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Ideas from a Native (2022)

One of many issues that at all times surprises my readers each time they request a Batanes itinerary or a prime record of issues to do in Batanes is after they uncover the truth that I grew up on this gorgeous group of Philippine islands. (Although I used to be born in Manila, I used to be raised in Batanes — to not point out the truth that I’m a full-blooded Ivatan native — and I stayed there up till I used to be 15. So YES, I’m a legit island woman!)

» READ: Batanes Itinerary for five Days

Now if you happen to’re studying this and also you’re not from the Philippines, let me let you know some fascinating info about my beautiful hometown.
NOTE: Merely click on the ‘+’ image under to open up the part

  • It’s a small northern paradise that’s virtually close to Taiwan
    Batanes is the northern-most group of islands within the Philippines and it’s dubbed by tourism officers because the nation’s ‘Residence of the Winds‘ because of its usually cool and windy climate. It’s a small province that contains of 10 islands however with solely 3 inhabited ones, particularly: Batan, Sabtang, & Itbayat — with Batan being the principle island and probably the most populated one because it has 6 districts (considered one of which is Basco, the provincial ‘capital’ which I’ve lived in for 15 years).
    • To show much more how small we’re, there naturally was a time that we had been broadly unknown — at the least up till mid-2000 — that we even needed to appropriate a preferred native TV present after they declared one other island under us, Aparri, because the farthest northern one (oh no you didn’t, Eat Bulaga!). It’s additionally simply 190km south of Taiwan however, NO, we the locals don’t converse or perceive Taiwanese.
  • Airplane tickets is usually a tad too costly however it will likely be value each cent
    Roughly Php 4,000 to 10,000 for a one-way journey… that’s costly, proper? However I child you not, it’s going to be value it and also you’ll know why, not solely with the photographs I’ll be posting but additionally with the highest 10 record of issues to do in Batanes that I’ll be sharing.
    • You is perhaps considering: why are the tickets costly? Nicely, it was once cheaper, like half of that worth now and even decrease… however that was a time when there have been competing airways that had been touring to our island. Finally, as know-how progressed and the variety of individuals on flights are acknowledged as very low, the massive airways didn’t discover our small airport as a great touchdown floor and they didn’t additionally discover the flights as worthwhile. So ultimately, just one (or few different) small airways are actually going to Batanes. (Then once more, the tickets may be cheaper whenever you seize some promos!)
  • Virtually everybody is aware of each other
    We now have a whole inhabitants of solely 16,000+, making us the smallest province within the nation. Given this truth, it’s anticipated that just about each native know who’s who. So long as you point out your final title, they’ll probably say: “Ah! You’re the daughter of Adalid! How’s your mother?” — one thing like that.
    • By the best way, we, the ‘natives’ are known as “Ivatan” and our dialect/language is named that too. In case you’re a foreigner, don’t fear about any doable language obstacles as a result of a LOT of locals know methods to converse fluent English not like another far-flung provinces within the Philippines.
  • It solely began to achieve publicity within the mid-2000s
    Our household usually went to Manila for holidays after I was younger. At any time when I meet new individuals or in the event that they hear my ‘uncommon’ language, I’ve to inform them the place I got here from; as soon as I do, they at all times reply again with an: “Ah, Batangas!” (An enormous province in southwestern Luzon). I’ll, after all, attempt to appropriate them and after they lastly get what I’m saying, there’ll nonetheless be this puzzled expression on their faces since they clearly have by no means heard of my hometown in any respect. Finally, I simply felt that it was a misplaced trigger to attempt to appropriate them on a regular basis. However after tourism efforts picked up some steam round 2008, Batanes is now one of the crucial sought-out locations within the Philippines — so as a substitute of the previous reactions that I’ve been receiving, I’m now met with phrases like: “OMG you’re from Batanes?!” (In addition to, it’s not day-after-day that you simply meet somebody from my province).
    • Proper now, Batanes is finest recognized for its untouched and unspoiled magnificence, and it has even earned a nomination on the UNESCO World Heritage Record.
  • We now have a really low crime fee or no crime in any respect
    I nonetheless vividly do not forget that we primarily had Taiwanese fishermen as our solely prisoners (as a result of they usually cross the border of the Philippines, do unlawful fishing inside our borders, and many others.). Apart from this, I additionally bear in mind leaving my bag ANYWHERE and I can nonetheless come again to it, assured that I’ve all my possessions full and intact. I used to be so used to this way of life that after I began dwelling completely in Manila, there was a section the place my buddies must continuously exclaim, “Why aren’t you holding on to your bag? You loopy lady, don’t depart it all over!”
    • What’s extra is that we even have this well-liked Honesty Espresso Store whereby nobody mans the shop: we simply get the issues that we need to purchase after which we’ll drop our cost by the drop field.
  • NOT a typhoon-infested land and it’s the one place within the Philippines that experiences tropical 4 seasons
    First I want to appropriate this false impression: we’re not continuously battered by typhoons. Individuals simply began having this ‘thought’ as a result of we’re usually used as a reference level throughout climate reviews. Second, I’m actually undecided if it’s proper to say that we’ve got 4 seasons; it’s not an official factor both… however we do have very chilly and chilly days from November to February. Our hottest months are from March to Could (with April because the driest) and the remainder of the months are sometimes wet (with August being the month the place we largely expertise typhoons).
  • The sale of our lands is rigorously moderated
    We purpose to have land house owners to be Ivatans at most, however some massive companies appear to be making an attempt to avoid that now (I’ve learn of an article whereby San Miguel is planning to construct a lodge right here, in partnership with a neighborhood. Let’s see how that goes… although if you happen to ask me, I might love for large names to remain away as a result of I just like the attraction and state of Batanes as it’s. However I suppose change is actually inevitable.)

