Sunday, April 5, 2015

Batan Island (Basco), Batanes Tour (South and North)

Mt. Iraya, Batan Island, Batanes
The stunning and captivating beauty of Batanes...

It was my second time to visit the islands of Batanes. The first visit was year 2011. But its grandeur and splendor never ceased to amaze me. Batanes is composed of three major islands, namely: Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat. But this blog will focus only on Batan Island.

There are two tours in Batan Island called the South and North Tour. I have combined both in a one-day tour in the island. For those who have only 3-4 days to visit Batanes, it is possible to visit all the three if you will follow the below itinerary.

Day 1 - Sabtang Tour
Day 2 - Itbayat Tour
Day 3 - Going back to Basco from Itbayat ETA 1-2 pm plus Batan Tour
Day 4 -  Batan Tour (provided you have the second flight in PAL) .

How to get there

Manila to Basco
Book a flight from Manila to Basco either from PAL or SkyJet. PAL has regular flights during peak season (i.e. Summer, March - May) while SkyJet has only MWF flights. 

Normally, the round trip fare is worth P12,000 - 15,000. But if you book your flight at least 6 months before the flight, you will get half of the price.

Travel time from Manila to Basco is 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Tuguegarao to Basco
Book a flight either from NorthySky (P3,000) or SkyPasada (P4,000). Travel time is approximately 1 hour. SkyPasada's flight is slated Sunday, Tuesday and Friday.


NorthSky Air
Basco – 0949-155-0100
Itbayat – 0920-965-1495
Tuguegarao – 0929-570-1350 / 0908-275-6188

Sky Pasada
Office Hours in Batanes – Monday, Wednesday, Friday (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday – 9:00 – 11:30 (Airport) / 12:00 NN – 4:30 pm (Ticketing)
Flights – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (starting March 9, 2015)
Tugeugarao – 0999-992-9378 / 0927-496-2894




Casa Real

I arrived in Basco from a SkyJet flight. And I rested only for an hour and I immediately started my tour of Batanes. There are so many ways of touring Batanes either by using public transportation (jeepney) or private transportation using a motorcycle, car or a van. I chose the cheapest and the most convenient for me, the motorcycle tour and I even combined both the South and North Tour.

Rent
P1,000 - motorcyle
P3,000 - van/car (South Tour)
P2,000 - van/car (North Tour)

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral 

But before the motorbike tour, I strolled around the town. My homestay was just walking distance from the provincial hall and I spent a couple of minutes taking pictures.

Casa Real is the site of the provincial capital building. The original structure was constructed between 15th to 18th century.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral is the first Spanish Catholic church built in Batanes in the early part of the 18th century. 

Town Plaza

I even walked further up to the port beside NFA to inquire about the boat ride to Itbayat. It was Holy Week and I have to be precise about the schedule of the boat both in Sabtang and Itbayat. I was informed that they have boat rides until Holy Wednesday.


While in the port, I noticed the various boats docked with their signage - Batanes. 

Chawa Viewdeck

I hired a tour guide (1,000 for the entire day) named Albert Antonio (0910-287-3457) for this adventure. While the cost of the motorbike was P1,000 (rented from Ysabelle Homestay - 0928-234-2542) for also the entire day.

SOUTH TOUR

It took us only less than 15 minutes from the town before we reached our first stop - Chawa Viewdeck. Situated in Mahatao, it consists of hundred steps down the adjacent cliff to fish, take more pictures or test one’s endurance.



You have to go down to appreciate the landscape and take some souvenir pictures.


Ascending from the bottom, I could not help notice the  beauty of this tourist spot.


We went to our next stop - Mahatao Shelter Port. The port is use to shelter boats in case of inclement weather. Here you can find the 4th lighthouse which is undergoing construction when I visited it last Holy Week 2015.

San Carlos Borromeo Church
I had to make a church visit since it was Holy Week.



Going further south, we reached the town of Ivana.


Along the way, you will pass by - the Old Spanish Bridge
The bridge is still being used by the Ivana settlers.



Then, a couple of meters away, The House of Dakay. It is said to be the oldest house (built in 1887) and has survived the earthquakes which struck Batan.  


Third church for the day - San Jose De Obrero Church.


The tour in Ivana will not be complete without buying from the Honesty Coffee Shop.  An unmanned refreshment store which has became famous worldwide for showing Ivatan’s honesty.


Better take note also of  San Vicente Port or Radiwan Port in Ivana, the gateway to Sabtang Island. You can also visit the Ivana Marine Sanctuary.


We moved further south and reached another town - Uyugan.


We reached our next stop - Song-Song Ruins.It was ravaged by the tsunami of 1953 and 1954. And the settlers were relocated in Mindanao during the time of Magsaysay. It became a ghost town for 3 decades.Nowadays, the place is occupied.



Riding in a motorbike gives you the best view in all directions.


One of the best rock formations in Uyugan - Alapad Rock Formation.


You have to stop, alight, trek, and take pictures!


