Travel Guide: Batanes

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Batanes

I guess no other place in the Philippines exudes much mystery and curiosity than Batanes, the group of volcanic island in the northern border of the archipelago. Apparently, every image of the place radiates unparalleled beauty, no wonder that it is in every local traveler’s bucket list. Its beautiful rolling hills, towering lighthouses, picturesque coasts, hidden coves of white sand beaches, unique culture, temperate weather, captivating sunrise and sunset, amazing people and other mesmerizing scenery deliver truly awe-inspiring stills.

Batanes

Situated in between Balintantang and Bashi Channels, Batanes is made up of 10 islands and islets that are scattered on the roaring water that separates the Philippines and Taiwan. It is is the country’s northernmost frontier, the land of the howling winds, the home of the Ivatans, the highway of the typhoons.

The main islands of Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat are the only inhabited and mostly frequented by tourists. Batan and Sabtang are characterized by vast rolling hills and diverse shoreline dotted with coves, rock formations and varied kind of beaches. Meanwhile, Itbayat, the largest in the island group and the northernmost inhabited island in the country, is unique in the sense that majority of its shoreline is elevated. In fact, it is believed that the entire island is an uplifted coral reef.

Batanes
Naidi Hill and Lighthouse

Batanes may be the smallest province of the Philippines in terms of land area and population but what it offers are beyond its size. Its timeless charm brings divine happiness that lasts a lifetime and even beyond.

Batanes is worth falling in love with. Because Batanes is love!

Batanes
San Carlos Borromeo Church of Mahatao

How to Get There

By Air

Philippine Airlines and Sky Jet have regular commercial flights from Manila to Basco, the provincial capital and gateway to the province. Meanwhile, Sky Pasada and Northsky Air fly from Tuguegarao and Laoag to Basco. Keep an eye on promotion to avail of the budget airfare.

Batanes
Valugan Boulder Beach

Going Around and Away

Around Batan Island

The primary mode of commuting inland is tricycle. In Batan Island, the tricycle transport is systematically controlled by Batanes Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (BATODA), passengers have to call or text to use their service, BATODA’s contact number is +639297038404. Transportation between towns in Batan Island are serviced by jeepneys that connect Basco to Mahatao, Ivana and Uyugan albeit the trips are limited.

Most tourists tour the island of Batan by renting private vans that costs P2,000 to P3,000 per day (inclusive of driver and/or tour guide), this is best for group of at least eight people to lower the cost.

If you are a budget traveler or a solo adventurer and you prefer to tour Batan Island on your own, you may hire a tricycle for only P200/hour (good for two passengers), hire a bicycle for P300/day for a Japanese Bike and P500/day for a reliable mountain bike. There are lots of bike rentals in downtown Basco but for mountain bike, I prefer the one owned by Kuya Nard’s. It is a well maintained seven-speed mountain bike on medium Canondale frame and 26-inch wheel set. It was the one I used in my bike tour of Batan. You may get in touch with Kuya Nard’s at +639153827136.

For those who prefer motorbikes, there are motorbikes for rent at Petron Station for only P100/hour or P800/whole day.

Batanes
Alapad Hill of Uyugan

Going in, around and out of Sabtang Island

Sabtang Island is accessible via a 30 to 45 minutes faluwa ride from Radiwan Port of Ivana, faluwa is the traditional local boat. There are two scheduled departures daily, one leaving at around 6AM to 7AM and another one at around 11AM to 12NN. Fare is P75 one way.

From Sabtang Island back to Batan, the earliest boat departs at 5AM and the last one at 1PM.

If you are going to Ivuhus Island, you may charter a boat in the village of Sumnanga for as low as P300 round trip, for a small boat that can fit two passengers.

Batanes
Nakanmuan Natural Arc in Morong Beach of Sabtang Island

Going in, around and out of Itbayat Island

Itbayat can be reached by plane from Basco or by at least three hour faluwa ride from the Port of Basco.

