Batanes 2015: Day 3

For our third day in Batanes, we were supposed to go to Sabang Island. However, it rained so hard early in the morning that we just postponed our Sabang trip for the next day. At around 9am, the sun was shining as if nothing happened! So we decided to take the North Batan Tour instead. We booked Tricycle #32 again for the day.

The views from the Pag-asa weather station was ahhh-mazing! Pictures cannot do them justice – you really have to be there to appreciate it’s full beauty and breathe in the fresh air (literally), as well as the awesome-ness of the place. Nature at its finest!

Here are some photos of our North Batan Tour, with our ever reliable tricycle driver -slash- tour guide, Kuya Severino.


Top, left to right: Vayang rolling hills, with Mt. Iraya in the background; Valugan boulder beach; Tukon church (Mt. Carmel chapel)

Middle, left to right: Mt. Iraya in the background, this was on the way to the Japanese tunnel; Fundacion Pacita up close; and view of Fundacion Pacita from the Pag-asa weather station

Bottom, left to right: Pag-asa weather station; Inside Tukon church; Inside the Dipnaysupuan Japanese tunnel



Batanes 2015: Day 2

Or second day in Batanes started with a lovely breakfast in the garden. Because Rapitan di Vasay only have three bedrooms, and at that time, only two rooms were occupied, we pretty much had the freedom to use different parts of the house. Although breakfast at the garden was totally the caretaker’s idea.


After breakfast, I talked to the caretaker, who happened to be the sister of yesterday’s tricycle driver who picked us up from the airport! She contacted him and he agreed to be our service and tour guide for the day. We had the South Batan Tour and got an awesome view of the mountains and the sea. For me to type the words “we loved it” is an understatement. The photos are beautiful, but believe me, it is so much more awesome when you see it firsthand!

Here are some photos of our South Batan tour.


From the top, left to right: Mahatao Church (San Carlos Borromeo church); Entrance to Marlboro country; House of Dakay (Oldest Ivatan house)

Middle, left to right: Ivana church; Spanish lighthouse at Mahatao; Honesty coffee shop

Bottom, left to right: Mahatao boat shelter; Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro country); Old Spanish bridge (across the road from the House of Dakay)

Batanes 2015: Day 1

A post two years in the making.. I know, right? Better late than never!

My then-boyfriend/fiancé, and now husband – David, suggested we take a trip to Batanes, since I told him about how it has been a long-time dream for me to go there. Up until that time, I couldn’t find a “suitable” travel-mate to Batanes. I was actually planning to go alone before I met David that year. So I was planning to go there for my birthday in September 2015. I met David early 2015 and ended up getting engaged by August 2015! I ended up spending my birthday in Batanes – with my fiancé! (insert hearts and flowers here hehe!)

Okay, so here are 5 photos from Day 1.

We woke up early to catch our 7am flight from Manila to Basco thru Philippine Airlines. I am happy to have enough Mabuhay Miles to get a free round trip ticket (David paid for his at around PhP 13,000.00 roundtrip). there are other carriers to Batanes, but I personally recommend PAL because I have heard of other carriers cancelling trips with no definite schedule or compensation or refund.

When we arrived at Basco, we found out that tricycles are booked thru a cellphone number which we can call or text! Wow! Move over Grab and Uber, Basco has an efficient tricycle booking system! We got tricycle number 32, with kuya Severino as driver (we later booked him to tour us around Basco, as he turned out to be the brother of the housekeeper at Rapitan di Vasay)

Tricycle #32

David and I had breakfast at Rapitan di Vasay, and took a nap before we headed out. We woke up around noontime, and decided to walk around town to look for the lighthouse. We got there in a few minutes, all hot and sweaty, but the view was so beautiful – it was so worth it!

View of the capital

We roamed around Basco to find a place to eat. The town isn’t as commercialized as the other islands in the Philippines that are visited by tourists, and there are only a number of places that serve lunch. While walking around, hungry and hot, we bought some biscuits, soda and cassava cake from a sari–sari store. We chanced upon a newly-built hotel (I forgot the name, but it’s painted light green) and they served lunch! Upon asking, we also found out the hotel owner has a boat that takes passengers from Basco island to Sabang island. We were planning to go to Sabang the next day, and we asked the lady at the hotel to book us. It was just by chance, but it worked out!

