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.
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. :)
Beautiful fisherman's children
Lechon, outside the public market on a Sunday morning
Fresh fish and fruit at the market
Beautiful old house