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rbm

Saint Bernard Resort - Bantayan Island

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rbm

Resort Link

 

Recently spent three days up in Bantayan Island and loved it.

 

After riding up the west coast (little traffic) and viewing the San Remedio resort which I considered over rated and over priced I crossed over to Santa Fe on Bantayan.

 

Was not sure where to stay how ever after Pauls comments Tickety Boo was crossed off. I checked out Saint Bernard next door to Tickety Boo. I was warmly welcomed by a lovely young staff member whom showed me around. The resort consists of eight igloo type cottages set among beautiful flowers and shrubs. Between some of the cottages are lovely large bird aviaries, containing both local and imported exotic birds.

 

After choosing my cute little cottage, non air con P750, spotless clean with toilet bath and fan plus my own little terrace Mr Flemming came out to welcome me. He is wheel chair bound how ever this does nothing to diminish his enthusiasm for the resort and his beloved birds. A very entertaining knowledgeable gentleman whom will do his up most to ensure your stay is enjoyable.

 

The food by far exceeded my expectations, huge quantities and of great quality, further the price is far less than what one would pay in Santa Fe. Beers are reasonable at P45 and there is a lots of out door seating on the beach. Free wi fi available plus TV room with a well stocked library in various languages.

 

In regards to Santa Fe I was surprised to find how commercial it has become, this was my first visit for six years. There are five foreign owned restaurants all competing for business, the footpath is swamped with large black boards all displaying their best foods…Plus an adventure shop renting quad bikes and small motor cycles. The food was very expensive compared to Saint Bernardo, and quality not comparable.

 

Upon departure Mr Fleming was at my door at 8am thanking me for my stay and wishing me the best for my travels.

 

This is one of the few resorts where I have stayed that I would unconditionally recommend to anyone. To any critics out there, NO I have no interest in the place accept as a normal paying guest.

 

Super shuttle (RORO) departs Hagnaya for Santa Fe every 2 hours, cost for a medium sized bike is P500. Also small bikes can be hired on the Island for P250….P300.

 

 

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Edited by Admin
Added a link to the resort site - Paul

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GeorgeBest

Tnx rbm for your report, sounds to me like this resort is worth a visit. Are the cottages cold water only? i don't care about air-con on the beach, but I personally like to have a warm shower...

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Art

Thanks for the report do you have any pics of the beach?

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udonthani

the commercialism does have a positive side. The competition drives down prices. The price for rented motorcycles in Santa Fe is the lowest in the Philippines in a 'beach' area - as low as 200 pesos a day.

 

the food in the foreign owned places might not be too bad price-wise compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the Philippines, but the choice of Filipino food in caranderias in Santa Fe is abysmal. There isn't a single decent one. You have to go to Bantayan town 10km away, where there's a good one next to the wet market and also a sitdown pinoy restaraunt that serves better pinoy food at half the price you can get it in the resorts in Santa Fe.

 

I'll be there tomorrow if the weather doesn't deteriorate tomorrow overnight and the schedueled once-every-two-days ferry from Cadiz, Negros to Bantayan port isn't cancelled. Getting to Bantayan from Cebu island isn't the only way of getting there. Pumpboats also leave for Santa Fe from Sagay city, that little bit closer to Bantayan, as and when they fill up, if demand warrants it.

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rbm

Thanks for the report do you have any pics of the beach?

 

Sorry but did not make any pics of the beach, its nice and sandy however as is normal with most, one must swim quite a distance to reach deep water. High water comes up to almost the sea wall making entrance easy. There are showers installed right at the beach front so one need not return to the cottage for cleaning up.

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rbm

the commercialism does have a positive side. The competition drives down prices. The price for rented motorcycles in Santa Fe is the lowest in the Philippines in a 'beach' area - as low as 200 pesos a day.

 

the food in the foreign owned places might not be too bad price-wise compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the Philippines, but the choice of Filipino food in caranderias in Santa Fe is abysmal. There isn't a single decent one. You have to go to Bantayan town 10km away, where there's a good one next to the wet market and also a sitdown pinoy restaraunt that serves better pinoy food at half the price you can get it in the resorts in Santa Fe.

