Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sugar and Salt (Bantayan Island part 2)

Bantayan Island

After the many things we did on our first day in Bantayan island, we recharged our bodies for day 2, by getting a good night's sleep. While all the others were still sound in bed, I (Jed ) rose early so I won't miss the magnificent sunrise in Bantayan. Quickly before the sun goes full blown, I ran to the shoreline dragging my tripod and my camera dangling around my neck. I didn't have the luxury to frame everything well on my lens but i think I got some really good shots. The pictures in this blog don't go through post-editing because as much as possible, we want to keep the images as close to what the naked eyes can see.

The sun rises in Bantayan. The orange glare touches the white sand giving life to the sugary grains. The water welcomes the rays and deflects the light in tiny ripples. Watching the sun slowly rise from the horizon in its elegance and grace gives me an adrenaline rush. I find the laws of nature as the most amazing things the human eye can ever behold. The sunrise at Bantayan got me in the mood for another exciting day in the island.

Bantayan Island
the first explosion of light as the sun peeks through the horizon

Bantayan Island

As soon as I got back to the cottage, I woke up everyone else so we can go for a breakfast in the town of Santa Fe. We hurriedly got to our bicycles and rode to town because we scheduled an island hopping adventure at 7:00 am. The selection was easily made. We went to a local restaurant near the market who serves "silog" meals for less. The town even looks more vibrant that Sunday morning as the church bells rang in unison. People dressed in their simple Sunday dresses come in and out of the church. The market place comes to life as vendors selling different products slowly fill the sidewalk. 

When we got back to the resort, we immediately packed our things and headed straight to the shore. We hired the resort's pump boat. to take us on an island tour. You can feel and see the trace of excitement in our faces as we approached our ride. The tide was low that morning, so you can see and feel the moist white sand as you walk on it even with your slippers on. 

Bantayan Island
"Sugar" is our mini boat for Today's adventure. She's eager to have us on board. 

Bantayan Island
the white sand on a low tide. I still get the feeling of warmth just by looking at it.

As I have said, these ladies can't seem to contain their excitement, yet they never fail to take a break and strike a pose. 

There it goes again! When vanity strikes, it strikes hard.

A few moments later we were on board ready for Virgin island. The ride took about 15 minutes because the waves were giving Sugar a challenge. It was a fun ride though, because you get to see the other resorts along the shoreline. You'll immediately notice the significant visibility of foreigners everywhere. 

! Cirrus' Tips for FUN : While on the pump boat, try shouting when the waves hit like crazy. Try switching places with your friends from one side to the other. And oh, try not to fall off board while doing this. Goodluck !

The ladder can be a little slippery, so you better be careful because I'm not quite sure if kuya will bother to catch you. Make sure to bring the necessary stuff with you, including water. For someone like me who is a water drinker, the temperature easily dries my throat, so small plastic bottles come in handy, but make sure you dispose them properly. 

It's fine to go on emo mode with the sun like this and the perfect beach like that, just make sure to put your sunscreen on so you don't end up messing your vacation with a stinging sunburn. 

Finally !!! My first photo of the day 

Bantayan Island

I can't stop pressing the shutter button. I can now perfectly understand what they called the photograhy reflex. It is an involuntary feeling triggered by an exquisite view that compels the hand o grab the camera and take pictures. On our approach to Virgin Island, we were all filled with excitement as we were welcomed with clear waters and a white shoreline. We had to park sugar along the coast and we were immediately greeted with one of their staff to collect payment for the entrance fees and cottage rental. Well, as soon as you've set eyes on the place, I'm sure you wouldn't hesitate to grab your wallet and pay. 

Virgin island is very near the mainland Bantayan. In fact you can see it when you arrive in Santa Fe on a boat from Hagnaya. There's very little population in the island  and you can barely see residential structures, and I think this is why they called it the Virgin island. The waves were wild on our trip coming here but on this part of the island the angry waves are calmed down because the shoreline does not face the open sea. 