Since I have seen before the Loran Station, I told Albert to skip it and just move to the next spot. I was already excited since the next stop is one of my favorite spots in Batanes. After nearly 15 minutes, we reached - Racuh a Payaman or Marlboro Country, an endless rolling hills used as a pastureland for cows, carabao, and horses.

A good place to meditate, relax and appreciate nature.


This also the best place to take your lunch provided you have the necessary reservation (Marconnie's Food Catering Services - 0920-217-9903 / 0918-287-8944).


I stayed for 20 minutes at the Marlboro Country. And I was again excited because the next stop would be - The Mahatao Lighthouse or Tayid Lighthouse which was built in 2000.

Albert told me that it was the end of the South Tour.

NORTH TOUR



Our first stop for the North Tour - Mt. Carmel Church.


Along the way, we passed another tourist spot - 
Tukon or PAGASA Weather Station


Not only has Batanes has lighthouses but also has windmills. 
But the windmills are being repaired for the meantime.


Then, the best accommodation or the most expensive in Batanes - Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge


Idjang Fortress

Used by the early Ivatan settlers in case there are invaders or tribal wars.


Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel 

Located in the hills of Tukon, the five-door tunnel was built by the Japanese for their soldiers during World War II.


Chanpan or Valugan Boulder Beach

This rock bay is popularly known for its long stretch of the boulders which came from Mt. Iraya eruption in 400 A.D.


Going back to the town, we passed the church and sped off towards our next destination. The Naidi Hills is an old sitio derived from the Ivatan words “Na” which means past and “Idi” which means settlement or community. Located here are the American period wireless telegraph facilities that were bombed by Japanese Imperial Army on December 8, 1941. Located here is the lighthouse built in 2002.



Going to the next stop -

Vayang Rolling Hills


The Vayang Rolling Hills is the best spot in Batan to appreciate the landscapes and seascapes of Batanes. 


I went back to the Naidi Hills and stood at the sight of the lighthouse.

Basco Lighthouse


Ended the tour/day with one of the best places for sunset in the Philippines.


Batanes is best enjoyed if you have the most comfortable, affordable, convenient, and best accommodation.

I highly recommend staying at Ysabelle Homestay.







It is home away from home.It is owned by Ms. Elma S. Batallones. She is one of the kindest, hospitable, and accommodating persons I have ever met in my tour in the Philippines.

Address: corner Santana St., Brgy. Kaychanarian, Basco, Batanes (near LandBank)

e-mail: elmasbatallones@gmail.com

Room rates 
Aircon - P1,500
Non-aircon - P500
Twin sharing - P350/pax


2 pax room


2-4 pax room
Fully airconditioned P1,500/day

Among the things I enjoyed while I was billeted in the homestay was the following:

a.  cable TV facility
b. "paluto" or do your own cooking
c.  motorbike rental / bike rental
d.  shower
e.  WIFI

You will definitely enjoy her various tapsilog, tocilog, bangsilog, longsilog and other specialties. But my personal favorite is her noodles consisting of bihon, miki bihon, pancit canton and the pancit kabagan .

On my last day of stay, I even requested to her cook "dorado" and I really enjoyed the sumptuous meal!


They also have a restaurant. They offer "paluto" services. But you have to call your order ahead of time.


They also have tour and travel services. You can also rent their motorbike.


In my three nights of staying, I fully enjoyed the comfort of my sleep.

Your stay in Batanes will surely be complete and comfortable at Ysabelle Homestay.

Helpful Information


A. Tour guide - Albert Antonio (0919 287 3457) Fee -P1,000 for the whole day

B. Best Restaurants and tour package - 





C. Island Tours
Basco to Sabtang - by boat (6 am departure) Fare - P75/pax (45 minutes) 4 boats available
Basco to Itbayat - by boat (5-6 am departure) Fare - P400/pax (2.5 - 3 hours) 3 boats available
Basco to Itbayat - by sea (NorthSky) temporarily not available

D. Best time to go to the Island - March - May (summer)


E. Rental fees

Motorbike rent - P100/hour
Bike rent - P20/hour
Van rent - 1,500 (back and forth from Basco to Ivana port) 
Van rent South tour - P3,000

Van rent North tour - P2,000 

F. Dining out
SDC Canteen
Pension Ivatan Restaurant
Shanedel’s Inn and Café
Ela’s Foodhaus
Hiro’s Café
Octagon Bed and Dine

G. ATM
Landbank
PNB

H. Activities
Biking, hiking, mountain trekking, game fishing, water surfing, diving, village tour, historical tour, visit to the farms, ATV Rental – Vatan Homestay 0998-551-9656 (P400/hour) P2,000 – whole day

J.Souvenir shops - plenty, just walk in the town


Finally, jeepneys from Basco to the other municipalities are available from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.

ENJOY BATANES! 
I DID! =)

3 comments:

  1. You're photos are so amazing. ♥♥♥

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful Batanes post! Very well detailed! Hope to visit that place soon.

    ReplyDelete