Explore 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.
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:
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 car transfers or an island-hopping tour with transfers to get here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A trip to Kota Park in Madridejos is a welcome add-on to your tour itinerary. After all, there’s no entrance fee here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 you can add to your island-hopping excursions in Cebu.
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.