On the southernmost point of Cebu, you will find a hidden treasure called Daanbantayan. This beautiful, peaceful municipality remains strong despite the recent typhoon (Yolanda) that tested its people and made Daanbantayan even more prominent among local and foreign visitors.
Brief History & Profile
“Daanbantayan” is derived from 2 words – Daan which means “old” in Cebuano language and Bantayan which refers to a “look-out station” that the ancient Moro raiders used many years ago to look out for possible colonizers. Now, it has become a partly urban municipality that has almost 75,000 people (according to a 2010 census) and is known for its Haladaya Festival, an annual celebration in honor of the town’s legendary founder, Datu Daya.
When in Daanbantayan, you should not dare miss the following tourist destinations:
Malapascua Island – Daanbantayan is synonymous to Malapascua, a beach and diving destination that never fails to captivate local and foreign tourists. This place boasts of pearly white sands and beautiful coral gardens. To get there, you need to hire a boat in Maya, the jump-off point in Daanbantayan that has a wharf port. There will then be several boatsmen who will offer you a 30-minute travel to Malapascua Island.
Gato Cave & Islet – This is a small, rocky island that is situated in the middle of the Visayan Sea, about 15 kilometers away from Malapascua. It is 272 feet high and serves as a home to nesting seabirds, flying foxes, soft coral canyons, and rare nudibranchs.
Monad Shoal – Popular among recreational divers, this 66ft-deep seamount is considered as a top attraction in Daanbantayan for it can be a perfect platform to view a wide range of thresher sharks. Common thresher sharks and pelagic thresher sharks normally live in 350meter-deep sea depths, but thanks to the Monad Shoal, visitors can easily take pictures of these solitary creatures even in less than 20 meters of water!
There is also the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish Church that was constructed between 1858-1886 but still has its original facade design until now. You could also visit the San Pedro River that has an abandoned Muslim settlement founded by Datu Daya during the pre-Spanish era. Or better yet, go to Tapilon Point, the watchtower site of the place they call “Kandaya” or “daang bantayanan” (old look-out station in English).
How to Get There
3 hours or so from Cebu City, you can reach Daanbantayan by getting on a Ceres bus from Cebu North Bus Terminal. The fare is around 150-165 for non-air-conditioned buses and 160-180 for the air-conditioned ones. Aside from Ceres, D’Rough Riders and Cebu Autobus are other bus liners that usually offer trips to and from Daanbantayan. You could also take a V-hire (or van for hire) from the North Bus Terminal but expect to pay a higher fare, roughly around 160-190 pesos. When in Daanbantayan, the primary modes of transportation that you can hire are jeepneys, tricycles, and habal-habal or motorcycles.
If you are already planning about your next summer vacation, then why not discover the beauty of Daanbantayan yourself?