August 24, 2007

Do you know the way to Santa Fe?

(Cebu: Part 2 of 4)

"So, are you feeling adventurous?", Woody asked my friend and I during brunch at his apartment Saturday morning. "Yes!", I replied a little too loudly, almost spilling my tea in the process, "Why what's the plan?". "Let's go to Bantayan", he replied.

Less than two hours later we were on the road heading towards the northern tip of Cebu island where we would take the last ferry across to Santa Fe. I road shotgun and played the role of navigator, wrestling with the huge map . It was making me dizzy and I tried my darndest not to do a Linda Blair all over the dashboard. I shouldn't have drank so much wine the night before. Thankully the roads were good and the countryside was beautiful. It helped ease the throbbing in my temples. Every so often, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the coconut trees outside my window.

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We reached the Hagnaya port at San Remigio with time to spare. We parked the car in a secured lot then proceeded to the booth to purchase our ferry tickets (P 168.00 or $3.50 for a one way ticket). We were starving, we had nothing but potato chips since brunch. Before boarding, the three of us managed to consume 4 hotdogs on sticks, 6 pork BBQs, one puso, 2 torta cebuanas, a couple of spanish breads, and more cheese bread from nearby Julie's bakeshop. Our scraps were happily lapped up by a poor dog that someone with a marker, who obviously had nothing better to do with his time, had some fun with.

We bought tickets for first-class, which is nothing more than a small stuffy airconditioned cabin. A Jackie Chan movie played on TV while my brother tried to sleep despite the combined noise of the TV, the boat's engine, the drone of the ancient A/c unit, and the screaming baby. I stayed on deck mostly, taking pictures of passing fishing boats and watching the setting sun cast pretty colors across the sky.

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It was dark when we docked at Santa Fe. Walking along the catwalk of the pier, I could hear the unmistakable sounds of karaoke in the distance, a sound that would later become much too familiar while we dined in the island's restaurants. A long-limbed foreign man sat on the sidewalk and watched the influx of arriving passengers, lifting his Gold Eagle Beer mucho at us in salutation.

Because Woody had previously stayed at Yooneek Resort and had stayed in touch with Juan, the Japanese-Peruvian owner and his charming Filipina wife, Bernie, this is where we opted to stay as well. We hired two pedicabs and made our way to the resort. The farther away we were from the port, the quieter and darker it got. The terrible karaoke singing faded away and

We were welcomed with a nice dinner spread and wine (see first photo in collage below) in one of the resort's cabanas that was formerly a banka (outrigger). Bernie and Juan were having their regular weekend cocktails with friends - more foreigners who had left big towns and busy lives for the slow island life. Everyone on the resort staff exuded warmth and cheerfulness and made sure we had a pleasant visit.

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I counted six rooms, three on each floor and Bernie and Juan's private space on the third. The rooms are big and very clean. I love how the balcony, walls and interiors including furniture are made of bamboo. It was rustic and charming, just how I like it. We were given the room with the view of the ocean on the second floor. It had a small TV, a fridge and a private balcony that opened up to the coconut grove where we could hang our towels and wet clothes.

Although there is a restaurant and bar across the rooms, it was hardly ever used. Most people, us included, ate their meals outside. How could you sit inside when you could sip your fruit shake and eat your longsilog (typical Filipino breakfast of cured sausage, fried egg and garlic fried rice) and juicy mango staring out into the blue green sea while the ocean breeze caresses your hair?

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And that leads us to my favorite part of the resort. The beach bar (above & below). Like a scene straight out of Cocktail, waitresses serve tropical drinks from behind the bar as latin and reggae beats played all day and night. But it was in the mornings that I loved it most. It was dreamlike. My favorite meal of the day was brought to us here, and in this most calming of environments we awoke slowly. Letting the sound of waves lapping on the shore and the trees ruslting in the breeze and the salty-fishy smell in the air coax our senses out to play.

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Yooneek Beach Resort
Santa Fe, Bantayan, Cebu Island
Tel. (+6332) 4389124
Mobile (+63-917) 999 3829

Regular room rate: about $55 per night

22 comments:

Sidney said...

"Letting the sound of waves lapping on the shore and the trees rustling in the breeze and the salty-fishy smell in the air coax our senses out to play."

