Great Island + Great Friends = P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E.



iamkaicee_bantayan

The shores of Santa Fe, Bantayan Island in Cebu.

Tucked away on an island off the coast of Cebu, three hours away from the city’s center and 1-hour ro-ro ride from Cebu port, one would think that the idea of spending vacation in Bantayan Island’s rather awkward location is to discourage tourists from going. But little does one realize (me and my friends included) the beauty and exclusivity of Cebu’s one of the many best-kept secret until you’ve actually arrived on the island.

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Hello Cebu! 🙂

Me and four of my best friends from high school namely, Marie (Ms. Tantrums), Emil “EG” (Boy Sleepyhead), and Laurence “Toto” (The Boss) planned this getaway for almost two months in sync with our busy schedules (Well, except EG haha). We stayed at Yooneek Beach Resort which is located 10 minutes from the island’s port. Breathtaking views of the ocean’s natural hues of blues and greens set against the island’s sandy white beach makes the fatigue from the long travel seemingly nonexistent.

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After months of planning for this trip, me, Laurence and Emil are finally reunited with one of our best buddy, Marie who just arrived from Singapore. This photo was taken minutes after Marie’s arrival at Mactan Airport. See how excited we were?? hehe 

iamkaicee_bantayanIf you’re looking for a perfect and private getaway, then Bantayan Island is the best for you. The resort we stayed in is just one of the many beautiful resorts located along the shores of the island. But what we love about Yooneek Beach Resort is that, they have prepared a pick-up car to fetch and escort us from and to the port, and since Marie is the VIP guest from Singapore, they also prepared a welcome note for her. Isn’t it sweet? 🙂 And more to our surprise, when we arrived at the resort, they welcomed us with our room upgraded to VIP suite! How cool is that?! 🙂 Just the girl’s room though, and the boys stayed in the deluxe suite just as we booked, that’s why Marie and I kept on teasing them that they are in their rightful place as our Alipins (Slaves) hahahaha Nah, we love them both 🙂

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My bffs, Marie (clearly enjoying the sun), Laurence (Toto), and Emil (EG) 🙂

All the staffs of the resort are very accommodating. Their amenities clearly needs to be upgraded but who cares? Our stay there really gave us an unforgettable province experience plus their service is top-notch! Whenever we want to explore the local village within the island, there are exclusive pedicabs from the resort waiting outside to accompany us wherever we want to go. But you’d rather explore on foot as it’s more enjoyable and you get to see the village come to life. They would offer their help and accompany us to the local market and cooked for us during our island-hopping trip! Really, call me crazy, but for me their service and goodwill can be compared to a five-star hotel! 🙂 

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This truly wiped off the fatigue from Marie’s face after almost 7 hours travel from Singapore 🙂

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We arrived at the island few hours before the sunset. This photo was taken while we’re at the ferry. 


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Our VIP suite is located at the topmost floor. Isn’t fab? 🙂 And the Alipin’s room is just underneath ours hahaha 

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This is Dasha, she and her Russian family is our friendly neighbor for the weekend.

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I would trade everything in exchange to waking with this view everyday 🙂

The next morning Marie and I went to the market accompanied by one of the resort’s staff to buy some supplies. Both of us are not used to riding the motorcycle but we’ve got no choice but to ride one in order to get to our destination. We anticipated that the ride would be scary and rough but surprisingly, we really enjoyed the trip. We even recorded a video while on the road, we thought that was so extreme hahaha that’s how we amused ourselves 🙂

 

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It’s the girls’ duty to go to the market, and we left the boys in this state: Admiring the view while drinking beer and puffing cigars so early in the morning. <sigh> haha

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Wonderful greens on the way to the market

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The market girls 🙂 I always enjoyed going to markets. Yeah, market has a funny smell but I still like it ’cause it feels like shopping! hahaha
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 Some kakanin delicacies being sold at the market. They really are must-try food during your visit here.

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Another must-try delicacy here in Cebu is the Chicharon Bulaklak. 


IMG_0156The market is very clean, which caters fresh goods from the oceans of Bantayan. The magnificent view of the ocean across the market makes shopping more relaxing and worthwhile 🙂 I would have continued shopping there if it weren’t for my rumbling tummy because of hungriness haha

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iamkaicee_bantayanI’m just a crazy kid over seafood haha 🙂

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The market also caters very affordable stuffs fit for pasalubong (gifts) back home.iamkaicee_bantayanisland

Even with the island’s laid-back scenery, it still offers many water-based activities for adventurous guests, including boat rides, snorkeling and scuba diving. You’ll also find a natural lagoon and fisherman’s village on the other side of the island which is readily available for guests who wishes to visit. For land lovers, you can trek the other shores around the island or simply visit the town and join in their festivities since the month of September is the feast day of the village’s patron. But for those who merely want to take in the fresh air and sun, you may opt to take a dip in the clear waters on the front beach or ask for a massage on the front cabanas of some of the resorts overlooking the ocean. Or simply, relaxing on the lounge beach chairs, while reading your favorite travel book and sipping fresh mango shake as you feel the salty, humid air against your skin. Oh life.. 🙂

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After our hearty breakfast, we we’re accompanied by one of the resort’s staff on a boat ride to The Virgin Island, just a few kilometers away from Bantayan Island. It took us about 30 minutes to get there as we sail away on the deep blue ocean of Cebu. It was by far one of my precious adventures to date! 🙂

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We were greeted by the friendly staffs of the private-owned resort of The Virgin Island. No words can express how marvelous the place looked like. Call me crazy, but it was like magic. We were all speechless as we lay our eyes on the white shores of the island and as we set foot on its surrounding waters. Definitely magical!

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iamkaicee_bantayanislandMy Panorama photo of the paradise.