I hope that these info have helped piqued your curiosity and wanderlust for Batanes! Going ahead, my statements may come off as ‘biased’, coming from me who’s a neighborhood, however head on to Google and seek for Batanes opinions and also you’ll absolutely see numerous vacationers singing praises as effectively! *beams with delight*

TIP: Deliver money — bank cards usually are not broadly accepted nor used right here. Relaxation assured, we, the locals can converse fluent English; so if you happen to ever want help, don’t ever be afraid to ask round (for instructions, suggestions) and everybody will be very glad that can assist you out (or you realize… simply proceed studying this and also you’ll have already got a giant thought of what Batanes can give you!)

With that mentioned and executed, each time you’ve got the money and time and are within the Philippines, I counsel that you simply pack your luggage and guide a visit to this northern paradise! And when you’re there — from a full-blooded ‘Ivatan’ to you — here’s a record of issues to do in Batanes that it’s best to ABSOLUTELY comply with.

Come and take a look at this record of the finest Batanes excursions which options the most effective actions and guided packages to do in locations like Basco, Sabtang, and extra.
You too can inquire with Iraya Journey & Excursions for his or her package deal charges; it’s owned by a neighborhood who’s a buddy of mine, or with Batanes Journey & Excursions — simply allow them to know that I referred you to them!

Issues to Do in Batanes

1. Go to the seashores

We now have an AMAZING shoreline! In case you ask me, we’d simply have all of the sorts of seashores there may be.

For my picks, strive Chadpidan Seaside and Nakabuang Seaside. And sure sir, we do have seashores that may equal the fantastic thing about Boracay! The proper plan? Simply lounge by the shore, have a picnic, grill some fish (strive Batanes’ favourite fish: the ‘dibang‘ or flying fish), seize some booze and play some music!

Uncover the opposite seashores in your ow too — although if I can provide you one other tip, apart from trying out Diura Village’s stunning coastal terrain, we even have a magical lagoon known as Homoron Blue Lagoon in Mahatao which can also be known as the Spaniard’s Lagoon as a result of, throughout the olden instances, solely the Spaniards had been allowed to take a dip in right here. (However actually, now, anybody can… so take that, Spaniards of the Spanish period!)

