Bantayan, Cebu

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Municipality of Bantayan
Bantayan municipality from far end of quay
Bantayan municipality from far end of quay
Flag of Bantayan
Official seal of Bantayan
Map of Cebu with Bantayan highlighted
Map of Cebu with Bantayan highlighted
Bantayan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 11°12′N 123°44′E / 11.2°N 123.73°E / 11.2; 123.73Coordinates: 11°12′N 123°44′E / 11.2°N 123.73°E / 11.2; 123.73
Country Philippines
RegionCentral Visayas (Region VII)
District4th District of Cebu
Barangays25 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorArthur E. Despi[1]
 • Vice MayorAntonio Y. Montemar
 • CongressmanJanice Z. Salimbangon
 • Electorate45,507 voters (2019)
 • Total81.68 km2 (31.54 sq mi)
 includes outlying islands
35 m (115 ft)
 (2015 census)[4]
 • Total79,084
 • Density970/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
 • Income class1st municipal income class
 • Poverty incidence31.26% (2015)[5]
 • Revenue (₱)171,234,667.17 (2016)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)32
Native languagesBantayanon language

Bantayan, officially the Municipality of Bantayan, (Cebuano: Lungsod sa Bantayan; Tagalog: Bayan ng Bantayan), is a 1st class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 79,084 people.[4]

It is located on Bantayan Island[6], 136 kilometres (85 miles) from Cebu City. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 79,084, making it the island's most populous town as well as the largest.

Bantayan is bordered to the north by the town of Madridejos, to the southwest is the Tañon Strait, to the east is the town of Medellin and to the south is the town of Santa Fe.


Bantayan comprises 25 barangays:

PSGC Barangay Population ±% p.a.
2015[4] 2010[7]
072209001 Atop-atop 4.0% 3,187 2,718 3.08%
072209002 Baigad 2.0% 1,550 1,415 1.75%
072209024 Bantigue (Poblacion) 6.6% 5,232 4,703 2.05%
072209003 Baod 3.8% 3,039 3,209 −1.03%
072209004 Binaobao (Poblacion) 3.7% 2,957 2,919 0.25%
072209005 Botigues 3.5% 2,773 2,704 0.48%
072209007 Doong 3.2% 2,531 2,318 1.69%
072209009 Guiwanon 3.2% 2,532 2,546 −0.10%
072209008 Hilotongan 3.2% 2,506 2,060 3.80%
072209006 Kabac 5.6% 4,460 4,164 1.32%
072209010 Kabangbang 3.0% 2,345 2,343 0.02%
072209011 Kampingganon 1.3% 1,000 1,007 −0.13%
072209012 Kangkaibe 3.0% 2,348 2,635 −2.17%
072209013 Lipayran 4.4% 3,502 3,067 2.56%
072209014 Luyongbaybay 1.8% 1,423 1,456 −0.44%
072209015 Mojon 3.5% 2,731 1,704 9.40%
072209016 Obo‑ob 2.6% 2,086 1,893 1.87%
072209017 Patao 7.3% 5,772 5,475 1.01%
072209018 Putian 2.3% 1,809 1,865 −0.58%
072209019 Sillon 5.3% 4,203 4,064 0.64%
072209021 Suba (Poblacion) 4.9% 3,859 3,960 −0.49%
072209022 Sulangan 6.2% 4,925 4,596 1.33%
072209020 Sungko 4.2% 3,312 3,296 0.09%
072209023 Tamiao 2.7% 2,106 1,979 1.19%
072209025 Ticad 8.7% 6,896 6,689 0.58%
Total 79,084 74,785 1.07%
Lipayran with Mambacayao Daku & Mambacayao Diot
Patao with Polopolo
Sulangan with Biayagayag Daku, Biayagayag Diot, Moamboc, Panitugan, Silagon and Sagasa
Sungko with Botong
Map showing barangays and islands

GK Village[edit]

