Batanes has always been one of the places listed in my bucket list. It may be just be in the Philippines but there is no direct flight from Cebu. Either you go via Clark or Manila going to Basco, the capital of Batanes. It is the northern most province of the Philippines and that explains why it will take time to be able to reach this province from Cebu.
We took a flight to Clark and spent the night there to catch the 6:30 AM flight to Basco the following day. The 1 hour and 30 minutes flight was on time and smooth.
We were welcomed by staff of Bisumi Tours & Services. Upon arrival in Basco, all tourists are required to register at a specific counter at the airport. You will then be handed a folded glossy map which will be your sort of passport while you are in Batanes. We were instructed to bring it anywhere with us. While we were lining up for registration, the gracious staff of Bisumi Tours & Services offered to claim our baggage. They then took us to our hotel.
We stayed at DDD Habitat Lodging House. Homestay is also popular in Batanes but we opted to stay at DDD Habitat which is located at the heart of Basco. It is 5 minutes away from the airport and within the vicinity are restaurants, pharmacies and stores.
We were told that they will fetch us at around 12 noon to start Day 1 of our tour. They were a little late because they need to fetch other people who booked the tour too.
DAY 1: BATAN NORTH TOUR
Our first agenda was lunch which is at Vunong Dinette.
While waiting for our food to be served, they showed us videos of what to expect for the next three days in Batanes. After a few minutes, our food was served. My first native Ivatan meal! We had Beef Soup (all their meat are organic), Paco Salad or locally known as Tamiduk, Supas or their famous Turmeric Rice, Uved (local meatball) made of minced banana pith and minced pork,beef or fish. For dessert, they served Turon. Vunong means leaves in Ivatan. The rice and viands are all wrapped in leaves of a breadfruit tree so it makes the experience really nice.
After a sumptuous Ivatan lunch, we then head to Mt. Carmel Chapel.
PAGASA “Tukun” Weather Station where the majestic Mt. Iraya showed up.
Dipnaysuhuan Japanese Tunnel & Hideout
Valugan Boulder Bay
We took a quick city tour at the Provincial Capitol (Casa Real), Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, PNP Station and Kilometer 0 which is just located alongside each other.
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VAYANG ROLLING HILLS
Took the circular stairs of 5 plights of stairs to have a 360 degrees view of Basco from the lighthouse.
We were then dropped off to our hotel. In Batanes, there are no drinking bars. We were told by our tour guide that Basco has zero night life. We slept early on our first night as we have a 6 AM call time the next day.
DAY 2 – SABTANG TOUR
There are already many people when we arrived at the Ivana Port. Each one is required to register.
Transportation going to Sabtang Island is by a Faluwa boat ride. It is a boat without outrigger or “katig”. This is built to combat strong waves. It takes 30-45 minutes faluwa boat ride to reach Sabtang Island. We were blessed with a very good weather that day.
Upon arrival at Sabtang, we were again required to register and gave our map/passport to have it stamped.
We were welcomed with a different van in Sabtang. This time it is open-air type of van. It was really a hot day but it was still a comfortable ride.
If roads in Basco is small, then Sabtang roads are much smaller just enough for one vehicle to pass.
Our first stop was Morong Beach.
It has white,sandy beach with rock formations and the iconic natural stone arch. None of us swam though. Some people stay overnight in Sabtang so they get the chance to bask under the sun and swim to their hearts content.
We then had a walking tour around Barangay Savidug.
Playing with Ivatan kids, this beautiful girl gamely smiled at the camera.
Our lunch was with this view. I really enjoyed the lunch that is part of the tour. The portions are large and the Ivatan dishes they serve are really delicious. For the past two days, i have been feasting with turmeric rice, organic beef soup and organic vegetables.
Luoy Beach.[/caption]After lunch, we went to the awesome Chamantad–Tiñan Viewing Point.
After lunch, we went to the awesome Chamantad–Tiñan Viewing Point.
After walking and taking in all the beautiful view, we stopped at the nearby store for a quick buko juice break and to buy some souvenirs.
Buko sold at Php30.00.
Hoarded Turmeric Powder for my mother.
Barangay Chavayan Stone Houses.
SABTANG WEAVERS ASSOCIATION
Here you can purchase items made by the Ivatan weavers.
Awesome view around Sabtang.
We went back to the port of Sabtang to cross to Ivana Port at 1:30 PM.
We arrived in Basco at around 3:00 PM and we head to Bisumi Office to pay and to claim our free Basco Shirts and Bags. You can choose any shirt design and size too.
Since it was still early, we opted to roam near our hotel. Found a nearby store selling halohalo for Php 20.00. We explored Abad Street where their local market and stores are located. Abad St. is the commercial street in Basco.
Slept early because we plan to run early the next day to Basco Lighthouse and Vayang Rolling Hills. Tour for next day will start at 9:00 AM.
THE MORNING RUN
From our accommodation (DDD Habitat), going to Basco Lighthouse is around 1.2 kilometers and from Basco Lighthouse to Vayang Rolling Hills is around 2.1 kilometers. It was one of the highlight of the trip for me as i saw one of the most beautiful sunrise in the Philippines. While doing our run, Ivatan people are so friendly and they greeted us with either smile and/or good morning.
DAY 3 – BATAN SOUTH TOUR
Our first stop is the famous pre-nup shooting place, Chawa View Deck.
e boats in Batan safe during bad weather.
This port was built in 2007 to keep most of the boats in Batan safe during bad weather.
Beside St. Carlos Borromeo Church is the Blank Book Museum. it is a place where you can write anything you want in any of the blank books.
San Antonino de Florencia Church is a walking distance from the famous Honesty Coffee Shop.
Honesty Coffee Shop
Behind the coffee shop is a beach where they also sell Buko with the same style as with the goods sold inside the coffee shop wherein you will just leave your money in exchange of the food you will get. Prices are readily available. Honesty is truly the best policy.
m the tour)! and we did not let the opportunity pass. We were very excited to have a bite of the famous batanes lobster and it was very delicious!
Lunch was at Nanay Ching Restaurant where we were served with Ivatan food. This restaurant sells Lobster too (not part of the package lunch from the tour)! and we did not let the opportunity pass. We were very excited to have a bite of the famous batanes lobster and it was very delicious!
If you are going around Batanes, the signage “BLOW UR HORN” can be found along the streets. It has been told that even before the use of cellphone of “YOUR” as “UR”, it has been widely used in Batanes already since the American period. In order to make sure that road signs are intact amidst strong winds and typhoons, road signages are carved out from cliffs and boulders. They are useful signages too since the road is relatively small and has pointed curves. If you are not familiar with the road, then i suggest not to drive around here.
MOTCHONG VIEW POINT
TAYID LIGHTHOUSE, MAHATAO, BATANES
SAN LORENZO RUIZ CHAPEL
This is the first church in Batanes.
After our 3rd day of tour, we opted to have a dinner at Pension Ivatan.
True to what i heard about Batanes, it was breathtaking and everywhere is picturesque. It was a country within a country because amidst the progress and chaos in our country, the Ivatan culture and their land was unfazed and they were able to preserve everything. Batanes is 0 in crime rate and when you are walking around the city, small children will go near you to ask for your hand and they will bless, one of the tradition we have which shows respect to the elders. Philippine culture and traditions so alive here!
I am so proud of the Ivatan people for what they did to their city. It was a trip worth traveling and one for the books. It was on this trip that i realized, you don’t need to dream too far to see an extraordinary place nor you don’t have to spend euros or dollars to experience a unique and wonderful place, just head to Batanes and you will be able to see one of the most beautiful places in the world!