Exciting New Attraction Comes to Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Philippines

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Beauty, Nature, Happiness and Light Meets Harmony, Tranquility and Magical Flight at the Santa Fe Butterfly Garden

The heart of Santa Fe’s entertainment district is now the home of the Santa Fe Butterfly Garden. The most exciting and unique tourist attraction to land on Bantayan Island in recent memory is the brain child of Jo Tamboboy of Toledo, Cebu and her fiancé Canadian expat Robert Stewart. When asked ‘why a butterfly garden?’ The couple stated when they first visited the island, they fell in love with Santa Fe and decided to make it home, get a business going and one that would involve the promotion of tourism, education, and be a compliment to the island’s stunning natural beauty.

“There is no place like Santa Fe” Stewart stated. “It has the friendliest people on the planet, but that can also be said about the whole island and the people of the Philippines in general. We wanted to be involved with a project that did not get ahead of the island’s pace of development, complemented its growing eco-tourism persona and be community driven. We decided we needed to come up with something that no one else was offering and the Santa Fe Butterfly Garden was born.”

Stewart readily admits that although he has always been a big butterfly fan, the world of butterfly breeding and showcasing was a million miles away from the corporate/executive positions he held back in Canada. “We were fortunate to meet professional butterfly breeders based in the Luzon region, who have given us an egg-to-butterfly education and professional training as breeders that included plant management and propagation. All that has added up to a great opportunity and a very high level of appreciation for these beautiful creatures. Butterflies play a significant role in the environmental landscape and that is something we want to impart on the children that come to our garden, including adults. We are also proud to play a part in conserving and propagating butterfly species indigenousness to the Philippines. We hope we will have an impact on the number of visitors coming here and that of course benefits all who call this amazing island home.”

The garden will also be providing tours and seminar days for students in the Philippines educational system and the couple hope that the school system will consider adding the study of the butterfly world to the curriculum back in the classroom. Jo Tamboboy states: “We hope the school system embraces us as an educational vehicle. It is what we have hoped for from the start and would be the ‘cherry on top’ of our project.”

Santa Fe Mayor, Jose Esgana, CPA who officially presided over the grand opening of the new Santa Fe attraction stated: “We are very pleased with this newest addition to Santa Fe’s business profile. The garden not only provides a unique opportunity and great reason for all residents of our island, Cebu and all other regions of the Philippines to visit Santa Fe. It is also of course one more great reason for the rest of the world to visit us here in Santa Fe. There are many reasons why the international travel and tourism industry recognizes and promotes the Philippines as being in the top ten of worldwide travel destinations and Santa Fe is most assuredly one of them. The addition of an attraction such as this further compliments Santa Fe as a must-visit destination and is a benefit to all Bantayanons and the country”. The opening date of this new venue is not going unnoticed by island residents or Mayor Esgana either. In closing Mayor Esgana noted: “On this day four years ago, Yolanda, the most powerful hurricane ever recorded at that time, smashed into the three municipalities of    Bantayan with unimaginably fierce and devastating winds, flattening everything in its path. Butterflies represent peace, beauty and happiness, but they also represent change, growth and transition.

All of these references are also truly representative of the spirit and people of Santa Fe and Bantayan Island. As the painful memory of Yolanda’s fierce winds fade away, it is very appropriate that on this date we welcome the soft beautiful winds of the butterfly to Santa Fe and I have therefore declared November 8th officially ‘Butterfly Day’ in Santa Fe”.

The Santa Fe Butterfly Garden is situated on an 800 square meter property located on G. Borraska Street across from Santa Fe landmark “Micky Santoro Hotel”. The beautiful property includes a plant nursery, a butterfly science/information area and a butterfly breeding showcase that provides garden visitors the opportunity to watch butterflies being raised from egg to caterpillar and emerging from their cocoons as adult butterflies before being released into what is truly a spectacular enclosed tropical garden. The garden’s lush presentation features a waterfall and a meandering walkway where guests can enjoy up to 22 Philippines species of the live winged wonders as they dance through the flowers, plants and trees. It is already being considered the ultimate venue for personal picture taking and has quickly caught the attention of wedding photographers and planners as the next best “go to” destination for nuptials.

When asked what the future holds Tamboboy and Stewart replied: “We are working on a second phase project that we hope will involve a great many of the residents in the Santa Fe area and we hope to be announcing that initiative in the first quarter of 2018. We also hope that one day Bantayan Island will also be known as ‘Butterfly Island’ and the beautiful town of Santa Fe, and its great people, will be known as the place where it all started.”

The attraction also has a gift shop that sells butterfly themed snacks, memorabilia and souvenirs that include framed butterflies. The Santa Fe Butterfly Garden is open 7 days a week from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM. For more information please visit: http://www.bantayanbutterflies.com or call: (63) 09-162-742-321, (63) 09-294-717728 or by email: bantayanbutterflies(at)gmail.com

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