Girls Weekend Getaway: Bantayan Island, Cebu

I flew out to Cebu the other weekend to hang out with my girlfriends for our “not always annual but we try” annual girls weekend getaway. We went to Bantayan Island, which has one of the most gorgeous beaches in the country (and the world!).

The weekend was a blast, as usual. You know how it is when you meet up with your long time friends, right? Anytime you get together it’s pretty much all laughs and crazy antics. And we were all due for some much-needed girl time and beach fix, so it was a great vacay from our usual lives.

Anyway, now I shall ramble and share some photos, yeah? Fair warning: this post turned out suuuper long. ;)

Touristy Day in Cebu City

Three of us – me, DS and CC – decided to fly in early on Friday and spend a day in Cebu City for touristy things before making the trip to Bantayan. Two of our friends are based there and one of them – let’s call her Ketty (haha) – was our awesome O.C. Planner Girl and took care of all the arrangements, so we had a van with a driver at our disposal.

Ketty picked us up from the airport and we went to our first tourist stop, the Mactan Shrine, which includes the Magellan Monument and the Lapu Lapu Shrine. Apparently, the folks there hold a reenactment of the Battle of Mactan during its anniversary in April. That would have been cool to watch.

Our second stop was brunch at Rico’s Lechon because you know, hunger. And lechon in Cebu is wayyy better than lechon in Manila or wherever so we couldn’t miss out on that. Sorry I didn’t take photos. Hah.

Then we went to my temple, Temple of Leah. LOL. It’s this new Roman-inspired structure that a prominent Cebu dude built for his late wife. Hah. It’s kinda cool actually. It’s supposed to have rooms with cool things and a museum or something but it was still being fixed up when we went so we didn’t see much except for Roman statues that were mostly nekkid. They looked very, as we say in Cebuano, “otintik”. BAHAHA. Authentic ba. Tsk tsk.

From there we stopped by the President Osmeña Memorabilia or the old residence of the late president. The place has been fixed up on the outside but on the inside it still looked like one of those nice old houses with high ceilings, large windows and wide spaces. It’s pretty nice and I really hope they take good care of the whole place. The late president’s old Cadillac is displayed there. The thing was pretty sleek and very very cool.

Our last tourist stop was Magellan’s Cross, which is supposedly where explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted a Catholic cross when he landed in the Philippines. It stands near a huge church, the Sto. Niño Basilica, and the whole area was really crowded. We went inside the church grounds to light candles and look around for a bit, but didn’t stay long. There was a family of cats just lounging around outside the church so I took a picture. Because cats.

After that, we went to the mall for a coffee fix and a quick meeting. LOL. Yeah, we just had to go over some stuff before our travel to Bantayan Island. Ketty had to go home to pack and the rest of us had dinner with our other Cebu-based gal AA who still had to go to work that night. Night shift, y’all. She’d be following us to Bantayan with two other friends, JJ and DJ, the next day.

After dinner, we bought stuff at the grocery (foodies and drinkies yayy) then went to this nice place called La Vie Parisienne for a quick night cap. The place was packed and pretty busy. They had a wide selection of wines and beers, but I found myself gravitating towards the gelato. Yeah, I ended up having ice cream while my companions had wine and beer. I am a child. LOL.

Of course, we didn’t stay too long either. We headed to the terminal around 11 pm to catch the bus to Hagnaya Port where we would be taking the ferry to Bantayan. Since it was quite late (or early, whatever), traffic was minimal and the bus ride only took about two and a half hours. I was half awake and half asleep the whole time because I took a pill for motion sickness. Hah.

It was the same for the hour-long ferry ride. I slept through most of it when I could’ve watched the Gerald Anderson movie that was playing in the cabin. It was the one where his character did some sort of Magic Mike-esque dance for his girlfriend and dammit it was all hazy. Damn you, Bonamine. LOL. Seriously though, I’m glad I didn’t feel sick during that trip because the last time I was on a ferry I died huhu. Dumaguete-Siquijor ferry ride, I hatechu. Huhu. LOL I’m just kidding. We might go there next year HAHA.

ANYWAY, we arrived in Bantayan in the wee hours of the morning and was able to check in into our big-ass cottage, thank the universe. We (translation: Bonamine-drugged me) practically just dumped our bags on the floor and fell onto the beds. Yeah, we were pretty much knocked out after that.

