Bringing “Balikbayan Boxes” to Bantayan Island

If you are planning to bring “Balikbayan Boxes” or other boxes of that size to Bantayan Island, expect that you may have to pay twice at Hagnaya and twice again at Santa Fe, to have these items loaded and unloaded onto the Ferry.

When you arrive at Hagnaya, the porters will quickly storm your vehicle in hopes of having the opportunity to move your belongings to the passenger waiting area, and then onto the Ferry once loading begins.

Pay special attention to the men who ask to move your belongings, as those without a shirt that says “Hupa” are not officially working for the port authority. If you allow these “unofficial” men to carry your boxes and then pay them a tip for doing so, you will have to pay a second time for a fee called “Arastre” which is the official fee set by the ports of Hagnaya and Santa Fe to pay the porters to move your belongings on to the Ferry.

As we have been told by the port authority, first you must go to the ticket office and tell them that you have boxes or other items to be moved, and they will dispatch men to move the boxes for you. These men are paid from the “Arastre” fee.

Whether or not this will be found to be true, is untested.

On recent trips to Bantayan Island, we have paid the porters who came to our vehicle to move our Balikbayan boxes and then had to pay a second time the Arastre fee to the ports of both Hagnaya and Santa Fe to move our 5 boxes. We paid a total fee of about P1,400, which is absurd.

When we argued the point with the guard at the Santa Fe Port, he told us that we could either pay the fee or unload our boxes from the van and leave them at the port entrance. He would not allow us to bring out Balikbayan boxes onto Bantayan Island unless we paid this second Arastre fee. This was despite explaining to the guard that we had already just paid several men who took our boxes from the Ferry to the shuttle van a fee of P300. He told us that this made no difference, we had to pay to move them a second time, even though they had only been moved once by the men who first entered the Ferry and moved our boxes.

This is an example of how unorganized and unfair sometimes the fees are when you need to bring larger items to Bantayan Island.

One would hope that someone from the port authority at Hagnaya and Santa Fe would make a policy that a customer only has to pay once to have their belongings moved from the passenger waiting area, to the Ferry, or off the Ferry once they arrive at their destination. It is unfair to the visiting guests of Bantayan Island to charge a fee twice for the same service, or to even permit this to happen. This unfair policy needs to be changed, the sooner the better.

To those guests who arrive on Bantayan Island and have experienced this unfair policy, voice your displeasure to the passenger offices in Hagnaya and Santa Fe, and tell the guard that this policy is wrong and unfair. If enough pressure is brought to bear on those who carry out these policies, they will be made to change.

It is my hope that your experience on Bantayan Island is a pleasant one and that policies such as this one will quickly be changed so that visitors will continue to come to our island paradise.

Bantayan Island Weather Update: September 30, 2011

The current weather on Bantayan Island is party cloudy with relatively calm seas. Forcast is for isolated rain showers or thunderstorms with winds southwesterly up to 10 meters per second. Seas will be slight to moderate southwest except during periods of thunderstorms.

If you are arriving on Bantayan Island by Ferry, expect relatively calm seas today. It is expected that the weather will begin to change early Saturday morning with the possibility of rougher seas, rain and wind on the island.

During the recent Typhoon “Pedring” many visitors were stranded on Bantayan Island from Monday-Wednesday this week due to the ceasing of Ferry service between Santa Fe Port and Hagnaya Port. Plan you vacation or visit to Bantayan accordingly as you anticipate the possibility that increases in rough seas this weekend may delay your return to Hagnaya Sunday or Monday.

I arrive on Bantayan Island yesterday at about 3 pm from Cebu and experienced calm seas with sunny to partly overcast skies.

Bantayan Island Weather Update: September 28, 2011

The ferry’s are running this morning from Hagnaya to Bantayan Island, although the seas continue to be rough.

The skies are mostly clear and sunny with only a slight breeze.

Many hundreds who were stranded during the recent Typhoon “Pedring” will be able to get to their destinations as of today. If you are coming to Bantayan Island today, welcome to paradise…

Massive Typhoon “Pedring” Affecting Bantayan Island

A massive 500 mile wide Typhoon that struck the coast of Luzon early this morning, is causing massive 26 foot high waves and very rough seas around Bantayan Island. There are no Ferry’s currently running between Hagnaya and Santa Fe, leaving many people stranded until later this week.

My wife and I have been in Cebu since before the Typhoon began it’s approach this last Sunday and were planning on making our way back to Bantayan on Monday. Those plans were delayed as we learned that Pedring was causing large waves at and around Bantayan and making travel to the island impossible.

Forecasts are that the wind and waves may subside by Thursday, allowing for the Ferry’s to Bantayan to once again be available.

I spoke to our friend on Bantayan Island a few minutes ago who told me that the waves around the island are massive and that the wind is howling, with driving rain.

If you are planning a trip to Bantayan Island this week, look for delay’s in getting to the island until later this week. Friday to Sunday should be much better for travel.

In Consideration of Others

I have been able to observe the guests who come to Bantayan Island now for the past two and a half months that I have lived on the island. Most of the people who come to Bantayan Island are very nice, friendly and consider the feelings and the rights of other guests to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing vacation on this island paradise.

There are however a few who think when they arrive on Bantayan Island that all the space in the resort belong to them. They remain load and obnoxious until all hours of the night, drinking and screaming at the top of their lungs, with no regard for the peace and tranquility of the other guests in the resort.

If they inhabit a room next to another guest, they open and slam the door to their room dozens of times during their stay. They leave their empty alcohol bottles and trash all over their patio for others to pick up.

This resident of Bantayan hopes that if you plan your vacation get-a-way here, that you remember when you arrive, that there are others who are also trying to enjoy a vacation here. They have also paid a large sum of their salary, taken time off work and are looking forward to some peace away from the stress of their daily careers and lives. Be considerate of others and be a good neighbor.

Otherwise, if you happen to display your inconsiderate behavior in front of this resident of the island, you will encounter my wrath and displeasure.

I’m just sayin’… be nice when you come here. Have fun, but remember the feelings of the other people who are here too.

Beach Placid Resort

I recently completed a few pictures taken at Beach Placid Resort at Santa Fe on Bantayan Island. This is my favorite resort and I highly recommend you book your next stay on Bantayan with the friendly staff at Beach Placid.

The beach out front of Beach Placid is in my opinion, the nicest white sand beach on Bantayan Island. Many of the Bungalows are located right on the white sand just a few steps to the crystal clear water.

The following is a short slideshow displaying some of the beauty at Beach Placid and Santa Fe Beach.

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