Monday, February 7, 2011

Finding Serenity at Camotes Island, Cebu.

Foreword: This blog is dedicated to the people of Camotes Island, Cebu who gave me such a wonderful vacation. To the staffs of Santiago Bay and Garden Resort where we stay, specially to my new friend, B who accommodated us during our whole stay. Thank you very much.

Due to stress and burned out feeling from a non-stop work and party, friend V and I decided to chill. An invitation for a photo shoot from her photographer friends make us say yes right away when they said they want to go in Cebu.

So we booked a flight to Cebu City via PAL (Philippine Airlines). This will be my first airplane ride and so as my friend, we prayed we will be okay. This is our first time in Cebu, as well.

So after a model casting interview in LAX, Mall of Asia and then to Amber Bar in The Fort, we headed to work at afternoon and fly to Cebu at night. Yes, I'm awake for almost  two days.

Upon arrival at Mactan International Airport, we took a cab to Capitol Hills. Since this whole vacation is rush, we don't have time to book a hotel. We also says no to our friends to join them in their hotel.

So there we are, two pretty girls lost in the Queen City of the South. Though we are able to find a place to stay, we don't want to be in the place almost exactly like places in Manila. We want a place that's unique, a place we could say "AWE".

We go to a computer shop and search for best deals hotels and beach which are abundant in Cebu City. Then I remember the island I saw on the internet. The resort gives a very friendly rate and a spectacular amazing we agreed right away, without a second thought,  call the number on the website, book a two days stay, bet a cab driver to drive us to an unknown port and cross a blue sea for two hours to be in an unfamiliar island who seems to be calling us that we should go there, its name: Camotes Island.

To get there we rode a taxi going to Danao Pier. Its a small pier but always busy. I never thought an island could have such many local passengers and foreigners aboard.

Check this site for details: 

As I said. I booked a two days stay at Santiago Bay and Garden Resorts. The picture in the website does'nt give justification on how beautiful the resort is.

For details, call Ms. Mapi at (032) 345-8599 and (032) 344-6899. She's a very nice woman, though I haven't met her personally. She keep on contacting me while my friend and I are traveling headed to their resort.

At Danao Pier, we rode a huge double-decked banca for Php180.00 and Php10.00 terminal fee going to Consuelo Port. My friend and I sat at the second floor of the said boat and enjoy the vastness of the sea. The coastline of the pier alone is beautiful enough and I'm anticipating a better view of our destination. When your from the city and rarely saw a sea, a two hours ride seems just an hour. The calm sea which water turns green and blue is so relaxing. I felt okay right away......

At Consuelo Port of Camotes Island, a local man approached me and said he could take us to the resort. Now here's the catch. I thought we are going to ride a jeepney typical in Manila or a tricycle......instead we rode a motorcycle.Yes, motorcycle and it can accommodate three passengers including the driver. But I have a medium size luggage and my friend has two carrying bags. Anyway, the drivers there seems to had mastered the art of fitting everything in their motorcycle and we had a smooth ride.

Camotes Island lies in the midde of Cebu, Bohol and Leyte. My friend and I only have three days and two nights to make the most out of our vacation.

Riding a motorcyle called habal habal, we instantly know that people there live by farming.
There are huge farms of crops. The calm sea on the other side and the proud mountain on the other is not a typical view we have on the city. I felt relax instantly. It was afternoon but the air was so light, I felt it in my face and my hair flows as we traveled the road going to the resort. The ride was smooth and fast.  I thought that because it is an island, there will be few concrete streets but I was wrong. The streets were cemented.The whole town has a good road and its very obvious that everyone here own a motorcycle instead of jeepney or car. It is the best means of transportation in this place. Our driver said we could tour the island for whole day riding motocycle for Php500.00 plus oil.

I also anticipated that people here lived in nipa huts but again, I'm wrong. Though there are nipa huts, one could never failed to notice that there are nice houses with good architecture and design. And there are lots of them. They said owners of those huge houses where foreigners who visit and fall in love with the place, they decided to buy land and build resort and rest house there. Others have children working abroad. There are so many foreigners there from different race, enjoying their own piece of paradise in this secluded place, unknown to a native people of this country, like me. I also wish I could have a house near the sea on this place. Maybe someday.

We reached the Santiago Bay and Garden Resort after while and I was stunned by the view that greeted me. The place is a paradise! I almost forgot that I am sleepy the moment I laid my eyes on the vast white bay that's in front of me. There's a place like this in my country? Why I never knew before, not even this island's name.

I booked a two days stay for only Php 1,000.00 per day  for a non-aircon room. Oh my God, its a steal.  The room has two beds, nicely constructed building, a  facade that facing the beach. Every time I walk out the door, I have a landscape portrait-like view. I'm absolutely happy.