By plane, Northsky Air flies from Basco to Itbayat although the schedule is not regular. Travel time is 10 minutes and fare is at least P1,300.

By boat, MB Veronica, MB Ocean Spirit and MB Itransa have daily departures except during Sunday. The boats leave early, around 5AM, and travel for at least two-and-a-half hours. Fare is P450 one way. Boat departure depends on sea and weather condition.

A motorcycle tour for two of Itbayat Island costs around P2,000 per day including guide, tricycle is at P3,000 good for three.

Batanes
Torongan Cave of Itbayat

Going to Mavulis (Y’Ami) Island and Siayan Island

For those planning to go to Mavulis or Y’Ami Island, the northernmost island in the country, you may charter a boat in Itbayat. The journey starts at Paganaman Port and travels for at least three hours to Mavulis passing by the smaller uninhabited islands of Siayan Island, Ditarem Island, Misanga or North Island and other smaler unnamed islets. The trip usually involves spending a night camping in Siayan Island which has a water source rather than going back to Itbayat in the afternoon since waves on this time of the day are much wilder.

Boat usually costs P7,000 for the overnight trip, it fits around five (5) passengers including the boat man.

Batanes
Chinappoliran Port of Itbayat

 

Accommodation in Batanes

Where to Stay in Basco

Most tourists stay in Basco, the provincial capital, where numerous hotels, inns, lodges and homestays are located. For budget travelers and backpackers, accommodation is as low as P350 per night per person in Marfel’s Lodge and Annex, my home in Basco.

Marfel’s Lodge has two branches – one along Reyes Street in Barangay Kayvaluganan and the annex along National Road in Barangay Kaychanarian. Both are conveniently located in the downtown.

Marfel’s Lodge
Reyes Street, Kayvaluganan, Basco (Main)
National Road, Kaychanarian, Basco (Annex)
Contact No: +639088931475 / +639209764966 / +639178574493 / +639178833249
Email: marfelslodge.batanes@yahoo.com
Rate: P350 to P1,800 (January 2014 rate)

Another great place to stay in a budget specially for group is Time Travel Lodge. Situated near the airport, Time Travel Lodge has three spacious rooms with kitchen, each room can accommodate two to three guests. But what I love the most here is the beautifully landscaped garden and al fresco dining area.

Time Travel Lodge
Babat Street, Kayvaluganan, Basco
Contact No: +639396238978 / +639074335610
Rate: P1,000 to P1,500 (January 2014 rate)

Both Marfel’s Lodge and Time Travel Lodge have in-house honesty stores that sell basic needs.

Batanes
Fundacion Pacita

Other notable places to stay in Basco are:

Amboy’s Hometel 
National Road, Chanarian, Basco
Contact Nos: +639209103492 / +639178717633
Rate: P2,600 – P4,000 per room per night

Asa’s Homestay
Basco
Contact No: +639202237361

Atunay Homestay
Kayhuvokan, Basco
Contact No: +639399186506

Babat Homestay
Babat Street, Kayvaluganan, Basco
Contact No: +632-6621111

Batanes Mountainview Homestay (Now Wakay Homestay)
Fajardo Street, Kayvaluganan, Basco
Contact No: +69173535356
Rate: Starts at P350 per room per night

Batanes Resort
National Road, Kaychanarianan, Basco
Contact No: ++639275829078 / +63-78-5333444/ +63-78-5333456
Rate: Starts at P550 to P1,000 per room per night

Batanes Seaside Lodge
National Road, Kaychanarianan, Basco (Main)
Amboy Street, Kaychanarianan, Basco (Annex)
Contact No: +639277885508 / +639999924977
Email: reservation.bslr@gmail.com / batanesseasidelodge@yahoo.com
Rate: P2,200 to P3,700 (with breakfast)

Bayview (Calvez)
Rate: Starts at P350 per room per night

Bernardo’s Hotel
Payin Street, Barangay Chanarian, Basco
Contact No: +639175125346 / +639088164811
Email: bernardoshotel@gmail.com
Rate: P2,600 to P3,600 (with breakfast)