Here are some of the shots we took on the island: 

Virgin Island

 There is a reason why it's called Virgin island and there's a reason why some of our friends were not there !!! Kidding! 

Bantayan Island

The first thing we did on  the island was to check out their fish sanctuary. We were in awe at the number of fishes and various forms of marine life that welcomed us. You can even see them through the surface. At one time we thought there were no fishes in the water, but as soon as we started feeding them with bread crumbs , they swarm around us out from nowhere. 

We made one big mistake though, and until now it still upsets me. We brought a waterproof camera with us but we took so much photos before we even got to the fish sanctuary so we ran out of batteries. No matter how expensive your camera is, if you're snorkeling in the fish sanctuary, its value goes down if you can't capture those colorful creatures from down below. Luckily we were able to take  one decent shot. 

This isn't even the best yet.. :(

We checked their beach too, and for me this was way better than what we had in Camotes. The Virgin island has a wide stretch of white sand. I feel like submerged in a 2000-square meter wide pool,  with white sand down below. The best part about the beach here is the fact that the water is deep. You can swim, dive and tread in the water for as much as you want. If you can swim, the waters here in Virgin island provides you freedom underwater. Deep clear waters always gives me the feeling of power that I can move in any way I want, and with the clear waters here you can stop worrying about something eating you.

As I was lying in the sand imagining I was Tom Hanks from the movie Cast Away, I notice that the sand here has larger grains compared to sugar beach. This lessens the chance of the water being cloudy. And if I'm caught in a Cast-Away scene  in this island, it won't hurt if I stay for a while. Here's what I saw with my own eyes.

Why would Tom Hanks want to go home if his Cast Away island looked like this?

 With the mainland Bantayan island fronting the beach, it is very seldom and rare for you to get big waves here. Since I don't know how to surf, I'd like to keep it that way.

Virgin Island

When we've exhausted the Virgin island of its virginity we decided that it was finally time to head back to sugar beach. We went aboard sugar again for the trip back. The first thing we felt when we got back to our resort was hunger. We were desperate for good food and we are that hungry that we can no longer tolerate the usual cheap options that we have in Santa Fe market. 

We attempted to go to Bantayan proper by bicycle until we felt it was just too far for our starving bodies and tired legs. We asked a local if the Bantayan town was still far, and they made as feel as if we were fools thinking we could go there on our bikes. So were back with no choice but to find our way back to Santa Fe under the angry sun. 

We decided to go visit a good-looking place, and we found the Balikbayan restaurant. The first thing that worried us was the cost we might incurr  by eating there, but as soon as we looked at the menu, we were satisfied. They had budget rice meals with drinks for less than one hundred fifty pesos. I have to say for someone with a big appetite like mine, this place just suits me fine. The Balikbayan restaurant is a must-visit and must-try while you're in Bantayan island.

Halohalo for only 48.00 pesos !!!

As soon as the sumptuous meal was done, we drove ourselves back to the resort so we can pack and catch boat to Hagnaya and the trip back to Cebu. But before the final zippers were closed we decided to have a few more photos taken. 

This is the doodle house. You'll pass by it on your way to sugar beach. We can't help but take some shots. I found it creepy at first but eventually I saw the artistry in the complicated designs.

Bantayan Island

Bantayan Island
Yei! Finally, All of us in one pic. Kudos to the tripod for a nice shot !

Bantayan Island

Finally we took the potpot going to Sta Fe port. I wish I could have stayed in the island longer, but we had to go home for work so we can continually fund our trips. The weather was the same as yesterday which made it even more difficult for me to leave Bantayan. As the sun began to set in the west, our boat embarked for Hagnaya, leaving  a burst of light along the horizon. I didn't feel like it was a gesture of goodbye from Bantayan Island. The sun, clouds, and sea were sending thoughts telling me I will always find a home here, and at that moment, my heart believed they were right. 

Don't forget to leave comments or suggestions. ;)

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