(see day 1 here)
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
Bantayan Island has three municipalities. Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madrilejos. Today, with the help of Johnny’s friend Paul, we were able to visit the enitre island… In just around 3 hours.
I got up early, leaving a snoring Johnny to go off to take some sunrise pictures.
After snapping several photos, I went up to make sure Johnny was awake.
Before settling on a place to eat, we roamed around Santa Fee for a while…
I saw an abandoned restroom building studded with graffiti. I had to take a pose… with me in my Independence Day-inspired t-shirt for the day.
While walking around, we encounter these stands all over the island. Bottles of Coca-Cola (never any Pepsi Bottles) filled with a familiar red liquid. We later discovered, these stands were actually a local variant of a… Gas Station. Yup, the red liquid was gas station as patronized by the motorcycle drivers around the island… a bottle at P50@.
We finally ended up at Cou Cou Bar and Restaurant for breakfast. It was around 8:30am. The odd part was, when we passed around 20 min earlier… the place was still closed! Well, the streets were empty, apparently the islands guests were all still asleep.
Anyway, I ordered the longanisa and dangit meal. Yum!
After breakfast, we had some time to rent some ATVs (All Terrain Vehicle) and roam the island a little bit. The ATVs were for rent for around P195 per hour. Not too bad. We decided to take the road counter-clockwise around the Island from Sta. Fe.
Roaming the island
Here’s a video I took of Johnny…
We kept on going until Johnny’s ATV died on him.
After lunch Paul brought us around the island. Our first stop was a little town of Obo-Ob. Here we found a little known Eco-Tourism site for Mangoves
Obo-Ob and the Mangroves
Paul brought us to OMAGIECA. This stood for the Obo-ob Mangrove Garden Integrated Ecotourism and Conservation Association.
This is definitely a very fascinating tourist site. This is the first time I got to see the inside of a Mangrove…. something I usually just see from the roadside. This is actually one of the most unusual attractions ever. From the long bridge, we get walk into the mangrove through a bamboo bridge propped up by bamboo stilts or tied to mangrove branches.
The town of Bantayan
The Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul. The church is almost 500 years old built during the Spanish period was used as a staging area for priests entering the Philippines. The parish itself is the oldest parish in the Philippines founded in 1580. The chirch itself was built between 1839-1863.
There is an interesting little religious oddity to this church and the whole of Bantayan Island. During holy week, Catholics around the world are forbidden to eat meat on days of obligation and fasting. In 1843, due to a shortage of fish at the time, Pope Leo XII issued a Papal Dispensation excepting Bantayan Island from the no-meat fasting rule.
The church is referred to as a fortress church due to its construction and extremely thick walls. The thick walls of the church are made of corrals, egg white, limestone and sap of local trees.
We then proceeded northbound to Madrilejos which is the northernmost point of Bantayan Island.
First off, this interesting Spanish Fort. Constructed in 1790s it was built to protect women and children from being abducted by Moro pirates. In World War II, there were Japanese soldiers executed inside the fort. Today it is called “Kota Park”
Away from the fort, we headed towards the water where there was a long bridge which stretched out for a few hundred meters.
The northernmost point of the Island of Bantayan Island
After a while, we proceeded back to Santa Fe.
Back in the the town of Bantayan, we chanced upon this fascinating street sign. I found it very efficient.
Our last stop was this ancient mango tree located ina private cemetery (no not the same one referred to above). The branches of the mango tree were so massive that some of them have fallen to the ground.
That was it. A trip around the island of Bantayan. Thanks to Paul Holaysan for showing us around.