 

I'll be there tomorrow if the weather doesn't deteriorate tomorrow overnight and the schedueled once-every-two-days ferry from Cadiz, Negros to Bantayan port isn't cancelled. Getting to Bantayan from Cebu island isn't the only way of getting there. Pumpboats also leave for Santa Fe from Sagay city, that little bit closer to Bantayan,

as and when they fill up, if demand warrants it.

 

Normally I would agree udonthani how ever this time not. Usually one can avail of far cheaper and often better quality meals out side ones resort. In this case not, the restaurants in Santa Fe were mostly priced from P250 up, some choices much more. The one meal of fish I ate was OK but not comparable to my resort either quality or price wise. During my stay last week they had next to no business.

 

There is a local restaurant on the opposite side of the Kiwi restaurant and up a little, I had a lunch there but did not enjoy.

 

I was surprised at the size of Bantayan Town, and yes seems to be quite a good choice of caranderias there but did not appear to have foreign owned ones like in Santa Fe. The plaza was a nice spot to relax in.

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Paul

Excellent write up. Thanks a million. I will definitely give this place a try. Who knows, since it is next door to my "buddy", perhaps I will get to see him again too. :D

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Paul

I just looked and added a link to the resort. There is a fair amount of information on the site, for those interested.

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udonthani

what I find totally pathetic about food on the foreign owned resorts, more or less everywhere in the Philippines, is the price of the pinoy dishes.

 

I'm sorry but Pork Adobo and rice is NOT worth 185-200 pesos, which seems to be about the norm. A massive portion is worth only half that. And there's no way I'm going to pay 250 pesos or equivalent for some crap western food like a pork chop and few vegetables in Asia. No friggin' way. Quite a lot of the foreign owned resorts don't even bother to sell pinoy food at all, which is also pathetic.

 

in the restaruant in Bantayan just before you hit down by the bridge, just after you pass the school on the left, I've fed and watered half a dozen people, beers and everything, for less than 600 pesos.

 

they change all the time obviously, unfortunately last time I was there all the carnaderias in Santa Fe were utter gobshite, and one of them tried to nakedly overcharge me as well so I fecked them off. This means that apart from the shit kano food that I don't want to eat anyway, and the pinay gf certainly won't, there's nothing but barbecue - which quickly palls - and that appalling Burger Junction stand. Gimme a break.

 

Bantayan town has much better pinoy food than Santa Fe.

 

the weekend buffets that used to be 200 for all-you-can-eat but are now 300 are OK though. There's no way my budget could stretch to three meals a day at 300 pesos a shot including drinks. Any idea how much money 2000 pesos is in the Philippines just to feed two people and give them a few cokes and San Miguels? Forget that. It's a rip off.

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Paul

Okay. Whippy, I know you aren't always as quick as you should be. So, I will help you out here.

 

The question has nothing to do with Filipino versus foreign food. It was a write up about a foreign owned resort on Bantayan Island.

 

Let's try to stay on topic here, mate.

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udonthani

checked out this place earlier, as I'm gradually taking a look at most of the resorts on Bantayan.

 

the bungalows definitely are rather nice, value not too bad, however they lack fridges except in the very most expensive ones. Owners in Bantayan are now slowly starting to understand they will need to install if they're going to be competitive. Saint Bernards beach does command good views of the islands, unfortunately the beach is on a section where there's a lot of vegetation in the surf.

 

location is a bit cut off, and a motorbike really would be an advantage here. Luckily, it's not all that far from Moby Dick's, which rents out bikes for the cheapest rates on the island - 200 pesos a day.

 

restaraunt is way too expensive like nearly all of the foreign owned resorts I have seen in the Philippines, and unfortunately there is next to no eating options in the barangay its next to. Only very limited barbecue options. There is a private house directly opposite the resort that has a videoke machine and where you can buy large 40 and 50 peso Great Eagle and Red Horse beers. This is where I saw the New Year 2009 in incidentally, and where the owner memorably asked me if I was interested in his 14 year old daughter for marriage.

