by Dana Smith
Baked Scallops on Bantayan Island
Bantayan Island is the epitome of a tropical paradise: coconut trees and miles of white sand; clear turquoise waters that gently caress the shore. It’s a quiet place where there isn’t much nightlife, making it the ideal getaway for a romantic holiday.
There are many resorts found throughout Bantayan Island, but one definitely stands out: Anika Island Resort. It was located around 20 minutes by pedicab from my resort.
The ride was bumpy and the sound of the engine filled the air as I quietly anticipated my arrival to the resort. Upon stepping foot onto Anika, I quickly realized why it remains to be one of Bantayan Island’s most popular resorts.
The beachfront property features rooms that are made of upcycled container vans which have been transformed into cozy sleeping quarters. Dusk cast a golden glow on the exteriors of the container vans, creating a dramatic contrast.
The beach area of Anika is nothing short of remarkable. Guests have access to a private beach framed by coconut trees, and on a sunny day the waters reflect striking shades of crystal-clear blue.
For those who need some shade, Anika Island Resort’s beach also has a white cabana right out front, perfect for lounging in one of the lounge chairs while taking in sweeping views of the ocean. There is also a long row of rustic nipa cabanas, which gave it that perfect tropical accent.
When I went to visit the resort, it was almost sunset. A gentle tropical breeze swayed the coconut trees, and the sky was painted purple with tinges of blue and pink as the sun slowly dipped into the horizon in another part of the island.
I arrived at the resort to eat and was thrilled to see that there was a cabana on the beach facing the sea where I could dine in bliss. I immediately took off my sandals so that I could feel the soft touch of powdery white sand beneath my feet and proceeded to order a dinner fit for a king.
It was a hot day, and I thought that there was no better way to end it than by sipping on a cold mango shake. With the sand on my feet, cool breeze, a pastel sunset and a drink in my hand, this was the most ideal way to end my day.
The most difficult part of my dining experience was having to decide which seafood I was going to get. I settled for baked scallops, ceviche, and pork chops with a side of rice.
I was hungry from a long day out in the sun, walking around the island and exploring. It was me, a fantastic view in paradise, and a book while eating a delicious dinner. Each dish was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of flavor and spices; each of them went well with a spoonful of rice.
My favorite dish was baked scallops; it felt like I was eating the ocean with each bite. It had the right amount of garlic and cheese and I didn’t want to stop eating it.
I was sad to leave Anika, but it was time for me to go back to my resort for a night of restful sleep. It was a dining experience that I won’t soon forget.