I don’t know why these first few months of the year always gives me extra stress. Maybe it’s because of that nagging desire to accomplish more, to plow the field early to avoid the afternoon burnout. Fresh start is not always easy as rebooting a laptop. The whole shebang gives me headache, and the energy surge always nearly bursts my sanity bubble.
This is the time of the year when I badly need an awesome beach. Yep, just give me sunset and a beach and everything will be fine.
Fortunately, we spent the extra day of our Cebu City business getaway on a side-trip to Bantayan, an island said to be the next Boracay at the western portion of the northern tip of Cebu province. We checked-out at GV Tower hotel early morning and took a three-hour drive going to Hagnaya port.
|Dark clouds threatening our Bantayan Island escapade -- but the mighty sun proved he's king|
The three-hour road trip was fantastic because you got to see Cebu’s countryside – lots of greenery, mini chocolate hills and an occasional glimpse of the beautiful Cebu island coastline which adds up to our excitement. Luckily we catch the Ro-Ro in Hagnaya port just in time leaving for Sta. Fe. It’s really convenient because you can actually bring a car or your SUV from Cebu city to Bantayan Island.
|The ferry (Ro-Ro) that took us to Bantayan Island|
I felt like I was going to my hometown in Mindoro because the pier and the scenery are very similar to our Abra de Ilog pier in Occidental Mindoro. The ride was a bit nostalgic because it was a long time since I spent my vacation in Mindoro.
|Smooth Ro-Ro ride going to Bantayan|
|Cute kid playing peek-a-boo with me during our ferry trip.|
I’m expecting something like the Island of Tingloy in Batangas, quaint and mountainous. However, I found out that Bantayan Island is many times larger than Tingloy with many barangays and also a bit populated.
Sta. Fe Beach Club – Ogtong Cave Resort
|Sky is really different at the beach|
After about an hour Ro-Ro (ferry) ride, we headed directly at the Ogtong Cave Resort. You can instantly feel the relaxing atmosphere of the resort. No high rise buildings and noisy vehicles on the highway – just the trees and the soft sound of the beach.
The resort is set in a wide-open space with nice looking summer cottages in manicured garden.
|Ogtong Cave Resort Cottage|
There is also a mini zoo, but that doesn’t catch my interest. Like I said before, I’m not a fan of caged animals. I’m not an animal activist but I don’t see the point of putting them in cages as pets or worst, putting them in a beach resort as attractions.
|"In praise of the blue sky"|
|Ogtong Cave at the Sta. Fe Beach Club - Bantayan Island|
I thought Ogtong Cave is the main attraction of the resort, hoping that it is more exciting to explore than the Hinagdanan Cave in Bohol. But to my disappointment, the cave is just like a pit with stairs – it is just a small dent in the Sta. Fe landscape. There is nothing exciting at the cave except for the small water lagoon. Also, they no longer allow swimming at the cave so we immediately abandoned it.
|Sandy beach in front of the Ogtong Cave Beach Resort|
What makes me excited was of course, the awesome beach! The sand was not as fine and white like those in Boracay but there is serenity here – no fancy tourists, loud bars and zooming jet skis. Maybe we are just lucky because there are only few guests staying at the resort that time.
|"Si Bantay sa Bantayan Island"|
It was not in our plan to stay overnight at the resort so we didn’t rent a beach villa. Instead we just rent a small kubo (nipa hut) perfectly located near the beach. We only have the whole afternoon to enjoy the beach, hence after our awesome seafood lunch, we immediately disturbed the serene water.
|Intricate rock cavities along the Bantayan Island beach|
Unlike other beaches with wide shoreline, Ogtong Cave Resort has notable intricate rock cavities carved just a few meters from the shoreline, which is typical in rocky islands. It gives the beach a scenic touch together with nice palm trees and manicured green grass.
For more details regarding accommodations, facilities and services, contact details and how to book, at the Sta. Fe Beach Club – Ogtong Cave Resort, visit their website at http://www.ogtongcave.com. It has useful information although it seems they are not updating it.
Ready for battle again
We didn’t have the chance to visit other cool beaches and tourist spots in Bantayan Island due to our very limited time (actually we just sneak in there), but we did had a good time in Cebu. We also had a quick evening visit at the Kota Lighthouse and did some crazy barkada gig there before having our ritual booze-and-videoke night.
|"The Thinking Man"|
Over-all, our Cebu trip was quite memorable. A quick visit to Bantayan island was really de-stressing. The trip was a nice early treat for me before summer (and everything hot and stressful) kicks in.
Definitely a quick trip to a sunny beach never fails to re-boot my system – ready for battle again!
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