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iamkaicee_bantayanislandAbsolutely breathtaking! We all took a moment or two to let the scenery sink in. I can’t believe this place has been hidden for all the world to see, well the owners of the island thought it would be best to keep this place private as they don’t want to risk its beauty being destroyed by the public. It’s one of the Cebu’s best-kept secret 🙂

iamkaicee_bantayanislandOf course, this visit wouldn’t be complete without selfies! haha

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After running around the island, lying on it’s soft white sand and admiring it’s clear blue and green waters, we settled on one of the seating areas provided by the resort and indulged on our delicious lunch overlooking the beach. Our hearty lunch was prepared by our very courteous tour guide from our resort, and is a very good cook by the way 🙂 It was my first time to try eating puso or hanging rice, is it simply a rice wrapped in banana leaves and steamed to perfection. Eating puso rice is one of the Cebauno natives’ favorite because you don’t need any utensils to eat it. Forget spoon and fork, chopsticks and you can just eat the puso rice straight from its banana leaves! It is best enjoyed with barbecue or inihaw of any kind! Yum!

iamkaicee_bantayanislandThe puso rice steamed to perfection 🙂

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I forgot what this food is called but it’s definitely addictive!
iamkaicee_bantayanislandAny sort of crabs, big or small, is such difficult as a bitch to eat but totally worth it! hahaha

iamkaicee_bantayanislandThe beautiful shores of Virgin Island in Cebu


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I’m usually afraid of getting a tan but this time I just can’t help it! 🙂
iamkaicee_bantayanislandMarie and I beaming to the camera! 😀

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The speechless EG because of the island’s magnificence.


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EG and I, who just both recently celebrated our 26th birthday! Yey! 🙂

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With my fabulous girlfriend Marie, who will be putting up her own Fitness blog soon. I can’t wait to see it and learn from her on how to be fit and fab 🙂

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Thanks Toto for this beautiful pic! Too bad, you’re not in it haha 🙂

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An afternoon well-spent; napping on a hammock..zzzz

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iamkaicee_bantayanislandSome beautiful souvenirs being sold on the island. 

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There are massive banga or clay pots giving accents surrounding the cottages on the island. They are pretty huge and Marie could absolutely fit inside! haha


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So long Virgin Island. I shall see you again soon! 🙂

We truly regret leaving the Virgin Island but there’s just so much to do in so little time. After staying there for the whole morning up to noon, we went to a nearby part of the ocean with lots of coral reefs and snorkeled there. It was my first time and I honestly don’t want it to end! haha if only I can stay there for the rest of my life, surrounded by those beautiful fishes, oh that would be enough for me 🙂

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If only I have an underwater camera to capture the fishes under the sea and share it with you guys 😦 

iamkaicee_bantayanislandWe are all having a great time! As well as Kuya tour guide on the back haha

iamkaicee_bantayanislandOh yeah! Toto is so rockin’ this pose! hahaha

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So is this one! Bagay! lol

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Uh-huh, I’m a happy kid! 🙂

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iamkaicee_bantayanislandWe’re all pretty much exhausted from all the snorkeling and swimming but it made our day complete 🙂

It’s a shame that we are only scheduled to stay there for three days. Those short days are really not enough to enjoy the beauty of Bantayan Cebu.  That morning before we leave for Manila, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and woke early and had a good swim.

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It’s going to be a long while before I see this good friend of mine again 😦

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Toto the hunk! haha I forgot to mention that he is a mountaineer. I’ve been bugging him to include me on one of his trek trips but he keeps on telling me that I’m too girly-girl for such an adventure. Whatever, you are so wrong! haha
iamkaicee_bantayanislandWheet-wheew! 🙂
iamkaicee_bantayanislandMarie is also a yoga-enthusiast and she’s really good at it 🙂

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And this is EG’s hilarious attempt to do a yoga pose! hahahaiamkaicee_bantayanislandI’d like you meet, To-to the dog. He’s the friendliest furry friend we met during our stay here in Cebu. I hope I’d see him again when I get back! 🙂

That noon, we left the island with much heartache to Mactan airport. During the trip back to Cebu city, we kept on reminiscing about our island experience. And though it felt heavy to leave, we feel grateful to be able to experience this wonderful adventure that we will always cherish, and soon we’ll be talking about on our social network accounts! hahaha But of course, we are not going to leave Cebu without tasting the best and most anticipated meal ever, the Cebu Lechon! hahaha

iamkaicee_bantayanislandCebu’s finest lechon from Zabuchon is just the highlight of this trip! hahaha

All in all, our Bantayan Cebu experience is one of quiet contemplation and reveling in nature’s beauty. Time seems to slow down in that sleepy, quiet side of Cebu, which could be a good thing for city slickers who usually have no time off from their daily grind, such as myself. A trip down to Bantayan Island is a refreshing respite from the usual tourist-laden vacation spots, and is definitely worth the travel, effort and money 🙂

iamkaicee_bantayanislandI can’t wait to spend another vacation with my most dear friends! See you soon guys!

All the love,

KC

 

10 comments on “Great Island + Great Friends = P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E.

  1. KC – what a fantastic post … full of everything that a great holiday needs .. food, sand, beach, great friends, ocean, shopping … plus loads of feeling good and laughter. Wouldn’t mind laying on that beach … *smile

    • Hi Viveka. It’s been a while! It’s so nice to hear from you again 🙂 thank you! Yes we really had a great time. Maybe when you visit Philippines you may also visit Cebu as one of your destinations. It’s really beautiful out there!

      • Nice to be back, I haven’t that active for a couple of months.
        I think I was visiting Cebu when I was working on a cruise liner in the 70’s – we did so many Philippine islands. But I’m sure they have developed so much under all those years.

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