It’s been almost seven months after my trip to Cebu and I will try to recollect all that happened on my birthday trip. It was a 5-day vacation and a quick break from work. The main reason why I wanted to visit Cebu was for the cliff jumping in Malapascua Island. This has been on my bucketlist ever since I started backpacking. I even wrote a blog entry about it.
So I flew to Cebu last year, August 15 to be exact. There was a tropical depression during that time but Cebu has cloudy to sunny weather during my whole stay.
The beach is all mine.
A perfect place to just sit back and relax. Right?
Here’s What Happened
“What happens in Bantayan should not stay in Bantayan.” It is meant to be shared. An awesome experience in a paradise like this place should not be kept to oneself. My original plan was to visit Malapascua, Oslob and Camotes. But due to inclement weather condition and from studying the geographical location of the above supposed destinations, I decided to take the plan B. I made a few Google search and wallah! I found myself in the beautiful island of Bantayan. Nope. I did not just appear in that island out of nowhere. I took a four hour bus ride from Cebu proper to Bogo City. I was asleep the whole travel time (as always). I took the RoRo going to Bantayan. It was noon and the sun was up when the vessel landed in the island. I have no idea where to go. I remember that I did the same thing during my first time in Boracay. I do not know where to go. I do not know what to tell the habal-habal(motorcycle) driver when he asked me where I am staying. I asked him instead if he can recommend a cheap place to stay in. He brought me to a resort near the beach. It was a decent resort for its cheap price and its prime location. Located at the heart of Sta. Fe, Bantayan. Well, it was a low season anyway and only a few visitors are in there.
A peaceful haven where you can just be lazy all day and do nothing.
What Made Me Love Bantayan?
I settled in and took a short nap then headed to the town proper. Right after my lunch, a man approached me and asked if I would want to rent a motorcycle. I have never ever drove a motorcycle in my entire life. Yes, I have rode it but have not tried driving it. I know how to ride a bike. I can say that I am good at balancing but I do not know how to operate it. At the back of my head, I would love to try driving a motorcycle. I tried haggling and convincing the owner until we reached into an agreement. I was a bit nervous at first. I asked for a few things on how his motorcycle works. He said that the motorbike is automatic and where the brakes are and how to operate it. For Php300, I rented the motorbike for 24 hours. I brought my camera with me and I roamed the whole Bantayan Island the whole day.
What made this trip very meaningful, aside from the fact that it was my first time to drive a motorbike and that I don’t have a driver’s license, I get to appreciate the whole place in a different way. It tested my ability to be spontaneous. It took me into a sudden immersion with the locals unexpectedly. Taught me so many things that I never thought would occur during this whole trip.
A dilapidated boat at the Fisherman’s Wharf.
Barrio Fiesta. Dinner And Drinking Session With An Assassin.
I was lucky enough that on my first night in the island, one of the barangays in Sta. Fe was celebrating their annual fiesta. I was invited by the resort’s care taker to attend their fiesta. We went to his friend’s house. He introduced me to him and his family. A little chit-chat and a few shots. I learned that he used to work as a bodyguard in my hometown. It was our common ground. We then became instant friends and he started telling stories of his experience as an assassin. To be honest, I had a little heart attack hearing his stories. I pretended to be in awe. But after a few more stories and how his life was changed when he settled in Bantayan, I feel secured. I was relieve and felt secured. Sparkle (the nickname of our host) and his family were very accommodating. The food prepared by his wife was scrumptious. The booze was flowing. And we went back to the resort I was staying full and very satisfied. I did not spend anything on that night out. Another experience that I will never forget. One of the things I love about backpacking solo. Random people with amazing stories and a life-changing experience with them.
A boy’s early morning dip with his father.
Roaming The Whole Bantayan Island (Except for the town of Madredejos)
I went to a few spots in Bantayan. I was able to visit the Ogtong Cave, the mini-zoo of Ogtong Beach Resort, the bakawans/mangroves, the Bantayan town proper, Bantayan Nature Park and the Bantayan Fisherman’s Wharf. Everything became possible through riding a motorbike. Before I left Bantayan, my ride gave me a souvenir. Yes, I fell on the bike while trying to maneuver it. I got a few scratches but nothing really serious happened.
So, if you happen to visit this place in the near future, I recommend you try renting a motorbike to explore the island. But don’t forget to apply some sunblocks, put your sunnies on, wear a rash guard or warmer and a hat. Don’t forget to take some snapshots.