It’s been a long time since my last post. I was somewhat busy that I was not able to blog about some of my great adventures for the past 2 years. Instead of starting from where I’ve left off, I’ll start blogging now about this wonderful adventure. Here’s to one of the best places in the world, Batanes, Philippines! 🙂 Late 2014, my sister heard about a promo fare from PALexpress to Batanes. Knowing that fares could be so expensive going there, we immediately checked on it. The travel time available though is sometime July to September. Hmm.. so this is tricky. Since elementary days, we know that storms usually pass by Batanes and July to September is the rainy season. But the promo is really tempting, so we’re trying our luck. Anyway, it’s still months before we’ll actually go there. We tried to invite some friends, but they don’t seem pleased on going there in July.
So last July 27 – 30, my sister and I went to Basco, Batanes! It was supposed to be a 4 day trip, but our flight on the first day got cancelled. Weather forecasts are good, but there was just a storm there few days before we went there. Knowing the Philippines to have easily changing weather forecasts, we do not really know what to expect.
Here’s my list of reasons why you need to go to Batanes. (In no particular order)
Batanes is one my best nature tours. Despite having foggy skies sometimes due to the rain, you’ll love the green hilly landscapes, clear blue waters and scenic, picturesque, wonderful surrounding. Walking and biking around could still be very relaxing. First, here’s Marlboro Hills. They named it after they have seen a Marlboro commercial on TV and thought that the view from the commercial is very like the place. Thus, they call it Marlboro Hills until now. We went here on our first day during our South Batan Tour.
And of course, where there is nature, there are a lot of animals too.
Oh, this is just a nice view! 🙂
Next is this lovely nature at Sabtang island at the Chamantad Cove. This is one of the highlights of the Sabtang Tour. It was tiring going up the slopes, but it was at the same time so relaxing to see the wonderful view.
I was so excited to have my picture near the edge of the rocky hills. Luckily, our guide was so game on taking the pictures and instructing us what to do! Haha!
Here’s at Mayahaw Arc at Morong Beach in Sabtang. We were there at lunch time, Mae and I did not dare have a swim, as we also have limited time. Anyway, this beautiful view is enough already. 🙂
Here’s at Valugan Boulder’s Beach. This was our last destination when Mae and I biked around North Batan. So there you can see how dark I am already when we came to the Boulder’s beach. Photo editing can’t hide it! Haha!
Another, here is at a local beach there.
Oh, and Batanes has the bluest skies and the bluest seas I’ve ever seen!
What is it with Batanes and lighthouses? Considering that Batanes is a group of islands, it makes much sense to have various lighthouses there. However, I just learned there that the lighthouses were just built, if I remember it right, about the early 2000’s. I think they did a good job adding those sites, making Batanes extra special. 🙂
Here’s the lighthouse at South Batan, somewhere near the Marlboro Hills.
Here’s the lighthouse at North Batan. We were able to explore the North Batan lighthouse more since we went there on bikes and we have more time to spend. It has the best view of the whole Batan islands.
Then here’s the lighthouse at Sabtang Island. Unfortunately, we were not able to have a closer view of it.
3. Rock houses
Batanes is known for its Rock houses. Since storms usually pass through Batanes, they need to build their houses so strong that no storm could ruin. Here’s the oldest rock house there is. It was built in the late 1800’s and is one of the few that survive a strong earthquake in the early 1900’s.
Here’s a hotel in Batanes, Fundacion Pacita, depicting a typical rock house there. It has been a tourist spot in itself as well, considering that it is located at the highest peak of Batan island, having a beautiful view of the whole Batanes. I think it will be a nice experience to stay there, but I think it’s the most expensive hotel in Batanes as well.
Then here’s at a village in Sabtang Island. We were allowed to enter the houses and have our picture taken.
4. Honesty Stores
Here’s the famous Honesty Store in Batanes owned by Tita Elena in the picture. She started the honesty store, when there came a time when she can’t watch over the store due to health reasons and the other tasks she needs to do.
It still hasn’t been a good start for her. There are still other people not honest enough to get her goods. With her positive outlook towards people, she still continued having the store, thinking that those who take goods there without paying might have really been in need. As the store became famous, her sales improved. It even became a model store in Batanes, the home we stayed there also followed the honesty system. There is a mini-honesty store for foods and drinks that we need.
