bantayan cebuExplore the pristine white sand beaches of Bantayan Island in Cebu! Find out which islands, beaches,  historical and cultural landmarks are must-visits when in this small island north of Cebu mainland. 

Travelers around the Philippines and the world are coming in droves to experience what is known to be one of the best alternatives to BoracayBantayan Island in Cebu.



Apart from its superb, white sand beaches, Bantayan Island is also home to centuries-old churches and fishing villages.

Bantayan Island is often just a part of many tours in Cebu but today, we’ll give you more reasons to stay in Bantayan longer.

Check out this list of the best things to do and places to visit in Bantayan Island:

CONTENTS

1. Discover the Surreal Beauty of Virgin Island

virgin island bantayan cebu

Virgin Island, which is about 30 minutes away from Bantayan Island by boat, is touted as the main attraction here. It is privately owned with the cottages that you can rent and hammocks you can jump into for that perfect relaxing afternoon.

There’s a restaurant here that serves quite a spread of beach comfort eats and drinks. If you're looking for beach activities, you can snorkel, and play beach volleyball.

Enjoy the white sand beach that can rival that of Boracay Island at any time. You can also avail of an island-hopping tour to get here. 

2. Take a Dip at Ogtong Cave

ogtong cave bantayan cebu

This natural cave can be found within the premises of the privately-owned Ogtong Cave Resort. While the cave is not that big for a full swimming session, its clear, bluish, and refreshingly cool waters are perfect for a short dip.

The resort and the underground cave is easily accessible by a tricycle (a local mode of transportation, usually a single motorbike with an attached sidecar). Or you can ask your hotel or your tour company for a direct transfer as it is usually part of tours.

3. Try Out SuTuKil

The word SuTuKil is a combination of three words: sugba which means grilled; tuwa which means stew; and kilaw which means raw. The restaurant is located near the public market.

The wide selection of food options can overwhelm you but don’t fret. We recommend getting the plate of scallops. Have it steamed or grilled, these babies are part of the day’s catch, fresh, plump, and definitely a bargain.

4. Explore Hilantagaan Island

Nothing is better than sinking your toes at a white sand beach. Two adjacent white sand beaches! On Hilantagan Island, you can swim, snorkel, and work on your tan at two gorgeous beaches!

The white sand is very fine and creamy. If you walk along the shores of the two beaches, you’ll feel your feet sink into the powdery white sand and turquoise waters.

If you want a slice of the island life, you can head to the small fishing village on Hilantagan Island and say hello to the community members who keep the beaches clean.

You can go here by booking an island-hopping tour that usually includes Virgin Island.

5. See the Lighthouse on Kinatarkan Island

Apart from its long strip of white sand beach (Bitoon Beach), Kinatarkan Island also has a lagoon (Laaw Lagoon) and several caves you can explore.

Sometimes called people Guintarcan, this island is popular for its efforts to uplift and maintain responsible tourism activities.

Do include the Kinatarkan Lighthouse as part of your itinerary when visiting the island. You can go here by booking an island-hopping tour. The short climb up rewards tourists with a spectacular 360-degree view of the island.

6. Enjoy the Picturesque Sandbar at Kota Beach

kota beach bantayan cebu

This beach is famous for two things: first, its beautiful sandbar; second, it is the location of a Filipino romantic-comedy movie titled Camp Sawi. The views here are surreal, especially during sunset and sunrise.

Just imagine how amazingly surreal the views are as the sun kisses the horizon with Kota Beach’s sandbar in the middle of it all.

7. Check out the 1970s Fort at Kota Park

A trip to Kota Park in Madridejos is a welcome add-on to your tour itinerary. After all, there’s no entrance fee here.

The park has a beach area, a pier, and a 1970s old fort. With all of that in the backdrop, you can expect the sunsets here to be just as awesome.

What’s even more interesting is that the scenes change with the tide. During high tide, Kota Park is picture-perfect for swimming. When the tide is low, you can see some exposed rocks.

8. Enjoy the Beach Activities at Marikaban Beach

This beach may not have the finest sand but it makes up for the activities you can enjoy. There are several hotels and resorts, one of which is the Youneek Resort.

You can snorkel, swim, camp, and order a drink or two while watching the sunset.

If you plan to go snorkeling, head to the Coral Garden of Marikaban. This popular diving and snorkeling spot is well-loved by both newbies and pros.

9. See Mangroves at Obo-Ob Mangrove Garden

omagieca bantayan

Bantayan Island’s local tourism office and government are firm believers in responsible tourism.

The Obo-Ob Mangrove Garden or simply OMAGIECA provides tourists with information about the mangroves and its role in creating a vibrant marine ecosystem.

Apart from raising awareness about mangrove's role erosion control, coast protection, and more, the OMAGIECA also promotes local tourism and provides a livelihood to the local community.

After a short tour, you can head to the OMAGIECA Mangrove Garden Restaurant and order some of the best local delicacies Bantayan Island has to offer.

10. Enjoy a Quiet Day at Paradise Beach

If rowdy beach activities like volleyball aren't your thing, head to Paradise Beach and enjoy a quieter environment so you can concentrate on getting a tan.

Semi-secluded and away from the foot traffic, you will definitely enjoy the peace here, especially during sunset.

But of course, you’re welcome to do some frisbee, snorkeling, and beach volleyball in Paradise Beach too. It’s just that many people come here to just lounge around.

Unlike on Virgin Island, there are no restaurants here. You can bring your own food and drinks but make sure that you clean up after yourself.

11. Visit St. Peter and Paul Parish

Bantayan Island is home to one of the oldest parishes in the Philippines. The St. Peter and Paul Parish was founded in 1580 under the Spanish rule.

During the colonial era, priests from outside of the Philippines would enter the country through the church.

Before they are sent out to different parts of the country, they learned the Filipino language and culture at the church.

The original church was destroyed by Muslim rebels in 1600. The reconstruction was finally finished in 1863 using coral stones from the islands as a construction material.

Today, tourists can visit the church and join the festivities during the Holy Week season.

12. Have an Enchanting Time at Santa Fe Butterfly Garden

If you’re traveling with kids, a stopover at the Santa Fe Butterfly Garden is a sure hit! It is the home to about 22 species of butterflies and where you can learn more about their transformation and life.

There’s an entrance fee for both kids and adults. After a short tour, you can check out the manicured gardens and just enjoy the winged creatures in their natural habitat.

Experience the Best of Bantayan, Philippines

Go explore Cebu City beyond the popular island destinations and make your way to Bantayan Island. There are many lesser-known but equally beautiful islands and beaches here that are sure to wow you.

Best of all, explore the island’s culinary offerings, especially the seafood dishes. And when you find yourself in Bantayan this year, don’t forget to take home the best parts of traveling: your experiences.

Use this list to come up with your ultimate Bantayan Island trip this year. Explore Cebu tours and activities that can help you make the most of your stay in this humble island paradise.