Gawad Kalinga[8] has a village in brgy Mojon.[9]


Population census of Bantayan
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 13,324—    
1918 14,812+0.71%
1939 18,805+1.14%
1948 25,351+3.37%
1960 30,623+1.59%
1970 40,017+2.71%
1975 43,899+1.87%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1980 47,711+1.68%
1990 60,000+2.32%
1995 62,260+0.70%
2000 68,125+1.95%
2007 71,655+0.70%
2010 74,785+1.57%
2015 79,084+1.07%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[4][7][10]


Trisikads (and one tricycle) for hire lined up outside public market in downtown Bantayan

For short journeys within population centres, then trisikads are readily available. They can carry two or three adults plus goods, a total load in excess of 250 kg (550 lb). They are available only where land is flat and level.

For longer journeys, such as from the municipal centre to outlying barangays, then motor tricycles are available. Smaller ones are motorcycle-sidecar combinations, and can carry about 4 passengers. Larger ones, known as multis, have some sort of saloon behind the driver, and are usually shared between as many as eight passengers, plus some goods stowage.

For the longest journeys, such as from Santa Fe ferry pier into downtown Bantayan and onwards, there are larger jeepneys, which can carry around 20 passengers with rooftop goods stowage.

There is no public bus service as such.


There are a few historically notable buildings but they have generally not been well maintained, and the ravages of the climate hasten decay, together with several major fires, which consume the wooden structures. Preventive maintenance generally was not practised, so even the best preserved buildings date back only to the middle of the 19th century.

Parish church of Sts Peter and Paul[edit]

Sts Peter & Paul front exterior with belfry

The main church stands on the principal plaza. Since the arrival of the Spanish there have been several buildings on its site: originally it was little more than a bamboo and nipa structure, which was burned down during one of the Moro raids. This was replaced by another wooden structure, which also burned down. Construction of the present building (the fifth on the site) started in 1839. The main driving force was the parish priest Padre Doroteo Andrade del Rosario and the maestro de obras (master of works) was his nephew Manuel Rubio y del Rosario (also known as Kapitan Tawi). Construction lasted about 24 years. The principal building material is coral, sawn to approximately parallelepiped shape and dressed like stone.

Since mid–2012 refurbishment work has been in progress: the belfry has been restored to its former glory, and as at February 2013 there are plans to open it for tourist access. The stairs are very steep and not very well guarded, however it does offer an elevated panoramic view of the waterfront.

The church also houses a small museum, visiting by appointment.

D.C. Abello theater[edit]

DC Abello movie theater

The D.C. Abello Theater was a Love Offering of Diego Abello and Candelaria Abello y Causing, parents of the Mayor Remedios Abello Escario. Construction of the theater started in 1948 and was completed in 1952. It took four years before the theater could be fully operation as they had to source out a suitable projector and a quality screen that showed images clearly. Diego and Candelaria Abello built this theater to provide entertainment to the people of Bantayan. The building's architectural style harks back to the American period. The D.C. Abello Theater used to show double films and was the favorite rendezvous site of many young romantic Bantayanons at the time. Bantayanons from the neighboring islets and island barangays would flock to this theater especially when a Fernando Poe Jr film was showing. The theater was closed in the early 1980s with the advent of Betamax and, later the DVD era.

As at February 2013 it is some sort of warehouse for glass and windows.

The building was entirely demolished in early 2015 to make way for the island's first supermarket development.


Derelict once-grand homes on Bantayan island

Central plaza was the location of several well-built houses. Opposite the church Manuel del Rosario built two which used to be "the grandest homes on Bantayan island". Originally pre-dating the church, one was used as the Casa de Mamposteria (house of masons) during construction of the church. The main house was later inherited by the son of del Rosario and his second wife, while the house next door was their wedding gift to their daughter.