Finally in Bantayan Island

We woke up around mid-morning on Saturday and decided to go out and eat. Luckily, Ketty’s familiar with the area so we just walked a couple of blocks to that strip with all the restos and bars. We had lunch at Stumble Inn, a pretty cool little place owned by an Aussie couple. The food was good and they had decent iced coffee – well, I had mine black, which is hard to f*ck up hehe. Anyway, it really is a nice place and we had our lunch there the next day.

We didn’t do much after that. We hung out in our room, hung out at the beach and prayed our friends AA, JJ and DJ wouldn’t miss the last ferry trip to Bantayan. Hah. Fortunately, they arrived as expected.

beach bantayan

Not long after that we went out and had pizza and pasta at Cafe del Mar, which was on the same strip of road as Stumble Inn. The food was pretty good, too. After dinner, we just went back to our room and dove into our chips and drinks.

Early the next day, the last one missing from our group, MS, finally arrived. Then we went island hopping! We ordered grilled meat things and rice at a beachfront carinderia type place near our resort and brought it with us to our first stop, Virgin Island (haha). We hung out there for a while then went to the next island, Hilantagaan.  We didn’t stay long, just stayed in the water for a bit and asked our boatman to take our pictures. Hah. The featured image I used for this post is from that photo session – that’s me on the leftmost with my hands up (yeah, wavin’ it like I just didn’t care. LOL).

bantayan island

After our pictorial sesh, we headed back to our resort and was supposed to move to two adjoining cottages because the resort double-booked the big-ass cottage. The cottages weren’t ready yet so we just went to have lunch at Stumble Inn again.

After lunch we headed to Ogtong Cave, which turned out to be this underground cave at a resort. I mean, the stairs leading down to it were right next to the swimming pool. Strange. Obvs, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was – I thought we had to trek to some mountain or something – but it was okay, I guess. I didn’t stay long in the cave though and ended up having ice cream at the restaurant. Hah.

We stayed there for about an hour and headed back to our resort. We were able to get into our new rooms – beachfront ones! Awesome, right? I mean, look at that view (photo below).

budyong resort bantayan

budyong bantayan cebu

For the rest of the afternoon we just chilled around. Had snacks, had drinks. I was, er, cruising the crimson wave (sorry TMI) so I was *happily* stuffing my face with goodies while some of my friends went into the water and one even rented a bicycle. It was pretty much a free for all time for all of us. Later that night we just decided to have dinner at that beachfront eatery where we bought our breakfast from the day before. Eating grilled food near the beach? Always a good idea. Unless it was raining – and it did. Luckily, the place had a covered area.

Can’t remember much about what happened after dinner. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep early. OLD. Haha. The next morning I woke up early to catch the sunrise but it was gloomy and cloudy so that was kind of a bust. But it was really nice to just sit and watch the beach and the people passing by. My friends got up a while later and we had coffee, bread things and whatever before we started getting ready to leave.

Homeward Bound

The travel back to Cebu wasn’t eventful. We got on the ferry – the Gerald Anderson movie was on again but I wasn’t interested anymore (LIESSSS.. haha). There was a little mix-up with the van we were supposed to ride going back to the city, but that was resolved. We stopped somewhere for lunch – it was a pretty good lunch, too – and finally arrived at the airport several hours before our flights. Hah.

I had to part ways with my friends at the airport because we were on different airlines and, therefore, assigned to different gates. It was no biggie. I already checked in using my phone so I went straight to the departure area and bought some goodies for the people at home. I also killed time with coffee, donuts and some music. That was actually the first time ever that I simply listened to music on my earphones while waiting. I usually try to read a book on my phone. Anyway, it was weird and cool, like there was a soundtrack playing while I was people watching. Haha, DUH. I should do it more often.

Anyway, it wasn’t long  before I boarded my plane and we arrived over Manila early only to circle around for a while because the weather wasn’t great and things were delayed. When the plane finally landed, we had to park somewhere for a long time because of a lightning alert. By the time I got home, it was late and I was tired, but thank God for my sister cooking dinner and my darling puppehs being all happy to see me again. Carpet Head was at ultimate training and got home a little after I did. Yayyy. And we all held hands and paws and danced around like children of the night. LOL, no, we didn’t.

Aaaand that was it. Another awesome weekend with my girls. And another long ass post. Who’s still reading this shit?? Haha.

So there. I can’t wait for our next girls weekend getaway. Really, loves, you should do something like this with your friends as often as you can, especially when you’re getting older and you’re all based in different places in the world and when you’re getting older. LOL. :)

P.S. Check this link for more about Bantayan Island, how to get there and what to do around the island.

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