By: Villager Mon Villaverde
Truly a tourism gem The Philippines has to offer. This island chain or archipelago province is in the Cagayan Valley region, and is the northernmost province in the country. A visit here would bring a lot of joy to outdoorsman and wanderlusts like me. I’ve been to a lot of Philippine provinces, probably more than half already, and it seems like it’s impossible that I stay home for a long period of time =) Batanes is honestly a dream come true. Let me guide you on a few basics:
The fastest way of going to Batanes is of course by plane, and if coming from Manila, it’ll only take less than 2 hours. Local airlines who cater Batanes flights are Philippine Airlines, SkyJet, Sky Pasada, Wakay Air and Platinum Skies.
Always plan ahead and be rain/sun ready when visiting Batanes. Weather in this province is very unpredictable. I’ve been here twice, and I can assure you, even if you come during summer, you may experience downpour, or face strong winds. Also, don’t limit your stay to just 3d2n or 4d3n because there’s a possibility you’ll get stranded in one of the Islands if weather is bad. When traveling to Batanes, it’s safe to plan your leave for 5-7 days. This will also give you peace of mind when visiting the island chain so you won’t get fired from work when you get offloaded or aground.
Tour prices vary in Batanes. Whether you’re taking a van tour, or tricy tour. You’ll have to coordinate with your tour provider (if you arranged one prior to your trip), or have it fixed upon arriving (still okay), your homestay can also help you with this. You can also rent bicycles! I rented one so I could tour the town and go to Naidi Hills for the iconic Batanes lighthouse/Sunset. If you wish to go to a specific place in Basco that’s not part of the tour, e.g. a restaurant, coffee or pizza shop – all are local, you can rent a tricy.
Did you know? Tricycles in Batanes are called “Tricy”.
When it comes to lifestyle, the typical way of life in Batanes is very old-fashioned. Locals here don’t depend on technology too much in their everyday lives. I very much liked how simple life is in Batanes, where I almost forgot I brought gadgets with me. Majority of the human life span in Batanes would reach 90+, there’s close to zero pollution, and has 0% crime rate (based on my most recent visit last May 2017) – this is pretty self-explanatory.
An Ivatan traditional house is made of stone, where the roof is made of dried cogon grass. The oldest one is called “House of Dakay” and is part of south batan tour.
Now when it comes to food, you’ll have plenty of options in Basco, while in Sabtang (Normally half day tour only) and Itbayat (where food is quite expensive, but you can still cook if you’ll stay in a homestay, and brought any goods from Basco) you’ll have limited to expensive choices. There are many canteens and locally-owned restaurants in Basco Island, so if you are not the cooking type of person, you’re safe! I said cooking type because most of the accommodations here are homestays where you can cook your own food, and probably save a little money. I brought canned goods when I traveled here, so I did save quite a lot.
Batanes is heaven for photographers and videographers. A lot of prenuptial shoots and weddings happen in the island chain. Who doesn’t want to be married in one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines right?
There are no movie houses, nor malls in Batanes, and that’s a good thing! Because you’ll get as close to nature and the simplest form of living while here. Network signal for mobile data is also very weak in all the islands, so you might as well leave your phone in your bag and enjoy the breathtaking views with no distraction. If you need to access your email or browse the internet very urgently, there’s an internet cafe in town, though I didn’t need to utilize it, so I can’t say how fast the speed is.
I know you want to SEE and READ more of what I have experienced in Batanes, well you’re in luck because I’ve made a 4d/3n article on my travel blog! Just look for it on www.terrifictraveller.wordpress.com you can also follow my adventures on Instagram @mon.villa, and Facebook Page @terrifictraveller.