will always be at least one.

 

ferry fare can also fluctuate, they can have price wars with that too, like the buses. At one time, the ferry was actually free with one of the companies taking passengers over for nothing at one point. 200 is not so bad for the ferry, though I think it was 175 last time I went, up from the usual 135 that had been the price for a while I had got used to. Basically ferries, should be about 100 an hour these days. Air con buses, between 1 peso and 1.5 pesos per km (Hagnaya-Cebu is about 100 km). Taxis going away from cities, 20 pesos per km. Coming back, roughly half that.

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It's good everything worked out fine.

I visited a few years ago and the brownouts drove me off.

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