These are what you will most likely see in Batanes: a scenic view of the hills with cows roaming on the grass; tall lighthouses standing like a mighty tower on a hill; the boats which they call Falowa used for island hopping; bikes with little baskets used by Ivatans for daily commuting; old stone houses that have been preserved for years; big large boulders lying along the stretch of Valugan Bay; “Blow UR Horn” signs carved on every turn of the zigzag roads; and the water splashing against cliffs and rock formations on the sea. How could I forget Batanes?
Since Batanes is located in the northernmost province of the Philippines, we wanted to make the most out of our stay. We had planned to stay in Batanes for 5 days. We didn’t opt for a packaged tour, because we thought it was more fun to check out Batanes on our own. Check out our itinerary.
DAY 1 (Sept 19) – just around Batanes Resort in Basco
Left Manila at 5am via Asian Spirit. Landed in Basco Batanes past 7am. Stayed at (Basco) Batanes Resort.
Batanes Resort has a total of 6 cottages, where each is divided into two independent rooms. All rooms have their own bathrooms, cable TV and aircon. Rooms cost Php 1,000/day and can accommodate up to 3 persons. Try climbing the hill at the back of Batanes Resort to get a nice clear shot of Mt. Iraya.
Marine Sanctuary is just a few blocks away from Batanes Resort. We stayed until sunset.
In the late afternoon, we asked “Batanes Resort’s very own” Kuya Nards to serve as our tour guide for the next 3 days.
DAY 2 (Sept 20) – Basco Batanes
A project of Dina and Butch Abad, the Tukon Chapel was built to help Tukon’s residents, especially the older ones, avoid the long walk to Basco Church to attend church services.
Radar Tukon (radar = lighthouse, tukon means hill). It served as a lighthouse during the American era. But now, it is being used as the island’s weather station. Can you see the carabao next to it? When the carabao is outside, it means, the weather is fine. But when the carabao goes inside, that means there’s an upcoming storm. JOKE! Climb Radar Tukon to get a nice shot of the Rolling Hills.
Fundaction Pacita used to be an art gallery of Pacita Abad that is now being converted into a bed and breakfast facility. When we entered the place, it was still under construction.
This WWII Japanese Tunnel has 6 small rooms and one chamber can be reached through a 32 step 45 degree stairs. As I turned my flashlight into one of the small chambers, we saw some bats flying toward us. I guess they’re trying to get their way out because we scared them. Luckily, we get to shoot a few of them just before they leave the tunnel.
Valugan Bay is famous for its bouldered shore, perfect for picture taking and resting.
A trip to Batanes Philippines wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Vayang Ranch or more popularly known as the Rolling Hills. We saw white cows, goats, and a chicken. Took pictures and enjoyed the winds.
Climbing Naidi Lighthouse will give you a nice view of Basco Batanes. We stayed until sunset.
DAY 3 (Sept 21) – Sabtang Island
Woke up early 6 am and went to San Vicente port to catch the early trip to Sabtang. Ate breakfast at a nearby eatery in Sabtang Port.
Most stone houses in Savidug Village are still made of out of rock and limestone. As we went around some more, we saw some kids playing tirador (slingshot).
Lime Beach. This is the beach where they get lime from. Lime is used to bind stones together when building stone houses.
Sleeping Mountain and Ancient Fortress
Chamantad-Tinyan Sitio. Another must-climb hill. Nice view, strong winds.
Nakabuang Beach (White Beach) and its famous natural arc.
Sabtang Lighthouse shot from Sabtang Port.
DAY 4 (Sept 22) – Typhoon day, stayed at Batanes Resort
- At 3am, I noticed that the aircon was off because there’s no electricity and it’s raining outside. I slept again.
- We’re supposed to go on a tour to Mahatao today. So we woke up just in time for breakfast but can’t go out of the room because it’s still raining and the wind was blowing hard outside. Can’t go on tour like this. Our cellphones lost signal from both Smart and Globe.
- It was already past 12 but we’re still inside our room. Our cellphones lost power. Can’t watch TV, can’t charge our phones and batteries, can’t do anything, but sleep.
- The weather calmed down at 3pm. We ate lunch, finally.
- Rain poured hard again so we went back to our room and waited for dinner.
- We got bored, so we decided to go out and get wet in the rain after dinner. But when we went out, the rain stopped.
- Walked around Basco and bought food from a sari sari store. Went back and borrowed playing cards from the resort. Learned to play Pusoy Dos and Tong-its for the first time woohoo!
DAY 5 (Sept 23) – South of Batan Island
Finally, the typhoon moved away. There’s still no electricity in Basco but the resort turned on their power generator and so we started charging our phones and batteries. After charging, we resumed our tour.
Chanarian Viewdeck (Mahatao). Find the stairs near the area and as you go down, you will see a mini-falls. As you go down some more, you will get to see big waves splashing on rocks.
House of Dakay (Ivana) is the oldest standing house in Batanes since 1887. It is now owned by Lola Florestida Estrella.
Honesty Coffee Shop (Ivana) is a small store famous for its “honesty policy”. No one looks after the store. If one wants to buy something, they just have to:
- Put the payment inside the box. Be sure to pay the exact amount.
- List down the item in the notebook and leave a small note or dedication.
Ruins of Song Song (Song Song). The town of Song Song has been hit by a tidal wave in the 1950’s. The entire village was wiped out.
Originally called Racuh a Payaman, this hill looked like the one shown in Marlboro TV commercial, and that’s why they named it Marlboro Country.
Spring of Youth can be reached though a 30 min walk from Diura, the fishing village.
DAY 6 (Sept 24) – Went home
Left Basco Batanes at around 8 am. Arrived Manila past 10 am.
Next time I go to Batanes, I will and I must:
- Climb Mt. Iraya (3-4 hour climb)
- Explore Itbayat Island (4 hour boat ride from Batan Island)