Bantayan Island sits at the northern part of Cebu and while the south is known for extreme adventures, Bantayan offers a place to find yourself and packs a great set of activities both for the thrill seeker and laidback traveler. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of destination, but to make it easier to decide on what you want to go for, here are 10 THINGS TO DO IN THE STRIKING ISLAND OF BANTAYAN.
DISCOVER PARADISE IN SANDIRA BEACH
Formerly known as Paradise Beach, this secluded spot very well deserves the title. A paradise unfolds as you walk on the pathway overlooking the beach.Fine white sand, gradient blue waters and the perfect angle of the sun for that much needed beach tan and a sweet quiet escapade. Subtle waves, quiet shoreline, a book, a fresh coconut and maybe some light music, and you’re well off to your own little paradise indeed.
VISIT CAMP SAWI AND CAMP WAGI
Ah yes, Bantayan is home to Camp Sawi. However, that famous arc is not located in a resort but in a stunning mangrove eco park that gives you a walkthrough from Camp Sawi to Camp Wagi, no really, there is an arc by the end of the walk way that says “Camp Wagi”. This doesn’t only add a distinctive touch to the mangrove park, but it somewhat makes your walk in the park a bit more meaningful.
VISIT A BUTTERFLY GARDEN
If you’re a fan of these colorful creatures then you’re in for a treat! The butterflies in the garden roam freely, giving the visitors a much closer encounter and a more interactive experience.
MAKE YOUR OWN LOCAL BAMBOO STRAWS
Home of the Bantayan Bamboo Innovation Workshop, you’ll see Bantayan Bamboo straws being sold in local restaurants and cafes in sets, but in case you want to have your name or maybe a logo engraved, this is the place to go to! Witness how these eco-friendly bamboo straws are made from start to finish and get to customize your own. Perfect take away from the trip or pasalubong for your loved ones and friends.
BUY 3KGS OF SCALLOPS FOR PHP 100*
The local fish market scene in Bantayan is an experience you shouldn’t miss! At about 5:30-6:00 am, fishermen bring in their fresh catch in the Baigad Seafood Market — which is a small compound in the village.
They have a unique market practice where the fishermen bring in their catch to the market and the person in charge will decide on the pricing per kilo, it’s not a full-blown fish market, so don’t expect hundreds of vendors ready to make a sale.
It’s buckets of fish and shellfish mixed together and the buyers can rummage through the batch to find what they want. Since the market caters directly from fishermen to consumers, this is where you’ll find the cheapest catch indeed. PHP 100 for 3KGS of scallops? Yes please!
*price varies per season — still cheap though!
LOUNGE IN THE SANDBAR OF KOTA BEACH
Kota Beach is perfect for when you want to go for a swim, get your tan on and just sit on the sandbar to wait for the sunset.
GO SNORKELING AND ISLAND HOPPING
The crystal-clear water of Bantayan Island is too good to resist! It’s home to colorful marine life, so make sure you have your snorkeling gear ready and head to Hilantagaan Marine Sanctuary and Virgin Island for a day above and under the sea.
GO CLIFF JUMPING AT VIRGIN ISLAND
At the back of the island is the famous cliff jumping point, so it’s time to bring a little excitement to this trip. Go for the 30ft jump!
WATCH THE SUNSET AND CLIFF JUMP AT THE RUINS
The ruins is just one of the go-to sunset spots on the island, but what makes it more interesting is the raw cliff jump point!
10. GO ON A FOOD TRIP AT MJ SQUARE AND HUNT FOR STREET-SIDE SIOMAI!Surprisingly, Bantayan Island is home not just to fresh (and cheap) seafood but a variety of international cuisines as well. Enjoy Mexican (go for Bantayan Burrito Company), Greek, Italian food to your liking or craving, but also take time to walk on the streets of the town a bit and experience the local street food scene. Our favorite street find would have to be the Siomai! Find it and try it, trust us, it’s the cheap thrill you didn’t know you needed to complete this trip.
After witnessing the beauty of Bantayan Island, it’s with no doubt one of the most stunning islands across the country.