Most people want to make roundtrips to islands near Bantayan Island, but you should know that you could get in nearly two hours already to Malapascua. Especially if you like snorkeling or diving at all, here is one of the best spots you can find here, and even more interesting is the tiny Island 1,5 hours away from Malapascua, it’s name is Calanggaman. Some years ago it was an insider tip for everybody who was searching for a lonely tropical island with some palm trees, surrounded by white beach and nothing else. No other Tourists, no Filipinos, just nothing. Pure relaxing!
Today Calanggaman is still a barely known place. But with more tourists came also the interest of the Government to protect this beautiful place. You can have several Boat trips from Malapascua to the island for snorkeling and diving. This is really interesting, because the small island is surrounded by a sanctuary, now you have there still lots of fish and corals you haven’t seen before.
They also started to build some small areas for a restaurant, so that you can have here also a little snack while you explore the island.
But there are some things you should know before you have a trip there!
Don’t think about to have a trip to Malapascua or Calanggaman with a small boat, you will regret it very early on the ocean.
You should stay one night on Malapascua. With good weather conditions you need two hours till Malapascua Island and 3,5 hours till Calanggaman, same time back again. What means you have four to seven hours only boat tour, without visiting the islands at all.
A very nice place to stay is the brand new build Resort of Kokay’s Maldito. It isn’t cheap, but the rooms are really beautiful and they have also a very good restaurant where you have a wonderful sunset view on the ocean!
Be prepared! Take enough Water, ready cooked food like Lumpia (Shanhai rolls) or Meatballs, Softdrinks and other Liquids with you, for the trip as it and just in case of emergency.
You will be always able to see the Island of Cebu or Leyte. From Bantayan to Malapascua you have for a long time directly on your right side the coast of Cebu and a short while it will be behind you.
On the way to Calanggaman you have Leyte on your left and Cebu Island still on your right, but hard to reach. The good thing on this tour is the fact that Calanggaman is really often visited from other Diving Resorts and Tourists coming from Malapascua or Calanggaman Island.
Sorry that I didn’t post on my blog now for a while, it’s just because of our low season right now, but that will change in the near future again.
Some would say that now is the right time NOT to visit Bantayan. But in my opinion it is absolutely the right time! The most hotels are near to empty, so you have as much privacy as you like and you can easily ask for your favors if there are some, and mostly the stuff can handle without big waiting time causing by other guests.
And besides of that you will see the complete Island in all possible colors due to the weakening raining season. Some month ago we have a very hot period and the most plants were out of water and so they couldn’t show their beautiful colors, but right now, all the flowers, plants and trees getting all their strength back. Most hotels taking care of their plants, so the surroundings are always watered and in that way green, but to see the complete island that full of life is again a little bit different and makes Bantayan Island to such a special place, especially if you come from a bigger town.
But at least there is one important thing what I better don’t forget. Right now is here the perfect time to have some nice walks at the beach, taking a sunbath or whatever you like to do there. The white Beach is at this time the same quite like the most other places on Bantayan Island and you can enjoy a very relaxing and comfortingly vacation.
And about the water temperature you also don’t need to worry. All around the year, our water here has nearly the same temperature, so you can go to every day and night time to swim, even if it is June, September, December or March. You will never feel a difference.
Every year near to everybody on the Philippines hit it. Burns by Jellyfish or dead parts of their tentacles who feel at contact like a lash. Often caused by the notorious Box Jellyfish who is especially in the Philippines common and the wounds causes. Where the burns when they occur always have to be treated.
But here I have to say that I’m no Doctor and the most tips are from Natives, but I used them already often with success. The most important is what everybody first makes a mistake. Don’t rub the affected area with sand! Because remaining parts of the jellyfish wreak further damage.
The Filipinos deal with these jellyfish burns easily with vinegar. This should be in every hotel always in stock. Otherwise, simply send someone to order vinegar. Then simply rinse the affected area with it. But here you should be a little careful, before you start to rub the rest parts away, because it takes a few seconds until the remaining threads do no harm. Everybody who get dizziness or something like that should be brought immediately to a hospital, because there can be an allergic shock.
So that you don’t have problems in the next days you should eat food without protein. That means particularly Shrimps, Lobster, Fish and everything with chicken. So that no everybody gets in panic about these near to invisible Jellyfish Parts I must also give a clear signal. In the last 3 years I have only 2 times a problem with them, but every time I never see something in the water. So you can’t protect yourself and the Jellyfish you can see without problems are not dangerous.
In my eyes the most beautiful hotel in Santa Fe, is the Santa Fe Ogtong Cave Beach Resort which has almost everything what you can imagine for a nice and relaxing vacation on the Philippines. By relaxing, almost deserted beaches which can be run to the port is all in all up to 4-5 Km, the hotel also offers fine cuisine, surrounded by a super clean facility which is maintained by few gardeners.
Especially it should be mentioned here, that in the garden, what several acres already contains, only native plants are found and no imported plants just because they look beautiful. The sprawling complex has its name from an underwater cave which you can also swim to explore. An experience only could be disturbed by the bats in the cave. Unfortunately, children less than 12 years are not admitted in the natural cave because deeper areas exist which you can reach only by diving.
