Bantayan Island Internet
Language on Bantayan Island:
Besides English, the dialect spoken here in Cebu is Visayan, otherwise known as Cebuano.
The Tagalog dialect from Manila may, or may not always be understood here.
The Philippines is GMT +8
* example: If USA non-Daylight Savings Eastern Standard Time is 8am, it's 8PM in the Philippines; 12 hours ahead.
Electricity in Philippines is 220 volts
Some hotels in Cebu & Manila have dedicated 110 volt US outlets, but make sure whatever you plug into the sockets here is 'dual-voltage' 110/220 volts.
(most USA camera, camcorder, & laptop power supplies are 110/220 dual voltage) so check the power brick first before you use it.
Your laptop & iPod's power supplies are dual voltage, but chances are your portable, powered speakers are not.
I have most of my entire digital workstation here with me (SLR digital camera, laptop, 3 external hard drives, external monitor, all dual voltage - but my Bose MediaMates powered speakers are USA 110 only, so I had to buy a small voltage converter for them at the local hardware store in Bantayan, P300)
Plug a 110 volt item (including a US 110 volt 'surge protector') into a 220 volt electrical socket and you'll burn it/fry it/melt it - if you need to use a surge protector or power strip with multiple inputs, be sure to buy the 220 volt version at the Malls in Manila/Cebu before you come, or pick up a small one at 688 Store, or the hardware store in Bantayan Town.
Satellite TV services all of Bantayan Island, mostly on the DREAM Satellite Network, and channels include CNN, BBC World, MTV Philippines, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, HBO, Cinemax, AXN (movies & USA programming) Star Movies and much more - it also includes the Filipino Channels PBO (Philippine Box Office/action movies in Tagalog) ABS/CBN, GMA for Philippine programming, news & soap operas/novellas.
* costs: aprox. P10,000 gets you everything you need if you want it installed at your place, even a rental - and you own all the equipment, so if you rent a different place next time you come, you have your SAT TV.
* includes the SAT Dish, set top box, and a 6 month programming card which plugs into your box - after 6 months of service you just buy another card at about P860 per month, to continue service.
Some of the larger hotels in Santa Fe have SAT TV in-room, or in their bar/restaurant, and Hard Kock Cafe in Santa Fe has a Mitsubishi big screen TV in the restaurant - everyone goes there to watch the big sporting events like soccer/football, boxing, etc.
Cable TV is available in Bantayan Town, but not yet in Santa Fe.
Internet: is available at Riza's Internet Cafe in Santa Fe for P30 an hour - there are 6 computers available, plus 2 separate tables for those who want to work on their laptops, like me.
Located in Santa Fe on the main highway that goes towards the Pier: hours are 8am - 8pm Monday through Saturday, and 1pm -6pm on Sunday - broadband speeds are similar to slow 384KBPS DSL/cable internet in the USA
* internet here is adequate for surfing & emailing, but don't expect to be downloading music or video; the bandwidth just isn't there to support that as yet (the service provider is GlobeLines)
Mar-quel Internet Cafe has 10 terminals (P20 per hour/P25 w/webcam) and is now open in Santa Fe accross the street, east from Khel's BBQ - it's popular with local kids gaming & can get a bit noisy.
In Bantayan Town, CLICK internet is located just past the west corner of the Plaza, beside Municipal Hall, and is located inside a huge blue cargo container - the service provider is SMART Communications (the same mobile phone provider) and the same slow speed 384KBPS broadband.
They have many more terminals available, but you can not bring your laptop.
In Santa Fe where I stay (Pooc, by the sea) there are also no land-line phone lines that carry an internet signal - Ogtong Cave's resort just got a phone line installed March 2007 that might supply them internet in the future, and none of the private homes in my area have land line phones either - so internet at residences here in my area will hopefully be available sometime in the near future.
Internet on Philippines 3G mobile phones:
3G/3rd. Generation mobile phones are 'hi-speed' data capable so you can surf the web on the SMART & Globe Mobile Phone Networks here.
Prices on the SMART network are P10 per 30 minutes, and better then that - you can also use a data cable from your 3G phone into your laptop to surf the web, so you can connect your laptop to your phone where ever you have a cell phone signal.