Zentraveler explores Holy Week in Bantayan!

Holy Week

Bantayan Island is an idyllic paradise known for its excellent beaches, friendly people and magnificent sunsets. Located approximately five hours from Cebu… go to the North bus terminal and take the direct aircon or standard bus to Hagnaya Port about three hours where you will board a ferry and another one and one half hours arrive at Santa Fe port terminal. From there you can take a tricycle to Santa Fe (a few minutes) or a van or motorized tricycle to Bantayan. (20 minutes)

Bantayan Island consists of three municipalities which include: Santa Fe, Bantayan, and Madridejos. Those who are more adventurous can rent a motorcycle and circumvent the island in about a half day. A good stopping point would be Kota Park in Madridejos with its historic pier extending into the sea and a vintage fortress museum with artifacts… making this a great photo opportunity. Kota Park has a small restaurant for snacks and drinks. Other activities include camping out on the white sand beaches in Santa Fe, swimming, biking and exploring its many resorts… plus a host of restaurants to choose from.

A migration of 70,000 to 100,000 people arrive by ferry-boat to celebrate Holy Week in Bantayan! Nearly every square inch of beach is utilized in Santa Fe as folks from all over the globe celebrate. My friend Ian rents over 100 tents and all of the local vendors try to out-do each other by offering delicious bar-b-que chicken and pork, fried bananas, seafood specialities, and local delicacies.

Burning Candles Tribute

Candle Lady Vendor

Most of the resorts are fully booked six months to a year in advance and anyone who has a Filipino relative will have more visitors than they can count.The actual celebration takes place around the town square in Bantayan and consists of religious parades, featuring the stations of the cross, Jesus replica of the tomb, balloons, food vendors, and burning candles at the historic Sts Peter and Paul Parish Church.

Jesus Replica

Jesus Grave

‘The ancient customs of observing the traditional religious festivity during the Lent is drawing bigger and bigger crowd of devotees every year to Bantayan. The main attraction is the passion and death of Jesus Christ well illustrated in life size figures, mounted on high, richly decorated and brightly illuminated “carrozas””. These are paraded along the main streets on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Besides the passion and death of our Lord, images of saints as related in the Bible are also depicted. To this date, the scenes are complete from the Last Supper down to the scene when Jesus was being laid to His tomb.” —www.bantayan.gov.ph website

Holy Event

It’s easy to get around in Bantayan which has a great historic church, central park, wet market with a wonderful selection of seafoods including: whole squids, large prawns, clams, mussels, scallops many types of fish such as tunas, lapu lapu, and local varieties which I cannot pronounce. In another covered market nearby, next to the vegetable market, they have a large selection of dried fish from the very small to golden-brown whole fishes. Many tourists take large bags of dried fish home to their relatives and for personal consumption.

Life Size Image

While in Bantayan you can get the islands best cheeseburger, mouth-watering helo helo with home-made ice cream, delicious fresh baked apple pie, chocolate cakes, and some sweets so decadent you will be forced to take a tak-out order for the trip home. The name of the restaurant is KERMITS named after “Kermit the Frog” located just off the plaza down the second street as you enter Bantayan… close to Allied bank and immediately behind Pebachi Speciality store. If you can’t find it… just ask any local and they will be glad to help you out and don’t forget to say hello to the owner -operator Emuel. bon-appetit!

You can also check out the NEW Bantayan Weight Management Club adjacent to Allied Bank and behind two sari sari stores and Ralphs Internet. Signs are posted above stores and on the backstreet behind Allied bank. Ask for Perla or Bebe and get a FREE CONSULTATION and learn to live a healthy lifestyle through good nutrition.

Historic Church


Bantayan has the oldest church in the Visayas and Mindanao and is named as the Lenten capital of the Visayas . Many people from the Philippines and abroad go to Bantayan not only for a swim and relaxation, but also to witness the Holy Week procession and to observe the most solemn practice of faith. You should experience this for yourself as the crowds build and everyone is in a celebrant mood. It’s a time to worship and give thanks for the many things we have on this earth ….AND REFLECT BACK TO WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT!

Magellans Cross

QUOTE: It’s a celebration of life over death. The whole message of Holy Week is the message of God to join him.
~ Glenn Duffy

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week. It reminds Christians of the journey Jesus made into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus was going there to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover (Pesach). Jesus chose a donkey to show that he had come in peace. On that day many people welcomed Jesus by shouting, waving palm branches and throwing branches down in the path of the donkey. They hoped that Jesus was the Saviour who the Bible had promised.Palm Sunday is both a happy and sad day. Christians are happy because they are singing praises to Jesus but also sad because they know Jesus died less than a week after his arrival in Jerusalem. In churches on Palm Sunday Christians are given small palm crosses made from palm leaves. Left over palm crosses are kept to be burnt so that their ashes can be used in a special service on the first day of Lent (Ash Wednesday) the following year. This ash is put on people’s foreheads.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Your personal religious beliefs!

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: Use this valuable time to give thanks!

From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?


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