Brandon’s Lodge
National Road corner Babat Street, Kayvaluganan, Basco
Contact No: +639193662158
Rate: P1,000 to P1,500 per room per night

CMJ Homestay & Tour Services (Crisan Lodge)
Imperial Building, Dita Street, Kayhuvokan, Basco
Contact No: +639999907548

Davocol Homestay
Taytay, Basco
Contact No: +639204470738

DDD Habitat
Llopez St. Kayvaluganan
Contact No: +63-02-6473534 / +63-02-6819085 / +639065177580 / +639084641319 / +639098770044
Email: dddhabitat@yahoo.com
Rate: P800 to P1,800 per room per night

D’Island Lodge and Restaurant
National Road, Kaychanarianan, Basco
Contact No: +639392579757 / +639999929918
Rate: P2,500 to P3,500 per room per night (with breakfast)

Dive Batanes Lodge
National Road, Chanarian, Basco
Contact No: +639399224609
Email: divebatanes@yahoo.com
Rate: P2,100 to P3,400 per room per night (with breakfast)

Florabells Iraya Guest House
Castillejos corner La Fuente Streets, Basco, Batanes
Contact No: +639291660223 / +639165442493
Email: florabellsiraya@gmail.com / chilet67@gmail.com
Rate: P1,300 to P3,500 per room per night (with breakfast)

Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge
Chanarian, Tukon, Basco
Contact Nos: +639399016353 / +639178559364
Email: inquiries@fundacionpacita.ph / fundacionpacita50@gmail.com
Rate: P10,000 – P18,500 per room per night (plus taxes, minimum of two nights)
With breakfast and other inclusions

Jarvan Homestay and Annex
Kayvaluganan, Basco
Contact No: +639202828238 / +639178834428 / +639088622447
rate: Starts at P350 per room per night

Martin’s Inn
Kaychanarianan, Basco, Batanes
Contact Nos: +639192228898 / +639162323590
Email: martins.innbatanes@gmail.com
Rate: Starts at P2,000 per room per night

Midtown Inn
Abad corner Lizardo Street, Basco
Contact No: +639213677933
Rate: P2,100 to P3,500 per room per night (with breakfast)

Novita House
Abuyo Street, Basco
Contact No: +639282397629 / +639266484527 / +6399178855129 / +639178415654 / +639173805444
Email: novitahouse@gmail.com
Rate:P1,500 per room per night (for six guests)

Necy’s Inn
San Antonio, Basco
Contact No: +639999954231

Octagon Bed and Dine
National Road, Sitio Disong, Kaychanarianan
Contact Nos: +639396451744 / +639369548482
Email: octagonbedanaddine2014@yahoo.com
Rate: P4,500 per room per night (quad sharing, with breakfast)

Palangud Homestay
Kaychanarianan, Basco
Contact No: +63399193616

Pañisanan Du Takey
Kaychanarianan, Basco
Contact No: +639193292363

Pajudpud Homestay
Kayvaluganan, Basco
Contact No: +639072828642

Pension Ivatan Hometel
Kayvalugan, Basco Batanes
Contact Nos: +639175859288 / +639357697918 / +639995624395
Email: pensionivatan@yahoo.com

Rapitan di Vasay Bed and Breakfast
Amboy and Castillejos Streets, Basco
Rate: At least P700 per room per night

Savatan Homestay
Caspo Street, Kaychanarianan, Basco
Contact No: +639399063022 / +639399069063
Rate: P1,500 per room per night (quad sharing)

Shanedel’s Inn
669 National Road, Kaychanarianan, Basco
Contact No: +639399127097 / +639294152293
Email: shanedels@yahoo.com
Rate: Starts at P450 per person per night

Troy Lodge
National Road (Main)
Argonza Street, Kayvaluganan, Basco (Annex)
Contact No: +639204470726
Rate: Starts at P350 per person per night

