Bantayan in northern Cebu is also the northern tip of Tañon Strait protected area. Other than Sta Fe and the Virgin island, we visited Madridejos found north of Bantayan Island facing the Visayan seas. A town formerly known as Lawis, it was the first settlement north of the island. In 1917, the town was renamed Madridejos in honor of Benito Romero de Madridejos the former Archbishop of Cebu. Prior to World War II, Madridejos enjoyed being the “Little Alaska of the Philippines” because of its rich fishing ground. The first canning factory in the country was also here until it was bombed during the war. Our visit with Oceana Philippines seeks to observe and capture the communal richness of Tañon Strait with the people of Madridejos.
If the mainland beach of Bantayan Island at Sta Fe is not enough for a true-blooded beach bum, which, mind you is already a lovely stretch based on my personal standard, visitors still have options to explore the nearby islands. Second day, mid-day of our Oceana Photo Safari, we’re still at the start of our exploration of Tañon Strait in which the Bantayan Islands is a part of. The small Virgin Island, about 45 minutes off the coast of Sta Fe by outrigger boat was our destination.
I’ve always liked resorts with character. As soon as our van drove in at the Anika Island Resort in Sta Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu, I thought those container-type accommodations look cozy. I haven’t tried staying in one so I was very curious how they manage to repurpose them as lodgings. Anika Island Resort already had a great location along a beautiful stretch of white sand beach on Bantayan Island and the added comfort of their facilities and services makes for a memorable leisure escape.
“Where is Tañon Strait?” I asked when I received an offer to do a photography coverage of a week-long expedition for Oceana Philippines. Prior to this, I have no clear knowledge of this protected seascape sandwiched between two major islands, Cebu and Negros. The itinerary was enticing enough. We’ll start our journey in Cebu, going up to Sta Fe Bantayan island, then making our way down parallel the narrow strait, crossing it from Moalboal to Negros Oriental then sail all the way down to Dumaguete. Just the thought of the trip excites me as I had never been to most of the places, along and within Tañon Strait.