August 28, 2007

Santa Fe snapshots

(Cebu: Part 3 of 4)

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Sante Fe is a small fishing village located on the southeast coast of Bantayan island. It is a place time seemed to have momentarily forgotten. The beaches are beautiful and unspoilt, and perhaps because it was low season, the only other life on the shores were fisherfolk and stray dogs. The beach at dusk was almost surreal. Everything turned a deep blue and you could barely make out the horizon. One evening as we walked the stretch of the beach, there was a dark rain cloud moving towards us which only added drama to the sky.

There isn't much to say about the night life here, at least not on that particular weekend. There were no shtoog-shtoog beats, just more more terribly amusing karaoke. We spent our nights getting massages, riding pedicabs, chatting over fresh seafood and succulent mangos, and then drifting off to the sound of the tropical rain against our windows and on the roof. I slept long, the peace I felt being here cloaked me in my slumber.

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One afternoon after a boat ride to nearby Virgin island for some snorkling, we rented a motorcycle and set out to explore inland. The town was idyllic and incredibly charming. Our half hour ronda around the island brought us to old Colonial homes, a Thai massage place, an old man selling "tempura" (stretched fish balls) outside a European deli, two small girls playing on the side of the road amidst coconut trees, a very interesting-looking cemetery, a tourist information office, a church, a cluster of islanders perched on their sidecars waiting for passengers, and a woman grilling corn at the market. People we passed waved at us, they seemed to be smiling all the time. They had plenty to smile about.

We stopped at the European deli for a drink and walked over to a souvenir shop. Two foreigners who were chatting outside a Portuguese restaurant greeted us and volunteered that the food there was excellent. We chatted for a bit and when they found out it was our first time on the island, the shorter of the two looked at us seriously and said, "God lives here. I don't know what he does elsewhere, but He lives here." I don't doubt it. :)


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Beautiful fisherman's children

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Islanders

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Lechon, outside the public market on a Sunday morning

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Fresh fish and fruit at the market

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Beautiful old house

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Clinic

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School

26 comments:

Rasa Malaysia said...

Oh wow, the pictures are so beautiful...the beach, the abandoned boat, the village...this is my vision of paradise. I think I am going to take a side trip to PH when I go home to Malaysia in Oct! :)

veron said...

Lechon and mangoes! I want to be in Santa Fe right now! Plus with the scenery, how can it not be perfect!

Lydia said...

I want to hop on a plane and go here -- such beautiful photos, food, beaches....

ginny said...

It's really so beautiful! I especially love the isolation of it all.

christine said...

Bee,Veron,Lydia & Ginny, I can't say enough how beautiful this place is! I can't believe it took me this long to find it. But while my brother lives in Cebu, I can take advantage of that and visit Bantayan and discover the other usrrounding islands more. :)

Sidney said...

I should travel more too... big city life is not all...
Beautiful images...simple life... you wonder why people still want to live in Manila.

joey said...

These photos are fabulous Nens! And the first two really look surreal, like looking into a soft dream vision :) I must visit Bantayan soon (Malapascua too!) :)

oggi said...

Beautiful deserted beach, mangoes, lechon, grilled corn, Portuguese restaurant, it's just perfect!

I love the photos of the cute children.

christine said...

Sidney, this is the kind of place I'd love to retire in someday. But right now, with the responsibilities I have, I have to make money in the city. Isn't that how it goes for most? ;)

Thanks, Jo! I loved how they came out too. That's exactly how it looked. So so serene. :)

Hi Oggi, thanks! I love taking pictures of locals when I travel, especially children. Their faces speak volumes about life where they live. :)

32 flavors said...

i dont think we'll have enough time to make it to bantayan. we'll have to save this for another trip to cebu. sigh.

nens, took note of your first cebu post. any other landmarks i should visit?

Photo Cache said...

wonderful photos and lovely blog.

Ben said...

Positively stunning!

Sidney said...

But then... when you got the money... you are too old to enjoy.

Belinda said...

Christine! As always...your travel memoirs and photography are simply mesmerising. I feel transported to this paradise as I gaze at your photos. The beaches indeed look generously touched by God's hands...and the children look so happy and sweet. What a lovely post...I'm off to sleep now, and perhaps will dream of the paradise you have shared. :-) I'm so glad you had such a fantastic holiday...and can't wait for the next installment.

christine said...

Katrina, it would be tight with your schedule. Anyway there are plenty of places to see around Mactan. Have you heard of the Mangroves nearby?

Photocache & Ben, thank you both very much! :)

Sidney, that's true, it would be a pity if you don't enjoy while you still can. Which is why I try my best to travel whenever I have extra time and money. :)

Belinda, thank you again. :) I feel really blessed to live in such a beautiful country. And want to see as much as I can while I still live here. Sweet dreams! :)

Christina said...

Oh my.... Christine it's so beautiful. I envy you.

katrina said...

The first two pictures of the beach are just beautiful. Peaceful, yet mysterious.

Wait...you mean, there's a Portugese restaurant in Boracay and in rustic, rural, place-that-time-forgot Sante Fe, yet none in Manila?!?!?! Well, there's proof right there that city life isn't necessarily better than it is there! ;-)

christine said...

Christina, new places for you to visit on your next trip home. :) I also want you to see Dumaguete which is next door. I know you, you'd love it!

Katrina, exactly! Not sure just how authentic that Portuguese restaurant is because the night we were supposed to have dinner there, it was blaring karaoke music and turned us off. But yes, some of the best restaurants are found elsewhere instead of in the capital and other more populated cities. Just look at C & Cottage Kitchen & Zapatas. Now you have me missing Banzas. :)

thea said...

Wonderful photos!

christine said...

Thanks Thea! :)

Tania said...

amazing post!!!

chiska said...

Wow lechon ang sarap nyan ahh. Nagugutom tuloy ako. Talking about lechon masarap din ang lechon sa cebu. Try nyo sa http://www.lechoncebu.com
Ang ganda ng beach grabeh. Sana makapasyal ako jan.

christine said...

Thank you, Tania! :)

Thank you for the link, Chiska! This might come in handy someday. :)

Allison said...

Thanks for posting about this blog.. I miss cebu so much. Nakaka miss yung mga beaches sa cebu. Naalala ko tuloy yung days na nasa cebu ako. "sigh". I wish someday makabalik ako sa cebu. Namimiss ko na rin kasi ang mga pagkaing cebu. Ang sarap kasi ng luto nila. Lalo na yung lechon cebu. yummmy. The taste was great! The tender juicy meat and crunchy skin. Wow! Its very delicious. Walang katulad sa sarap ang lechon cebu.

christine said...

Hi Allison! I agree with you on the cebu lechon. Wala talagang kasing tulad niya! I hope you get to visit Cebu again very soon. :)

andrea of UP Los BaƱos said...

Lechon Cebu has an exquisite taste. I liked the crunch and the munch of Cebu Lechon.