Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sabtang Island, Batanes

Ivana Port

My last tour in Sabtang Island was 2011. I had second thoughts going to the island because of the weather and my expenses. But I still decided to visit the island for the second time. I was not yet a blogger when I went to Sabtang. So this time, I was not only again excited but I was taking down notes about the tour in the island.

Sabtang is an island municipality situated at 15 kilometers southwest of Basco.

People are called Isabtangs and they speak the dialect Ivatanen.

from Ironwulf

Sabtang is also known for their native headgear popularly known as vacul. This is worn by women farmers to protect them from the sun or rain when they are in their farm works.

How to get there

Book a plane going to Basco, Batanes either from PAL or Sky Jet. 

In Basco, go to Ivana port (25-30 minutes from Basco / P25 fare in the jeepney) and board the boat going to Sabtang. Boat leaves between 6 - 7 am. Fare in the boat is P75/pax or P150 round trip. There are times when the weather is not good and Coast Guard will not allow the boat to depart. Travel time to Sabtang is 45 minutes.

From Sabtang, boat leaves to Basco 12:30 pm.
Fee for the motorbike in the boat - P200 (round trip)

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

tricycle drivers waiting for their guests

Tour guide - Albert Antonio (0919 287 3457) Fee - P1,000 for the whole day
Best time to go to the Island - March - May (summer)
Packaged tour to Sabtang is P2,000/pax and there are so many tour operators in Basco offering the said tour. 

But it was different on my part. I wanted a personalized tour which includes other tourist spots and I wanted to have control of my time and my guide. and so I hired Albert to be my guide in Sabtang and we rented the motorbike of Ms. Elma Batallones (owner of Ysabelle Homestay in Basco) for our journey. 

Before embarking on your tour, you have to pay first the tourist fee. It is paid int he town's Tourism Office.

Try to drop by aSan Vicente Ferrer Church in town.

Place to stay in Sabtang, contact Ms. Yumi Acebes -0939-901-6354

Tour guide - P1,000 - whole day
Motorbike - P1,000 - whole day (but I was given a fair discount for the trip)

I decided to go first to the beach before all the guests arrive. But before going to the beach, we went to the Tourism agency and paid P200.00

It took us only less than 20 minutes after passing through the rough road onboard a motorbike and we reached - Nakabuwang or Morong Beach

A couple of steps in the beach and you will be amazed at the sight of - Ahaw Arc.

After taking some pictures, we decided to go back to the town. This is one of the reasons why hiring a motorbike was better. The Sabtang Lighthouse is not included in the itinerary of the packaged tour.

To date, there are a total of 4 lightouses in Batanes. Three are in Basco and the fourth one is in Sabtang. There is no lighthouse in Itbayat Island.

Before I forget, there is a P50 entrance fee in the lighthouse since it is now privately-owned.

After the lighthouse, next stop was Savidug Barrio.
Barangay Savidug with its native stone houses is just 3 kilometers from the town center

We roamed around the village and even entered into one of the abandoned houses.

Beside the abandoned house was St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel.

After the Savidug tour, we went to our next spot and along the way we passed by - Savidug Idjang Fortress. It is  a triangular shape hill less than 100 meters in height. It is located approximately 1.2 kilometers southeast of Savidug. It served as a fortress or refuge against attacking enemies of the Isabtangs in the early times.

And finally, we arrived at the best spot in Sabtang, the Tinyan Viewpoint. It took us 30 minutes from the port before reaching the site.

This tour is best enjoyed on foot. One has to trek the hill and see the breathtaking views.

You have no right to die without seeing the landscapes and seascapes of this island.

Jaw-dropping view!

A must-see and must-visit island in the Philippines!

I simply LOVE the view! =)

Going back to the starting point, the view never ends to amaze me!

After staying in viewpoint for more than an hour, we headed to our last destination for the day. But the scenery, the landscapes and seascapes are endless.

Last stop - Chavayan Village (UNESCO nominated).
It is the home of the skilled vakul weavers.

Part of the source of income of Ivatans is weaving.

The Chavayan Chapel

One of the earliest chapels in Batanes.

Children play and gossip along the road.

Past 10:30 am, we went back to the beach for our lunch. The lunch was catered by Pananayan Canteen and Catering Services –
Contact nos. – 0998986-2042 / 0908-502-3900

This is the place where I took my lunch.

One last look at the Ahaw Arc and we headed back to the port.

We boarded the boat 1 pm with our usual passengers, a goat and a cow. 

Helpful Information

Duvek Bay in Sumnanga  is called little Hong Kong.

Try island hoping at Vuhus Island

Best place for sunset viewing - Nakanmuan and Sumnanga barangays

Municipal Tourism Hotline – 0939-198-8558

Place to Stay - Yumi Acebes -0939-901-6354

Food - Pananayan Canteen and Catering Services – pedroelesterio@yahoo.com0998986-2042 / 0908-502-3900

Enjoy Batanes! 

Place to Stay in Basco, Batanes

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 - P1,000-1,500
Non-aircon - P500
Twin sharing - P350/pax

                          2 pax room

         2-4 pax room / fully airconditioned

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!

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

They also have a restaurant where you can dine or have your "paluto" but you have to call ahead of time.

They also offer tour and travel services or rent their motorbike. 

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