Batanes, Simply Captivating

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.

Batanes 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 in Basco Batanes Resort in Basco

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 in Basco Marine Sanctuary in Basco

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

Tukon Chapel in Basco Tukon Chapel side

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 in Basco Radar Tukon inside

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.

Fundacion Pacita Entrance Fundacion Pacita in Basco

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.

Japanese Tunnel without flash Japanese Tunnel with flash

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 in Basco Valugan Bay in Basco

Valugan Bay is famous for its bouldered shore, perfect for picture taking and resting.

Rolling Hills in Basco Rolling Hills with fence

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.

Naidi Lighthouse in Basco Naidi Lighthouse stairs Naidi Lighthouse climber

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.

Ivatan Stone Houses Savidug Kids

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 Lime

Lime Beach. This is the beach where they get lime from. Lime is used to bind stones together when building stone houses.

Sleeping Mountain Ancient Fortress

Sleeping Mountain and Ancient Fortress

Chavayan Hills Hills

Chamantad-Tinyan Sitio. Another must-climb hill. Nice view, strong winds.

Nakabuang Arc Nakabuang Beach

Nakabuang Beach (White Beach) and its famous natural arc.

Sabtang Lighthouse Sabtang Port

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.

Mahatao Viewdeck Mini Falls

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 with chicken House of Dakay

House of Dakay (Ivana) is the oldest standing house in Batanes since 1887. It is now owned by Lola Florestida Estrella.

Honesty Coffee Shop Honesty Payment Box

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:

  1. Put the payment inside the box. Be sure to pay the exact amount.
  2. List down the item in the notebook and leave a small note or dedication.

Song Song Ruins Song Song Ruins

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.

Marlboro Country Marlboro Country

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.

Mahatao Lighthouse Mahatao Lighthouse climber

Mahatao Lighthouse

Spring of Youth Spring of Youth

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)

31 thoughts on “Batanes, Simply Captivating”

  1. hi! thanks for leaving a comment on my blog.
    my gosh! it has been my dream to go to Batanes.
    you’ve really captured the place and now I
    can’t wait any longer to go there! i wrote a little
    something about Batanes in my blog too.

    Great Photos! thanks for sharing this! now i know
    where to go to when i’m in Batanes.

  2. @Zen, thanks!

    @Sonnie, the only way to get there is by air. Asian Spirit flies from Manila to Basco, while Chemtrad flies from Laoag to Basco. We didn’t book for a packaged tour. But you can ask Batanes Resort, they will give you a tour guide if you want. The price will depend on the tour guide though.

    @jey.cee, thanks! If I only have time and money, i will stay there for 10 days. Haha! i hope i can read your blog. would you mind sharing it?

  3. i like the place really.. heheh. i almost believe in you about the carabao and the weather. hahaha

    i watched batanes the movie of iza calzado and F4 member ken chu). the film was fine but the scenery- wow talaga.

    i wish to go there too. amazing travel/ experience girl!

  4. i was so amazed when i saw the pictures! can u give me more details, expenses and all. ma-emote kasi akong tao i think mag eenjoy ako ng todo sa batanes!!! thnks!!!

  5. @Dexter, @hitokirihoshi_kawaii, @Ambo, puntahan nyo na habang konti palang tao. hehe.

    @pam, thanks!

    @ nory! i think we spent 5.5k for the airfare and 7k for the 5 day trip (includes room rent, tour guide, pasalubong, memory card).Bring extra cash, there are only government ATMs in Batanes. If you want to explore the island yourself, you can rent a bike from Batanes Resort.

  6. Mah men! Thanks kasi nagpapilit kang sumama sa akin sa Batanes. Super enjoy din ako. Hehehe! Next time, ibang destinations naman tayo ha? Hehehe! Merry X-mas and Happy New Year!

  7. Your pictures are truly breathtaking. We are setting up to go there by next month and I’m really looking for packages that are actually within our means and then I saw your blog, is it cheaper to just check out Batanes on our own? How much did you paid Kuya Nards as your tour guide? How much did it cost you to stay there for 5 days including the foods, land transportations etc.? I would really appreciate it if you can help me out on this. Thank you very much. Godbless.

  8. Hi Naneth,

    Wow thank you for that flattering comment. Hehe.

    Rooms in Batanes Resort costs Php 1,000/room/day (max 3 pax)

    Tour guide fee w/ transpo costs Php 1,500/day. Kuya Nards will serve as your tour guide and driver.

    Foods in Batanes Resort costs Php 100 to 250 per meal. You can also go to SDC Canteen at the town proper if you want budget meals. Plus don’t forget to try the pizza at Casa Napoli. You can ask Kuya Nards about this so he can take you there after your tour.

