Basking in Bantayan

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As a welcoming wagon to my “newly launched” blog; I am letting you in to peek through the summer adventure I just had.

When I was younger, which was not a long time ago, I clearly remembered that I always long for summers. The school has just begun and there I was already wishing for summer to come fast. Growing up in a rural area summers would mean having a lot of time to spend with cousins, sleepovers at our grandparents’ (where we were spoiled), spending days playing in the streets or in the rice fields, going for a swim at the river, spending nights bunked in makeshift beds on the floor listening to spooky bedtime tales. For a child, summer was the very definition of fun and free will.

Now as I have matured, summer is still fun, if you decide for it to become so. But in the case of free will, I don’t entirely believe so because during summer I still have to work. But this year, I consider myself lucky because I had the chance to be off work for a week. Quite short but it will do! So I wouldn’t let the week pass without having an adventure, would I? So off I go!

Living in a tropical country would mean that summer will always be scorching hot, so what better way to cool off than to go and hit the beach! Lucky for us there are a number of beaches all over the archipelago to choose from. And as for my case I always wanted to see unspoiled white sand beaches and at the top of my list is Bantayan Island. I had the chance to cross off one destination on my bucket list and so I did. “The best summer, ever!”, well that would be the understatement of the year! Because “best” does not even begin to describe this trip!

However like most trips, it was not as smooth sailing as we anticipated it to be. It was Wednesday morning that we decided to leave for Bantayan, so we got up at the crack of the dawn and got ready for a two-hour bus ride to Cadiz City. When we arrived at the bus station, the rain poured. Not just drizzle but it really did poured so hard. And I was like, “Is this seriously happening?”. I was about to go on the best summer adventure of my life and God decided to make it rain. I mean, seriously?! So right there, my hopes were crushed but we pushed through. As the bus arrived in Cadiz, the sky is still grey and there is no way of stopping the rain. I kept on looking for a silver lining in the grey clouds for the hope that the sun just might come out, but there is none. From Cadiz, we need to take a ferry boat ride which will take us to Bantayan Island. I was having second thoughts because with the weather like that I don’t think it was the best idea to go on sailing; but we were already there and I guess it was too late to back out of the plan. So we took our chances. The ferry boat ride took approximately two and a half hours to reach Bantayan Island and as we docked at the port the rain stopped but the sky was still dark and gloomy. Usually, arriving at some place new makes me fidgety and pumped up with excitement but this time, I was deeply saddened because everything seems to be going terribly wrong. From the port we rode a jeepney that would take us to the resort we booked which was Sta. Fe Beach Club. The entire time I was completely silent because I was praying for the sun to show up and God might have heard me or He probably just got tired of my whining that He decided to answer my prayer. Halfway through the jeepney ride, the sky began to clear and the sun was finally up! And then everything was just brighter and happier. Arriving at the resort, we were greeted by the glistening white sand and the inviting sea. My little cousin couldn’t wait any longer so he ran off to the shore and started playing with the sand and we all followed after him. And who could resist the clear blue water awaiting, so off we swim.

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Joshua playing in the sand.

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Just keep swimming.

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We just love the white sand.

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I’m having a moment here.

As the afternoon goes by unnoticed, we decided to play beach volleyball. We were not pro’s at doing it which made it more fun! As a bet the losing team will have to crawl under the winning team. We were very competitive but in the end, my team lost!

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Beach Volley with the fambam.

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Beach Volley.

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And she scores!

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LOSER!

We ended our first day in Bantayan with a magnificent view of the sky as the day turns to dusk. What started out as a disaster turned out to be something magical.

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Sunset session.

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Sunset session.

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A beautiful play of colors right before our eyes.

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Magical Moment

 

To set the mood right for our second day in the island, we woke up at dawn and waited for the sun to rise and greet us. If watching the sunset was magical; seeing the sun rise and brighten the day was ethereal. It felt like I was being renewed as its warm glow hit me, I couldn’t resist to bask in it and let it all in me.

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Dawn.

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Waiting for the sun to come up.

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There it is.

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Hello, sunshine!

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And its up!

 

As the sun is rising local fishermen from the area started to arrive with their fresh catch. We mingled with them and tried to help them from removing the fish from their nets. We bought the fresh and still jumping fish to have them for our lunch.

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Mingling with the locals.

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The fisherman goes fishing.

As we continue with our second day on the island we decided to visit another resort, The Ogtong Cave Resort, where we fell in love with the underground cave and its crystal clear water. I swear never have I seen water that clear in my entire existence. We spent the entire day here basking under the sun, soaking up the ocean air, dipping in the clear waters of the underground cave, swimming in the sea, playing with the sand, eating fresh seafood, seeing the surreal scenery, making memories and making every moment count. Nothing is more perfect than spending a day surrounded with the people you love and not worrying about a thing.

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Ogtong Cave

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Clear and luminous water.

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The whole crew!

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Time to hit the beach, again!

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We can’t say no to this.

 

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With the mother.

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We’re bringing the party to the pool.

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Time to say bye bye to Ogtong Cave resort.

Before the sun sets, we returned to Sta Fe. where we will spent our last night in Bantayan. We arrived to the resort just in time for the sunset. I had managed to sneak away from the rest of the family and had the chance to be alone while watching the beautiful transition of the day becoming night. The sunset session by myself was necessary and it was indeed too perfect for words. Being alone, gave me the chance to assess things and see the world at a different perspective. Another day is done and everything seems well and right. And I thanked God for that!

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Sunset session by the beach.

The next morning was time to leave and go back home. It was always the hardest thing to do, saying goodbye. Especially when you have fallen so deep in love with the place. But it was not much of a goodbye, it was more like til we meet again. And as we were about to leave we were sent off with another beautiful sunrise. The one in which you will forever remember.

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Last sunrise in Bantayan

The entire trip was enchanting basically because I have spent every second of it with the people I value in my life. I have shared priceless moments with those I love the most and the majestic scenery was just a bonus. My incurable state of wanderlust would always make me long to travel and be places but I do not just go on adventures for the thrill of it, for the rush, for the adrenaline; I go in hopes of finding stillness and tranquility within me. The kind of quiet that comes from the inside; the silence that calms the mind from all the buzzing sound of the outside world. That’s what I come to seek for and I am glad that I had found it while basking in the warm glow of happiness that Bantayan has to offer! So until next summer!

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xoxo

J

 

 

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