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When people asked where I was going next, I told them Bantayan, then usually got a question about where that is or what there is to do there. I had no idea about either of those things. I just heard it was nice so I figured I would give it a shot.
I had a vague idea of what there was to do there, but it didn’t help much. I mean, I barely knew how to get there. I was just hoping what I read was right and went for it. I’ll start with that.
How to get to Bantayan from Malapascua
Getting to Bantayan from Malapascua was a shot in the dark for me. Good news though, I made it! First, you go out to the beach on Malapascua with your backpack and the boat drivers will flock to you. They will take you to Maya where you will get on a bus and tell them you need to go to Bogo.
I was afraid I was going to miss my stop, but the bus will go to the Bogo terminal, so you don’t need to pay attention for a specific stop. Just tell the ticket guy where you need to go and they will most likely tell you when to get off. Then you wait for a bus to Hagnaya Port. It’s highly likely that people at the Bogo terminal will be asking where you’re going and tell you which bus to get on, which is super helpful. When in doubt, ask the drivers.
Next stop Hagnaya! This is where you will get on the ferry to take you to Bantayan. Just follow the flow of people, I think that’s where everyone on that bus was going. It leaves every couple of hours, but I couldn’t say which hours for sure. Once you make it to Bantayan, there will be plenty of tricycle drivers waiting to take you to your final destination. It’s pretty easy!
How to get to Bantayan from Cebu City
To get there from Cebu City, go to the North bus terminal and get on a bus to Maya. This bus will also stop in Bogo, that’s where you should get off, and follow the directions above from there. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy! Now onto the good stuff, what to do once you finally get there.
What to do on Bantayan
While Bantayan may not seem like the epicenter of activity, there are actually quite a few things to do on Bantayan from checking out caves to skydiving, there is even quite a bit of variety.
Relax on the beach
I’ll start with the obvious. Relax on the beach I thought only existed in dreams. It’s surprisingly empty, super pretty, and extremely spacious. There may not be a ton of places to get food and drinks right on the beach, but Yooneek was perfect for what we were looking for with food, drinks, and lots of beach chairs.
Walk up and down the beach
Admire the boats and wander up and down the beach. It’s quite enjoyable and a nice way to move around but still relax. If that even makes sense. If it doesn’t, I would still recommend doing it, even just for a little bit. I went out walking around my first morning there between10 and 11 and I had the entire beach to myself. Like, the whole thing. Even later in the day, you won’t be running into that many people.
Enjoy a fresh mango juice
Drink some delicious fresh mango juice. This is pretty self-explanatory. My favorites were at Yooneek, Cafe del Mar, and Giordanos. Some days I would have two or three mango juices and end up not eating until night. Smart? Probably not. Delicious? Yes.
Go to Ogtong Cave (or stay at the Ogtong Cave Resort)
To relax in the cave with a freshwater pool at the bottom, you’ll have to head to the Ogtong Cave Resort. This is one of the few non-beach things to do on Bantayan and it can be done for $3 or less! It’s a nice way to relax out of the sun for an hour in the afternoon. If you’re looking for a more budget option, I’d recommend Casa Isabel. That’s where I stayed and really enjoyed it. Plus, it’s like, a five-minute walk to the beach.
Try Skydiving Cebu
This is pretty much an exact conversation I had one night in MJ Square:
Skydiver: Hey, would you ever be interested in skydiving?
Me: Not even a little bit, but thanks!
While it may not be my cup of tea, for you adrenaline junkies, this would be a great place to try skydiving. I can imagine the view of the islands from above is pretty much the best.
Rent a scooter and see the island
If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a scooter and explore the island. It’s not too expensive, about 300 PHP a day. We set out with a map, but it didn’t help us at all. Our plan was to go to Old Bantayan then the Nature Park Resort, but we ended up doing that backwards, so it still worked out. Both ways the scenery was quite enjoyable.
Visit the Omagieca Mangrove Garden
To get here, you’ll probably need to rent a scooter. You may be able to take a Jeepney, but I’m not sure if they go there, so I’d just ask a driver. This is a great place to relax and unwind while you walk along a bamboo pathway among a mangrove forest. I didn’t know this existed until now, two years after I went, but if (or when) I go back, I would definitely check this out, and it’s only 50 Pesos.
Go island hopping
Last but not least, do a little island hopping. I’m not 100% where to find tours, but I would ask at my hotel first to see what they had to say. I know I saw a few groups leaving and they usually went to Virgin Island, but I’m not sure where else.
Wander the market in Old Bantayan
While you’re in Old Bantayan, make sure you wander through the market. It’s full of knick-knacks and there is also a food/produce section. I can’t remember exactly what kind of food they had, but I did enjoy walking through and looking at everything. I love markets, though.
Experience Bantayan Island nightlife in MJ Square
After you fill your days with all of these highly stressful (not even a little bit) activities, head to MJ Square in Santa Fe to play some pool and relax with a drink or two. If you’re facing the square, there’s a hip looking Mexican place in the back left corner, eat there! I can’t remember what it’s called, but it was soooo good!
Now that you know all of these awesome things to do in Bantayan, make sure you spend a few days here so you can have time to do all of it. Just writing all of this again is making me miss it and has me dreaming of going back.
Have you been to Bantayan? What did you do there? Do you want to go?