Weather on Bantayan Island has been clear and beautiful this past week. With the onset of “Habagat”, the winds have changed to onshore, bringing much debris to the white sand beaches.
The upside of this change in wind direction is that the nights are cool and refreshing and perfect for a great night’s rest if you are near the coast. Last night we enjoyed a wonderful cool breeze until about 3 am when the winds became calm.
Weather for this weekend should be near perfect, with the coming of any future tropical storm far off from the coast of the Philippines. There are two weather systems developing in the pacific that we are watching that could become tropical storms systems in the next week. Both these systems look to move north of Bantayan Island, should they further develop into a tropical depression.
If you are coming to the island, expect to find a lot of debris on the beaches as is normal for this time of year. The pristine picture you have in your mind for Bantayan Island will not be found presently, until the wind and seas cleans the shoreline of sea grass, coconut shells, and trash.
Low tide prevails throughout most of the daylight hours, meaning that the water level is far from the beach, exposing a not so pleasant debris field left over from the last storm. Some may ask why I publish the negative aspects of Bantayan Island. The answer is that I would rather you know what to truly expect when you come to our island, than have you be disappointed once you arrive here. The Island has many positive and wonderful features, not withstanding the occasional debris on the beaches and low tide I mentioned above.
The entire island is worth seeing by scooter or Tri-cycle, and worthy of your efforts to make the necessary journey. Many tourists come to Bantayan Island strictly for the beaches and water, yet miss the other incredible features throughout the rest of the island.
During the recent approach to Cebu and Bantayan Island by Tropical Typhoon “Ramon” a few days ago, it became quickly apparent that PAGASA is not doing a sufficient Job in closely monitoring the weather in the Philippines.
From my vantage point, it was clear that when Ramon changed direction before making landfall with Cebu, that no one was aware of the change in course, because PAGASA does not conduct rapid enough assessments of approaching storms. Instead of an every six hour or twelve hour assessments, perhaps it would be advisable to give updates every fifteen minutes or so when a storm is on final approach to a populated landmass.
Typhoon Ramon was due to make landfall with Cebu on Thursday October 13, 2011, PAGASA stated in their weather update. The storm actually arrived an entire day early on Wednesday, passed Cebu city and went out to sea before PAGASA even reported the change in course.
On Bantayan Island, resorts were boarded up, people on high alert, expecting Typhoon Ramon to make direct contact with Bantayan around Mid-night on Thursday October 13th. Instead, Typhoon Ramon missed the island by close to 100 Kilometers, making evacuations and Typhoon preparations completely unnecessary. The storm changed course a day earlier, yet PAGASA did not inform anyone of the change until Ramon had already passed Cebu and gone out to open water.
Unless PAGASA changes their present approach to predicting approaching Typhoon’s in the Philippines, I predict that many will be looking for new jobs.
As inhabitants of the Philippine islands, we need faster and more frequent updates on the status of approaching Typhoon’s or tropical storms, so that we might be better prepared. How many lives have been lost because the weather updates are too late for citizens to get out of the way before disaster strikes?
If you agree that PAGASA needs to do a better job, write or call your local government official and let them know a change is needed.
Upon the entrance of Typhoon Ramon into the Eastern area of Mindanao and Southern Leyte, this growing storm has increased it’s wind speed to signal number 2.
It is certain that by midnight on Thursday, October 13, 2011, Ramon will make direct contact with Bantayan Island.
Current indicators, as shown on the latest map below, show that Ramon likely will increase to signal number 2 as it comes into contact with the shores of Santa Fe, on Bantayan Island.
Although the map below indicates signal number one for Cebu and Bantayan Island, this wind strength will likely be updated to signal number 2 by late Wednesday evening.
Typhoon Ramon to Strike Bantayan Island Thursday
If Ramon continues to strengthen as it makes landfall tonight and tomorrow morning at Mindanao and Southern Leyte, it has a high likelihood of coming into Cebu as a Signal Number 2 Typhoon with winds from 60-100 Kilometers per hour, or 37-62 Miles per hour.
This leaves Bantayan Island in the path of a fairly large and destructive typhoon.
All Ferry service was cancelled as of Tuesday morning on Bantayan Island. Seas have been “White Capped” all day, with periods of heavy rain and wind gusts. Currently there is light rain falling over Bantayan Island with mostly cloudy skies.
