If the mainland beach of Bantayan Island at Sta Fe is not enough for a true-blooded beach bum, which, mind you is already a lovely stretch based on my personal standard, visitors still have options to explore the nearby islands. Second day, mid-day of our Oceana Photo Safari, we’re still at the start of our exploration of Tañon Strait in which the Bantayan Islands is a part of. The small Virgin Island, about 45 minutes off the coast of Sta Fe by outrigger boat was our destination.
I’ve always liked resorts with character. As soon as our van drove in at the Anika Island Resort in Sta Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu, I thought those container-type accommodations look cozy. I haven’t tried staying in one so I was very curious how they manage to repurpose them as lodgings. Anika Island Resort already had a great location along a beautiful stretch of white sand beach on Bantayan Island and the added comfort of their facilities and services makes for a memorable leisure escape.
“Where is Tañon Strait?” I asked when I received an offer to do a photography coverage of an week-long expedition for Oceana Philippines. Prior to this, I have no clear knowledge of this protected seascape sandwiched between two major islands Cebu and Negros. The itinerary was enticing enough. We’ll start our journey in Cebu, going up to Sta Fe Bantayan island, then making our way down parallel to the narrow strait, crossing it from Moalboal to Negros Oriental then sail all the way down to Dumaguete. Just the thought of the trip excites me as I had never been to most of the places along and within Tañon Strait.
I was enjoying lying on the bow of the large outrigger boat coming from Pasacao Port in Camarines Sur to our destination of San Pascual in Burias Island, Masbate. I wanted to enjoy the fresh sea air and not be bounded inside the tarp-covered windows of the shaded boat seats behind me. The splash from the ride didn’t reach the bow that much so I enjoyed the sea view and conversation from the local guide in the area. Suddenly there was a rustle of activity that led me to see what was happening. We were approaching the Burias Island already and just in time when the afternoon light came in, spreading its golden hue over the high cliffs bounding the bay where the municipality of San Pascual is nestled in.
There’s a certain excitement on visiting far-flung locations. Maybe the idea of finding authenticity in a remote location drives us to go further beyond the tourist trail. Often times we discover gems in seclusion but that is not always the case. Sumnanga Village, the farthest of the Sabtang island villages found at the west side probably has the least tourist footprint on the island. It even took me at least eight years to return to this village despite having been to the island several times already. But sadly it’s another case of tainting my good memories of the place but thankfully there’s redemption in its natural beauty.