Inspirations from Santa Fe, Bantayan

On October 24, 2009, Saturday, Itoy and I spent sometime in the beautiful paradise called Santa Fe, in Bantayan Island. We only really stayed a night over there by accident because we weren’t able to catch a boat ride back to Hagnaya in the town of San Remegio but my few hours there gave me some priceless memories…

It even inspired me to write this piece.

Only in Sante Fe, Bantayan Island…

We saw a huge crab (a.k.a. alimango) cross the paved driveway of a Beach Resort while driving towards a place called Ogtong Cave; we had to stop to watch it pass by. I jumped up and down scared it was going to attack me! That would’ve been a scrumptious meal if I didn’t chicken out and got my hands on it. But that thought just never crossed my head as I was just so shocked to see it there at that time of the day, when the beach was still far away from that area. You should see how big it was and how huge its claws were, I wouldn’t dare mess with those!

While waiting for our boat to depart the port of Santa Fe, we saw a bird dive into the clear water to catch a day’s meal and flew up really close to us. It was like a watching Discovery Channel live and up close!!! When the bird left, our attention was then caught by the school of fish directly below our boat; we threw them cookies and “bibingka”; they went after it like crazy hungry piranha! Some would even almost jump outside the water just to get the food as there were dozens of others waiting to get a share too! I think we got a video of that one – I asked Itoy to take a video while we fed them; the view was spectacular! It was like watching a giant aquarium.

We were able to rent a concretized room complete with toilet and bath, a sink, an electric fan and a soft bed with beddings for only 250 for one night. Water was abundant, the place was comfy and peaceful, secure because there was a gate and we even had a table adorned with fake flowers on it as a plus! Back in Cebu, 300-500 pesos will only afford you a “nipa hut” cottage in small resorts and is only the entrance fee to the more high-end resorts. So getting that room was more than just a great deal – it was the best deal! We were even the very first users!

We rented a motorcycle for only 25 pesos an hour and we could explore the entire island with it; we only had to pay for gas but since the rent itself was cheap - - it was almost a steal! And when you see the view of the island, you’d realize you spent only so little and got so much more. We drove all the way to the poblacion of Bantayan; visited their wet market, drove around their town plaza and attended mass in the one of the most beautiful and probably one of the oldest churches in Cebu as well. The church itself was built with old stone walls, had artistically-adorned stone tiles as its flooring and had bright and decorative chandeliers hanging from the ceiling towards the altar area, stained-glass accentuated the windows and the place was filled with the aura of silence and solemnity. The only thing I didn’t quite agree with is that part where there are names of families/people that have made donations to the church. It reminded me of politicians putting their names on billboards to get votes! Something that shouldn’t be in churches… Other than that little thing, I loved the whole place!

I sang 6 karaoke songs consecutively because they charge only 10 pesos for 3 songs. I felt like I was in concert because I could really hear my voice reverberating throughout the night and I even had a fan!! hahahah.. We sang back to back with some guys who sounded like professional singers too! So, no nuisance except for the group singing in a karaoke bar a little farther from where we were, but we drowned them out with our music for sure!!! Hah!!

I drank some beer and actually enjoyed it! I don’t usually like drinking beer as it leaves an unpleasant taste on the tongue and an undesirable smell to the breath - but this one didn’t. There was no smell, the taste was ok and it only made me a little tipsy after! It was a non-beer-drinker’s version of little heaven. Apparently, this beer is available only in the provinces and not in the cities; I guess that officially makes me a “probinsyana” then! Cheers to Gold Eagle beer!!! Hahaha…

We also bought some crabs in the port on our way to boat heading for Hagnaya; ate some of it when we grabbed a bite upon our arrival in Hagnaya and then finished everything at Itoy’s house. It was the cheapest crabs I’ve even bought in my entire life and even if they were little ones, they were packed with meat inside. Since I have always loved crabs, it was one of the highlights of that unforgettable Bantayan trip.

I’ve always wanted to travel outside the Philippines and experience other cultures but I’ve always been a fan of what our country can offer and I urge everyone to experience Bantayan too just like I did. You might even have more fun-filled experiences than I did.

I have yet to confirm this but apparently, there is a song written about Bantayan Island, Coming Home to Bantayan is the title. If it has inspired me to write this and a songwriter to write a song - - imagine what it will inspire you to do? Let Bantayan inspire you…

Written on: October 26, 2009 Monday @ 12:12
Finished: November 10, 2009, Tuesday @ 12:24

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