As Ramon exits the area of Bantayan Island by Friday, seas will continue to be too rough for Ferry service. The earliest date for restored service to Bantayan Island by Ferry would be Sunday to Monday.
We will continue to monitor the weather sources for this storm and post updates here as soon as there are any new changes.
Storm Update: Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 7:00 am
Revised Estimates have placed the “Eye Wall” of the center of Ramon, Directly over Bantayan Island, sometime after mid-night, or approximately 12:00am tonight/early tomorrow morning. The highest sustained winds of over 100 kph will be present closet to the eye wall. Storm surges of ocean waves will exceed 3-4 feet, bringing sea waves up to 4 feet higher than the high tide markers for the island.
Classification for this Storm has been upgraded to Signal Number 2 for Bantayan Island and Northern Cebu.
It has been more than 10 years since a Typhoon has made direct contact with Bantayan Island, as Ramon most certainly will.
It is advisable to take appropriate action to protect your person and property as this storm will do moderate damage to structures on Bantayan near the shore of Santa Fe where the storm surge will make initial contact. Those in higher elevations on Bantayan Island will also experience higher wind gust over 100 Kilometers per hour.
The Following is the latest storm track for Ramon, showing it’s path directly over Bantayan Island as a signal Number Two Typhoon.
More Updates to Follow in a Few Hours…
The Following picture was taken from Beach Placid Resort, at 7:30 am on Wednesday October 12, 2011, looking in the direction of the Pier at Santa Fe. Shown is the Beach Erosion caused by the previous nights Wind, Rain and Waves at Low Tide.
Additional Pictures of the Storm Damage from Typhoon Ramon will be posted after the Storm Passes Bantayan Island.
Typhoon Ramon Update 10:30 am, October 12, 2011.]
The storm track of Typhoon Ramon has changed direction in the past 2 hours and has headed south of Cebu City and by the writing of this post, is most likely out to sea once again. This is wonderful news for the people of Bantayan Island as this will mean that we will NOT suffer a direct strike by the eye wall of Typhoon Ramon.
I will update this information at 11:00 when the Philippine and U.S. Governments give their updated information.
A truly amazing event has just happened.
While on a direct course for Bantayan Island, this morning Typhoon Ramon changed course abruptly when it reached the Island of Cebu and went in a more Westerly direction until it passed Cebu. Ramon then turned again and head back to it’s former course, completely bypassing Bantayan Island.
The following Map shows the strange and sudden change in course.
Our friends in the U.S. had been praying for us and all the people of Bantayan Island since last night. They prayed that the Typhoon would change course. For anyone who does not believe that prayer is a powerful tool that God honors when His people pray, this is clear evidence that our prayers are heard and that God responds when we need His help.
Low Pressure Area: “92”, off the coast of Mindanao is growing in intensity and making a North West track towards Cebu and Bantayan Island. Estimates are that within 6 to 24 hours this low pressure system will become the next Typhoon in the Philippines, called “Ramon”.
It would be advisable now to make early preparations for the possibility of a signal 1 or 2 Typhoon striking Bantayan Island as early as Wednesday or late Thursday of this week. Make sure you have plenty of fresh water, enough food for a few days, fresh batteries for a good flashlight and perhaps have some extra cash on hand as ATM’s may be out for a day or two.
There is a possibility that once this low pressure area becomes a Tropical cyclone, it may take a more Northerly route and not strike Northern Cebu and Bantayan Island directly.
We will post updates on the progress of this low pressure area in the next 24 hours.
If you have been planning a trip to Bantayan Island this week, you might pause for a day or two until the final disposition of this low pressure area is know. In the event that “Ramon” does strike Bantayan, or skirt the island with a band of rain and wind, coming to the island or leaving the island will not be possible for a few days. Island Shipping does not provide Ferry service on or off Bantayan Island during a Typhoon.
Estimated Storm Track for Typhoon Ramon 2 pm Monday October 10, 2011:
Update: Monday October 10, 2011 at 5:00 pm.
P.A.G.A.S.A has now determined that “Ramon” will definitely make contact with Bantayan Island by this coming Thursday. The following is the most recent details given by the main Philippine weather agency:
“Tropical Depression “RAMON” is expected to be at 260 km East of Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur by tomorrow afternoon and at 90 km East of Surigao City by Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday afternoon, it will be in the vicinity of Bantayan Island or at 100 km North of Cebu City.
