When I came back from my trip to Cebu last June, a few people asked me what the situation is in Bantayan Island after Yolanda. People naturally are curious about the town. Bantayan, after all, has some of the Philippines’ best beaches.
The super Typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda) that entered the Philippines in November of 2013 has been recorded as one of the strongest tropical cyclones that hit the country. A lot of towns were devastated, including some of the country’s most-loved tourist destinations.
The typhoon also affected other countries like China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Bantayan is an island off the north-west coast of Cebu. You will have to travel for 3-4 hours to the ferry terminal in a town called Hagnaya and take the ferry to the island. The land trip can take longer because a lot of roads are under construction due to the 7.2 earthquake that struck a month before the typhoon.
The island has 3 towns and Santa Fe is the most popular because of its gorgeous stretch of white sand and its lovely sunrise. Life on the island is very simple and there isn’t a lot to do for a traveller who is looking for a lot of activities. You can choose to go on an island-hopping activity, or go scuba diving but I did nothing of those and just spent my week lounging and observing daily life scenes.
Bantayan Island After Yolanda
The typhoon has caused a huge decline to the town’s tourism. Summer in the Philippines extends until around June but there weren’t a lot of travellers on the island. Most of the Bantayan Island resorts were empty and almost looked abandoned and the restaurants were quiet.
There are still a lot of locals living in tents and many buildings and houses still need to be reconstructed. Some locals said that maybe people are still afraid to go to Bantayan Island after Yolanda or they think that it has lost its beauty after the typhoon.
Here are a couple of pictures to prove those people wrong.
That event has left deep scars and the town surely needs more time to recover. But they are getting back on their feet and I guess it’s just right to tell the world that Bantayan Island after Yolanda, is still a paradise worth telling a story about.