Bantayan Island is undoubtedly one of the best vacation spot in the Philippines. Its signature white sand beaches and serene environment became the reason why people loved visiting it, as the place itself epitomizes the “dream vacation spot”, which is ultimate destination for relaxation and fun.
Aside from its awesome “scenery”, Bantayan Island is also surrounded by very hospitable people; and guess what? They seem to offer the best food have the best cooks, as they always offer the most delish seafood in the country. However, I am pretty much convinced that what made their food offerings so delectable is for a fact that the ingredients they’ve been using were all fresh. Hence, I could not deny that their local food specialties are indeed notable and something you would long to try again.
Just a random photo of chili variants. These are fresh from the farm. Era’s farm lot.
The island is not new to me, since it has been a tradition to visit there whenever my uncle (my aunt’s husband) goes back to his hometown from his long trip as a seaman. My uncle was a “lumad” from Sta.Fe and indeed spent most of his childhood there until he left for Cebu during his teens. However, despite of what he have become today, he never forgets to look back and visit his family from time to time, and so this became the opportunity for the whole family to go with him and visit the island. And just this last April, we once again visited there.
When we visited there, it was at its peak as it was the holy week and surely its the Pinoy tradition to visit the island to unwind, reflect or simply just relax and enjoy. But alas! We struggled to book our hotel reservation as there are many people who already reserved before us, making us left behind and settling for the “unpreferred” resort. Just so you know, whenever we visit Bantayan Island, we always stay in one of the best beach resort in Bantayan, the Sta.Fe Beach Club. If you go visit the island, I suggest you try check-in there. They have awesome cottages or rooms and as well as the services in there totally rocks! Ha! Not to mention their food services too! Just so I realized that they were actually affiliated with Majestic Restaurant, no wonder their food menus are somewhat similar to Majestic! And the taste too! Aah can’t deny it! 🙂
Me and my Aunt posing in front of Sta.Fe Beach Club. Circa 2012.
Anyways, despite the circumstances, it did not stop me from enjoying the view and having much fun.
Find me? LOL
We used to eat in local restaurants, but recently, we’ve been hanging a lot more within my uncle’s humble abode, since his sister cooked for us. And guess what? Her sister made the best Calamari, ever! Like literally! Her Calamari’s the best one I have tasted so far! 😀 Even her tempura is the beast! 😀
All in all, their family are certainly filled with awesome cooks as each and every one of them just makes the best dishes of their own style! 😀 Oh, not to mention that my uncle’s dad happens to be famous in Bantayan Island as the maker of the best putong balanghoy (steamed cassava cake). Its signature heart shaped cassava cake has been one of the tourist’s favorite pasalubong or souvenir. Their puto became so famous that it even got featured in Drew Arellano’s TV sitcom, Byaheng Drew.
Ah! Enough with the endorsement! haha! but really, if you wanted to try Bantayan Island’s best, take heed of my recommendations. 😉
If you want a more adventurous place to stay in, you might as well like to consider Ogtong Cave Resort, as they also have a special tourist attraction, the Ogtong Cave, wherein you could swim and well, find diwatas or any sea mystical creatures if you want, haha! No just kidding! But really, if you try taking a dip within the cave, you will certainly have the swim of your life. 😉 trust me, one of the best experience so far! 🙂
Me swimmin’ within Ogtong Cave. Circa 2010.
Aside from the Ogtong Cave, there is also another great attraction wherein the famous local movie took place. It’s the oh so famous Camp Sawi, which is located in Omageica Mangrove Garden. I know Kota beach has them too, but I think the bamboo bridges and tribal feel of the location in Omageica made it feel more legit.
When we visited the place, it was in low tide mode, hence hiding the beauty of the waters and only making the white sand waves visible, but heck it did not take away the beauty of the site. 🙂
There’s another notable tourist spot in Bantayan Island that you must visit, however, this turns out to be the farthest place. It’s in Madridejos, particularly in Kota Park, wherein you can find beautiful sea scenery while walking down this man-made concrete bridge (see images below).
Story Time: Oh, when we were in the island, did you know that there was a taping or film shooting within the area, I mean in Sta.Fe? Ha! My uncle and aunts are lucky enough to witness the filming, that they have seen the casts or stars in person. But hey, our Innova is far more luckier and having its fair share of the spotlight, as the film team decided to take a shot behind our SUV? LOL! We were actually waiting for the film to materialize and see if the car itself will certainly have its public debut. haha! By the way, the name of the film was I Found My Heart In Sta.Fe.
And lastly, I wanted to feature out this new cafe and I guess, the first ever cafe in Sta.Fe, which is the Lay’se Cafe. They are actually your usual coffee shop, but they seem to have a lil’ practical twist down here, as they also cater a mini grocery within the cafe. You can even buy those frozen treats, like the ice cream twirls, you know? the ones you see in 7/11 stores? Awesomeness.
Also, their cafe offer awesome food menus. Tried their home specialty, the Minty Mocha Frappe and dang must I tell you its to die for! Their thin crust pizza reminded me of Pizza Republic, it tastes so good! And heck that was just their Hawaiian Pizza, how much more with their other supreme flavors? Ha! you could just imagine. :d
Minty Mocha Frappe and Hawaiian Pizza from Lay’Se Cafe
The thing that I am so drawn to within the cafe is their unconventional interiors such as placing crystals within the vicinity. It seems that the owner is like me too, believing in spiritualism and the healing power of the crystals. Love it!
And also, I’ve noticed they sell pretty flower teas too. So sad, I was not able to buy them, but surely when I get back, I will purchase their rose tea because it looks good to me! 😉 I could not praise the cafe enough and all I could say is, its certainly a must visit and never leave the island without doing so.
However, that was the story of my Bantayan Island escapade! I hope, when you decide to visit the place, you will also enjoy much as I did! Ciao! 😀