If you need a photograph spree on one distinctive seashore, strive Valugan Seaside. There are these quite a few massive boulders which can be unfold out throughout the coast, charming numerous photographers and vacationers alike!

Apart from seashores, we regularly have caves close to the coast which can be additionally wonders in themselves, worthy of exploration. A number of the well-liked ones are Chawa Cave in Mahatao and Nakabuang Cave in Nakabuang Seaside in Sabtang.

You shouldn’t even dare depart the island with out witnessing at the least one dawn and sundown. I at all times bear in mind how my classmates and I might take pleasure in going to the closest seashore after faculty hours, after which driving our bikes to go to the distant ones for an extended picnic on the weekends!

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2. Stroll round: get to know the Ivatan individuals, their historical past, and tradition

We, the Ivatans, are most likely the warmest of us that you’ll ever meet in your entire life! We are typically a bit shy at first, however go and strike up a dialog, ship a greeting our method, or flash us a smile and we’ll appear to be a pricey buddy that you simply have recognized for years.

We’ll even be more than pleased to reply your questions and make you’re feeling at residence. (Although I’m fairly certain that now, with the regular stream of vacationers coming in to the island, my fellow Ivatans are most likely extra proactive to approaching and greeting foreigners, extra so than ever earlier than).

For one of many issues to do in Batanes that you shouldn’t miss out on, it’s to go to the Fundacion Pacita Lodge in Basco, the previous home of internationally recognized artist Pacita Abad who was a full-blooded Ivatan (as pictured above).

…or, go to the ruins of the LORAN (Lengthy Vary Navigation) Station, a former US facility throughout the warfare in Uyugan, or to the Ruins of Songsong, a gaggle of roofless outdated stone homes that had been deserted within the 50s when a tidal wave hit Batan.

We even have a LOT of WWII memorials or landmarks and we regularly make up ghost tales about them; there’s even the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel in Basco constructed additionally throughout WWII.

If you wish to witness the Honesty Espresso Store that I discussed on the prime of this submit, lease a motorcycle and simply head to the Ivana municipality (the place it’s positioned).

Study our well-known headgear too! It’s known as vakul (for girls) and talugong (for males). Not lots of people put on this (it’s largely the elder ones because it helps defend them from the rain and solar after they’re out on the fields) nevertheless it’s an emblem of our tradition and previous.

TIP: You must meet lolo Elo Hostallero in Sabtang (the oldest man in Batanes) and lola Ida Estrella in the home of Dakay (she owns the oldest home in Batanes).

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3. Go to the opposite islands

I’ve already talked about this above, however I’ll point out it once more: Batanes is a gaggle of 10 islands with 3 inhabited ones. They’re Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat.

TIP: Ebook on-line to order your spot on a Sabtang day tour!

Batan is the principle a part of Batanes and it contains the districts Basco (the provincial ‘capital’), Mahatao, Ivana, Uyugan, Itbud, and Imnajbu.

Itbayat is the biggest within the group of islands, nevertheless it’s not probably the most populated (Batan is). Sabtang is the southernmost island and the least populated (round only one,000+).

Apart from these 3 occupied islands, you possibly can strive visiting the unspoiled ones within the gray textual content above.

I imagine Siayan and Mavudis (Y’Ami) are presently the one two islands which can be open for vacationers and it primarily constitutes touring first to Mavudis after which staying an evening in Siayan — since Mavudis has no moveable water. Bear in mind that the sea waves may be fairly sturdy over these components, so the journeys could be a little bit of a trip!

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4. See the standard stone homes

I bear in mind somebody asking me earlier than: “So that you guys reside in caves?”

…In all probability as a result of they heard of the time period ‘stone homes’. I resisted the urge to snicker however, no, we don’t reside in caves, darling. Our ‘stone homes’ are very like some other home, however constructed with completely different supplies.