5. New found friends
Since it was only me and my sister taking the Batanes trip, I never thought we’ll get in touch to new friendly people we spent the rest of the our days there with.
Here’s the first group from our South Batan Tour. Apparently, most of them are staying on the same house we were staying. So we had some people to share our ‘kwento‘ and dinner with.
Here’s another group from our Sabtang trip. These are the fun people who shared the top of the jeepney ride with us! Haha! 🙂
Eventually, we had the two groups meet each other. Like they say, the more the merrier! 🙂
Oh, and here’s another very friendly people we met: Ate Fe from Marfel’s Lodge. She assisted us through all our trips.
I seriously recommend Ate Fe’s Marfel Lodge. It was only a week before the trip, when I texted Marfel’s Lodge if they can still accommodate us for our stay in Batanes. From the internet, Marfel’s Lodge is already known as a cheap place to stay, comfortable and with very accommodating owners. And that’s the only thing we need ourselves to be ready with, a nice, cheap place to stay. Marfel’s Lodge is just a few minutes away from the airport, but their van still picked us up from the airport. It was already a good impression at the start. Since we did not sign up to any tours, we immediately asked Ate Fe if we can join a tour group from where the groups from the lodge are going to. She suggested that we can join the North Tour and that starts at 12pm so we can still rest in the morning. But since we came there at past 8am, and we would like to tour around already, Ate Fe made some more calls and voila, we’re already joining the South Batan Tour at 10am! 😀
During the night, she never skips to look for us and ask us how our day turned out. Of course, we got good happy stories to share! She knows how amazed we are about our trips. 🙂
Within the small islands of Batanes, there are various churches around. Here are some of the churches we visited at South Batan and Sabtang Island.
Here’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel during our Sabtang Tour. Only the guys went down to have a closer look. It was raining that time, so the girls opted to stay in the van. Haha!
7. Blow UR horn
The “Blow UR horn” sign has captured my attention during our trips. My sister and I were always in front of the van beside the driver during our trips and I can always see this sign, then the driver willingly complies. There were a lot of sharp turns along the way and they sure need to signal the other side if someone’s gonna pass. Every time I see the sign, I can’t help it to say, “Beep! Beep!” 😀
Besides the wonderful nature, Toploading the jeepney is one of the best experience ever! Haha! It was enjoying the amazing view while traveling, with a little adventure. Hehe. 🙂
So here’s our beautiful ride! 🙂
We didn’t mind passing through the narrow roads.
If you’re enjoying the photos, you’ll enjoy the video more! 🙂
9. Bike Adventure
Another highlight of our trip is my sister and I’s bike adventure. I was the one who insisted to roam around north Batan via bikes even though from the two of us, I was the one who is not fit enough and not very used to biking around. Haha! Mae keeps on laughing at how I drive my bike and on how tired I look, especially since North Batan is hilly. Haha! But I had so much fun biking around, appreciating the wonderful views and fresh air.
The Ivatans got yummy foods there too.
First, we tried most of the local foods from Jessica’s. It was a famous residence-turned- restaurant in Batanes. You will need to have your reservations there at least a day before to be able to dine there. Mae and I did not know about it, but good thing that are new found friends extended their reservation with us.
We were able to try there tamiduk (salad with steamed pako), kinilaw na isda, uvud balls and lunies (local adobo). Foods are served in Vunung, where it is diligently wrapped in a leaf. Yumyum!
From another restaurant, we were also able to try coconut crab and turmeric rice. The pictures already look delicious, I do not need to describe it to you. 🙂
On our last night, Mae and I tried the Napoli’s pizza, just for a change. Hehe.
11. Every place there is beautiful
I think this is what is special with Batanes. Literally everywhere you go is a beautiful view on itself! 🙂
A closed cafe.
I called this big jackstones at the port.
A random bench with a beautiful view.
Under the Mayahaw Arc.
A view from inside the Japanese Tunnel.
So that’s our three day tour in Batanes. There are some places more that we were not able to see due to limited time. I hope I can come back some time in the future! 🙂