Located just west of the island of Cebu, there lies an island (Bantayan) subdivided into three municipalities: the central and western part is occupied by Bantayan (same name as the island), the northern part being of Madridejos, and on the eastern side, the Santa Fe.
Thirty minutes of travel by boat away from the Santa Fe shore, however, and you will find yourself in one of Cebu’s ideal tourist place said to be at par with some of the country’s top tourist destinations involving the sand and the sea—the Virgin Islands.
The word virgin is a term that would mean different things depending on context but are nonetheless the same in theme—purity. Although when referred to a piece of land this would mean that the area was untouched, unused, and unexploited—possibly even uncharted in certain cases—the use of the word to name a place can be sometimes just that—a name coined by the time when the island’s potential for tourism was still untapped. The Virgin Island of the Bantayan Island group may be just that but so are the Virgin Islands of Puerto Rico, the US, and the British elsewhere.
The island itself may not live up to its name, but there is something definitely “pure” about the island—its natural beauty and the fun to have in the place.
While the island’s English name may be something that is common, locals, on the other hand, know of the place for a totally different name—Sillion Island.
Rates and Amenities
Yet, perhaps, the island itself may be a “virgin” still because of its rather underdeveloped state.
A full-day trip by boat to the Virgin Island is not free and something that will costs you between 800 hundred pesos and 1,500 pesos, depending on the number of people.
Privately owned, an entrance into the island would cost you 500 hundred pesos for the first two people in the group and additional 100 hundred pesos per additional head. Coming from a boat, it is only the boatman that is free to enter the place without cost.
If you are expecting room accommodations in the island like from a resort, then there is quite a disappointment about the place as the business in the island is only able to offer its tourists cottages, tents, or a bamboo house that are all for rent and whose pricing varies accordingly. A cottage, depending on the type, can costs P300, P500, P600, or P1000. For overnight stays, any tourist can occupy a cottage or a built tent for the full night at 1,500 pesos, good for the first five persons. Additional 200 pesos is charged for any additional person from the first five. But if you want a more intimate experience with a loved one, the island can also offer its bamboo house for 1,500 pesos, good for two people only.
While basking in the sun and swimming on the island’s clear water sea are good enough reason to be in the island, other activities are also possible, but at a fee. If you are into snorkeling, better ask the boatman beforehand for him to reserve you to a full-day snorkeling equipment that could last you the whole day. Otherwise, you will be charged for the same amount per hour. Rubber boats can cost you around 200 pesos and 500 pesos per hour whereas rowboats, on the other hand, can costs you 100 pesos per hour.
How to Get into the Island
- Wherever you may be coming from, all those places will only land you to the same location to get into the island—the main Bantayan Island itself, ideally the Santa Fe area. Just go to the port, ask a boatman, pay for the trip, and you’re already good to go.