In our language, we name our homes as ‘vahay‘. As per Batanes historical past, we used to reside within the highlands in cogon homes, however the Spaniards compelled us to the lowlands and taught us methods to construct stone homes utilizing limestone and corals — which was fairly useful as a result of these might really face up to sturdy typhoons and even earthquakes (which we often expertise).

I’ve lived in the principle municipality of Batanes — Basco, a extra city place than the remainder of the municipalities — and it virtually has no inhabited stone home left.

Many of the homes are trendy brick or cement homes now; however, don’t fret! There are nonetheless numerous stone homes within the different districts like Ivana and Mahatao, nevertheless it’s in Itbayat and Sabtang the place you could possibly see extra of the stone home communities with locals dwelling in it.

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5. Benefit from the rolling hills!

Virtually half of Batanes’ panorama is hilly and mountainous; which makes the place iconic in itself. In any case, some do enjoy the truth that it might probably rival the fantastic thing about New Zealand. So heed my recommendation and head to the hills: benefit from the view, take soar pictures if you’ll, and hike!

However yeah, one doesn’t merely depart with out doing top-of-the-line issues to do in Batanes: taking soar pictures in one of many quite a few picturesque spots — which is like… in every single place!

One couldn’t even name it a ‘Batanes’ expertise if you happen to gained’t take the chance of happening a hike. There are simply so many areas to discover! In case you can, I strongly advise that you simply discover a while to trek Mt. Iraya! It’s a dormant volcano rising at round 1,517 meters; the highest may be reached in 3 hours and mountaineering or trail-blazing of us would take pleasure in this terrain.

As for the hills, my favourite place ever since I used to be a baby has at all times been the Naidi Hills (the place you could possibly additionally discover the Basco lighthouse). I even bear in mind the numerous instances that my classmates and I might roll down the hills, after which I’d arrive residence with bruises and bits of grass in my hair and on my garments — however with a VERY massive smile on my face… island life FOR THE WIN!

The icing to the cake: drop by the island’s personal ‘Marlboro Nation’!

We really name it ‘Rakuh a Payaman’ in our language (which accurately means: an unlimited place the place you possibly can stroll round) and it showcases a breathtaking view of huge pasture lands and dramatic cliffs, with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. It’s clearly communal pastureland the place free-roaming cows and carabaos laze round, however YOU can laze round as effectively!

TIP: To seize all of those prime sights, guide on-line a 3-day tour throughout Batanes!

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6. Go to the man-made sights

Apart from our stone homes, strive visiting a few of our church buildings and lighthouses as a part of your issues to do in Batanes.

The islands have numerous church buildings which have been constructed within the 70s or 80s. Some have been renovated like the principle church in Basco known as the St. Dominic de Guzman Cathedral nevertheless it nonetheless holds the identical attraction that it had again then.

Each municipality has church buildings of its personal as effectively; however one of the crucial iconic ones it appears is that of Mahatao’s church: San Carlos Borromeo Church. This was in-built 1873 and has been declared a cultural icon by the NCCA (Nationwide Fee for Tradition and the Arts) and the Nationwide Museum.

In any other case, if you’d like a calming dip, go to the Spring of Youth — a man-made pool with spring water and a view of the Pacific Ocean and Mt. Iraya.

Batanes is specked with lighthouses too; witness the rounded Basco Lighthouse (in Naidi Hill) that faces the West Philippine Sea and the hexagonal Tayid Ligthouse in Mahatao that faces the Pacific Ocean

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7. Roam round on two wheels and see extra sights!

This can be a should!

There are outlets that lend you bicycles and bikes, so go forward and lease one! These are our frequent means of transportation apart from the jeepneys; although, I’m fairly certain that there are extra automobiles going round Batanes now.

