Our Summer Story in Bantayan Island | Part 1

If the southern part of Cebu features the most explored mountain ranges, waterfalls, and also known to be home of the extreme adventure – canyoneering, the northern Cebu prides its stunning white sand beaches, paradise-like islets, healthy marine life and beautiful diving spots.

An impulsive trip brought us to one of the paradise in the northern part of the province — Bantayan Island.

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Get to know Bantayan Island:

Tucked in the west part of the northern Cebu, Bantayan Island is an island group that consists of small islets mostly uninhabited.  Bantayan is the largest island of the group. The towns of Sta. Fe, Madridejos and Bantayan lie here, too.
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Welcome to paradise!

 How to get there:

  • From Cebu, you can take a bus or a van bound for Hagnaya Port from the North Bus Terminal. Depending on what bus you’re riding, the fare is around Php160-180.
  • Secure a ferry ticket from Hagnaya Port (Php180) and pay the terminal fee (Php10). NOTE: If you are bringing your pets with you, don’t forget to get a local transport permit for them. No permit, no transport.)
  • Once you arrive in the port of Sta Fe, you can ride a tricycle to your preferred hostel. Some hostels arrange transport and tour, you may inquire from your host.
  • You can rent a bicycle or a motorcycle to tour the island. There are also motorcycles that offer land tours.

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Our summer story in Bantayan Island:

Our trip to Bantayan Island was unplanned. One day before our departure, Bantayan island never crossed our minds. Ace and I, in fact, were thinking of spending the weekend doing the laundry. It was around 8 pm on Friday when Niña and I talked about going there together. Without any second thought, I agreed. My class finished at 10:30 pm. Niña said we were departing at 3 am which was only a few hours away. Since it was an unexpected outing, we didn’t have Elliot’s transport permit. We had no choice but to leave him in my sister’s care.

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We arrived at Hagnaya Port and had our breakfast while waiting for Niña’s sister who lives in San Remigio. They arrived a little late, it was already 9:30 when we took a ferry to the island. Upon arrival, we wasted no time and immediately took a tricycle to Sta Fe Guest House which was our home for 2 days. Our friendly host greeted us at the gate. I like how our hostel is located just a few minutes away from the marketplace and few steps away from the beach.

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Lunch at Big Jel’s Restomeat.
The same tricycle picked us up at 1 pm for a land tour. Our first stop was Big Jel’s Restomeat for lunch. Ace and I personally suggest you try eating here because aside from the big serving, their food is delicious and affordable.

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After filling up our tummies, we headed to Oboob Mangrove Garden, also known as the OMAGIECA (Obo-ob Mangrove Garden Integrated Ecotourism and Conservation Association)It aims to raise awareness about the importance of mangroves and the role it plays in the ecosystem. The mangroves serve as the home of different underwater species.

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Ace and Demi at Oboob Mangrove Garden.

This mangrove garden has an entrance fee of Php50 for adults and Php20 for kids. They also have this big sign showing where the entrance fee go. Now, that’s what you call transparency.

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When the tide is high, you can tour the area by kayaking. We, on the other hand, chose to walk into the bamboo boardwalk.

Few meters from the entrance, there is a restaurant that serves fresh seafood and refreshments.

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Ace and Demi in Oboob Mangrove Garden.
The kids bought some fish food in a small store along the way. We rested in the bamboo hut while watching them feeding the fish.

We also climbed the makeshift bamboo tower to see the entire mangrove garden from above. Only 3 people are allowed to climb at once for safety purposes. Because many visitors lined up to climb the tower, you can’t stay there for more than 5 minutes.

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Ace and Demi
Soon after we explored the place, we headed to our next stop — the Paradise Beach. It was supposed a secluded beach area but due to the influx of tourist, the place became crowded.

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Niña is enjoying the sun, the sand and the waves. 

 

But that didn’t make the place less of a paradise. The long strip of powdery white sand was worth its name. The beach has the finest sand we have seen.

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Ace at the diving cliff. 
Our next stop was the Diving Cliff near a building ruin. Niña and I were eager to jump in the cliff. Yet, our spirits hid somewhere upon seeing how deep and high it was.

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The Ruin is completely ruined. 
We were supposed to drop by Ogtong Cave in Sta Fe Beach Club, but we agreed to skip it and went to the market to buy some provisions for dinner.

Everybody was tired, especially Ace, Niña and I because we didn’t have enough sleep. (It’s right to say, we didn’t have sleep at all.) We scheduled an island hopping the next day, so we decided to call it a day.

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Stay tuned for the story of our Virgin Island adventure!

‘Til our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi.

 

 

 

 

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Gatubod Spring Resort | Review

In a tropical country like ours, cold spring resorts are really helpful to escape the heat. No wonder why mountain resorts are thriving nowadays. One is Gatubod Spring Resort in Compostela, Cebu.

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Gatubod Spring Resort is located in Barangay Basak, Compostela, Cebu. It’s actually just one kilometer away from our house. This resort is owned by the famous Quiño clan in the town who also happens to own Green Lagoon Park.

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The Resort:

The resort has three pools. The first pool is what welcomes you upon entering. It has a depth of 7ft. The second pool is the kids’ pool which also serves as the launching pool for the slides. The third one is the widest and has a depth of 2ft to 6ft. It also has a mini waterfall for those who wanted a water-massage.

