Last month when we visited Bantayan Island nightlife was not the first thing on our mind. After having stayed on the island for a few weeks, I can tell you if that is what you are looking for, you may be a bit disapointed. Let me share our experience with you.
The nightlife on Bantayan Island can be found primarily in the town of Santa Fe. You can visit restaurants and bars MJ Square. On the weekends there is live music at “Hr musicbar” and “TapaMaster Bantayan Island”. The nightlife shuts down at 11:00 PM every night.
We have a few great tips to make the most of the night if you wish to have a good time out partying in Bantayan Island.
Making the Most of Bantayan Islands Nightlife
Bantayan Islands nightlife can seem pretty quiet, especially on weekdays. If you are coming to Bantayan to have a fun night out, I strongly recommend coming on the weekend when there are more people visiting.
There are multiple bars playing live music at night on the weekends. We strongly recommend “Hr musicbar”. While there is no disco on Bantayan Island, there is a dancefloor in this bar. And while the live music is playing, you will have lots of time to dance your heart out.
Since nightlife officially shuts down around 11 PM every night, you probably realize that Bantayan Island and Santa Fe town is not really geared towards nightlife. But on the weekend the most popular bars will keep their doors open into the night as long as there are customers.
On weekdays it is way fewer people on the island, and since there are so few people around, the bars usually shut down at 11 PM (unless somebody pays off security to keep the place partially open like we witnessed).
The Beach Bars
If you want to get a few beers and have a good time during the week, it is a lot more fun to hang out around Kota Beach. There are two spots in particular that we enjoyed, “Stumble Inn Beach Club” and “Kota Beach Resort” are a fantastic place to have some beach food and a beer.
Around these spots, you can meet a lot of like-minded people. Everybody staying on Kota Island is very relaxed and friendly, so striking up a conversation and enjoying a few sunset beers is a great way to have a few sunset beers.
If you keep going further past “Kota Beach Resort”, you will find more places to sit down as well and have a drink too. But the water gets very shallow over there. So it is not really a nice place to go swimming unless you just want to lay around in the shallows and relax for a bit.
Where to Party on Bantayan Island?
Like we mentioned there is very little nightlife during the week. So your best option is to wait until the weekend. Apart from our favourite “Hr musicbar” you can also party at “Coucou Bar Hotel & Restaurant Bantayan Island” (Agoda link), which is also a great value place to stay.
Read more about our accommodation recommendations here.
If you head over to MJ Square in Santa Fe you can find a lot of life earlier in the evening. And there are lots of great restaurants like “Bantayan Burrito Company” which may even give you a free shot of tequila if with dinner if you are lucky!
While we personally did go, we have heard good things about “Ato Ni Bai”, which is a karaoke bar right in the middle of town.
Drink prices on Bantayan Island
The prices for drinks are surprisingly reasonable everywhere on Bantayan Island. A cold San Mig will only set you back 50 PHP at most bars.
Food around town ranges from 100-500 PHP per meal, and you can expect to pay 60-70 PHP for a beer in the more expensive restaurants. Read more about the prices on Bantayan Island here.
As far as drinks go, a Tequila Sunrise cost from 100-200 PHP per drink.
Where to Eat in Bantayan
When it comes to food you have a lot more options than you do for nightlife. There are restaurants all over the tourist areas.
MJ Square is a great place to start. Here you can find Italian, Mexican, Thai, and a plethora of other options. Since you are on an island, you can find lots of seafood. And many of the barbeque places was very well priced.
For breakfast, we can strongly recommend “Every Day Sunday Cafe” for great smoothie bowls (avoid the iced coffee though).
For lunch, we can recommend the restobar at “Kota Beach Resort”. They have excellent food all around. The drinks are the most expensive we had in town though. There are multiple other places to check out around the beach as well, but this one had consistently great food, unlike the others.
For dinner, there are so many options. But if you prefer western food, and you’re only staying for the weekend, you should go to “Bantayan Burrito Company” for fantastic Mexican food, and “Caffe del mare Ristorante Italian” for the best pizza we had in the Philippines.
At the burrito restaurant, you will want to order one dish each. But at the pizza restaurant, you can get away with sharing a large pizza if you are not starved.
If you didn’t come all the way to Bantayan Island to eat pizza, you can find multiple local style barbeque restaurants and seafood just up the road from MJ Square, heading in the direction of CouCou Bar.
While we didn’t try to eat at any of them, they seemed like a great alternative to all the foreign restaurants around MJ Square.
Is Bantayan Island Safe?
From our experience, Bantayan Island is a very safe place. The locals in town are very friendly. And the ex-pat community is also a very friendly bunch.
We never got scammed while on Bantayan Island, and you can comfortably ask anybody for advice.
The only annoyance we experiences was some of the touts got a bit intense during the weekdays when there were fewer people for them to pester.
We left our bags at the beach while going swimming every day without anybody ever showing suspicious behavior, or running away with our stuff.
As long as you don’t do anything silly or get too drunk I wouldn’t be worried about your safety on the island.
The roads around the island are not busy. And in town, everyone will drive at a low speed. While driving around the island we found that the main roads are very safe to drive on. The beach roads are a different story, and if you are not used to riding a scooter, these roads are not a good place to start.
A Final Tip
When it comes down to it, you’re not going to find great nightlife in Bantayan Island compared to many of the other places around Cebu like Moalboal.
But there is enough to have a good time. And if you make an effort to meet people during the day, you can certainly make it a great evening even on weekdays.
Just don’t come to Bantayan Island expecting to go out clubbing.
Here’s a quick guide on how to get to Bantayan Island that will interest you.
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