It’s been ages since I last posted a blog.. And this is my very first post for this year.. Before I continue writing stories, I would like to share this wonderful bonding of my 2 friends in the Philippines. Cousins Jayde and Jus who visited one of the best places in The Phil. Batanes.. Check out the video and this is how you can get there.. ENJOY!
How to go to Batanes (IT – para sa mga nagtatanong po)
Airlines such as PAL and Skyjet fly from Manila to Batanes. As far as we are informed Skyjet flies on weekdays and weekends maliban sa TUESDAY. They only have flights in the morning. Ours was at 6:45. The plane left at exactly 6:45. Don’t be late. We arrived after an hour and 15 minutes. Batanes airfare can go as high as PHP10,000 one way but sometimes, you can score cheap tix whenever there are promos available or seat sale. Ours was 10k each (seat sale booked last year). Unlike in Boracay, there is 2go available or passenger boat that would take 10 hours. In Batanes there isn’t any available. However, manong driver told us that there is one which will take 5 days before you reach Batanes. (he didn’t mention the name though).
Arriving at the airport, you will have to pay P300 for the environmental fee in Basco. You will be given a map and a ticket, Make sure to keep it, you will use it later on.
Hotels and homestay abound in Basco. We stayed at Nanay Cita’s Homestay which is just a few minutes away from the airport. Just take a tricycle and pay for P30.00 to reach Nanay Cita’s. There are 5 available rooms. I suggest you rent the one on the rooftop. (Photo available here) All of the rooms are aiconditioned, but since it is very cold in Batanes, you can just tell Nanay that you will only use a fan. (3N4D, we only paid for 2100 for two.) It has it’s own restroom/bathroom and you are allowed to cook. She has a kubo where you can enjoy the relaxing view while having coffee or lunch. Since we arrived at 8ish, she prepared a free breakfast (egg, sinangag and tapa plus coffee).
We took a rest the morning we arrived and had our North Batan Tour after lunch. Nanay Cita will provide you a tricycle driver who will take you to your tour.
North Batan Tour – P1,000 (Don’t ask, you will understand when you get to experience it.)
> Valugan Boulder Beach (we didn’t swim LOL, mashadong mabato po). You will see different sizes of pebbles in layers. People in Batanes believe that if you make one yourself that day you visit Valugan Boulder Beach and it is still there the moment you get to come back, your wish will come true. (fingers crossed)
> Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel – show your ticket. (the one that you paid upon arriving at the airport)
> Fundacion Pacita – they say, this is the most pricey hotel in Batanes where most actors stay. (Approx 8-12,000 per night.) They will allow you to take photos and take a tour inside if there aren’t any tourists. But if there are, you are only allowed to take photos outside, and the garden. There are food and drinks available too.
> Pagasa Weather Station
> Tukon Church or the famous Mt. Carmel Chapel – believe me their churches are really awesome, old and new.
> Vayang Rolling Hills – breath taking.
> Chadpidan Boulder Beach – sister of Valugan
> Naidi Hills / Basco Lighthouse – wear flats or sneakers, you wouldn’t want to have your feet numb and heavy with fatigue.
> Basco Town Proper
END OF DAY 1 – our moms cooked and prepared adobo and tocino on our first day. There aren’t any resto close to Nanay Cita’s. So it’s either you cook or take time to find a resto. It’s really tiring manay! You’d rather stay at home after a long trip. :p
We were scheduled to have our Sabtang Island tour the next morning, unfortunately it rained. So we decided to just have the South Batan Tour instead and wished for a sunny third day for our Sabtang tour.
South Batan Tour – P1,500 (Again, don’t ask, you will understand when you get to experience it.) My cousin ( Jaydilyn and I decided to take the tour at 12:00pm hoping that the sun will appear after lunch and voila! It did. Thank God.)
> Chawa View Deck
> Tayid lighthouse
> Racuh a Payaman (The famous Marlboro Country) – Manong told us, that a few decades back, an American came to visit Batanes and said that, Racuh a payaman looks like the famous MArlboro country so he named it after it.
> Imnajbu Beach (It rained a little so we were not able to enjoy the view for a long time)
> Imnajbu Point (Alapad Pass and Rock Formation) – The ruins of the old USCG LORAN Station can also be seen which is set to be opened as a museum in the next couple of years. This is known as The Little America during the American Era.
> Ruins at Sitio Songsong
> Honesty Coffee Shop – unfortunately the owner wasn’t there when we visited. We were not able to take photos with them.
> House of Dakay and the old Spanish Bridge – Yay for the son of Dakay whom we met personally on our trip.
> Homoron Blue Lagoon and White Beach – Talking about aqua blue? See it to believe it.
> Diura Fishing Vilage
> Mahatao Boat Shelter Port – This serves as a shelter to vessels bound for Itbayat and other boats during inclement weather.
