Batanes, the Philippine's northernmost province, is undeniably one of the most famous and most raved for spots in the country. I became curious of course, but I am never convinced (yet) that it is indeed a lovely place. Not until I finally experienced the surreal beauty of Batanes.
breathtaking Batanes indeed!
Manila to Batanes
○ Last October, I got lucky and scored my roundtrip tickets to Batanes for only P1,872! ♥ AirPhil and Sky Jet airlines fly from Manila to Basco. Normally, the roundtrip fares cost P8,000. Now how to score cheap airfares? Be patient and be quick when you hear the seatsale news!
abangers lang ng promo is the key to score cheap Batanes tickets!
Time Travel Lodge
○ There are not enough accommodation in Batanes so it's always best to book in advance. Luckily, the Ivatans are so nice that they will be the one to look for an alternative in case your first choice is already unavailable. Fortunately, it happened to me and I got even luckier to end up at Time Travel Lodge. This lodge offers 3 family rooms, all with its own bathroom and kitchen. There's a lawn as a bonus.
the added perk is the garden! yes, you may setup a tent if you like
beautiful candy-colored chairs for coffee and siesta time
Time Travel Lodge - 0939.623.8978 / 0907.443.5610
rate is 400 / person for a fan room on a low season. each room has 2 queen beds, cabled tv, sound system, kitchen, own bathroom with hot shower. coffee is free at the common area.
Batanes Itinerary - 4 Days 3 Nights
○ We arrived in Batanes on time and the first thing Era and I did was sleep. Hehe After recharging, we decided to experience biking. Bikes are available at Time Travel Lodge. Rental fee is 25/hour. So how's the experience? Great, not to mention the lighthouse is just near the town. Just be ready because the roads are uphill. Hangsakit sa legs! ^_^
bike your way to Basco Lighhouse, for experience.
○ I really suggest you visit the North Batan area first. Basta lang. For me, if you have seen the South Batan or Sabtang Island - then the North Batan attractions could not be outstanding anymore to you. *winks*
the famous lighthouse
excited sa stone houses
the Bunker serves dinner to visitors who wish to catch the sunset. reservation is required.
○ Era and I biked our way home. After resting, we decided to continue our North Batan tour. We had Dale - 0929.341.0941 as our tricycle driver and guide in Batanes. For the guided trip to Fundacion Pacita and Valugan Boulder Beach, we paid P400. Dale also showed us the tunnel and some churches along the way.
big boulders and huge waves meet at Valugan beach
first taste of Batanes sea
○ Fundacion Pacita is I think the premiere accommodation in Batanes. It is situated on top of the hill and the view decks are really breathtaking! Nabwiset ako sa ganda! Haha Minimum stay is 2 nights and rate is around P8,700 per night. This is the perfect place for honeymooners.
your own viewing deck at fundacion pacita
may araw ka din sakin, babalikan kita! haha
○ We call it a day and had an early dinner at Ivatan Pension. The next day is for the South Batan tour. Rate is P1,500 per tricycle. Dale is still our driver and guide. We preferred to start the tour at 9am, though you may request to start earlier if you want.
south batan tour
rolling hills and Tayid lighthouse
Marlboro Country - eto na yung the hills are alive!
that's Mount Iraya
breathtaking Batanes indeed
cow congress on top of the hill
○ OK, so much of the green hills and blue seas. We also went to other South Batan spots (which I dont remember the names, really). Hehe As you know, Im not a fan of visiting 8 spots per day. I always pick the best 4 or 5 spots and that is always enough. ^_^
a stone house along the street
10 commandments in their local dialect
cheap yet good food at Vatang restaurant
all these for P800!
calm white beach in Batanes
more more sunbathing
○ Coconut crabs are not easy to find at restaurants. We asked the caretaker of Time Travel Lodge to find us coconut crabs instead. Achieve! (1kg of coconut crab, chopsuey, rice, and service charge = P850)
it tastes like a normal crab, only the meat is firmer (i think). nonetheless good! we love fresh seafood!
○ 3rd day is for a day trip at Sabtang island. At 5:30AM, Dale drove us to Ivatan Port, for P220. At around 6AM, locals and other tourists began to arrive. The boats are sufficient so dont worry, just arrive on time and you will surely get a slot. Boat fare is P75, per way. In the morning, the water is calm and it would only take around 30 mins to cross the island.
first glimpse of Sabtang island
○ Our contact in Sabtang is Michael, he is Dale's friend. Actually he works full time at the city engineers office in Basco. He happens to be free on weekends so he has time to drive us around Sabtang. Tour costs P800 only and 1,300 if you wanted to include the two farther towns.
Look at the tricycle in Sabtang, it's more like a kubo on wheels! Astig!
Michael - 0918.437.0551
kubo on wheels - only in Sabtang
○ Since most of the tourists were availing the packaged tour (fyi packaged tour costs P1,800 per person), we asked Michael that we oppose the direction of the group tours' itinerary. The group tours would go to the cliff first so we decided to hit the beach right away to avoid the crowd. Hehe
Morong Beach and Mayahaw Arch
the famous landmark in Sabtang
no other tourists ^_^
○ Sabtang has fewer establishment, more stone houses, more scenic views, and more character. If you have time, you can stay overnight in Sabtang and sleep in one of the traditional stone houses for a very cheap price.
a village full of stone houses
scenic view on the road
lush green everywhere
another famous spot, i forgot the name
paaraw all the way!
○ Our Do-It-Yourself Sabtang tour obviously didn't include lunch so we advised Michael we wanted lobsters. A kilo costs P450 only! Omg. Ginto yan dito sa Manila!
1 kilo of lobster + rice + veggies + coke + service charge = P900
More of Batanes
○ What made Batanes very outstanding is the people. Ivatans are sooo friendly. Unbelievable. People in town would greet as you pass by, as if you are a guest and they are all employees in the hotel you are staying in. Ganung level!
a female Ivatan and her cows
○ Another very noticeable thing is when you walk in the streets and there's another vehicle that would pass by the opposite direction - the driver would stop and let you pass first before he continues driving. That's how careful and noble they are!
noble Ivatan drivers on the road
○ Tricycles are not roaming in the streets unless they have passengers. The thing is you have to text them and they will fetch you in your location. Ansabe ng Grab-A-Taxi di ba?
Dale - 0929.341.0941
tricycle driver / tour guide in Batanes
○ Batanes expenses for 4 days and 3 nights is P3,600. Do the math for the breakdown. When airfare is included, total expenses is P5,500. Of course it could be cheaper if you won't eat a kilo of lobster and a kilo of coconut crab. Im never a fan of kuripot trips. I wanted to spend and pay the the locals what they deserve. The service is great so why not let them earn. ♥
Due to the raves Batanes is getting, I cannot help myself but set my expectation high for this place. After 4 days, I finally understand why people are raving so much about Batanes. It's not just about the rolling hills, the beaches, the culture, and the food. It's about the accidental beauty and how powerless you are when you see the strong waves and unending hills. It's about the simple life and how everyone is happy with it. It's all in one and even more! This place is paradise and the people are so warm. My Batanes experience is surreal and breathtaking! Batanes now belongs to my top 3 places to visit in the Philippines. My experience is so great that Im looking forward to going back again, soon!
From the bottom of my heart, Dios Mamajes (thank you) Batanes for that wonderful and memorable experience. ♥