More updates to follow Tuesday Morning.
Update: 3:00 am October 11, 2011:
PAGASA, the national weather service in the Philippines has confirmed that Typhoon “Ramon” will definitely make a direct hit on Bantayan Island on Thursday October 13, 2011.
It is advisable that if you are a visitor to Bantayan Island that you depart the island today if possible, otherwise plan to be detained on the island until approximately Saturday when winds and seas may permit your departure. A band of rain clouds have already formed over the island of Cebu and Bantayan Island, delivering periods of gusty wind and rain over the entire island area.
Although it is confirmed that Ramon will be a Signal 1 Typhoon, with minimal damage to trees, homes and resorts, it will produce some storm surge as well as rough seas. In all storms over Bantayan Island, it is the condition of the sea that is of most critical importance as Island Shipping does not operate Ferry service during any Typhoon when seas are rough.
A massive low pressure system off the coast of the Visaya’s has brought very wet weather to Bantayan Island. Rain prevailed throughout most of the night Thursday. As I write this Friday morning at 7:20 am, there is heavy cloud cover with heavy rain on and off.
The seas are rough, which should cause Ferry service between Hagnaya and Santa Fe to be delayed until the seas calm, if they do today at all.
If you are planning a trip to Bantayan this weekend, the forecast is for more rain and continued rough seas until Sunday.
The beauty of Bantayan Island depends of two variations of weather that are well known to the native islanders. “Amihan” and “Habagat”.
Beginning in late September or Early October the trade winds come across Bantayan Island from the northeast as a cool breeze. Temperatures are lower with little of no rainfall. These mainly easterly winds bring debris from the ocean onshore to the white sand beaches of the island, causing them to be littered with sea grass, garbage from Cebu and just about anything adrift on the ocean.
The beaches begin to taper off and at low tide, the sea grasses on the sea floor near the island are nearly exposed to the air, giving some pretty spectacular views to those who walk out onto the wet sand to view them.
These easterly winds usually change almost overnight beginning in late May or early June. The wind direction then begins to come from the West, taking all of the debris out into the deep ocean and away from Bantayan Island. This phenomenon is called “Habagat” by the native islanders.
During “Habagat”, the monsoon, or “wet season” is prevalent over Bantayan Island. The weather is much hotter, humid and can experience frequent heavy rainfall.
The change from Amihan to Habagat and back again, is caused solely by the change in wind direction.
Amihan: Winds from the East, cooler, more debris on the shoreline.
Habagat: Winds from the West, hotter, more humid, more rainfall, less debris on the beaches.
Whatever time of year you come to Bantayan Island, depending on Amihan or Habagat, Low tide or High tide, the beaches and water can vary tremendously. Most of the beautiful pictures that you see of Bantayan Island that display clear aquamarine blue water, and clean white sand beaches, are taken during “Habagat” when the hotter winds from the West push debris out into the sea and keep the water and white sand free of garbage and debris. These photos are also taken during high tide, as any photo taken during low tide will show a beach emptied of blue water, and the sea floor exposed.
Personally speaking, I have learned to enjoy all the seasons of Bantayan Island and love the rapid, almost daily changes in the beach and water.
On those rare days when the winds are calm, the water is clear blue, and the white sand is pure and clean, those photo’s taken are pristine and priceless. Swimming in the beautiful water and walking on the soft white sand beaches is pure delight.
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.
Today we continue to enjoy mostly cloud free and sunny days. It has been hot and dry since last Saturday. If you are planning on a trip to the island, it is very hot, the waters are calm and there are many visitors to the island currently.
If you are coming to Bantayan make sure you make a hotel room reservation in advance as the better resorts are currently fully booked.
A low pressure system has remained over the northern part of Cebu for more than a week that has affected the weather on Bantayan Island with cooler and wetter days and nights.
For those of us who live here, the lower temperatures have been a welcomed repose.
Sunrise walks on the white sand beaches and a leisurely afternoon swim in the warm waters of Santa Fe have been increasingly more enjoyable with the overcast skies.
Yesterday I saw a man walking on the streets of Santa Fe with a heavy jacket on. Temperatures have remained warm, but for some I suppose it feels colder.
If you are planning a trip to Bantayan Island, don’t be discouraged by the rain or overcast skies. The island is still a very beautiful and wonderful destination for relaxation, and a chance to live on an island paradise for awhile.