Crossed this one off my bucket list last February 2017.
My perception of Batanes before was only from television and internet: tropical storms, old way of living, the headdress, stone houses, awesome coastlines… etc. I was thrilled because I can finally experience it.
We booked our flights in advance when Philippine Airlines had their anniversary sale. For me, it was not really a sale price because it costed us 10k each. But I don’t want to complain because it’s for the bucket list!
7 days in Batanes. Well, six tour days since the last day was our departure. My friends are pushing 5 days only but I thought, “sayang ang weekend” (weekend will be wasted). A week before our flight, there was a viral video showing people disembarking from a boat (faluwa) during high splashes of waves. It was scary for me since I do not know how to swim. I’m not sure if this is the exact viral video but this is the same experience:
We didn’t prepare an itinerary. Cramming… We were only able to book accommodation in Basco and in Sabtang (because I saw that one post in Facebook that you can actually stay in that iconic lighthouse in Sabtang).
We were able to experience the three major islands of Batanes: Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat. Here are some highlights from our trip:
Day 1: We arrived in the morning. But since we didn’t get enough rest the day before our flight, we slept first before wandering around. so we looked for local tour in Basco. Luckily, we found Bisumi. We booked tours for Sabtang and Itbayat there so that Because we thought it is a must to bike in Batanes. We biked in the afternoon to Basco Lighthouse. No one was ready to bike, hahaha!
We waited till sunset on Naidi Hills, where the Basco Lighthouse is located. We went back to the town proper before it got dark.
Out first meal (dinner… we only ate snacks for lunch) was at D’ Islands Lodge and Restaurant.
Day 2: We went to Sabtang. We joined a group tour in the morning.
In the afternoon, we checked-in at Faberes Homestay. Nanay Adela (owner of the homestay) was kind enough to offer us another tour to the fishing village. Also, they also prepared our dinner, fresh catch from the fishing village. Staying overnight at Sabtang Lighthouse was such an experience.
Day 3: Coconut crab for breakfast? Why not. I took a bite just to taste. Yummy!!! I don’t want to eat more since I am allergic. There’s also a spot where we can take a dip to the water (as part of our stay in the homestay).
We went back to Batan and then took a tricycle tour around North Batan.
Day 4: We went to Itbayat. This is it. We survived the waves. It almost turned our intestines upside down. And the boat was fully jampacked. We heard that there were no trips before that day due to the weather so people got stuck at the port. In the afternoon, we went to the Burial Caves, the old PAG-ASA site in Itbayat and airport.
Day 5: Early morning trek and waited for sunrise at Rapang Cliff. We were not that prepared for that trek, but it was worth it!
By lunch time, we were heading back to Batan. We were prepared not to eat that much so that we won’t throw up. Fortunately, the sea was more calm that day.
I miss turmeric rice. We order it most of the time when it is available.
Day 6: We completed the trip by going around South Batan. We went to visit the towns: Mahatao, Ivana and Utugan. On this trip we were able to visit a few churches, the honesty cafe/store, Marlboro Hills (which is quite cold windy) and Tayid Lighthouse.
Day 7: Our departure from Batanes Airport to Manila… Back to reality, haha!
Such a bliss. Even though we didn’t have any internet connection during our stay, we are fully contented with during our stay.
I would like to go back to Batanes someday. Maybe try to trek Mount Iraya or simply just disconnect with busy Manila.