Saturday, April 4, 2015

Rapang Cliff Trek, Itbayat Island, Batanes

I waited four years for this trek and finally, I was able to do it!

the last gate
It was not a planned or scheduled tour. Red Chuca, Kareen Pamela, Carole Carl and I met in Basco, Batanes after I learned that they were also in town.

I immediately contacted Red and to make the story short, we ended up going as a group in Itbayat Island. We toured almost all the known tourist spots in Itbayat and the following morning, we decided to explore the Rapang Cliff.

siesta time
We hired Jayson (0999-932-7744) to be our guide for the trek. But there was some of change of the plans and we ended up with Mang Pepe (0949-6200-184).

We agreed to be awake by 3 am but Red set the alarm at 2:30 am. By 3:30, our guide arrived and we started the nearly 2 hours trek towards our destination. 

After passing the last gate, we took a brief respite before continuing our ascend towards the cliff. It was already 5:30 am and the light was starting to illuminate in the horizon.

After the respite, we ascended and after a couple of minutes, we were already in the cliff.

It was very difficult to take pictures since I did not have my tripod and it was between 5:30 - 6:00 am in the morning. But the landscape and rock formations in Rapang Cliff was really one of a kind! Amazing! 

This natural park is comprised of forest, natural cliffs and rocky hills where natural bonsai trees abound along the grazing area for goats. Amidst its natural splendour, there is a natural bell which is a flat stone that lies naturally upon another stone.

We were hoping to get a glimpse of the sunset but it was cloudy that day and it was a futile effort on our part. But we still enjoyed the scenery. 

There was this rock which was used to call goats or sound a warning to the nearby villagers. It really sounded like a bell. We played different tunes using the rock and took turns posing on it.

Not only was there no clear sunrise but it was also cloudy for an hour and we decided to roam around the hill and looked at the horizon.

The place reminded me of the movie Lord of the Rings trilogy less the orks of course.

The group decided to climb the highest peak. Everybody was already at the peak and I was still hesitant to climb fearing that I might have cramps.But I turned my fear into confidence and I forced my way up.

We stayed at the Rapang Cliff for 45 minutes and afterwards, we decided to go back since our boat back to Basco was slated to depart 9:00 am.

Along the way back, we passed by another tourist spot - Kahubcan Beach.

It was really difficult for a person to go to the beach. You have to go down using the steep cliff and hold on to the trees and roots protruding in the cliff. 

One last view of the beach and the landslide.
It took us 2 hours to go back to our lodging area and another 30 minutes to fix ourselves and catch the boat in the port.

Thank you Jayson (left) and Mang Pepe (right), our tour guides in Itbayat.

Place to Stay

1. Cano’s Lodging House – Lodging and Services owned by Faustina Cano (0919-300-4787) Agan St., Brgy. Sta. Rosa, Itbayat, Batanes (P250/pax)

2. SM Lodge - P300/pax

Food - P200/pax (or you can cook)

Tour guides - Jayson and Mang Pepe

How to get there -

Book a plane going to Basco, Batanes either from PAL or Sky Jet. Arriving in Basco, go to the port (near NFA) and board the boat going to Itbayat. Boat leaves between 5 am - 6 am. Fare in the boat is P400/pax. There are times when the weather is not good that Coast Guard will not allow the boat to depart. Travel time to Itbayat is 2-3 hours depending on the weather.

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

In Basco

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)


Room rates 
Aircon - P1,000-P1,500/day
Non-aircon - P500
Twin sharing - P350/pax

                           2 pax room

                          2-4 pax room
              P1,500 fully airconditiioned

Among the things that 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 now offer restaurant services. You can dine or order your "paluto" but please call ahead of time.

They also offer travel and tour services in Batanes. You can also rent their motorbike. 

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

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

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