Since this is going to be our first entry for this travel blog, I would like to impart with you the very first trip that Wayne and I had ever shared.
Last September 2008, after so many days of whining and mocking, me and Al finally gave in to Wayne’s request and decided to join her in witnessing the splendid scenic spots that can be found in the northernmost part of the Philippine islands, Batanes.
Batanes is considered to be the smallest province of the Philippines in terms of population and land area. It is about 190 kilometers south of Taiwan and 280 kilometers north of Aparri, Cagayan. It comprises of 10 main islands and islets namely: Batan, Sabtang, Itbayat, Mavudis, Siayan, Ivuhos, Dinem, Dequey, North Island and Y’ami. Only the first three islands are currently inhabited.
Boarded an Asian Spirit flight, we all left Manila at around 5 a.m. and arrived at Basco airport in Batan Island, Batanes past 7 a.m. After settling all the fees at the airport, we all headed to Batanes Resort, the place which served as our “home” for almost a week.
During our stay in Batanes, we pampered ourselves as much as we can. We slept a lot, ate a lot of foods, laughed our lungs out, went out on tours and enjoyed every minute we had while we were away from hustle and bustle of Manila. Here’s a glimpse of Batanes and its people:
These are what you will most likely see in Batanes: a scenic view of the hills with cows and carabaos roaming on the grass; tall lighthouses standing like a mighty tower on a hill; boats which they call “falowa” used for island hopping; bikes with little baskets used by Ivatans for daily commuting; old stone houses and churches that have been preserved for years; boulder-lined shores; “Blow UR Horn” signs carved on every turn of the zigzag roads; huge waves splashing against the massive cliffs; and astonishing rock formations on the sea.
The pristine and untouched beauty of Batanes is simply captivating, enough to leave us breathless, enough to live on in our hearts forever. It is truly a place that will haunt you to come back. Try and see for yourself!
Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) flies to Batanes from Manila and vice versa using their 32-seater Dornier 328 aircraft. These flights land straight to Basco airport on Batan Island, Batanes.
Flight Schedule: Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday
Tel. No: (+63 2) 849-0100
Zest Airways (formerly Asian Spirit) also flies to Batanes from Manila and vice versa using their DASH7 planes or BAE jets however I have read that all Basco flights via Zest Airways have been cancelled since November 2008.
Flight Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday
Tel. No: (+63 2) 888-2003
You may also consider taking a bus to Laoag or Tugueguarao then take Chemtrad Air, a 10-seater aircraft to Basco. Their flight schedules may vary but they normally flies on Monday/Wednesday/Friday from Tuguegarao and Tuesday/Thursday from Laoag. You may also call their office for schedules.
Tel No: (+63 2) 833-0229 / (+63 2) 844-3113
March to May is usually hot and dry and considered to be the summer months in Batanes. June to October is rainy but the typhoons usually come during the months of August. On the otherhand, the months of November to February are usually cool and windy.
In Batanes, you may travel Batan Island by foot or you can hire bikes, motorcycles or tricycles that are available within the island. There are also jeepneys and vehicles available that you may hire which could drive you around Batan island. When going to Sabtang or Itbayat, you need to take a motorized boat also known as “falowa” then from there, you may hire a private vehicle that could also drive you within the islands. The falowas in Ivana usually leave at 6.30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. and is a 45-minute travel to Sabtang.
- Light Clothing (Shirts and shorts)
- Sturdy and comfortable shoes/slippers/sandals
- Cap, hat or bandana
- Light jacket or raincoat (During rainy season)
- Insect/mosquito repellant lotion
- Plastic bags or Ziplocs (To put in your camera, wallet and mobile phones)
- Camera (Extra batteries, extra film, extra CF or SD Cards and a sturdy tripod)
- Loads of money (Credit cards are not accepted. There are only 2 banks in town: Landbank and PNB. Landbank ATM is sometimes offline and I think PNB don’t have an ATM)