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The resort has two long slides that guests could enjoy. As of this writing, they have the longest slide in the northern Cebu. During our last visit, only one slide is operational due to some accidents and complains about the steepness and shape of the slide.

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There are cottages for rent and tables for rent but no rooms for overnight stays.

No corkage. Grilling station is also available.

They have a wide car park across the resort.

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REVIEW:

Gatubod Spring Resort like Green Lagoon Park is also a family-oriented resort. However, it could be crowded during weekends and holidays. My advice is to book in advance or go early.

They don’t have rooms or at least lockers to leave your important belongings. Therefore, you have to take turns in swimming so someone could look after your things.

The resort doesn’t have a restaurant so better bring your own food. Good thing because there is no corkage fee. 😀

 The staffs are friendly and approachable.

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How To Get There:

*From Sm/Mandaue, just ride a jeepney or bus going to Compostela or Danao. Ask the driver to drop you off in Compostela Public Market or in Guimbal, corner going to Virginia Foods Inc.. There are motorcycles for hire (habal-habal) and will take you to the resort. The travel from the market is 15-20 minutes.

More Information:

 *Entrance Fee — Php30 (Kids) / Php60 (Adult)

*Cottages: Ranges from Php250 – Php500

*No corkage

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I hope you find this review helpful. 🙂 Should you find any mistakes or changes, feel free to contact us or drop us a comment below. We’d appreciate it.

‘Til next time!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi

 

P.S Another post about our Gatubod Spring Resort adventure also appears on Side by Side blog.

Discover Catmon | Chasing Waterfalls and Trekking Rivers

The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. ~~ Roald Dahl

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Tinubdan Falls, Catmon

Catmon, Cebu — home of Cebu’s second highest peak, Mt Kapayas. Despite being flocked by outdoor enthusiasts and the like, this town remained self-effacing and humble. And lately, with people’s never ending quest of discovering wonderful places to visit, Catmon, in all fairness has another reason to boast.

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Behind the tall mountains of the municipality hides a wonderful haven full of nature’s bliss. A mysterious river slithers through the valleys of the town and divided it into the Old Catmon and New Catmon.

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This place is not known to many people not even to most locals. Some of them knew the place but never dared to visit it because of the creepy stories that circulates around the town. Not even the kids in the area are fond to play in this river.

Rumors have it that there were mysterious disappearances in the area. Sometimes, locals nearby hear uproarious sounds coming from the river but there are no people around. Our guide forwarned us to leave the river before 5:00pm to avoid any untoward circumstances.

Hmm? That sounds really creepy!

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We trekked for about five minutes before we caught a glimpse of this beguiling watercourse. Just the sound of the water cascades was already inviting. As if nature’s telling us to leave the worries behind and commune with her. And that, my friends, we couldn’t resist. Before we knew it, our feet were already in the water and we’re ready to plunge into an unknowingly great adventure.

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There’s something with rivers that we like so much. We love the beach but we always long for the streams.

It gives us the thought that life is indeed like a river. It keeps flowing.

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Ace and his emotion.

There are times that life is calm and peaceful. Times when life is steady, just the way you like it to, like nothing wrong could come its way. The water maybe placid but it is vulnerable. This tranquility won’t stay that way.  

 

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Struggle pa more!

Sometimes, this life could be harsh that you struggle and fluctuate. The flow could be strong that it could drown you, that it could wash you away forcing you to leave your comfort zone. These times will come when you least expect it, it’d slap you on your face and you couldn’t do anything to stop it.  

 

 

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Kapit lang, bes!

Yes, you’ll have a lot of struggle, a lot of holding on, a lot of letting go, too. But one thing is for sure, all of these things will lead you to a better place. All of these struggles will lead you to something great. Really great that you also did not expect it. 

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Tinubdan Falls

Yay!!! I couldn’t believe I just wrote that. hahah

Let’s get back to reality, everybody. 😀 And after that musing, Tinubdan Falls finally! Look at that isn’t that worth our struggles? Waterfalls everywhere.

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Ace and Demi cheesy moments. 

Hubby and I were very astounded. Tinubdan Falls is not as tall as the waterfalls in the Southern part of Cebu, but it’s stunning just the way it is. It’s unique in its own way. Albeit its height, it would never disappoint you.

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We also learned that during the Second World War, this place was developed by the Americans in order to supply electricity for their camp at combat in Agsuwao, Catmon. However, there were no trace of that.

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River trekking in Catmon.

We saw more mini falls as we continued trekking downstream. We climbed more rock boulders along the way which tested our balancing skills. It was one great adventure indeed!

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Ace and Demi trekked Catmon river.

Before we conclude this post, I’d like to mention few wonderful friends we met during this jaunt. Nhagz of Nhagzventures, who invited us to join this trip, Padz Lai of The Little Lai: Beyond Limits, and Gly of Chasing Potatoes. We look forward to having more adventures with you. Until next time. 🙂

 

What is life but one great adventure!

P.S  We had a wonderful time in this place and would love to come back again. Let’s help keep this place the way it is. Practice responsible tourism. LEAVE NO TRACE

Until our next adventure!

Keep safe!

Love, Ace and Demi