My husband called this island, " paradise". To see it is to believe it. As I stood by the railing of an old ferry boat approaching the island, I made a mental note. "Yes. It is indeed, a paradise."
How to Get There?
In my previous post, we traveled by plane for a 1 hour flight from Manila to Cebu with my husband and 23-month old daughter (who was at the limit of air fare privileges. Next month, we have to pay for her air ticket). We took a low fare flight. This meant our arrival at Mactan Airport is during ungodly hours. We arrived exhausted around past midnight.
Luckily, the queue at the white taxi stand was quick. There were always cabs on standby.
We booked our favorite Mactan Island hotel named Hotel California in advance. It is conveniently located right next to Gaisano Grand Mall.
Staying in Mactan for two nights gave my husband time to run business errands while I treated my baby girl for some mom and daughter bonding time, before embarking on a long journey. We were able to buy things that we needed that our limited airline check- in allowance can't afford.
At 4am, the next morning, we took a taxi to North Bus Terminal in Cebu City. It cost us Php 150 (USD$ 3.20) and an extra toll fee entrance of the cab inside the terminal for Php 10 (USD $0.21).
The first bus to Hagnaya port leaves at 5am and the next one departs at 8:30 AM.
We took the Ceres Air conditioned bus at Php 160 (USD $ 3.42) per adult. Our baby girl was admitted on the bus for free and we traveled comfortably in a 3 seater.
There is a public restroom fee of Php 5 - Php 10 (USD$ 0.10 - 0.21) per person.
The journey to Hagnaya is roughly around 3 hours with 1 stopover for a very short toilet break. Before reaching the port, the bus takes a short detour at Bogo City to pay a toll.
We reached Hagnaya Port around 7:45 - 8am.
There are ferry boats headed to Bantayan - Santa Fe every hour. We were fortunate to have caught one a few minutes before its departure. A ticket costs Php 170 (USD$ 3.62) per adult. We paid half the price for Anaïs Php 85 (USD$ 1.81). There's a terminal fee of Php 10 (USD$ 0.21) per adult.
The rule of thumb in the Philippines: Never ask. Just do so when someone says so. Our mistake was we asked whether our 23-month old kid needs to pay or not.
The 1 hour boat journey was smooth. It was hot inside the ferry. A fan was handy. There were benches along the railing that had a little bit of breeze. At the port, there will be tricycle drivers offering rides to your destination. A private tricycle ride to Santa Fe's Kota Beach was Php 50 (USD$ 1.07).