After subsequent bequests, ownership of both houses was shared by many scions of the Causing and Escario families. They were unable to decide on (or maybe fund) [11] any necessary preventive maintenance work. As at February 2013 both houses have more or less collapsed in ruins past repair. All that remains of Bantayan's former glory is a dangerous and unsightly collection of rotten beams, collapsed walls and broken tiles occupying a prime and valuable location. Typhoon Yolanda subsequently caused both ruins to collapse entirely.


There are no longer any public entertainment centres such as cinemas. Apart from religious fiestas and processions, the main Bantayanon enjoyment comes from karaoke (known as videoke). Many households have their own equipment, but for special occasions they hire equipment with truly prodigious output, especially with low frequency sound. This is likely to be placed in the street, for the enjoyment of all the neighbourhood.


Empty beach, empty sea at Baigad

Much of the municipality coastline is unsuitable as a beach - there is no real sandy area, mostly rocks or mud, all along the southern coast of the municipality, and the western coast almost as far north as Baod and Patao. There are better beaches on the eastern coast, but access is difficult.

Sillon and Baigad is where good beaches can be found – wide expanses of sand, clean sea and few bathers. However these too have plenty of detritus and flotsam – for the most part seaweed and vegetation from the coconut palms which line the shore. The beaches are almost completely undeveloped, so no facilities, and there are several large private properties which are built close to the shore line.


Walkway to the Obo‑ob Mangrove Garden

Private facilities which are open to the public include:

  • Casa de Antiguedades[12] – This is a private house whose owner is happy to show visitors some of the artefacts and objects he has collected over the years. No entrance fee, but a contribution to upkeep is appreciated.
  • Obo‑ob Mangrove Garden – established by the residents of brgy Obo‑ob, the garden offers visitors a tour into the mangal forest along an elevated bamboo trail.
  • St Helena Botanical Garden shows off a selection of exotic flowers and fruits.
  • Bantayan Nature Park – this recently established (2012) place does not (yet) live up to its name.


As is common throughout the Philippines, 'sport' is synonymous with cock-fighting. There is a large sports centre (cockpit) on the road to Santa Fe, which attracts a large clientele in Sundays. In addition, puroks can have their own arena, usually just a piece of land set aside for the purpose.

Festivals and processions[edit]

The Holy Week observance attracts large numbers of local and foreign tourists to the foot processions on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, when life-sized images and icons are mounted on carrozas (floats) decorated in a carnival style that depict various tableaux of Christ's Passion and the Stations of the Cross.

Palawod is another festival held 29 June in honour of Sts Peter & Paul. The street dancing and ritual showdown competitions which depict the fishing traditions of Bantayan have contributed to Palawod's being the 3-times Grand Champion of the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo Festival of Festivals.

Sinulog takes place at the end of January, when there are ten or more days of noisy celebration.

Notable People[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Freeman 2017.
  2. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Province: Cebu". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Region VII (Central Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  5. ^ "PSA releases the 2015 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Quezon City, Philippines. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  6. ^ Executive Order No. 110 (15 April 1955), Reclassifying all municipalities in the Philippines (s.1955), retrieved 9 December 2014
  7. ^ a b Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region VII (Central Visayas)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  8. ^ Gawad Kalinga
  9. ^ GK Village I, Bantayan
  10. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region VII (Central Visayas)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  11. ^ Cebu Daily News 2007.
  12. ^ The Freeman 2010.


Further reading[edit]

  • Hedman, Eva-Lotta & Sidel, John T (2001). Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century. Colonial Legacies, Post‑colonial Trajectories. London: RoutledgeTaylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0415147903. Table of contents: 1 Introduction 2 Trasformismo and Philippine Democracy 3 Morbid Symptoms and Political Violence in the Philippines 4 'Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown' 5 'The last hurrah' revisited 6 Mailing Manila: Images of a City, Fragments of a Century 7 From Pugad Lawin to Pugad Baboy: The Making of the 'New Native' 8 The Sulu Zone Revisited: The Philippines in Southeast Asia

External links[edit]