Wandering Clouds in a Busy Bantayan Beach

Am I a wanderer or am I a traveler? This question popped in my mind at the moment. Looking at the yesteryear, I thought I was only bound to work as a nurse and take care of the sick. But the wind changed its course when I became a Science teacher in an island. Inevitably, my focus was changed too. 
Instead of monitoring patients, I monitor student's progress. Other than giving medications, I give lessons and quizzes. My experience as a nurse and as an educator gave me so much fulfillment. Both careers oriented me to a life of giving and caring, of learning insights and posing positive thinking and radiating kindness to both my clients and students. I become a motivator. I become a source of inspiration. 
Going back to my question whether or not I am a traveler or a wanderer hinted me that my life nowadays is a crossroad. It is rather a bumpy road with full of twists. For once, I became a traveler of life, I knew where I ought to go. I had a clear vision. I knew my mission. In contrast, I am now a wanderer. I am floating in mid air. I don't know where I am going. I am at lost. I am walking to a road called "nowhere".
These were my thoughts in a busy beach of Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. The familiar stretch of the sugary white beach where the crowd freely enjoying their Frisbee, beach goers on their swimwear, and kids selling souvenir necklaces distracted me. My moment of isolation ended when my guy buddies asked me about what to eat for lunch.
I was not alone in this trip. I was not even with my best friends or the closest ones. I was with people whom I guided to Kan-irag Peak a day before this trip. I was their extra baggage at the Take Me There: Sta. Fe Event. However, I never felt left out. They never made me feel like I was a stranger. I was glad to be part of the trip.
Back in the mountain, these guys were talking about their next beach escapade. I overheard their conversation so I asked them which beach they were heading. In unison, they answered Bantayan Island. It got my interest. I wished I could come back to Bantayan Island again. As if they read my mind, they invited me to join them. I did not hesitate. I said, "yes!"
It was a long drive from Mandaue City to Bantayan. We stopped for several times for our early breakfast, and for Rhey's coffee (He was our driver and he owns the car). We gaped at the magnificent sunrise. As always, beholding! Finally, we arrived at the wharf high with energy. As soon as I boarded the ship that will take us to the island, I grabbed the chance to sleep. What awakened me was the bustling sound of people chattering and finally, the ship making her final maneuver. I was back in Bantayan Island. 
The blue water glistened with pride. This was the island which was affected by the supertyphoon, Haiyan, three years ago. The once damaged island turned back to a lovely paradise. 
Then, we rode to Sta. Fe, one of the municipalities or towns of Bantayan Island along with Bantayan and Madredejos. That is where the event will take place. I appreciated these young men's initiative to look for a spot to build-up our 6-8 capacity tent. I was only there - inkling to help whatever help I could. I was glad to be with this group, actually.
I allowed myself to be drifted again. I guess, that was the only thing I enjoyed these days - building up the traveler in me. The wandering thoughts always led me to crossroads, hesitations, frustration and disappointments but I never allowed myself being succumbed to them. I must be strong.
I felt comfortable in the tent. I was contented - basking under the heat of the sun while watching people passing by and enjoying their beach vacation. For me, it was so wonderful doing nothing. It was a full bliss!
Evening came and we had our Korean dinner - samgyeopsal. The boys went out to join the concert. It was all they came for. I was still in the tent - watching the moon shining brightly in the night sky. I displayed a smile. I breathed in the evening breeze and settled for a night sleep. (Take Me There: Sta. Fe Concert was on-going in the other side of the beach.)
So the morning came - sunrise once again! I joined my travel buddies for morning stroll. There were beach campers waiting for the sunrise too. Well, there were also some who forgot where their tents' were. Some were wasted and some were lying at sleep still with a bottle of liquor on hand.
I sat on the sand while printing my name on it. I waited for the sunrise. I always do. 
The beach seemed peaceful in the morning. It was already a good time to dip in its tempting water. Sta. Fe, Bantayan never replaces its spot to be one of the best beaches in Cebu. After my morning swim, the group readied for home. It was both a pleasure and a relaxing experience for me. I had another wonderful experience in Bantayan Island. So long!
Addendum: We went back via San Remegio without our knowing. A boat operator told us that we could avoid the long line in Sta. Fe Wharf going back to the mainland with a fee of 200 pesos. We rode an out-triggered boat instead of a ferry. To our shock, we didn't dock to the port of Hagnaya but to San Remegio. Imagine the deceit! (It was explained that out-triggered boats aren't allowed to dock in Hagnaya Port. So if you are in San Remegio, take a trike that will take you to the main road. You can ride a bus from there that will take you back to the city.)
*Photo Credits to the owner

Going there: 
1. From the North Bus Terminal, look for a bus going to Hagnaya. The fare is around 160. 
Travel time is approximately 4 hours with one stopover.
2. At the Hagnaya Wharf, you ride a ferry to take you to Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island. Ticket is sold at 180 pesos. Terminal fee of 5 pesos. Travel time is approximately 1 hour.
3. For a budget traveler like us, we opted to ride a trike that took us to D' Tent City. For a ride, we paid 40 pesos. Regular fare is 8 pesos. D' Tent City has an open space where you can pitch your tent. They also have their own tent in case you don't have yours. The charges are the following: own tent space = 200 pesos; their tent and space = 400 pesos. 

What to do:
1. Beach bumming is the main activity here in Bantayan. You don't need to pay an entrance fee unless you want to use the resort's amenities.
2. Exploring the island by biking is a good deal. Bike rental for a day costs 200 pesos. (You can haggle for the price. I think it is negotiable.)
3. If you don't know how to bike then have someone drive for you. Motorbike tour is available. The last time I asked a tricycle driver, I could remember he told me around 500 pesos for a tour.
4. Island hopping is a cool thing, too! Virgin Island is also a beautiful island which is part of Bantayan Island. Two islands for 1,500-3000 is a close estimate. excluding the entrance fee.
5. Stroll around the island by foot. You can see its transformation from the storm-struck municipality to a striving community. 
6. Don't forget to buy pasalubong! Buwad (driedfish) is a great take-away from Bantayan.

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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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