 

though the prices for food and drinks across the board are only slightly higher than average in foreign resorts, Saint Bernard's wins the prize when it comes to the most expensive Mango Shake I have ever seen in this country. It's an amazing 135 PESOS.[/i] Exactly the same drink, same volume, same everything, will cost you between 20 and 30 pesos in a Filipino joint anywhere on Bantayan island.

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rbm

checked out this place earlier, as I'm gradually taking a look at most of the resorts on Bantayan.

 

the bungalows definitely are rather nice, value not too bad, however they lack fridges except in the very most expensive ones. Owners in Bantayan are now slowly starting to understand they will need to install if they're going to be competitive. Saint Bernards beach does command good views of the islands, unfortunately the beach is on a section where there's a lot of vegetation in the surf.

 

location is a bit cut off, and a motorbike really would be an advantage here. Luckily, it's not all that far from Moby Dick's, which rents out bikes for the cheapest rates on the island - 200 pesos a day.

 

restaraunt is way too expensive like nearly all of the foreign owned resorts I have seen in the Philippines, and unfortunately there is next to no eating options in the barangay its next to. Only very limited barbecue options. There is a private house directly opposite the resort that has a videoke machine and where you can buy large 40 and 50 peso Great Eagle and Red Horse beers. This is where I saw the New Year 2009 in incidentally, and where the owner memorably asked me if I was interested in his 14 year old daughter for marriage.

 

though the prices for food and drinks across the board are only slightly higher than average in foreign resorts, Saint Bernard's wins the prize when it comes to the most expensive Mango Shake I have ever seen in this country. It's an amazing 135 PESOS.[/i] Exactly the same drink, same volume, same everything, will cost you between 20 and 30 pesos in a Filipino joint anywhere on Bantayan island.

.

my answer to Mr Whippies typical penny penching thread.

 

Saint Berardo food is far cheaper than the foreign owned food sold in Santa Fe, I know as I visted all the restaurants there. Ate in just one and it was not comparable to Bernardo. I consider the prices for a resort (foreign owned or not)to be fair and reasonable and definately not more expensive than others. The portions were large and of excellent quality.

 

I did not swim so cannot comment regarding vegetation in the water, it was though very pleasant sitting on the tables on the beach front and as always experiencing a lovely cool breeze.

 

The cottages as mentioned have no fridges, I do not consider this an issue for a few days vacation, not all of us want to buy in sari sari stores to save a peso or two and store in a fridge. The beer and mineral water were always available, cold, service was good. Of course not as cheap as a local sari sari store how ever again, not all of us are fighting to save that last peso and many like myself are willing to pay for service and quality.

 

The location I found fine, took me about 20 minutes slow walk down the beach to Santa Fe, this was not a problem. As Udonthani states motor cycle rental is available everywhere and cheap. I brought my own as prefer to use it.

 

As for the mango shakes, if true it must of really shaken Udonthani up, I sympathize for him here, unfortunately I cannot remember the price, I would agree its to much, how ever I have never seen one in any restaurant local or not for P20

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Doc Smith

I think I'll give this place a shot at some point. First I'll make a trip to Bohol though. Can anyway reiterate the travel time from Cebu City to the edge of the island you need to take the ferry across to Bantayan? RBM mentions taking the western side of the island, so now I'm wondering if it would be better to cross over the trans central highway and then go north. Any comments on that route?

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udonthani

Saint Berardo food is far cheaper than the foreign owned food sold in Santa Fe, I know as I visted all the restaurants there. Ate in just one and it was not comparable to Bernardo. I consider the prices for a resort (foreign owned or not)to be fair and reasonable and definately not more expensive than others. The portions were large and of excellent quality.

