sure, the days can get warm and sticky. time crawls to a halt as you sip some cool mango shake under the shade of a coconut tree. the sand is white and powdery. the clouds are blue and beautiful.
bantayan island is probably one of the prettiest islands i have ever been to. and by that, i mean i can imagine myself living there. i know it’s pretty far from civilization but what do you know, it’s definitely catching up in terms of restaurants and resorts. i think a lot of that has to do with foreign nationals wanting to live in this place and thus creating a micro economy that feeds on tourism.
it’s good and it’s bad. it’s good in a sense that it’s giving jobs to locals and putting the little island on the map, although it has always been there. just maybe not as popular as it is now with international tourists. it’s bad in a sense that the economic boom might pose issues with regards to sanitation like what happened to boracay.
either way, aside from camotes, bantayan island is one of my top favorite islands in cebu. hands down.
really, it’s a very unassuming place. i don’t know if she even knows how beautiful she is. very basic, but in a nice way. jeff and i enjoyed going on trisikad rides just to soak up the general atmosphere. and also to buy bingka (rice cake) off this man who cooked it using a makeshift oven and who was more than happy to chat with us on how the improvised contraption works.
it helps that jeff can speak full bisaya now. he can mingle with the locals without intimidating them with his “aussie accent.” which is why i’m really keen on teaching raven to speak our dialect. like, really speak it. i know it’s gonna be a bit of a challenge but i’m willing to do whatever it takes. even if i end up sounding so bogan. i don’t care. i want my kid to be proud of her heritage. i want to ground her to her roots.
i want her to see the other side of life, where ‘petrol stations’ serve petrol in 1-litre coke bottles and laugh about it. not in a condescending way, but because of the ingenuity of it all. just as jeff and i did. but behind our laughter, there was pride. which almost sounded like, “take that, australia!”
i want her to look poverty straight in the eye to appreciate how good she has it over here. and to not complain about petty things and other first-world problems. hopefully it will teach her gratitude and patience.
it’s a different jungle out there, with its own set of dangers and limitations. but damn, look at the playground!
it actually took some time for raven to walk on the sandy shore. for some reason, this kid has sensory issues against sand on her feet. she hates it. wouldn’t wanna touch her toes on the powdery particles. always wanted to be carried or wear slippers, at least. had to kind of force her to get on with it and move on. all the crying in the world would not help her cause. she was stepping on the sand barefoot, whether she liked it or not.
but on the second day, surprise, surprise. she was happily walking on the water and that made me very happy as well. i’m not much of an outdoor person but this i believe is true: walking on the beach barefoot is therapeutic. it’s kind of like grounding your soul into the earth. same as walking barefoot in the mud, perhaps, but i’ll take the beach any time of the day. mud has worms. worms is where i draw the line. maybe that’s why i suck at gardening. the moment i see those brown squirming creatures, i’m done. no offense to the worms for all the help they actually do.
my nieces enjoyed the beach as well. aeva went crazy with all the tiny shells and fishes and starfishes that she found, turning her goggles into a mini-aquarium for all the interesting sea life she came across with.
adie, on the other hand, spent hours just lounging around in the shallow water. hours. plural. the water was calm and warm and the sun wasn’t too hot on this day. in other words, it was perfect.
one of the perks about living by the sea is that you get first dibs on the freshest catch of the day for a fraction of a price that you pay if you were to buy them at the market. i forgot how much my dad paid for this squid. it was huge! and the guy said you can tell squids are fresh if they change colors. it did. it was fascinating to watch. like watching a laser light show on the skin of the squid.
we had it cooked by one of the locals living in a little shanty nearby later that night. the rest of the food we gave to her family. she had a lot of kids. and dogs, too.
as bantayan island is known for their dried fish, my mom ordered some to take home too. this is the part that turned jeff off, seeing all the flies hovering around the fish being dried out in the sun. i admit the process itself was not exactly very hygienic but, whatever. i still love dried fish. i just make sure to cook them really well now. 30+ years of eating dried fish with no upset stomach whatsoever. it’s a bit late to complain now, isn’t it?
and seriously, you should see the flies here in australia during summer. they’re bigger than my boobs.
all in all, those 3 days spent at bantayan were something to remember. it was nice to just relax and let the island do its magic. we did a bit of a tour within sta. fe as well, which i will share with you on the next post. and by that, i mean when the mood hits me. otherwise, i’d probably throw in some other random shiz that i’d feel like writing about at that given moment.
but for now, these:
*raven at 1 year and 3 months old