Villa Hontomin
Chanarian, Basco
Contact Nos: +639985678654 / +639278712157

Batanes
Sunset in Ivana

Where to Stay in Ivana

Villa Bella (Barsana Heritage House)
Radiwan, Ivana
Contact No: +639294436866
Rate: P250 per person per night

Acaya Heritage House
National Road, Barangay Salgao
Contact No: +639202690902

Hidalgo’s Residence
National Road, Barangay Salgao
Contact No: +639193695341

Batanes
Chavayan Vilage of Sabtang Island

Where to Stay in Sabtang

Sabtang Visitor’s Center
Sinakan, Sabtang
Rate: P300 per room per night

Heritage Building
Sinakan, Sabtang
Rate: P300 per room per night

Sabtang National School of Fisheries
Sinakan, Sabtang
Rate: P150 per room per night

Hostallero Homestay (Stone House)
Chavayan, Sabtang
Rate: P150 per person per night

Hornedo Homestay (Stone House)
Chavayan, Sabtang
Rate: P150 per person per night

Nanay Maring Homestay (Stone House)
Chavayan, Sabtang
Rate: P150 per person per night

Batanes
Torongan Cave of Itbayat

Where to Stay in Itbayat

Levinda Lodge
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Contact No: +6399215668269
Rate: P300 per person per night

Diera Homestay
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Rate: P300 per person per night

Cano’s Lodge
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Contact No: +639193004787
Rate: P300 per person per night

Ibanes Guest House
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Rate: P300 per person per night

Sta. Lucia Guest House
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Rate: P300 per person per night

SM Island Lodge Homestay
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Rate: P1,500 per room per night (aircon)

Gordo Homestay
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Rate: P300 per person per night

Gaza Homestay
Mayan Centro, Barangay Sta. Maria, Itbayat
Rate: P300 per person per night

Batanes
Sunset in Vayang Rolling Hills of Basco

Things to Do in Batanes

See the following attractions of North Batan Island:

  • Naidi Hill Lighthouse
  • Vayang Rolling Hills
  • Santo Domingo Cathedral of Basco
  • Valugan Boulder Beach
  • Chadpidan Boulder Beach
  • Japanese Tunnel
  • Fundacion Pacita
  • PAGASA Station
  • Tukon Chapel on the Hill (Mt. Carmel Chapel)
  • Tukon Windmill
  • Basco Idjang
  • Mount Iraya

See the following attractions of South Batan Island:

  • Chawa View Deck
  • Mahatao Shelter Port
  • Mahatao Town
  • San Carlos Borromeo Church of Mahatao
  • Blank Library
  • Tayid Lighthouse
  • Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Hills)
  • Diura Fishing Village
  • Fountain of Youth
  • Alapad Hills
  • Sitio Song-song Ruins
  • Uyugan Town
  • National Museum Batanes
  • San Jose de Ivana Church
  • Honesty Coffee Shop
  • House of Dakay
Batanes
Alapad Hills of Uyugan

See the following attractions of Sabtang Island:

  • Sabtang Town
  • Savidug Village
  • Savidug Idjang
  • Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
  • Chavayan Village
  • Nakanmuan Naturan Arc
  • Morong Beach
  • Malakdang Lighthouse
  • Sumnanga Village
  • Ivuhus Island
  • Dequey Island
Batanes
Ivuhos Island

See the following attractions on Itbayat Island:

  • Siayan Island, Mavulis (Y’Ami) Island, Dinem Island, Ditarem Island and Misanga or North Island
  • Rapang Cliff
  • Mount Riposet and Mount Karaboboan / Mount Santa Rosa
  • Torongan Cave, Northern Sarokan Cave, Eastern Sarokan Cave, Do’tboran Cave and Pevangan Cave
  • Nahini Votox (Torongan Hill and Idjang)
  • Kumayasakas Underground Stream
  • Agosan Rock
  • Port Mauyen
Batanes
Chapel on the Hill of Tukon

