Santa Fe, Bantayan Island in Cebu is one of the most peaceful and raw islands I’ve ever experienced. The white-sand beaches are ok, but I really like the kind of serenity (and the sunrise which Bantayan is known for) and vibe especially because of the Afro-Mediterranean inspired Kandugyap House By The Sea where we stayed at. This side-trip definitely was worth it even if we stayed only for a couple of hours.
We arrived at Santa Fe (which is east of the Bantayan Island) after a 2-hour bus drive and approximately 1-hour ferry trip from Cebu City. It’s quite tiring due to the duration but there’s no traffic so basically I just slept the whole time. The transportation expense is affordable (around P600-700 for a round trip) and there are vans or cabs too if you want smaller capacity of vehicles.
I have never been on a ferry trip but it was the only way to get to Bantayan from Cebu (Hagnaya Port). There were lots of tourists and locals who were travelling that time (hello summer!) so the ferry was jampacked for the first trip which was at 4am (spell haggard)!!!! But, it was all worth it, especially when I saw what my friend booked for us for our stay at the island: Kandugyap House By The Sea.
I love the place!!! (YES, three exclamation points!) It’s just a 10-15 minute-tricycle trip from the port and really accessible to a lot of the sari-sari stores where you can buy food, drinks and toiletries. There’s no Jollibee or Mang Inasal, but their stores offer a wide range of goods that tourists need.
The main house is named after the owner, Dolores, a strong woman who stood the test of time and serves more than half her life to the community, changing lives. For Eight (8) years, villa was exclusively used as the family’s vacation home. The villa was built in 2003 using strong construction materials to stand against the strong Southwest Monsoon. Uniquely and exquisitely designed by a local architect, Arch. Ulysses A. Castillo inspired by Afro-Mediterranean designs. The interior has a wooden loft and handrails, sand washed and deep colored walls, molave wood tables and chairs, a king-size bed, a queen bed and a double bead with a wooden headboard. (Photo gallery above courtesy of Kandugyap FB)
Aside from the interiors and the fact that I sort of own the sea (haha) and I can take lots of pictures hehe, the service is excellent, as well as their food offerings.
There is a portion of the house that lets you access the beach. Kandugyap House by the Sea is a private resort with 1 villa and 2 bungalow rooms only and is ideal for prenuptial photo shoots (check out the above spot!!), beach weddings and honeymoon. When I posted photos of these on IG, my friends asked me where was that. I felt like I was somewhere else because of the mediterranean feel of the place.
I highly recommend this resort. We got the villa which can house 6 people for only P6000 a night (not really that bad!!). The villa has a bathroom and toilet with hot and cold shower, air-conditioning unit, digital TV broadcast, refrigerator and a WIFI internet access!!
After some photo-taking, we immediately left the resort and took a boat to Virgin island which is just a few minutes from Santa Fe. There is no hotel or major activity in this beach but it’s the nicest white beach near Bantayan where you can go picnic, snorkeling and hang out with friends. We played volleyball there just like high school haha!
There’s a portion of the island where we were supposed to be toured at but it was too far and it’s currently under development. We went back to the resort instead to have drinks and to just relax before the sunset.
There is also not much night life at island except for this bar where we saw lots of tourists and foreigners dining in and drinking. The food is nice and the variety of Filipino and local food is awesome. We went home after some drinks and continued bonding at the resort which was really peaceful at night!
The other day was about catching the sunrise, taking photos (below are more OOTD’s featuring the nice interiors), and just enjoying my friend’s company after months of not being updated about each other.
Bantayan is definitely one island that I wanna visit when i want to just relax and spend time with my friends or family. I suggest having this trip whenever you’re in Cebu (maybe after Sinulog – which I had been planning for the next year). See you again, Bantayan!