The resort offers sumptuous foods and  all were damn good. Its cheap and always good for two people. All fresh and cook only upon order, what else could I ask for. Yummy!!

Friend V and I make the most of our stay by taking pictures on every rock and all corners of the resort. When you're in such a beautiful place, its seems we're having a competition with our background. The place is beautiful alone, how are we going to stand out? Anyways, even without our photographer friends, we managed to have wonderful pictures of ourselves and the beach.

There's something unique in this place. In the morning, you could see the white sand of the bay because its low tide. Locals gathered clams on the sand in early morning. The sand is soft, it feels wonderful by simply walking on it. I called the sensation- "sand foot spa".  There are fishes, star fishes, huge blue violet round jellyfishes and small blue crabs and hermit crabs. There must be something in the water that makes the marine creatures got that prominent blue color. In the evening, the water rose and the next morning the beach is not the same as it was before. It changes everyday because of the tide.

Our new friend B, tour us on other resort, Mangodlong Rock Resort the following day. Its beautiful as well. It has rocks that sculpted by the waves and snorkeling part for those who likes underwater adventure.

Next stop is the Lake Danao Park. Its awesome. Very serene and calm. I never really imagine there could be  a huge lake in the center of the island. We took lots of pose on the board that extended on the lake. Funny, that when V and I do a yoga sit on the board, it seems being bumped by something huge. We laugh so hard though kinda scared thinking it might be a huge fish or a lake nyphm. Here we got our most price picture-jumping on air with the lake as our background.

The island is best travel by motorcycle so one could appreciate the cool breeze and wonderful landscape. And no need for helmet- sweet, coz I loved it when my hair flows.  There are still lots of place we haven't seen because of limited time we spent on the island but hopefully maybe next time we could explore the whole place. I want to swim inside Timubo and Bukilat Caves, explore the beauty of the abandoned Boho Rock Resort, island hop the other islands of Camotes, mingle with the locals that learn to live with nature and protect it so outsiders like me could enjoy God's wonderful creations and chat and laugh with the foreigners and locals that found serenity on this piece of Earth.

Friend B said both Santiago Bay Garden Resort and Mangodlong Rock Resort are owned by their relatives. They also have a villa type accommodation where guests can rent the whole house, complete with amenities and fixtures for half month or several months and its way cheaper rather than renting a resort room and payment will be based on days stay. I forgot to ask what they named the villa but its really comfortable sleeping there because its more homey with a living room, comfort room and kitchen. The only thing not good about it is that it has no access to beach and you have to go to Santiago Bay Garden Resort if you want to swim in the sea. Inquiry about this villa can be done in Santiago Bay Garden Resort front desk.

1. Ideal for people like us who wants complete relaxation.

2. For people who seek several adventures in one place: swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, wall climbing, cave exploring, fishing and clam collecting, boating and island hoping.

3. For those who do not want to be disturb because its hard to find a cellular signal in the island. If you cant take it, always feel free to ask where are the places that has signal. Typically, its under a coconut tree. I'm serious about it.

4. Landscape or fashion pictorial of any kind.

5. Wedding by the beach and honeymoon.

6. If you want to appreciate Nature's beauty and God's power-be here.

View from the Restaurant of Santiago Bay and Garden Resort.
(Low Tide)

Santiago Bay and Garden Resort.
Santiago Bay and Garden Resort, Camotes Island, Cebu, Philippines

Santiago Bay and Garden Resort, Camotes Island, Cebu, Philippines

Santiago Bay and Garden Resort, Camotes Island, Cebu, Philippines

Walking on the soft and moist white sand @  Santiago Bay and Garden Resort, Camotes Island, Cebu, Philippines

Paradise!! The folks here are used in seeing girls in bikini. You can even asked the bangkeros to take your photo. Just approach them politely.

Giant fish statue at the Entrance Gate of Mangodlong Rock Resort.

Mangodlong Rock Resort, Camotes Island

I feel gutsy posing at the edge of this cliff (see the waves?) @ Mangodlong Rock Resort, Camotes Island, Cebu, Philippines


  1. hi, twas a nice review.. i just want to ask about the non aircon room, does it have its own toilet? and mainit ba sa room? may baby kasi ako na pawisin. i booked 1 non aircon room for 3 days at santiago bay. i wanted a nipa hut sana so i can truly feel yung probinsya na feeling.. :0 anyway, your blog made me more excited for our camotes trip on may. january pa lang naka book na kami.. thanks so much in advance.

  2. Thanks juleskie for reading my blog. Yes,it was a nice place to stay. The non-aircon rooms has its own toilet. The room is not hot and it has a wallfan but if your concern about the baby, I suggest booked an aircon room. Arrive there early in the morning coz,honestly,even our three days stay was not enough to explore the whole island. The resort staff we're accomodating, just tell them what you need. And never, never forget your digicam charger!! Happy trip!!


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