We went on to walk around town, saw a police pick-up with goats at the back (we learned that Batanes has a zero crime rate, and police officers usually take stray animals that destroy properties instead). We found a restaurant at the edge of town where we decided to have dinner. I was disappointed with the lobster which cost us PhP 700.00, turned out to have two spoonfuls of meat. So lesson learned – ask the locals first!

We ended up buying snacks at the sari-sari store for midnight feedings. Hehe. End of Day 1.


Beautiful Batanes

Batanes is a province of the Philippines which is composed of islands at the northern most part of the country. It is actually closer to Taiwan than mainland Luzon.


Since I was in college, I have dreamed about going to Batanes, as I have seen some photos online that were simply beautiful. Although I live in the city, it is more of the necessity of being close to my job and my son’s school, but if I have the resources to live wherever I want, I’d want to live in the province, as I have grown up in the province as well. Being so close to the sea and the mountains in Sual, Pangasinan, made me appreciate nature even more. And having lived in the city since I went to college, I have this hunger to be close to nature when I have the opportunity.

So going to Batanes was more than a decade in the making. It is an advantage that airfare costs have dropped in the past decade, and that there is a regular flight to Batanes via Philippine Airlines.

Since I travel a lot for work, I was fortunate to have accumulated Mabuhay Miles points that were enough to get a free round trip ticket to Batanes. My then-boyfriend (now husband) had to buy his own ticket, but it was still a bargain at that time. The Batanes trip was a promise he made before we got engaged. It was also his birthday gift to me, and I celebrated my birthday in Basco 🙂

So, on with our Batanes trip!

Before the actual trip, of course we planned our itinerary and looked for accommodations online. We used Tripadvisor in our research, as well as blog posts of those who have gone to Batanes and were generous enough to share the details of their trip, including the expenses.

We chose to stay at Rapitan di Vasay, a bed and breakfast at the heart of Basco, the province’s capital. Rapitan di Vasay, which means “a place to stay in Vasay”. It is an old house that was converted to a B&B. It is a quaint, homey place, and it felt like we went home to our ancestral home 🙂 They only cook breakfast, which we had to confirm a day before since they only cook for the guests. At that time the breakfast was PhP250.00 per head. Seems expensive, but so worth it! The serving is generous, the ingredients were fresh. My husband liked the fresh pako salad (fern salad). If you have a late breakfast, the meal is good enough for brunch 🙂

Food in Batanes is quite expensive since they have to ship everything from the mainland. And with the rough weather in Batanes especially during typhoon season, they do not have much fruit trees or haciendas or farms. It was a good thing that we were in the center of Basco, close to the St. Dominic College where they have a canteen that is open all week. Food is cheap and enough to fill our tummies. They even bake cakes, so on my birthday, we ordered a slice and 2 plates of pancit 🙂

For our tours, our tricycle driver, Kuya Severino, who was also the brother of one of the katiwala at Rapitan di Vasay (tricycle #32!) knew exactly where to take us. We didn’t take a guided tour with a travel agency, since it was awfully expensive, and it’s Batanes! Who needs an air-conditioned van when you have fresh air from the mountains and the sea? Each tour with Kuya Severino was PhP1,000 to PhP1,200. There is the North Batan tour, and the South Batan tour. Each tour would be around 4-5 hours, so we had them on separate days. For the Sabang Island tour, we chanced upon a person who arranges the boat ride and tricycle tour when we had lunch in one of the newer hotels in Basco. I have forgotten the name of the hotel, but its building was colored light green and was close to the talipapa that sold fresh fish. The Sabang Island boat ride was around PhP 150.00 per head, and the tricycle tour was PhP 800. The arranged lunch at Sabang Island was an additional PhP 300 per head. It was necessary to pay for the arranged lunch since there are no carindeira in Sabang that served food to tourists.

We will certainly go back to Batanes in the coming years, and we will book a longer stay so we can also explore the Itbayan Island, where we need to stay in the island overnight since the one-way boat trip is already 4 hours long.

I am blogging about our tours separately so I can post more photos.

Can’t wait to go back! Explore Batanes, it’s awesome!