I am currently in Bacolod, Negros Occidental Philippines. As you well know, the country is made up of a group of islands so it’s safe to say you can’t avoid boat rides if you plan to go somewhere. There are multiple ways to get to Bantayan Island.
HOW TO GET THERE
You can fly or sail to Cebu and travel up north to Hagnaya Port. From there, ride a boat/ferry to the Island. You can bring your cars using this route. You will arrive at a port in Sta. Fe where you can immediately see white sand beaches and blue waters. You can find resorts from there.
From Bacolod, you can ride a BATA/MANDALAGAN/NORTHBOUND jeepney to reach the North Terminal. We took a bus going to Cadiz. From Cadiz terminal, we took a tricycle going to the port. Please note that the first boat trip will depart at 9am. You have to arrive at the port early because tickets are limited and there is no guarantee of a second trip going to the Island. The deciding factor for the second trip would be the number of passengers waiting in the port or those who were left by the 9am boat ride. The boat ride going to Bantayan port is 2 hours. You will arrive near the public market so you can purchase things you need from here. From there, ride a tricycle or jeepney going to your resorts. You can also ask your driver to stop somewhere to buy things you need or somewhere to eat.
Please make sure to make your reservations especially during peak seasons (March – May) so you can be at the resort of your choice. I recommend Sta fe beach club, Amihan beach resort, Anika, Kota and Budyong. We went there on March and almost all beach front resorts were fully booked so you can start booking by February.
I went to Bantayan twice. First was on May 2015. It was a trip with my team where we spent our team budget. We had 10,000 pesos and there were approximately 13 of us. We stayed at Sugar Beach resort. It was a public resort and it was cheap. There is a long stretch of fine white sand. You can see kids playing with their skim boards and they were nice enough to let my friends borrow it. There were a lot of palm trees providing shade for the entire resort so it’s nice to lay in the shade and read or chat with your friends. There were beach front cottages and a few rooms available for an overnight stay. We brought a tent too! It wasn’t much but it was okay since the Island took a hit from typhoon Yolanda and their facilities were destroyed. The caretaker can cook for you too (for a fee of course). We rented bicycles for the entire day and we used it to explore the island. Sadly, the resort is now close due to land disputes. It would be nice to have it reopened and developed.
Second was on April 2016 with 4 people and 3 kids (8 in total). We took the same route because it was the best and shortest option for us since we’re all from Negros Island. We stayed at Seaview Appartelle for 2 nights and ate meals outside. You can see restaurants everywhere and there is a newly opened food park for those who want an affordable variety of food.
You can arrange an island tour with your resort/hotel but it can be expensive. Instead, we talked to the locals and arranged a trip to Virgin Island, Paradise beach, and Ogtong cave (owned by Sta. Fe Beach Club). Our boatman, Manong Ronald, also took care of our food. We arrived at Virgin Island in less than 30 minutes.
Virgin Island is a small stretch of land with fine white sand beaches, blue water, rich marine life and a floating bamboo cottage. It was really nice. We paid for our cottage and ate our food.
Ogtong cave is an underground cave where you can swim. Unfortunately, it was too crowded during our visit so we didn’t get the chance of swimming in the cave. It was even crowded in the spiral stairway going down the cave where people wait for their turn. The resort where the cave is located has a swimming pool but our main goal was the cave so we decided to not waste time on the pool since you can find pools anywhere. We departed for Paradise beach.
Paradise beach is more of a private beach with fine white sand which is common to the place. Only a few people were there during our visit. We took our time squealing and jumping from the jagged rocks. Mind you, it’s dangerous. We returned to the main island before sunset and ate dinner at a random restaurant. We then enjoyed a drink at Cou Cou Bar before heading back to our room. We departed for Cadiz the following day.
The boat from Bantayan to Cadiz departs at 9am and seats are limited so you have to be there early. I will show you a list of my trip expenses but I may have forgotten a few items so please forgive me
List of Expenses in Philippine Peso
*note: fare and price changes from time to time
Jeepney fare going to Bacolod north terminal – 7.00
Bus fare from Bacolod to Cadiz (aircon) – 100.00
Tricycle from cadiz terminal to cadiz port – 25.00/person
Boat fare from cadiz port to bantayan island – 290.00
Seaview Appartelle – 900/night good for 2
N&F Guesthouse –
Scooter rent – 200 for the entire day excluding gas
Boat for Island Hopping – 900 – 1, 300.00
Island Hopping food (grilled pork and fish + 2 kilos of rice) – 600.00
Virgin Island Entrance fee – 500.00 for the first 2 people and 100/head for the rest
*note: we divided the total sum
Ogtong cave – 100/head
Paradise beach – 50/head
Manong Ronald (boat) – 09324974639
Bing-bing tricycle – 09473966384
Jules (boat) – 0907 011 9236/0929 548 6410
If you are a fan of vlogger Christian LeBlanc, you’d know that this island ranked 2 on his video entitled “PHILIPPINES TOP 10”. To give you a short background, he’s a Canadian who left the corporate world and travelled the world. He was named by TIME Magazine as the most influential person in the world on the year 2006. You can check his website at http://lostleblanc.com
Hope this helps!