Bantayan Island: You are still a Beautiful Paradise

The powdery white sand stretches invitingly in Sta. Fe. The locals in the busy wet market buying their usual provisions, church goers spending their weekend devotion, and tourists biking around the town of Madridejos manifest a perfect scenario in Bantayan Island.
"Standing still and striking a pose at Beach Paradise"

My psychedelic imagination started running the island vibe scene the moment I boarded the 10 p.m. bus bound for Bantayan. How long did I ever get to visit the pristine beach of the island? Two years. I remembered back then that Bantayan Island served as my escape plan from depression and insanity. This time though with all vigor my heart could muster, I am back in the island to celebrate life and love.

As a wedding host, I always look forward to meet the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be for a short interview. This gives me an idea how to handle the event. So when I met the bride-to-be after a 6-hour trip, we had a short chitchat before she ushered me to an already-reserved guest house.
"All set for the afternoon's event"

Five hours. I had five hours to doze off before the event. So I grabbed that chance over breakfast. The moment I woke up, everyone was busy with their own craft. Make-up artists painting the bridesmaid’s faces, pictorials with the bride and the groom whilst the wedding planner was all around the place making sure that everything would be in perfect set-up.

I studied the venue further. What used to be a fountain turned out to be a perfectly landscaped garden. There are rooms distinct from each other. One is a version of a “nipa” hut while the others are mini-bungalows fronting the fenced resort. I walked further to see the clubhouse. It was all ready for the afternoon’s event. Another thing that invited me to relax a bit was a lone hammock tied at two dwarf coconuts. Surely, a little nap won’t delay the wedding celebration.
"Taking nap"

After the 10-minute nap, I then prepared myself. I met up with the wedding planner and spoke to him about the wedding program. When everything was agreed, I went back to my room to prepare. My pink maxi dress waved elegantly. Then I looked at my face in the mirror. The lady reflected at me showed a contented smile. Twenty years. For two decades of hosting, I am swelled with humility. Humbled by the trust these people accorded to me. This fueled up my excitement to be better every event.
"Taking a chance to pose before the wedding"

Wedding bells. Exchange of “I Do’s”. Couple Dance and after-wedding party summed up the celebration. The newlywed couple was grateful of my presence. I expressed my thanks and went back to my room to rest. I was looking forward for the beach by the morrow.

Early morning the next day, I started from the secluded Beach Paradise to the frolicking Mayet’s Beach Resort in Sta. Fe, Bantayan. I basked under the sun while lying on its white sand. Bantayan Island is always a perfect rendezvous of living a lazy, relaxed and good life in a day. I intentionally switched off my mobile phone to forget about work and deadlines. I went back to basic – tuning in myself, redefining my life and goals and forgetting all my worries.

I had a couple of laps in the beach unobtrusive of the other swimmers. I was quite amused of the serenity it gave me. It was a silent endorphin. It was a relaxant in my system. I felt that time stood still. The slow-paced rhythm beat together with my soul. I am one with the water and one with myself. I returned to the aged-old definition of vacation – to do nothing. I skillfully mastered its craft in Bantayan Island. For Thomas Merton once quoted, “Man at rest was man’s greatest activity.”

Some insights including travel information about Bantayan Island:
1. There is a direct trip that will take you to Bantayan Island. Board a Ceres Bus from the North Bus Terminal with the signboard “Bantayan”. The trip will take you approximately six (hours). Ceres Bus ticket costs around 400 pesos while the ship’s ticket costs around 300.
2. Since the wedding was held in Madridejos, I had another land trip from Sta. Fe taking a jeepney. Fare is at 50-60 pesos.
3. Beach resorts are mushrooming in Sta. Fe. Beach Paradise is a secluded point in Sta. Fe but it doesn’t have any amenities, comfort room, or cottages. You have to bring your own tent and food if you wished to stay overnight. Entrance fee is 50 pesos only.
4. It was a long holiday so all resorts are crowded with vacationers. I opted to stay in Mayet’s Resort for a more subtle stay. I didn’t pay entrance fee and only placed my stuff under a coconut tree with a hammock. I bought mango shake though.
5. If you have to take home with you something from Bantayan Island, driedfish is always a must-buy island delicacy. One can buy dozens of these “buwad” for almost half the price in the city.
6. As posted in this article, enjoy the serenity amidst the crowd. Reconnect with yourself and take time to do nothing.

Find out how I started my journey as a host with The Act of Hosting: How it Enables me to Travel. 
As I said, that I traveled Bantayan Island to save me from depression and insanity, here is my quick journey at Wandering Clouds at the Busy Bantayan Beach.
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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