 

I've been here for three weeks and every other day I've checked out one resort or another. The food in Saint Bernard's across the board is slightly more expensive than average for Bantayan foreign resorts. I can't comment on the quality of the food, or the portions, because I've never eaten there but I have read the menu, and compared it against the dozens of other menus I've read on here. And heaven knows what they're thinking about charging 135 for a Mango Shake. Filipinos charge between 20 and 30 for exactly the same drink. That's what the pinoy sitdown barbecue places charge. Pieplies resto in Bantayan town, which together with the foreign owned Balibayan resto in Santa Fe is the best resto on the island, charges 20. 135 is just ridiculous. The average for a foreign resort is about 75 - still very high.

 

The cottages as mentioned have no fridges, I do not consider this an issue for a few days vacation

 

you're a guesthouse owner, not a customer. I'm not surprised you take the view that it's not an issue. I'd bet you like to think that isn't an issue. But a lot of the customers think different. And a lot of people don't take 'a few days vacation'. I've been here three weeks, and there's plenty of customers like me. The punters have been complaining to Bantayan guesthouse owners for years about the lack of fridges in the rooms. Equivalent guesthouses in other countries in south east Asia nearly always have fridges in the rooms, and people notice that this is one thing that stands out about the Philippines compared to its rivals. A basic amenity like a fridge is regarded as a luxury here when it isn't elsewhere. The result what you would probably regard as being 'whining' by the customers is that now some guesthouse owners like Vaughan at Kiwi Kottages have now installed fridges in the rooms for no extra charge.

 

The location I found fine, took me about 20 minutes slow walk down the beach to Santa Fe, this was not a problem.

 

I'm sorry to hear somebody stole your motorbike while you were here. Though Santa Fe people are a peaceable and friendly bunch, and crime isn't really an issue, it still isn't advisable to leave the keys in the ignition.

 

Doc, the ferry ride takes around 90 minutes. The west side of the island RBM is talking about is Cebu, not Bantayan. A much less busy road than what the bus takes up from Cebu north bus station. I went to Bantayan from Toledo once using public transport and it took me more than five hours. It probably would have been quicker to get a minivan to Cebu city and then gone up from there. I only just made the last 3.30 ferry. The bus from Cebu only takes about two and a half hours usually.

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Doc Smith

I can definitely see the value of an "Extended Stay" type resort/hotel as back in the states I would use them when staying some place for a week. Even when money isnt an issue, it really sucks to have to eat at restaurants or room service every single meal of the day. However, I'm not really sure what value just a refrigerator would add. If it didnt have a small kitchenette to allow me to buy groceries and prepare my own meal, what good is a fridge other than to keep drinks cool or a place to put your take out from a restaurant. If you cannot heat your leftovers in the fridge up easily, it seems pointless.

 

In the states, there are "extended stay" and then there are regular hotel rooms/resorts. I never saw a regular hotel room or resort in the Orlando area have a fridge unless you paid extra for it, but then again I didnt stay or even check them all out. However, when ever I stayed at a place for even just 3 days plus I would seek out a Candle Wood, or other extended stay place.

 

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Doc, the ferry ride takes around 90 minutes. The west side of the island RBM is talking about is Cebu, not Bantayan. A much less busy road than what the bus takes up from Cebu north bus station. I went to Bantayan from Toledo once using public transport and it took me more than five hours. It probably would have been quicker to get a minivan to Cebu city and then gone up from there. I only just made the last 3.30 ferry. The bus from Cebu only takes about two and a half hours usually.

 

Help me understand what you mean. I knew RBM was talking about going up the west side of Cebu and not Bantayan. You seem to say that the west side road has less traffic and that would imply it was a faster trip, yet in your next sentence you say it tool more than five hours to get there from Toledo and that you think it would have been faster to go to Cebu City and then gone up from there (presumably using the east side road). If I was to drive myself, do you think its better for me to cut across to the west side via the Transcentral Highway and then take the west side up to the ferry to Bantayan or just go up the east side. If it would only take 2.5 hours by bus to get there on the east side, that must be the fastest route from Cebu as it can take 45 min or so just to get to Balamban on the Transcentral highway

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