Travel Guide Philippines: Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu

When I need a break from my routinary life, expect that I will be off to my next adventure the soonest. I am glad I lived in a country that is composed of more than a thousand islands and my options are countless. This time, I had a great adventure in Santa Fe, Bantayan, not to mention I was stranded there for 2 days which made my adventure extraordinary.

Location: 

Santa Fe is one of the 3 main municipalities of Bantayan and it is covering the eastern part of the island. Bantayan Island itself  is situated on the west of the northern end of Cebu.

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This carefree little town has beautiful white sand beaches and laid-back ambiance. It is one of the best travel destinations to escape the hustles and bustles of daily life.


How to get there:

From your location in Cebu City, take a taxi or jeepney to Cebu North Bus Terminal. If you are hesitant to take a jeepney because of the confusing route, taxi is preferable. You can also book a ride through Uber or Grab a taxi.

Once in the bus terminal, take a bus to Hagnaya Port in San Remegio, it is a 3-4 hours bus drive from the city.  From Hagnaya Port, a 1-1.5 hours ferry ride to Santa Fe.

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From Cebu North Bus Terminal, you have 2 transportation  / travel options:

  1. Take a bus from Cebu North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya Port. From Hagnaya, purchase a ticket and get into a ferry.
  2. Take a Ceres Bus from Cebu North Bus Terminal straight to Bantayan Island. This is a direct bus trip to Bantayan, although you will still be taking the same route and ferry if you decide to take the regular buses to Hagnaya.

Fares from Cebu City:

Van: 120 -150
Ceres Bus (with AC): 160
Ceres Bus (non-AC): 132.00
Ceres Bus ( direct to Bantayan): 200
Treminal Fee: 5:00
Ferry: 170:00
Tricycle from port 25:00

Ceres Bus Schedule from Cebu North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya Port:

1st trip – 11:45PM
2nd Trip – 12:15AM
3rd Trip – 3:00AM
4th Trip – 6:00AM
5th Trip – 8:00AM
6th Trip – 10:00AM
Last Trip – 12:30 PM

Ceres Bus from Hagnaya Port to Cebu North Bus Terminal:

1st Trip – 6:00AM
2nd Trip – 7:45AM
3rd Trip – 9:45AM
4th Trip – 11:45AM
5th Trip – 1:45PM
6th Trip – 2:30PM
Last Trip – 5:20PM


Ferry Schedule:

Island Shipping and Super Shuttle Ferry are the two main ferry boats that operates daily. From Hagnaya Port of San Remegio to Sta. Fe, Bantayan and vice versa.

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Daily ferry schedule.

 The port of Santa Fe is less than 15 mins. drive to the town center and less than 20 mins. drive to most beach resorts. For convenience, resorts have a shuttle service that can pick you up from the port. Check with your preferred resort for shuttle service  availability and charges.


Where to Stay:

Anika Beach Resort – is one of the beautiful resorts that I have been. Their rooms are made of container vans, which are comfortable and eco-friendly. It is a private resort with 24-hour security service and car park. The resort’s restaurant has great ambiance and good food. As of January 2016, the resort is building a new swimming pool for a most pleasurable stay.

Address: F. Roska Street, Santa Fe, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines
Phone: +63 917 328 4898 / (+63 32) 318 8402

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Budyong Beach Resort – If you are looking for a budget friendly resort with a nice beach front and has more access to the town center, Budyong is better. It is less than 15 mins. walk to restaurants and public market. A variety of food and activity options are available since the resort has a convenient location. The semi-detached nipa hut style rooms has a fulfilling beach feel. Amenities like bike / scooter for rent, restaurant and shuttle service are also provided.

Address: Poblacion Santa Fe, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines 6047
Phone: +63 32 438 9285

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Casa Isabel – A bed and breakfast accommodation which is good for backpackers (600.00 / night with breakfast). The room is good for 2 (bunk beds). It is  located near the town center, 10 mins. walk to the beach and 5 mins. walk to food establishments.

Address: Poblacion Santa Fe, Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines 6047
Phone: +63 927 722 350

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Where to Eat:

If you want to explore your food options, there are plenty of food choices aside from your resort’s restaurant menu.

Best place to go is MJ Junction, it has choices of local budget meals, foreign food menus and cafes with free WIFI. A bar is open from 7:00pm till midnight for those who want to socialize and drink. Relaxing restaurants with good food and music are also randomly located within the town center outside the food junction.

Open Hours: 10:00AM – 12:00MN

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Street food vendors, barbeque and carenderia offers food on a budget to satisfy your hunger. During Sundays, a “tabo” is held near the town’s market where you can buy the famous Bantayan dried fish.


Transportation: 

There are plenty of available options for transportation though most it are not available 24 hours. Since Sta. Fe is a small town, the only bus that operates is the Ceres direct bus service from North Bus Terminal to Bantayan town proper. The usual transportation used are small light vehicles and motorcycles.

img_6257Tricycle:
Regular trip –  10.00.
Trips from and to Santa Fe Port – 25.00

img_6259-1Trisikad: Fare – 5.00

img_6636-1Scooter for rent: 250.00 – 24 hours

img_6507Bike for rent: 150.00 –  24 hours


Activities to do in Santa Fe:

Island Hopping  

Bantayan Island is composed of beautiful islands and islets. If you are interested to see more of it, request for island hopping options in your resort or try to get the tour from local boat drivers to help them have a decent income.

Price: Boat Rent – 800.00

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Town Tour

There are few interesting sites to visit in Santa Fe like the locations from the hit Tagalog movie “ Camp Sawi “ . Local tricycle drivers can take you for a town tour. Price: Discuss with driver.
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Biking / Strolling

Another way to enjoy your visit is to rent a bike or scooter and ride away. It’s more          convenient since you can keep it for 24 hours. Explore more of the island while going    somewhere random. Don’t worry about being lost, the locals are friendly and helpful.

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Skydiving
If you are into extreme sports and heart pounding activities, you will love Santa Fe. Skydiving is a popular tourist attraction in the island. To those who would like to have a different kind of excitement, this is the perfect nerve-wracking adventure for you.

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  • Travel Tips:
    1. Always check the weather before traveling to Bantayan. Unfortunately, we were stranded for 2 days because of an unexpected typhoon that hit Cebu.
    2. Take the regular air-conditioned  bus to Hagnaya and then take a ferry from the port. Ceres bus going straight to Bantayan will cost 40.00 more.
    3. No bus toilet available.
    4. If you are traveling to Bantayan and the weather is not excellent, take the Island Shipping Lines, their ferries  are bigger.

Total Expenses for 3 days and 2 nights stay:
Taxi – 200.00
Bus Fare – 320.00
Ferry Fare – 340.00
Terminal Fee – 15.00
Food – 500
Accommodation – 2000.00 / 3 = 1333.00
Personal Expenses – 500.00
Total – 3208.00

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