Certainly you can call the Cottages from Ogtong Cave, the only rentable beach villas in Bantayan. There are indeed some private homes which are offered as a beach villa but none of these houses near the beach promises even approximately the right of a villa. The approximately 30-40 sqm cottages have air conditioning and private terrace with sea views. Right Here, one of the smaller houses who point that the hotel has the right to get highest class called. What will be mentioned at this place is the service still needs to be given one here.The staff is trained and knows how to behave in the Philippines, which unfortunately is not always the case. One immediately recognizes that has prevailed here, the styles of the ever-friendly owners. Here you are always welcome, and seldom the feeling to be just a guest. Open Requests are read of the eyes and the many helpers are always ready to sweeten the day.
Although it might be for some a real break in style with a Philippines Travel is to jump into a pool but I think it should like to mention it anyway if only because it simply offers a wonderful refreshment. The water of the pool comes out of the cave which always has enough cold groundwater. Again, a further plus point because I know the pool is not chlorinated. The Ogtong Cave hotel is not only for hotel guests, it has opened its pool and restaurant also for other visitor, I would like to dwell on the prices a little. A day ticket for adults is 120 pesos at the moment and drinks are very cheap (30-60 pesos). A good meal in a restaurant costs around 250-350 pesos but it’s for potions you can’t finish. Filipino cuisine is offered, Thai cuisine and some international dishes. My favourite is the Thai Chicken with Red Curry. A real pleasure.
A special experience in Bantayan is already two years back when I was just arrived on the island. Me and my wife were then newly arrived in Santa Fe when a friend invited us in an Asian lobster dinner at the beach. The location was nice because we could watch the sunrise watching from the boat and then we were able to enjoy at a small table for 4 people on the beach in the evening.
When the cook showed the Asian lobster, I was very excited because such a beautiful animal I had never seen before. Neither the Philippines nor appear Photos on the Internet. And it was incredible that he was still alive. Due to the amateur chef has informed us that this was always so that the meat is properly cooked when they are alive. The kind of preparing causes me stomach acid but when I saw the lobster on the table I had forgotten everything.
We enjoyed the tender meat with a nice bottle of red wine and had one of the most beautiful days in Santa Fe for the first time since I’m in the Philippines. Whoever has the possibility of a beach dinner should do so in any case. And if there is such a beautiful Asian lobster you have to try, it does not matter what they cost because it’s worth!
A Trip what is always worth, when you are on vacation on Bantayan Island, is to get to Virgin Island. It is a small Island north east of Santa Fe. The Island with a tiny bay in the north and a beautiful beach in south has almost only a very small population. Some Caretaker fit for years on the island which is usually at a bargain price of 8 million U.S. dollars for sale. At least that means only the rumour mill. And again nobody knows how accurate this information are, because nobody is interested when he wants to spent a beautiful day on the Island. You can rent a boat from the fishermen, almost everywhere, but you should really never take more than 2 people in small boats because they are not designed for this. Anyway, the price difference between small fisher boats and big boats is very low. Recommended is the big boat from “Bantayan Cottages” near the port that can carry 15-25 people and offer the best price for 1500 pesos. (Small fishing boats cost an average of 1000 pesos and are not nearly as comfortable to sit)
After a boat ride of about 30 minutes to get to the little left Island. Fine powder sand beach of the finest greeted each newcomer and invites you to stay. There are small cottages on Virgin Island where you can relax and public grill places where people can prepare meals. Often some fishermen offer small fish or shells, but you should not rely on it. Who here likes to barbecue itself should either be self sufficient in the market of Bantayan, or order it at the boat rental. The crew will also cook the dinner when they get a little something from, and are also very helpful in everything else. Snorkelling on Virgin Island is well suited, but you should not expect too much because by the currents there are not that many corals. Fun anyway.
It should be noted that you still go back to at least 4:30 pm to 4:45 pm so you can enjoy a beautiful sunset from the boat. Here it’s most familiar to talk to the boat crew to raise the good places.
As a former globe-trotter who has always been looking for a quiet little paradise, I always start immediately to rave when I think about my favourite island of Bantayan. Since I came here years before by the ship looked at the clear blue water here, I know I will settle down here.
Length of coconut palm-fringed beaches only to walk there, a simple one as it is elsewhere in the beautiful places of the world often can not because the beaches were built. Fortunately, the Philippines here now to take their laws very seriously and cultivate threatened with fines in which the delicate beaches. Also on Bantayan where a few small hotels and private houses trying to build closer to the beaches were just recently filed lawsuits. On the one hand, we know the owner and we like them, on the other side I want to prevent by anything in the world, that these beautiful beaches are just built too.
At the moment the island is in a twilight sleep and is shunned by the large tourism industry. This bestowed normal prices, and quiet nights because of this here are no nightclubs and so the fishermen here still go from house to house for their fish products to offer. Each of the views of a small travel to Bantayan Island thinks everything should expect but not a tourist hot spot where he gets everything. Bantayan Island is a small island, although a few sites but mostly there are not more than 50 tourists on the island.