  9. Thank you for a nippy answer you are really an angel, you are truly helping us to settle on going there because we are as well thinking to just go to Palawan or Singapore but I really crave to go to Batanes especially after seeing your pictures. We are scheduling to go on Feb. 2-6 hoping the climate will be great….would you like to join us hehe? It’s in fact cheaper to go there on our own and just follow your journey for a guaranteed terrific & treasured trip! How do we go to Batanes Resort from the Airport terminal? If you are planning to travel again I suggest Ilocos, laoag & Pagudpod so many great views there also. Thanks again.

  10. Hi Great photos!!,,im from Batanes and it makes me home sick.. and im telling you,,the photos are superb but its better if you see it for yourselves,,,as for the tickets,its way cheaper to buy it online.there are also a lot of Bed and Breakfast in Basco where you could stay. I miss my Home town as I haven’t gone home for 5 yrs now,,hopefully this june. Thanks for sharing the ur photos-sO Proud to be an ivatan:D

  11. hi!i simply LLOOVVEE your pics of batanes!your blog has been superbly helpful since me & my friends are planning (hoping) to go there this summer if the price is right.hehe!how did you manage to find 5.5K airfare?i’ve been searching the sites of asian (now zestair) & seair and all the rates i somehow find are 10k above!

  12. @Abril: wow thanks, I’m proud to have an Ivatan comment on my blog!

    @hazel: We took advantage of Asian Spirit’s PROMO FARES last year. Some people we met in Batanes got theirs for only 2.5K++ (rountrip).

  13. my family is planning to go to batanes on april. holy week !! 4 of us about 4days 3 ngts.but it seems that the package tour on d said date is tooo high!! asking me 23k /pax maybe you could help me, should i consider a package or just book online for tickets and accomodation separately????might also have an idea on what inn or hotel thats nice but chaep.pls help

  14. It seems that Seaair and Asian Spirit(they changed names) are the only flights from Manila at about 6500p not too bad. It’s very hard to get flight because of travel groups booking so many seats.
    I will be going to Batanes 5/22/09 – 5/29/09, this is my second time going there in 4 years. My cousin Mike Schumacher married an Evatan named Bendict(he was a Peace Corp) volunteer some years back and got married and had 3 kids. They have built a home on Subtang in the villiage of Sumnanga. When I went in 2005 I went for 2 1/2 weeks. It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The people are most giving and friendliest I’ve ever met. I was able to witness my cousins step-daughter marriage in a small quaint church, along with the feast and party afterwards. There’s quite alot to do snorkeling, fishing, hiking.
    Even thought there was only 12hrs of electric it’s didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Traveling across to Evahos(not spelled right) and Ataquey islands looking for glass Chinese fishing floats and coming across sea snakes was one of my highlights. On my way home my flight got canceled (Asian Spirit) becasue of weather and I had to take a 6 seater plane to Louag then an 11 hr bus ride to Manila, luckily a catholic priest was on board(he was on his way to New Jersey) which made me feel better.

  15. Hi, We saw your blog…Great pics and comments from others too! My wife and I were married in Mahatao on Batan Island in april 2008 . She is a native Ivatan and took me to paradise in Batanes first in 2006 . I fell in love with the area and people immediately and we have been back in 2008(our wedding) and in 2009 as well . I am also a scuba diver and had the great luck to have met Chico Domingo who is a Padi Dive Master and owner of the local dive company DiveBatanes . His website is . He is basically in charge of the marine sanctuary and has been diving in Batanes for 14 years. He is a great tour dive guide and host and has great gear. He and his wife Rory also offer Island Tours(boat and land) and can set up accomodation as well. They are fantastic people and made our stay a real pleasure. We will be back in Batanes in april 2010 . Hope to see you all there…Douglas

  16. Hey – great post. I lived on Itbayat, the northernmost inhabited island of Batanes (and the Philippines) for most of 5 years, and entered the Peace Corps with your cousin Mike in ’92. I spent a lot of time with him in Sabtang, including multiple hikes and boat rides and bike rides to Sumnanga during that time.

    I’m trying to reestablish contact with Mike. Can you send me his email or at least let him know I am looking for him? My contact info: Rick Reece, I am the founder/director of Village Focus International ( working in Laos and Cambodia. Thanks, Rick

  17. hi would anyone know what the weather is like early July in Batanes? please?? i wanna visit the speactacular place!! you have all been so helpful!! im super excited to see Batanes for myself!! hopefully the weather is good?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.