> San Carlos Borromeo Church – the first stone-made church in Mahatao, which has it’s small souvenir shop and the famous Batanes Blank book archive which holds hundreds of hardbound books with blank pages. You can pick any number of a book and you can write anything there. (BTW, you will have to pay P100 upon entering)
END OF DAY 2. – We had to get back home before dinner so we can take a rest and tuck ourselves in bed early for our 5:15am tour in Sabtang. Received a message from Kuya Jun Castillo (everybody knows him) informing us of the tryc number who will take us to our last tour.
You will have to get dressed as early as 5:15 in the morning. Nanay Cita will wake you up and will call you once the jeepney arrives. Make sure to bring BAON (water, crackers, juice or whatever)
Sabtang Island Tour – P1000. You will pay P54.00 back and forth. There is only one jeepney available. So the one who will drive you to the port is the one who will be there after your tour. You will be asked to register your name. Do not forget the number of bags you’re taking with you.
Here we go! The water between Sabtang and Batan is known to be rough, tough and frightening. I dare you to try it. (Take 1 bonamin before riding aboard the Faluwa/Falowa boat. A 30-minute boat ride to the unforgettable island.
Arriving at the port, I shouted Kuya Jun’s name and he was there waiting for us, guiding us to our tryc driver kuya Eugene. The tryc in Sabtang is different from the usual ones that we get to see in Manila. Theirs is made of wood.
You will then have to go to the Tourism office and will be asked to pay P200 for the environmental fee.
> Sabtang Church
> Savidug Vilage – this is where you can see a lot of stone-made houses built in a small barrio. Where people live by means of farming, fishing and alike.
> St. Thomas Aquinas chapel and old Beaterio. (PS: they have a restroom)
> Chamantad Cove and Tinyan Viewpoint – where you can rent a complete outfit of Talugong, kanayi, basket and Vakul for P25.00 and take as much photos as you like. There are some small souvenir shops as well, which sell drinks and snacks too. We bought buko and ate pansit bihon packed in a some kinda leaf (I forgot the name).
> Chavayan Village – The first Nipa hut on the right is where you can find some traditional Ivatan costumes and headdresses being sold. You will meet Nanay, who will teach you how to make a Vakul.
> Chavayan Chapel
> Morong Beach, Mahayaw Arch and Nakabuang Cave – the driver will take you here right after a long day. PREPARE P300 for your lunch. I think that is where they really take the tourists.
> Sabtang Lighthouse
> Conscience Cafe and Souvenir shop – this was our last stop for this tour. Where we bought some bukayo and waited for the 1pm boat ride back to Basco.
Some people stay here overnight. (You can stay at a homestay next to Sabtang Lighthouse. If I am not mistaken, you will have to prepare P300 for an overnight stay.) We chose to have a day trip instead since our flight back to Manila the ff day was early. Make sure to be at the port before 1pm or you will have to stay overnight. That is the only schedule going back to Basco.
Manong jeepney (The same jeepney driver that morning) will be waiting for you and will drop you off at Nanay Cita’s.
We arrived at 2pm and decided to take a nap since we woke up early that day. At 4pm we walked to a store a few blocks away from Petron Gas Station where bikes are for rent. For only P25.00 for an hour, you can go visit some places in Basco. We went biking to the plaza where some food stalls and souvenir shops can be found. We also tried Phil’s Brew Cafe. They offer sweets and coffee of course. Sabi nga ni kuyang kapitbahay -MUST TRY!-
This was our DIY/Tipid Tour in Batanes. I suggest you visit Batanes for a week, because we were not able to visit Itbayat Island which is approx. 3-4 hours away from Basco. Considering the pricey airfare, if you are already there, stay for a week.
For goodies, you can purchase Ube Halaya for P100 per container, P35-P45 for Camote chips, Prices ranging from 25-100 for bukayo (different sizes), P30-P250 for souvenirs.
If you are a nature lover, go and experience the relaxing view and places in Batanes. They actually have an internet everywhere, but right after Bagyong Ferdie, most places had a problem with the connections. There are some areas which do not have any signal as well. I don’t suggest kids, especially toddlers because it requires you to a lot of walking, hiking and trekking. They will not enjoy it yet. Mind you, it’s really tiring.
Batanes is a very clean province. I only saw 3-4 tourists who were smoking. People are all kind and not boastful. They smile a lot. They are all fair and they all follow the standard rates in everything. You won’t see any streetchildren. (Manong driver mentioned that everybody works. So they are all busy and earning) Life in Batanes is very simple. It felt like as if we lived back where technology wasn’t a big deal yet.
Make sure to have have water with you all the time. It’s really hot.
PS: make sure to have a perky, active and funny buddy with you. 😊👍🏻
So, para sa mga nagtatanong – I hope this one helps! 🙂
Should you have concerns – Meron pa ba? Naisulat ko na ata lahat dito – just pm me. 🙂
Nanay cita’s number : 0939 919 3616
Kuya Eugene Castillo (Sabtang Island Tour) : 0935 965 5317
#itsmorefuninthephilippines #batanescapade2017 #wowphilippines