Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bantayan Island, Cebu

I had a terrific time in Bohol. I really saw a lot in such a short period of time. But because time was of the essence, we had to leave. Our next stop was to Cebu, an island just west of Bohol and easily reachable by ferry.

But more specifically we were traveling to Bantayan, an island that’s still politically a part of the province of Cebu but located way-over-yonder off the northwestern tip of Cebu Island. But first we met up with Jason in Cebu City, the capital of Cebu, who had flown here the night before in order to join us to Bantayan.

To reach Bantayan Island we took a five-hour long bus ride for 75 PHP ($1.75 USD) and a one-hour long ferry ride for 125 PHP ($3 USD). There was a lot of pretty scenery from Cebu City to the tiny fishing wharf from where we boarded the ferry to Bantayan. The island of Cebu is a long narrow island with varying terrain.

For the first few hours of our bus ride we drove along the island's eastern coastline, then about halfway through we swerved through rural towns and rolling hills. This is why I rarely read on buses, because I don't want to miss out on all the beautiful scenery along the way. Because the journey, at least from what I've experienced during my travels, is likely to be almost as beautiful as the destination. I even saw a few waterfalls which, if I'd been reading, I would've easily missed.

Once our ferry arrived in Bantayan I experienced one of the most explosive solicitations from touts that I’ve ever encountered during my travels. And what made matters worse, was that everyone from our ferry had boarded a jeepney heading to the Bantayan town proper, which left the three of us at the mercy of what appeared to be hundreds of money-hungry pedicab drivers. We were suddenly surrounded by a large crowd of men hollering and screaming at the top of their lungs.

Their solicitation was suffocating.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Jason said, feeling overwhelmed. “This is mayhem!”

We eventually chose two pedicap drivers from the crowd to take us to our accommodation. It was such a relief to escape the manic crowds of the touts.

The name of our accommodation was Budyong Resort – and it was overpriced, of course. Thank goodness there were three of us to split the cost. But we did manage to get them to lower the price, somewhat. Something is better than nothing, I guess – at least for me it is.

The following day I spoke to a middle-aged woman from France who’d traveled to eighty-one countries. I asked her if she’d been to Pai, Thailand as it has a special place in my heart, but she said that she hadn’t. And when I began telling her about it and why she should go, a man on a motorbike approached us. I stopped in mid-sentence after recognizing who he was.

“No way!” I shouted.

It was an old hippie guy with whom I had befriended in… get this, Pai! What are the chances, ey? And he said that he was going to return to Pai in a few months. I've spoken about Pai, Thailand to Sheila and Jason before, so it was nice to have them actually meet someone with whom I've met while visiting there.

Good ol’ Pai.

Later, we hired a boatman and went snorkeling at Virgin Island. Many of these boatmen have sons in which they begin training at an early age, prepping them for their inevitable future. For many people in this region of the Philippines there aren't many other options, I suppose. And if the children didn't follow in their father's footsteps it would sort of render them unemployable.

I had a really nice time snorkeling at Virgin Island. The water clarity was quite visible and I was able to see pretty coral, fish, and large starfishes.

After much debate I decided to return to Manila with Sheila, opting out of traveling with Jason for a few days as I had some things I needed to do in Manila.

It was another successful trip with Sheila. I had a blast in Bohol and Cebu.



  1. whoa, i know this dude :)

    i stayed in the same guesthouse i think

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