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The Bantayan Islands natural value

Natural values of Bantayan Islands, Cebu, Philippines

Fringing and barrier reefs as well as mangrove ecosystems are natural breakwater which protects coastal areas from soil erosion, coastal flooding and other destructive action from a phenomenon by land or by the sea in Bantayan Islands. Mangroves and seagrasses provide natural breeding ground of fish vertebrates and invertebrates while corals reefs also contribute to terrestrial accretion by providing sand to beaches and low islands through calcification process. These reef, mangroves and seagrass functions naturally and give economic sustainability of the local people. It protects thousands costal villages, low lying coastal plains and costal engineering structures, such as roads and bridges. If these reef and mangrove buffers removed, the equivalent artificial structures for protection would cost billions and even trillion of pesos.

The diversity of life on a coral reef and mangrove ecosystem per unit area is comparable to or greater than that in a tropical rain forest. This high diversity of life among a wide range of various types of plants and animals makes a rich and productive system which provides many of the useful products which proportionately offers a rewarding additional means of income to the people.

Caves

Cave exploration or spelunking is a very interesting sport as well an ecotourism activity. To many, it could be scaling sink holes for adventure, for some, caving is the continuous search for beauty in the labyrinths of the unknown, deep buried in the limestone chambers. It entails the stamina to ascend and descend in ropes using various equipments such as jomar, ascenders, chest harness, seat harness, carbineer, cave ropes, compass, headlamps, and other necessary stuff for safety and protection.

Caving appears to be a very dangerous and risky search for adventure considering that one could never ascertain what could happen in between gigantic limestone formations encased in darkness. The cavers have the opportunity to explore water sources and determine the kind of water systems a particular place has.

Caves are also affected by siltation caused by massive deforestation and when caves are silted, a flood occurs because caves act as natural drainage. It is very disturbing to know that even the deep enclaves formed for million of years are not spared from human greed and destruction.

Tiyaba Cave

The Tiyaba cave is located almost in the central part of the Bantayan Islands. It is part of barangay Atop-atop, Bantayan, Cebu about 12 km from the poblacion of Bantayan town. This cave is the natural habitat of bats and also a source of potable water supply in the neighborhood. Underneath is a stream, clean, fresh, and placid water. The stream is far from pollution as it runs eastward from the bat chamber. This is the major source of freshwater consumption of the residents. There are also plenty of small chambers of different forms found inside the cave. It was believed that the exit of this cave is in the province of Negros Occidental.

Juagat Cave

It was believed that during World War II, this cave was use as hangout of Filipino soldiers who volunteered to fight against their enemies where human skulls and rotten pieces of coffins were once found in the entrance of the cave as per recollection by Mr. Simplicio Almohallas a resident of sitio Juagat now sitio Pooc, Sillon, Bantayan, Cebu.

According to Mr. dela Peña who was born in 1938, this enchanted cave was called the mini chapel of the goddess where residents in Sillon borrowed plates and nuptial costumes for a wedding occasion.

In 2002, Ms. Edith Estrada with her three companions Ms. Maxima Almohallas, Barbara Villaceran, and Rosalie Apawan happened to excavate human bones at sitio Pooc while they are digging sands for their housing construction. The said human bones were used to be the remains of the past generations considering that the bones have a longer length and bigger in shapes compared to the present time.

Mabiba or Sto. Niño Cave

This is a mysterious cave found in the northern part of barangay Sillon and central part of barangay Tamiao about 8 km from the poblacion of Bantayan. This is a group of 8 caves once known in the earlier times as the Mabiba caves now one of it called Sto. Niño. It is owned by Mr. & Mrs. Jun and Susan Pacheco. They developed the five hectare property into what they called a “Garden of Life Farm.” They envisioned that this garden resort educate guests, particularly the local folks on the importance of terrestrial and environmental conservation.

The Garden of Life Farm has an impressive collection of hibiscus, bougainvilleas and other endemic flora.

Ogtong Cave

The Ogtong cave derived its name from the original and historical name of the municipality which is now being called as Santa Fe. The cave is located at barangay Pooc around 4 km from the poblacion of Santa Fe, Cebu. This cave is right at the heart of a resort owned by the Holaysan’s family. The Ogtong Cave & Beach Resort is one of the two resorts under the management of the Sta. Fe Beach Club which is the pioneering resort in the whole Bantayan Island way back in the 1980’s.

