A Brief Visit in Paradise

Bantayan, an island in the western part of northern Cebu, is famous of its white sand beaches & glamorous night life events during holy week. Did I miss something? Dried fish, of course! If you think about the best “buwad” (the local term for dried fish) in town, Bantayan is the best place to find it. After 26 years of my human existence here on earth, I apparently visited Bantayan for the first time.

After days of preparation, I even filed 2 days of time-off for this activity, my partner & I hurriedly went to the North Bus Terminal for the bus ride to Hagnaya Wharf.When we reached Hagnaya, we killed the time by having an early dinner because we arrived 30 minutes ahead of the schedule for the next boat. After the sumptuous meal, we boarded the ferry. Everyone was basically excited, except me due to the fact that excitement is just an understatement to what I truly felt.Atmospheres of adventure combined with emotions of being blessed & loved, excitement, fun, gratefulness, serenity & thrill were the things that I perceived during that very moment. Now, if you know a word that contains all those sensations, I would certainly name a star after you.

The night greeted us when we came in Bantayan Island. The darkness enveloped the scenery, like a maiden who was shy upon acquaintanceship.I cannot wait til the sun sets its face to this place, for I know, it will be a pleasant thing to witness. When we arrived in Queen Elizabeth, the house that we rented for our 3-day stay, my partner & I directly hit the sack. A power nap was an aid to us for the reason that when we woke up before midnight, we paid courtesy to the shining waters of Sugar Beach that happened to be just across Queen Elizabeth.My first day, or should I say night, in Bantayan was welcomed by my first night swimming experience. It was indeed a good way to start the escapade.

Consequently, there was light. The fresh sunlight recognized our appetite for the beach by keeping us warm while we walked on the rough sands in the seashore. Yes, it was a delightful morning, the perfect part of the day to visit the market. We rented a motor vehicle, for a hundred and fifty pesos per hour, to go to Bantayan Public Market. The market was divided into 2: wet & dry. In the wet market, sharks here,blow fish there,king crabs everywhere.Name it & they have it. We bought sea shells & fish, in the wet market, for our lunch and a lot of dried fish, in the dry market, for our “pasalubong” (a local term for goodies for our loved ones & friends). When we got back in the house, we then prepared & cooked the fresh seafood. I felt sad for the shells but I cannot resist them because they are so delicious,especially when they were complimented by my partner who grilled them with butter.Eventually, lunch was served and the rest was history.

Who says that after eating, everybody will have a decrease in energy & just sleep the exploration away? Not in this case, comrade due to the fact that after the splendid lunch, each one of us put some sun screen lotion on for an island hopping. We rented a pump boat for P1500 for this unplanned escapade.We headed first to Virgin Island, an islet that has bushy trees & with edges of the island covered with white sands.However, with unanimous decision, we concluded the short journey at Hilantagaan Island. What struck me the most was not the white sand anymore but the way locals mistreated their cattle. They forcefully pull the cow up the boat using the ropes that were attached to the nostril & legs of the mammal. It pained me seeing those poor animals treated like that, completely inhumane. Why can they just not put a ramp from the shore to the boat so as to have an easier way in boarding the boat, not just for animals but for humans also? Mindless people can sometimes get into my nerves. Well, enough of those senseless individuals. I just hope & pray that they will substantially find something for the betterment of all the living things in their area. Let’s just be sensitive enough, please.

When we were back to Queen Elizabeth, we decided to know Bantayan more by strolling around.We then settled at Balikbayan Restaurant where we ordered their famous dessert, halo-halo.The cottage setup of the area praised the ambiance of the place… Summer, private & romantic.Enjoying the environment with the brain freezing mixture of ice, sweet palm, banana & mango made me feel comfortable in a cozy strange place. After the satisfying halo-halo, we walked ourselves back to the house and eventually got thirsty. Good thing that we had Baileys, Arbor Mist & Absolut to wet our whistles.We savored the drinks, for we barely get the chance to usually taste them. I just hope, I can have them regularly. Wait… What? Was that me wishing or just me tipsy? Hard drinks? Sorry but we are not friends for the reason that they make my world go round… literally.

Sober, we were when we woke up the next day, which happened to be our third stay in the island. After breakfast, we took the 9 o’clock boat back to Cebu.In 3 days, we appreciated nature. In 3 days, we forgot our irate customers & extraordinarily stressful cases. In 3 days, we had a brief visit in the paradise of Bantayan.