Bantayan Island Travel Guide

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What else to do when in Cebu?

Go to Bantayan Island!

Bantayan Island in the Northern tip of Cebu

Bantayan Island in the Northern tip of Cebu

Bantayan Island is at the west of the northern tip of Cebu. The quickly-getting-discovered paradise is divided into 3 towns: Sta Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos Towns. It is that nostalgic, small, sleepy escape that the locals said the foreigners were able to roam around it in 3 hours, in motorcycles!

In our 3-day visit, we were able to cover all 3 towns, too!

How to Get There

From Cebu City

  1. Go to the North Bus Terminal just 5 mins away from SM City Cebu. We took a P90 cab from IT Park.
  2. Take the Ceres Coach Bus or Cebu Autobus going to Hagnaya. The trip will take *2-3.5 hours. It is highly advisable to take the aircon bus for your comfort. Bus fare: P160
  3. In Hagnaya Port, secure a seat on either Super Shuttle Ferry or Island Shipping (whichever’s schedule is convenient for you). We tried both companies each way. Island Shipping consistently left on time. It will take about 1.15 hours from Hagnaya Port to Sta Fe port. Ferry fare: P170
  4. From Sta Fe Port, where the ferry will dock, you may take a tricycle/trisikad going to your hotel/lodging (unless you’ve made arrangements with your accommodation for pick-up). Tricycle fare: P20/head

Best Time to Go to Bantayan Island

It depends on your intention.

  1. If you want some peace and quiet: Go during the off-peak season/ non-summer/beach season (June-Feb)
  2. If you want people, fun, and beach happenings, go with the flow, you must! (Mar-May; peak: Holy Week)
  3. If you want a celebrated Holy week tradition, Bantayan Island is known for a celebratory Good Friday! (Holy Week)

Bus Schedule

Bus CompanyOriginDestinationFirst TripLast TripFrequency
Ceres Coach Bus | Cebu AutobusNorth Bus TerminalHagnaya5:30AM7:30AMevery 30-45 mins

Super Shuttle Ferry Schedule

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Island Shipping Schedule

DestinationDepartureArrivalFrequency
Hagnaya to Sta Fe3:00 AM4:00 AMDaily
5:00 AM6:00 AMDaily
6:30 AM7:30 AMDaily
9:30 AM10:30 AMDaily
11:00 AM12:00 PMDaily
1:30 PM2:30 PMDaily
3:30 PM4:30 PMDaily
5:30 PM6:30 PMDaily
Sta Fe to Hagnaya5:00 AM6:00 AMDaily
7:30 AM8:30 AMDaily
9:30 AM10:30 AMDaily
11:30 AM12:30 PMDaily
1:30 PM2:30 PMDaily
3:30 PM4:30 PMDaily
5:00 PM6:00 PMEvery Wednesday, Fridays, Sundays

What to Do in Bantayan Island

Motor/bike around town/all 3 towns

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Roam around the Madridejos Fishing Village

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Visit the Kota Ruins in Kota Park in Madridejos

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Visit Spanish-old churches and architectures

Sts Peter and Paul Parish Church in Bantayan town

Sts Peter and Paul Parish Church in Bantayan town

Take scenic photographs

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Go on a street photo walk

Kids of Madridejos

Kids of Madridejos

Discover the Ogtong Cave

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Watch the sunset in Bantayan Town

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Watch the sunrise in Sta Fe Town

Sunrise in Sta Fe Beach

Sunrise in Sta Fe Beach

Where to Stay

There’s a growing line-up of accommodations available in the island from budget lodgings to high-end resorts.

Anika Beach Resort

People have been consistent in recommending Anika when in Bantayan. We were not fortunate enough to get a room during our holy week visit. We splurged on lunch in Anika, though. Yes, it’s safe to say, they are the best one in the island, and the newest, at that.

For accommodation options, click here.

Bantayan Island Budget

Here’s the breakdown of how our Cebu-Bantayan Island travel fund was spent for 5 days,  4 nights: P12,500 per person.

AMOUNT (in PhP)PARTICULARS
3,434.50Cebu Pacific NON-Promo Airfare
3,000.00xx number of meals (15 meals for our 5 day-stay; P200/meal)
P3,750.00xx days of stay divided by 2 (7,500/room for 5 days; P1,500/day)
1,940.00
Transportation:

  • P200 = 2-way cab fare to and from NAIA and homebase(P100/way)

  • P400 = 2-way cab fare to and from North Bus Terminal Cebu and Cebu airport P200/way)

  • P320 = 2-way *bus fare to and from North Bus Terminal and Hagnaya (P160/way)

  • P340 = 2-way ferry fare to and from Hagnaya and Sta Fe Port (P170/way)

  • P20 = Terminal fee (P10 each for Hagnaya and Sta Fe port)
  • P40 = 2-way tricycle fare to and from accommodation and Sta Fe Port (P20/head per way)

  • P400 = Motorcycle whole day rent (Price doubles during the holy week)(P150/day)

  • P220 = x number of gas refills for motorbike (P150/full tank)(spent a total of P220 for motorbiking around 3 towns)

375.50
Miscellaneous: souvenir, grocery items, etc
120.00Optional: Entrance fee to Sta Fe Beach Club/ Ogtong Cave
(We skipped this since you're paying for the modern pool; we prefer the beach better. We just wanted to see the cave.
12,500TOTAL EXPENSES ALL-IN FOR 5D/4N stay

*If you are going as a group, it may be a better option to hire your own SUV/van for P1,000-2,500 depending on the make of the vehicle. This will save you travel time compared to the bus that stops everytime to pick up passengers along the way.

Bantayan Island Itinerary

For more details on the itinerary–travel hours, costs, and side notes, click below for reference:
Our Actual 5D/4N Cebu City-Bantayan Island Itinerary + Expenses

Travel Tips:

  • Book months ahead when visiting during the Holy Week season.
  • Last bus trip you should take is the 1:15PM bus so you can board the 5PM last ferry trip.

There’s quite a number of islands to visit around Cebu. You don’t need to feel stuck and uninspired in the city when you find yourself in the Southern metro. Bantayan Island is just one of the many city escapes available for the city dwellers-who-are-burnt-out-of-the-city-life.

And once there, you’ll realize, what’s been missing in your fast-paced living–silence, disconnect, and an infinite sea and sky of blues that make you forget your deadlines.

Bantayan Island is Boracay sans the crowd and the cost. Get there before it becomes too saturated for comfort. You get to see it in it’s almost raw beauty and you have the chance to help them back in their feet after Haiyan. Win-win!

Book. Pack. Go!

-TFS