Beaches and Resorts

The unending stretch of white sands glistening against the sun like millions of pulverized pearls makes the beaches of Bantayan Islands more popular not only for the local folks but also to most tourists who had been visiting the island years ago until this date. In fact, there are plenty of classic excellent resorts sprouting all around the islands which are not mentioned in this article.

Maia’s Beach Resort

The Maia’s beach resort is owned by Klaus and Maia Becker. It is located sitio Basawon barangay Sulangan, Bantayan, Cebu around 7 km from the center of the municipality of Bantayan. The resort is frequented by nature lovers and guests who wish to immense themselves in local culture. Part of the resort is rocky promontories that traverse with the hanging bridges, a swimming pool, and a mangrove garden that hosts some migratory birds.

At the western side of the resort is a typical fishing village sitio Basawon that thrives mainly on dried fish processing especially the “Boneless Danggit“ which is the pride of Bantayan Island.

Bantayan Richmond Tropical Resort

The Bantayan Richmond Tropical Resort (BRTR) is situated at barangay Baigad in Bantayan about 7.5 km from the town center. This is formerly called “Tinago” or secret resort for it is a nature lover’s haven. The BRTR is owned by Mr. Joe Mabugat who is also the owner of the Richmond Plaza Center in Cebu City.

The resort has an ecological park replete with an oval for brisk walkers, a mangrove jungle, scattered century-old forest trees and song birds which complete the sounds of nature.

Budyong Beach Resort

The Budyong beach is located right in the hub of the poblacion of Santa Fe. The resort is owned by Norma Zaspa, a native of the place. It has serene white sands that flicker its beachline adjoining other beaches in town.

It has a well spaced cottage thus giving the place a breezy feel and ambience.

Kota Beach Resort

Another picturesque resort at Santa Fe is dramatically situated where the coastline makes a gentle bend, creating the impression of being secluded away from the rest of the pack and it is owned by the Hubahib’s family.

Because the tide and water current is relatively stronger in this part of the island, the resort’s beach front occasionally changes from time to time. A half of the year, there is a sandbar that traps seawater forming a crystal clear lagoon.

Marlin Beach Resort

The Marlin beach resort is also located at the hub of poblacion Santa Fe. The resort offers windsurfing and snorkeling as well as island-hoping with their 26-seater motorized boat, the Marlin Express I. It has spacious rooms blended TV sets and hot and cold showers.

St. Bernard Beach Resort

This resort serves European and Filipino foods. It has a round-shaped cottages, a cappuccino and beer garden. It is located at sitio Ocoy, Santa Fe, Cebu.

Sta. Fe Beach Club

This resort is the pioneer of all resort now established around Bantayan Islands. It offers the best restaurant in town, Majestic by The Sea, which serves mainly Chinese cuisine.

The resort has a good view of the Santa Fe Wharf, giving guests an easier analysis of the trade and travel minutiae of the whole island of Bantayan.

Sugar Beach

This resort is owned by Anunsacion Escario, a Bantayanon. It is located at barangay Pooc, Santa Fe, a walking distance from the poblacion. Its name is drawn from the very fine white sands which can be compared like a grain of white sugar. The accommodation in this resort is like a Spartan style, no air-condition rooms and nor a restaurant but guests are encourage to bring their own foods.

Kota: A Landmark of Madridejos, Cebu

Loreto Mangubat was the builder of the Kota. He was the grandson of Lapulapu, the Cebuano hero. At the age of 13, he was brought to Spain for training. In 1873, when he was 50 years old he went to the municipality of Madredijos which was previously called Lawis. He was then the arm-bearer of Spain and he was called the captain. He arrived in town on St. Lazaro’s Day, so his name was changed into Lazaro. He got married to Lucia Maru, a native of Madredijos.

In 1880, the Kota was built by force labor working every Saturdays and Sundays. Those inhabitants who will not report for work in the construction of the Kota will received a punishment of 25 whippings and one day imprisonment.

The Kota served as a fort for the coming of the Moros. Whenever there is an eminent attack of Moros boarding with their vinta, the people in town will be alerted by a sound signal using “budyong” or hermit shell. The late Mr. Isidro Mancio was once the watchman where he used to blow the budyong to warn the people of the incoming Moro raids.

The engineering skills of the town’s folk during the Spanish period prove the greatness of our dear forefathers wherein the edifice stands intact.

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