Sounds good.
And you came back to Manila? You foolish girl! ;-)

oggi said...

Wow! Wonderful vacation spot. I'm putting this in my "places to see before I die" list.
Poor doggie, he looks like an imitation Alaskan Malamute or an 'aviator' dog.:D

Belinda said...

Christine...your wonderful photography makes me wish I was traveling to the same places you are, and your captivating writing brings every detail to life. I'm so glad you are enjoying the time with your brother... and with 4 sisters, I'll bet he is one spoiled rotten brother. :-)

christine said...

Sidney, I wish I didn't have to for a while. Sigh.

Oggi, we felt so bad for him, you can't see the markings on his body but he was covered. But it could be much worse, at least it just abused with a marker. :)

Hi Belinda! Yes, you can say he is very spoiled. He's lucky to have us too! ;) Thank you for the nice comments Belinda.

dodongflores said...

Hi, Christine!
You write well. You also capture nice photos. Looking forward for more stories in this series...

Rasa Malaysia said...

Oh my god, I have a soft spot for aquamarine sea and white powdery beach...this is paradise...I HAVE to go to PH.

christine said...

Dodong, thank you very much. :) There will be a few more.

Bee, so do I! I really love the ocean. When you're ready to come over, we'll be waiting. :)

oonsky said...

long time lurker, now a poster: Christine, amazing journeys you are taking us to...it feels like we're with you. have you been to new zealand? Let me show this amazing place to you...cheers!

joey said...

I have always wanted to see Bantayan! How wonderful you got to go! :) It looks amazing from your pictures...

I also like waking to the sound and smell of the sea...sarap no? :)

mtan said...

beautiful! what a lovely blue against a sharp nearly white sand. Bantayan's about the same distance as malapascua from cebu city. quiet and isolated and really laid back. Hope it never turns into what Boracay is now.

christine said...

Hi Oonsky! Thank you for finally posting. :) New Zealand is high up on my list of places to visit, I shall take you up on that offer sometime, thanks!

Jo, super sarap. I wish I could have stayed longer. Bantayan is perfect. :)

Hi Mila! Yes, Malapascua isn't too far from the northern tip of Cebu either, just off to the east. Bantayan becoming like Boracay is exactly what all the islanders and foreigners who now live there are fearful of. And I don't blame them. That would be such a pity. As it is now, it's perfect! I pray it never turns out like Boracay, and stays unspoilt and charming.

sha said...

i end with the season here in france soon and am dying for a holiday before i embark a new job and adventure...but i might be travelling solo...
this place is certainly not too far from where i grew up

christine said...

Ooh Sha, where did you have in mind? Is a home leave somehwere in your near future? :)

rowena said...

Hi, very nice photos. How I wished to see that place also. My Dad is also from Cebu. His mother's place is called Daang Bantayan.

Ferdz said...

I'm loving Santa Fe! Great narration and loving your pictures as well. I haven't been to Cebu yet and will sure put this on my list if ever I go there.

christine said...

Rowena, there seems to be so many Cebuana bloggers out there. You have a gorgeous province!

Thanks Ferdz! I'm surprised you haven't been yet. You know, you're responsible for my steadily increasing longing to explore Mindanao. I hope to see more next year.

ben @ seo service said...

Your photos are so lovely. I love the name of the resort - so cheeky. Your travel posts are a joy to read.

Seo Serivice said...

Thanks for nice sharing nice picture you have

Xeng said...

we stayed at the Yooneek beach resort last week. I loved my stay here. The service was great. The accommodations were really worth your money. And it's beachfront.
Thanks to Mark ,Precy and other staff that I did not catch the name. And there was this guy who speaks Ilonggo, he helped us with our baggage some other stuff that we needed.

Anonymous said...

Yooneek resort was a nice destination, which I visited during the summer of 2010. The best part of the place is getting to know the staff & owners... they are quality people who are there to serve & guide you. The view from the beach area is so scenic, which is where you can enjoy your meals/ drinks. I couldn't get used to them calling me, 'Sir Larry'.

drupal website development said...

Good work.., wonderful collection.. i have plan for goes to same places on that time can you come on that with same camera and same photographer..

Samon Simon said...

Santa Fe! I feel exciting approach when I making any trip there. I love to stay here morning to evening. I extremely love sea beach. Thanks!

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