Bantayan Island, Cebu: From Madridejos To Santa Fe On A Bike
There’s a scarcity of public transport in Bantayan Island, Cebu during sleeping and after work hours which makes photographing sunrise and sunsets under consideration – unless you have your own means of transportation. I found my dad’s flimsy-looking Korean-style fixed gear bicycle in a stock room along with construction materials and stacks of egg trays, so I pulled it out a gave it a test ride a few meters and back. This two-wheeler, regardless of the few squeaks and rickety chain noise, could probably run a few kilometers, the question now is, “can I?”
To make sure I have enough time, I woke up at 3:30 AM, indulge in a cup of coffee, then carry on with the works. I strap the camera bag to the luggage carrier and fixed the tripod on the frame, and started peddling into the bumpy dirt road leading to the main highway. It was so quiet the disturbing noise and squeaks of the bicycle seemed so loud.
All the century-old trees surrounding the statue were uprooted but the image was miraculously left unscathed
Watching the moon set at Kota Park in Lawis, Bantayan Island.
The illuminated statue of Mary at the heart of the town plaza instantly caught my eye when I arrived at Lawis (Madridejos) church, Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church. Lighting fixtures surrounding the image made it stood out from the deep blue sky. It was the first time I saw statue during this time of the day and it seemed more dramatic than its mundane appeal during daytime. A few more strides lead to the historical Kota Park which features a 187-meter promenade leading to a tower called Bontay Baywalk. Similar to the statue, I found the promenade more captivating. So far, the blue hour gave me really good rewards.
I’ve always wanted to stop by this welcome arch.
…and this road too.
Making the easy ride to Lawis boosted my confidence so I decided to go for a more challenging distance. A 13-kilometer asphalt road to Bantayan lies ahead, and I’ll be just in time when my favorite fried chicken diner opens.There are numerous fried and asal (roasted) chicken stalls around the island but Carlito’s Fried Chicken ranks as my personal favorite to the extent of sacrificing the convenience of having a jeep that goes directly from Santa Fe to Lawis and getting off at the town proper just to get my hands on those huge two-piece crunchy fried chicken paired with poso or hanging rice. Is it really that tasty or am I just exaggerating? I leave the decision to you.
The best 2-piece chicken in Bantayan Island.
Only 12-kilometers of sloping highway stands between me on my black powder-coated bike and I, and the white sand beaches of Santa Fe. Every stride on the pedal takes me one meter closer to my finish line – I can already smell the salt in the air, and imagine my self celebrating with ice cold beers and fruit shakes with my dad and sister under a huge umbrella just staring the sapphire blue waters of Santa Fe’s world class beach.
And that’s what we exactly did (they came to Santa Fe by motorcycle).
Coral Blue Oriental Beach in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu.
Triangle posture on Santa Fe’s beach.
Traveling the island from end to end and back was really exhausting yet a rewarding feat. The best part of using the bicycle as my mode of exploring the island gave me flexibility. It’s not the fastest way around the attractions but the ride was more laidback sight-seeing tour beyond the famed attractions – the country side, taking photos of places I never really had the chance to stop like the welcome arches, the roads, the cornfields. That would mean getting off the public transport and waiting for another to pass by. This tiny feat got me thinking as well. I made it to more or less 50 kilometers, back and forth, and this ride was the farthest I’ve ever ridden my entire life. Maybe I could do a hundred, or a thousand, or maybe tour the country on a bike, maybe the world in a bike.
Now I’m seriously considering getting a bike, so if you happen to be selling a nice starter bike for a reasonable price, you know how to get in touch.
And the bike wasn’t flimsy at all.
1. Directions to Bantayan Island, Cebu: From North Bus Terminal, take a bus bound for Hagnaya (travel time is approximately 3 hours). Fare is around P150.00. From Hagnaya Wharf, take a ferry bound for Santa Fe Port (travel time is approximately 1 hour). Fare is around P170.00 plus a P20.00 terminal fee.
2. You could ask your resort where you could rent a bicycle, I’m not sure how much the rate though. Motorcycle rentals are also available which costs around P300.00 – P400.00 per day.
3. We went to Coral Blue Oriental Beach’s restaurant but didn’t spend the night there. For more information about the accommodation, check out their website.
4. Carlito’s Fried Chicken is in front of Bantayan Town Plaza, adjacent to the the church.
4. This is my 3rd post in the adventures of North Cebu series.
5. More destinations in Biyaheng Cebu
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