Where to Eat in Batanes

Basco

  • Pension Ivatan
  • Octagon Bed & Dine
  • Casa Napoli
  • Vunung Dinette
  • Fundacion Pacita (Reservation is required)
  • Marconine’s Kakanan Du Racuh Payaman (Food Catering Services in Marlboro Hills – Contact No: +639182878949 for reservation)

Ivana

  • Vatang Grill & Restaurant
  • Paulvana’s Canteen

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Biking in North Batan and Mahatao
0745H – 0800H: Arrival in Basco Airport / Disembarkation
0800H – 0930H: Airport transfer to Marfel’s Lodge, Quick Rest
0930H – 1630H: Bike: Basco Town – Naidi Hills Lighthouse of Basco – Vayang Rolling Hills – Valugan Boulder Beach – Japanese Tunnel – Fundacion Pacita – PAGASA Station – Tukon Chapel on the Hill (Mt. Carmel Chapel) – Chawa View Deck – Mahatao Church – Tayid Lighthouse – Mahatao Town – Mahatao Cemetery – Mahatao Boat Shelter
1630H – 1700H: Back in Marfel’s Lodge, Quick Rest
1700H – 1715H: Bike to Naidi Hills Lighthouse of Basco
1715H – 1830H: Sunset at Naidi Hills Lighthouse of Basco
1830H – 1900H: Return to Marfel’s Lodge
1900H onwards: Dinner, Free Time

Day 2: South Batan Tour
0430H – 0600H: Call Time / Sunrise in Valugan Boulder Beach
0600H – 0800H: Breakfast / Free Time
0800H – 1400H: South Batan Tour: Chawa View Deck – Mahatao Church – White Beach/Lagoon – House of Dakay – Ivana Church – Honesty Coffee Shop – Uyugan Town – Sitio Song Song – Alapad Hills – Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Hills) – Tayid  Lighthouse – Mahatao Town
1400H – 1700H: Rest, Free Time
1700H – 1730H: Bike or Trike to Vayang Rolling Hills
1730H – 1830H: Sunset at Vayang Rolling Hills
1830H onwards: Back to town, Dinner, Free Time

Day 3: Sabtang Island Tour
0530H – 0615H: Call Time / Breakfast
0615H – 0700H: Basco to Ivana Port
0700H – 0800H: Ivana to Sabtang Boat Ride
0800H – 1230H: Sabtang Island Tour: Sabtang Town – Savidug Village – Chamantad/Tinyan Viewpoint – Chavayan Village – Morong Beach / Limestone Arc Formation
1230H – 1330H: Lunch at Morong Beach
1330H – 1400H: Return to Sabtang Port
1400H – 1500H: Sabtang to Ivanna Boat Ride
1500H – 1600H: Ivana to Basco, Back at Marfel’s Lodge
1600H – 1630H: Quick Rest
1630H – 1700H: Bike: Basco Town to Chadpidan Boulder Beach
1700H – 1800H: Sunset at Vayang Chadpidan Boulder Beach
1800H – 1900H: Return to Basco Town, Proceed to Fundacion Pacita for Dinner
1900H – 2100H: Dinner + Socials at Fundacion Pacita
2100H onwards: Back to Basco Town, Lights Off

Batanes
Malakdang Rolling Hill in Sabtang Island

Other Tips

  • Best months to visit Batanes are during dry months or summer, preferably from January to early June.
  • Landbank and PNB have ATMs in Basco.
  • Mobile signals of all networks are present although 3G and LTE are quite difficult.
  • For solo traveler, hire a bike, motorcycle or join group tours to save cost. You can bring the bike even to Sabtang and Itbayat.
  • For group tours, check out the various packages of BISUMI Tours and Services. Contact numbers: +639192795963 / +639989885898 / +639158034582
  • Fundacion Pacita restaurants accepts non-house guests, advanced reservation is required (Contact No: +639399016353/ +639178559364).

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