Photos Edited by: Verniece Enciso
Batanes is officially our favourite place in the Philippines. Finally, there is an island in our country that is at par as the mountainous cities abroad and it just makes you so proud to be Filipino. Everything is so organized, the Ivatans are very honest and their trustworthiness is something they have even for visitors who they’ve never met before. It was just something Verniece and I couldn’t wrap our head around on at first! It was so hard to believe that you’ll be a little hesitant at first, then you’ll doubt and think that maybe it’s all a ploy. Then you see smiles that you know comes from the heart and you know that it’s time to believe it :) Batanes is a city that ever Filipino should go to and here’s a blogpost to hopefully serve as a little guide for your trip when you do decide to go :)
How To Get There
Okay, let me clear the air and already warn you. It will take an arm to get to Batanes and I finally know the reason why. This was one of the first few questions I asked our tour guide and he said that this is a way to protect themselves. It’s a way for the number of tourists to be controlled and I guess it all makes sense. This place is purely untouched heaven and if too much tourists come, so will pollution. Not just in the form of trash but noise and peace as well. :) There are two airlines that currently has the Manila- Batanes route and they’re Philippine Airlines and Sky Jet. Our ticket roughly cost 11,500 pesos each and we talked to another traveller who took PAL and she paid almost 17,000 pesos. Crazy right?
Is it worth it to spend that much to go there?
Expensive but I suggest that instead of spending your money going to different cities or islands in the Philippines, just save your money and spend it on the best :) If you want the top three places to spend your money here, it’s Batanes, Palawan and Siargao! Trust me, those three will not fail you.
There is only one accredited hotel on the island and lucky for us, that’s where SKY CASTLE CO booked us! :) It’s called Fundacion Pacita and it has the most breathtaking view. It’s pricey compared to the lodges or home stays in Basco but if you have the extra cash to spare book there :) We asked our tour guide and he said there are places to stay in as low as 250 pesos per person for a shared room and the most expensive would be 3,000 for a lodge.
What to wear to Batanes?
It depends on what month you’re going but it got pretty chilly when we were there (March). A jacket was needed from sundown onwards till around 7 am. During the day, it was a bit hot but there was a breeze. June is the hottest month and January is the coldest. It can go as low as 15 but feels like 12-13 celsius.
NORTH OF BATANES
– Basco Lighthouse
– Tukon Church
– Valugan Boulder Beach
– Vagang Rolling Hills
– Naldi Hills Batanes
– Nakabuang Beach, Sabtang
– Sabtang Church
– Savidug Village
– Chamantad Cove
– Chavayan Village
– Sabtang Lighthouse
SOUTH OF BATANES
– Alapad Hill Rock
– Honesty Coffee Shop
– Chawa View Deck
– There are a lot of ways to get around the island. If you have the budget, we suggest to rent a car. SKY CASTLE CO arranged everything for us and they got us a car the whole day for the two days we decided to tour the island. A whole day would cost 4,000 pesos with a driver but prices vary if you just want to either go to the Northern or Southern part for the day. There is a cheaper alternative by renting a tricycle and a driver to drive you around for 1,000 pesos.
– We had the best tour guide ever as he’s aspiring to be photographer too! He had the most interesting stories to tell and he seemed to know so much about Batanes that you can ask him anything and he’ll probably know the answer (or try to find out, at least.) Here are his contact details:
Alberto Gasilao: 09474468291 or 09065653457. If you decide to book with him, please tell him you got his number form us! He promised to give a good price and the best service to everyone we’ll refer him to :)
– The Ivatans reminded me so much for the Japanese when it comes to how nice, hospitable and honest they are. It was so refreshing to see them have so much trust for one another that they would leave their cars open with the engine on while we’re touring around a part of Batanes. They have stores called The Honesty Store and Conscience Store for no reason! :)
– Food would typically cost around 300 pesos per person for a set meal that consists of a drink, soup, rice, 3 kinds of viands and even dessert. It’s so yummy too and worth every cent!
– The coconut crab can be found only in Batanes and while it would be cool to try them, the are sadly endangered. Still, this doesn’t stop the Ivatans to cook and serve them. When we found out about this, we chose not to support this kind of animal cruelty. Remember that when there is no demand, there will be no supply.
– Batanes is very small and we even suggest going there for 4 days maximum. 2 days to relax and 2 days to tour. After the third day, you’ll start to kind of miss the city, a bit.
– As of the moment, there is no 3G or wifi almost everywhere in Batanes. It’s a great way to unwind and I guess this what made our trip so much more memorable. Without the distraction of gadgets and the internet, we got to really enjoy what the place has to offer :)
– If you plan to go to Sabtang Island (which we’e very sure you will) and is sensitive to motion sickness. Bring medicine for it as you’re in for the boat ride of your life! hahaha!
– If you’re a night owl like me, make sure to bring a book or download a few episodes of your favourite TV show to accompany you at night. No bars or clubs around there! lol
– Take as much pictures as you can and make sure to help keep the island beautiful :)