Cebu is a gem of an island at the heart of the Philippine archipelago. The ocean around Cebu is dotted with small islands to explore with lush natural surroundings and teeming with wildlife. We spent just over a week hopping around it’s tropical islands. First stop, Bantayan Island….

This little piece of paradise is found at the northern tip of Cebu island. As soon as you step off the boat at Santa Fe port, the scenic beauty of the place hits you. A blissfully undeveloped, peaceful place it has a quiet "locals only" vibe.

The beaches were what drew us here - Bantayan offers some of the best in the country which also means the best in the world! Nestled in the Visayan sea the beaches will absolutely blow you away, powdery white sparkling sands slipping into the bluest sea you will ever clap eyes on. Don’t miss the aptly named Paradise Beach and Yooneek Beach Resort on Santa Fe is a fabulous place to while away a day, kicking back, sipping coconuts and floating around in the ocean. We arrived for breakfast and ended up staying for frosty beers and an incredible sunset. One of our favourite days on our trip so far…..

Santa Fe has a cluster of shops and eateries - we were pleasantly surprised with the choice on offer and had some great meals at CouCou, Cafe Del Mar and Blue Ice. Khels BBQ is great for no frills chicken and there is even a Bavarian Beer Garden if that floats your boat!

Accommodation is certainly more rustic than five star. Our room at Sunday Flower Beach Resort was teeny-tiny but clean, quiet and comfy and the staff we’re helpful and welcoming. Be warned there’s not that many rooms to choose from and without a booking in advance you’d be hard pressed to find something off the cuff in Batayan.

Local fishermen and children shelter in the shade of the coconut trees during the day and get together to eat, drink, play and prepare their boats as the sun goes down each night. The people here were among friendliest, happiest we have met anywhere in the Philippines.

There is no easy way of getting to the island, but all the faff of buses, ferries and tricycles will quickly fade away when you discover this laid-back tropical island. We were gobsmacked by the gorgeous beaches, spectacular sunsets and a sky lit up with the brightest stars we’ve ever seen.

Go there soon - Bantayan can’t stay this special for long…..

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