Apr 7, 2013

Kick-starting summer at Anika Island Resort, Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island


I’ve been itching for a vacation for weeks and I finally got my much-needed breather a couple of days before the Holy Week started. My destination? Bantayan Island!

I’ve never been to Bantayan Island before but thanks to helpful tips from friends (who constantly travel there), a couple of online tools and some very interesting epiphanies, I managed to plan and enjoy one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve had in ages. Click on READ MORE to find out how you too can make the most out of your Bantayan Island escapade!


Bantayan Island is a breathtaking paradise found at the northern tip of Cebu. Notable for its pristine, powdery white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, this tropical gem is the perfect hideaway for weary souls.  

A week before leaving for Bantayan, I had an epiphany after encountering this quote: 

 “For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it.”

It sounds so metaphysical, right? But no it’s not an excerpt from a travel junkie/backpacker’s manifesto, it’s actually a line from The Beach (the 2000 movie with Leonardo DiCaprio). I watched it to get myself in “tropical adventurer” mode and while I didn’t enjoy the film a hundred percent, I did agree with some of the stuff that Leo’s character said. It also inspired me to come up with my own list of things to keep in mind in order to make the most out of a vacation, beginning with golden rule number one:

EMBRACE THE UNFAMILIAR


Like I said, this year’s trip to Bantayan Island was a first for me. The getting-there was as new and unfamiliar as the destination itself. The 3-hour bus ride from the North Bus Terminal to Hagnaya Wharf was probably the longest trip I’ve had via public transport and the ferry ride was new to me as well. Still I can proudly say that the journey was very much worth it.


I enjoyed all the new sights and unfamiliar towns that I passed through, knowing that it might be a while before I’d go through them again.


How to get to Bantayan Island via public transportation:
  • Go to the North Bus Terminal and get on the Ceres Bus or Autobus headed for Hagnaya. There are trips as early as 4:00 AM and the bus departs every 20 minutes. I also found out from this site that there are V-hires available every 45 minutes. The bus fare is P150 for air-conditioned Ceres buses and P120 for non-air-conditioned Ceres buses.  
  • After about 2 ½ or 3 hours (depending on the traffic), you’ll get to Hagnaya Wharf. Pay P170 for the ferry ride and P10 for the terminal fee. The ferry trip takes about 45 minutes to an hour. I personally recommend the ferries of Island Shipping because they are more punctual and faster than the Lite Shipping ferries. 
o   Ferry trips: Hagnaya to Sta. Fe: 

3:00 AM / 5:00 AM / 6:30 AM / 9:30 AM / 11:00 AM / 1:30 PM / 3:30 PM / 5:30 PM

o   Ferry trips: Sta. Fe to Hagnaya: 

5:00 AM / 7:30 AM / 9:30 AM / 11:30 AM / 1:30 PM / 3:30 PM / 5:00 PM (Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays)

The 4-hour travel time and the inevitable inconveniences in between will all seem trivial when you keep in mind that the journey will ultimately lead you to this:


FACE YOUR FEARS


The people close to me know very well how much I hate sunny and hot weather— ironic since I live in a tropical country. In most of my outdoor excursions in 2012 (including the one-day nature trek to RCPI towers, Cebu, and my water sports adventures in the beaches of Panglao) I was spoiled with cloudy weather. This year I wasn’t so lucky but then after I saw the beach of Anika Island Resort (the place where I stayed) I simply forgot all my qualms over sunburn and getting a tan.



Anika Island Resort is a gorgeous resort nestled in the postcard perfect shores of Sta. Fe, Bantayan. I fell in love at first sight the moment I saw their pictures on the internet and trust me the place looks just as breathtaking in real life.


Aside from being on the beach front, Anika Island Resort sets itself apart from other hotels and resorts in that their cabins are remodeled/recycled cargo containers. Each one is equipped with all the basic creature comforts you can ask for—comfortable beds, air-conditioning, hot and cold showers, an LCD television and a well-furnished patio facing either the garden or the beach.


The result is a delightful hideaway that harmoniously blends the owners’ concern for the environment and their passion for delivering only the best to their guests. Check out their website for room rates and other information.


The reception area and Chloe Café at the main building follows the resort’s eco-friendly theme. They have huge, airy spaces and take advantage of the natural light.


And did I mention Chloe Café also serves good food (prices range between 160-250 PhP)? Now you don't have to leave the resort ever!


Grilled Tuna Belly in Lemon Sauce with Fried Potatoes @ Chloe Café, Anika Island Resort

Garlic Beef @ Chloe Café, Anika Island Resort

Chicken Parmesan @ Chloe Café, Anika Island Resort

Pork Chop @ Chloe Café, Anika Island Resort

The beaches of Sta. Fe, Bantayan, are too beautiful and bewitching to ignore and that’s coming from someone who frequented Panglao beach resorts while growing up! So if you’re vampiric and hate the sun like me, simply slather on your sunblock, put on your wide-brimmed hat, don your oversized sunnies and face your fears! Trust me, it’s all worth it. 

Anika Island Resort fast facts:
  • Resort location: F. Roska St., Brgy. Okoy, Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu 
  • Contact numbers: (+63 32) 318-8402 / +63922-843-9517 (they offer free shuttle service, just let them know when you are arriving)
  • Cebu City sales office: #29 Mandaue North Central (Castilex Compound), M.L. Quezon Street, Cabancalan, Mandaue City, Cebu 
  • Contact numbers: (+63 32) 505-8218 / (+63 32) 344 8052

My first trip to Bantayan Island was simply unforgettable. Experiences like it that dare us to cross our comfort zones are empowering and they become reminders in the future that anything is possible as long as we are ready to embrace anything that comes our way.



This is just part 1 of my feature on my latest vacation in Bantayan Island. Make sure you don't miss out on the follow-up post, follow this blog's happenings via: Twitter / Facebook / Google + / email on the right sidebar
 



Check out the other stuff in the Breakaway series:
  1. Go on a one-day nature trek to RCPI Towers, Cebu!
  2. Take the Plunge in Danao, Bohol!
  3. Hit the beaches of Santa Fe, Bantayan Island!

2 comments:

  1. nice write-up! anika, best in all of santa fe, if their restaurant had a view of the ocean it'd be 10/10 :)

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    1. You're totally right ;) I initially thought they had a coffee shop on the beach, they must have closed it. It would have been great chilling with food and a breathtaking view of the sea. Thanks for dropping by! I checked your blog, too, your photos are amazing :D

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