Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bantayan: The Spanish-Era Town Plaza

After visiting Kota Park, in Bantayan Island, Cebu, we headed straight to the heartland of this small little island: the town plaza. This town plaza is very much what you'd expect of a Spanish-era town plaza. Around it, you'll find big colonial houses, the market and, of course, the iglesia.

Bantayan Island, Cebu

The iglesia, now called the St. Paul and Peter Parish, was founded by Augustinian priests in 1580. Construction of the actual structure, however, started more than two centuries later in 1839, finished in 1863. It is said to be one of the oldest churches in the country. A magazine show even claimed it to be the oldest in the Visayas.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bantayan: Blooms in May

No words. Just colors. :)

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bantayan: The Historical Kota Park

On our second day in Bantayan Island, Cebu, we arranged for an inland trip. We hired a motorcycle taxi (like a Thai tuk-tuk) for the whole afternoon. There were four of us and we paid 200 pesos each. The taxi picked us up after lunch at a restaurant close to the resort and then, we were off.

Kota Park, Bantayan Island, Cebu

Our first destination was Kota Park, located north of the island in the town of Madridejos, a small fishing village there. Our resort was located south of the island, so it was quite a drive to get there. It was pleasant, though. You will pass by Bantayan Island's rural landscapes, tree-lined roads and the island's commercial center.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bantayan: Brilliant Blue Beach

Bantayan Island is a relatively large island located north of Cebu mainland. It's a good getaway place for Cebu-City dwellers because it's just a four-hour bus and boat ride away from this southern capital. We came here on a really small budget. Thanks in part to Cebu Pacific's 450-peso roundtrip Manila to Cebu fares, we were only set back 5,000 pesos all-in. Good, no?

Bantayan Island, Cebu

While in the island, we stayed at Kota Beach. It is one of the resorts found in the southern part of the island. The beach is pretty decent. Admittedly, it isn't really the best beach I have ever been in. But I am sure that you will still find this beach serving you well on a hot summer day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cebu: From the City to the Island

Before the summer ended (well, it technically already ended), I knew I had one more trip to do. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did not know much about our destination--Bantayan Island in Cebu province. I was not the organizer, too. So me getting there would not be possible without my travel companions.

On the Way to Hagnaya Port, Cebu

We woke up early that Saturday in Cebu City and took a taxi to the North Terminal where we would ride the bus that would take us to Hagnaya Port. Even at 5 in the morning, expect the bus terminal to be bustling with barkers. They will badger you, ask you about your destination, point you--even push you--to their buses. It was wise that we already knew to get on the Ceres bus to get to the port.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Travel Log: Gearing up for Cebu

I haven't posted any pictures for a while. I know. But that's because it has been a while since I went on a "photo assignment" (I shall call them that, yes).

That should change in a couple of days. I am going on a photo assignment to Cebu tomorrow. Our flight arrives around 8 p.m. at Cebu City. We will be spending the night there before we head up north to Bantayan Island, where we will be spending the weekend. After that, on Monday, we head back to Cebu City for some city exploring.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Coron: Sights and Sunsets at Kayangan

One of the last places we visited in Coron, Palawan is Kayangan Lake. Said to be one of the cleanest lakes in the Philippines, Kayangan, as with most lakes in the area, is actually part salt water and part fresh water. The fresh water, we were told, comes from the hills and the tall limestone cliffs that enclose the lakes.

Sights at Kayangan Lake

The lake is on the other side of a steep mountain. So, to get to the actual lake, you had to climb up this mountain. They have built a staircase there, so it's very accessible. The downside is, it's very accessible. This means a whole lot of tourists. I do think, however, that the lake is spacious enough for many people. So the swim there is still very much enjoyable.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coron: Boulders at Banol Beach

On our third day in Coron, Palawan, we visited an amazing white-sand beach. On our way there, I asked our local guide/slash/tour arranger/slash/lunch provider if it was a private beach. He answered yes. Bummer. He then continued that it was owned by indigenous Mangyan tribes. I was relieved.

Banol Beach

We arrived at Banol Beach (that's its name) just in time for lunch. We settled on a hut and had our hearty lunch there. We were lucky we had arrived before a number of other boats and tourists got there. We were able to have the beach to ourselves for at least an hour.