Breathtaking Batanes

Have you ever been to a place where you just look around, and everything is just so pretty? You deeply breathe in, hoping you can absorb all its prettiness. Sigh…. Oh Batanes! This postcard-worthy, scenic destination is definitely a must see in your lifetime. And if you think, you can always find an alternative to Batanes, think again! I just couldn’t find words to describe how beautiful this place is. I’m sure you have an idea of a perfect place you would want to spend your remaining years after retirement. Where you can just find solitude and peace. Drown in all those greens and blues. Yes, my idea of this ‘perfect place’ was found in Batanes.

Ticking this off from my ‘ultimate’ bucket list happened in year 2015, when I was planning where will my husband and I spend our annual vacation to Philippines. That’s the beauty of planning ahead, you can always get a cheaper airfare. So yayyyyyy!

Let me just give you an idea what to expect in exploring Batanes. This is just few of what I can remember, but you can always go to Batanes with no plan. Just get lost in all its beauty.

Aerial view

Aerial view before we landed. All green!

NORTH BATAN

We arrived in Basco by morning, so we started our 1st tour by noon. North Batan tour can be done in half a day. By the way, their tour rates are mostly fixed, and you can arrange it through your lodging. No need to book in advance.

Welcome to Basco

The “Welcome to Basco” obligatory shot!

Mt carmel.jpg

The famous Mt Carmel Chapel

Fundacion Pacita

The famous Fundacion Pacita. The only hotel in Basco (being that, ofcourse it is expensive!).

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Valugan Boulder Beach.

Batanes day 1

First day high!

kid with carabao

Just random kid and a random carabao.

piggy back ride

Vayang Rolling Hills with Mt Iraya in the background

SABTANG ISLAND

For our 2nd day, we visited another island. You will be taken to Ivana port by tricycle and a boat would take you to Sabtang (30 minutes travel time). Sabtang tour can be done in half a day because last trip boats going back to Basco are scheduled by 1pm (not later due to unpredictable sea/ weather). If you have more than 4 days to spare, I suggest you spend a night or two in Sabtang. I’m sure it would be worth it.

Sabtang_stone houses

Old stone house!

Sabtang Island

Amazing view of just a part of Sabtang.

Sabtang_Chamantad

Chamantad cove!

Sabtang_Ivatan Dario

Ivatan Dario!

Sabtang-Morong beach

Morong beach

By 1 pm we headed back to Basco and explored on our own.

BTW, near Ivana port you would see the Honesty Coffee Shop. For me, this place is overrated. I get the hype, a coffee place where no one is manning it. The owners are relying on customers’ honesty. I was so excited to see this shop, and when our tour guide pointed us to this small quaint place, “yan na yun?”

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This store is too small for dishonest people.

SOUTH BATAN

For our 3rd day, we did the whole day South Batan Tour in Basco. Tours usually start by 8-9 am and finish at around 4-5 pm, depending on the amount of time you would spend on each site. I suggest you take time to savor and appreciate each and every destination.

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Inside their blank book archive library, where you can write down your random thoughts. Ours is in book no. 900!

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The blue lagoon

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Alapad Hills. Where the movie “Hihintiyan kita sa langit” was shot (starring Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez)

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Chawa View Deck

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Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse

South_Mahatao

Mahatao lighthouse with Mt Iraya

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What a view!

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Chillin’ at Marlboro Hills.

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So that concludes our unforgettable Batanes trip. We recommend the following contacts because our experience with them were all smooth:

Lodging:
Marfel Lodge – 09088931475 / 09178574493

Tour guide – Batan tours
Kuya Toto Fainza – 09198933146

Tour guide – Mt. Iraya trek (athough we didn’t do this, we had a good conversation with Kuya Rene and he was so easy to talk to)
Kuya Irineo Balmores – 09176083964 / 09995533630

——————————————–

Cost breakdown:

Flights: (via Philippines Airlines. You might also want to check Skyjet)

PAL (MLA-BSO)             – Php 2,504/pax (promo fare)

PAL (BSO-MLA)             – Php 4,392/pax (regular fare)

PAL (MLA-BSO-MLA)  – Php 8,969/pax (regular fare)

Lodging:

Marfel’s Lodge               – Php 1,200/night (fan room-Php 400/pax)

 Tours:

North Batan Tour           – Php 1,500 (tricycle – 3 pax/ half day tour)

Sabtang Tour                   – Php 1,000 (tricycle – 3 pax/ half day tour)

– Php 150/pax (Boat transfers: two-way)

– Php 200/pax (Sabtang environmental fee)

South Batan Tour           – Php 2,000 (tricycle – 3 pax/ whole day tour)

Food:

SDC Canteen                     – Php 90/meal (atleast)

Restaurants                       – Php 150-300/dish (atleast)

**Traveled September 2015

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Below is my Facebook Batanes album description I would also want to share:

Batanes has been my ultimate Philippine dream destination, with its scenic views taken straight out of a postcard, but this time it offers the real deal. But let me start sharing the downside of Batanes.

1) It is expensive. And I mean really expensive, especially the food. This is understandable as importing food here could be costly. And according to a reliable source, municipality taxes are crazy high. Good thing we brought canned goods and cup noodles, so we cooked our own breakfast.

2) There are very few restaurants in Basco. Hindi uso sa kanila ang karinderya because according to them, these kinds of eateries will not last. Tourists are not that plenteous, and locals don’t really go out and eat. We average at 500-600 pesos per meal for 3 pax.

3) It is one of the cleanest tourist places I’ve been to. But don’t be deceived. It is also home to many “ebaks”, so be careful in lying around Rolling Hills, Marlboro Hills or Alapad Hills. Goat & cow feces are everywhere. Lol.

4) Internet connection is pain. But who needs it anyway when you have such beauty to appreciate?

But despite these, we would still love to go back here. Because cliche as it may sound, Batanes is really worth it. Everything you see is beyond compare. It is very easy to fall in love with Batanes and so heartbreaking to leave such a beautiful place. We loved the fact that despite September being a rainy month here, we were still welcomed with a great weather, it didn’t rain during our whole stay. The experience is indeed a blessing from God.

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“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert

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2 comments

  1. Elmer Nev Valenzuela · May 25, 2016

    Nice trip. I like that obligatory shot

    Like

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