The best place to stay when going to Camotes, Cebu in the Philippines is probably Santiago Bay Garden and Resort or known concisely to locals as Santiago Bay. It is the most sought after beach resort because it offers a salient ambiance that comes with its relaxing mood and sumptuous food. It is a peaceful village situated in a 2.5 hectare land in the southwest of Pacijan Island. It has an overlooking view of Santiago White Sand Beach and its clear blue waters.
Santiago Bay is the most interesting place to be when traveling to Camotes. Early booking is suggested to avoid being referred to other resorts such as Mangodlong Rock Resort, a sister resort of Santiago Bay which is also a very nice resort, or to other low end resorts. Santiago Bay is almost always fully booked especially on weekends. Americans, Koreans, Japanese and many other nationalities prefer Santiago Bay because of its accommodating staff full of hospitality and knows how to please the customers. Language is not too bad as they have been encountering foreigners now and then. The price of the delicious food is well worth it as they offer a decent price of their breakfast meals at around P80.00 and viands such as Beef Steak, Pork Chop, Calamares at around P140.00-180.00. They also offer Pizzas with prices around P150.00-200.00.
The first time I visited Santiago Bay in 2007, there were only 19 rooms to choose from. Currently, they have 43 rooms with P1000 for a non-air-conditioned rooms, P1400 for standard air-conditioned rooms and a lot more varieties of sizes and locations with the highest at P6000 for a “Villa Family” room. The room is usually good for 2-4 persons depending on the size (and of course the price). An additional person is charge P150 for non-air-conditioned rooms and P200 for air-conditioned rooms. This is the payment for the use of an additional mattress.
Santiago Bay is linked to Ocean Deep, a PADI diving entity found at their sister resort at Mangodlong. Diving cost is around $25 per dive. They also have a souvenir shop (named Souvenier Shop ^_^) near the street. It sells swim wear, shirts, necklaces, bracelets, guides for tourists such as maps and travel books. A very relaxing swimming pool that deceives most visitors on its depth is a new addition to the amenities inside Santiago Bay. The pool’s depth is 2 feet (near the stairs) to 6 feet (near the curve). Beds made of wood used for sunbathing or sleeping during the night is available near the pool and the rooms. Dad and lad’s bar is open during peak season and it offers tropical drinks as well as famous wines and spirits.
What amazed me most in Santiago Bay is that I found someone who has exactly the same name as I have – “Mark Anthony Maranga”. He is a chef and his mother is also a crew there. His father has a motorcycle outside the resort available for rent. You may want to avail their service or borrow their motorcycle if you like. Just ask any of the crew at the resort.
Santiago Bay is 20 minutes away from Consuelo Port and 15 minutes away from Mangodlong Rock Resort. It is accessible by motorcycle that costs a minimum fare of P50. Across the pedestrian gate near the reception area are “motorcycles for hire” at P500 + 2 liters of fuel (around P54 /liter) for a day use. After you tour Santiago Bay, I strongly suggest to rent a motorcycle (opt for the one owned by Maranga) and visit Camotes’ interesting wonders such as Arqui’s Viewing Deck, Danao Lake, Causeway, Baywalk, St. Joseph Church, Santiago Catholic Chapel among many others. You can contact Santiago Bay at their office in Mandaue City, Cebu at telephone number +63 32 4203385.