Years in the past, nonetheless, I might have solely counted the automobiles with my arms Relaxation assured, I don’t suppose there could be a lot of them in any case as a result of our roads usually are not that extensive and it’s way more enjoyable with a motorcycle.

Now that you’ve got your bike, go and journey alongside the winding and cliff-hugging roads that join considered one of our municipalities to the following. Bear in mind to blow your horn when on a curved highway!

f you’re up for it, you possibly can bike from Basco as much as the tip of Batan island which is Imnajbu; it’s an extended bike, alright! However my buddies and I’ve executed this numerous instances and we normally end in simply half a day! It was soooo superior!

In addition to, you get to manage extra of your time and route as you journey by means of Batan. Ensure to examine by the View Deck in Mahatao that’s known as ‘Chawa‘. It offers you a beautiful view of our cliffs and it even has a steep staircase that may lead you to the underside shoreline. Afterward, whenever you attain Uyugan, see the Alapad Go which has an impressive rock formation and a incredible view of the encircling seashores.

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8. Expertise native public transportation just like the faluwa!

In case you’ve executed #7, you’ve skilled a trip for people, so now, I feel it’s time that you simply strive our transportation for teams!

First up: our jeepneys. Positive, you’ve got these automobiles in each a part of the Philippines, however ours make journeys on picturesque cliffs and sea views.

Second: our faluwa. It’s our native Ivatan motorized boat that’s not like many of the boats within the Philippines as a result of ours don’t have the outriggers. Our smaller boats known as tataya, don’t have outriggers as effectively — why? As a result of on this method, the boats can glide freely in tough or turbulent waves.

The faluwa is very like Noah’s ark, however smaller after all! Vacationers usually discover it scary (effectively really, I discover it scary too) as a result of think about this boat and a sea full of massive waves… And effectively, it appears like a recipe for catastrophe, proper?

However I guarantee you, it’s protected. The trip is perhaps wild and loopy however more often than not, it gained’t be. In addition to, it’s considered one of our transportation automobiles; we gained’t maintain utilizing it if individuals maintain dying, proper?

Anyhow, as a bonus for driving a faluwa, you possibly can even get to see dolphins. However after all, you possibly can solely trip a faluwa if you happen to enterprise out to the opposite islands like Sabtang or Itbayat as considered one of your issues to do in Batanes — which it’s best to!

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9. Attempt to attend at the least one fiesta

I promise you, it will get actually full of life and enjoyable! You’ll get to see cultural displays just like the native Palo-Palo Dance, Fundanggo, Sagalas & Gozos, and extra!

The primary fiesta it’s best to witness is Batanes Day (which occurs on June 26) and it’s normally a week-long celebration consisting of gala’s, parades, sports activities festivals, and exhibits.

Different festivities are:

  • Could 1: Ivana Fiesta
  • Could 10: Uyugan Fiesta
  • June 13: Diptan Fiest
  • June 27: Valugan Fiesta
  • August 8: Basco Fiesta
  • November 4: Mahatao Fiesta

r simply be there for Christmas! We now have numerous occasions taking place throughout the holidays, and if you happen to’re from the Philippines, you may get to expertise an actual chilly Christmas right here.

And naturally, very like any feast within the nation, you might be free to step into somebody’s home — everybody will probably be blissful to accommodate and feed you (sure, even if you happen to’re a complete stranger). Simply say: “Kapian kamu pa nu dios!”, introduce yourselves, and have fun the event with the locals. Have enjoyable!

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10. Eat, eat, EAT!

As a seafood lover, I counsel that you simply ABSOLUTELY strive the payi (lobster), tatus (coconut crab; sure they do eat coconuts), and dibang (flying fish)! You’d be stunned how seafood right here could be very low cost, however I suppose it might nonetheless make sense to you since we are an island.

Personally, I miss tatus that I swear, I might kill to have it on my dinner desk each evening! ♥ We is perhaps the one place within the Philippines which have these coconut crabs!

UPDATE AS OF 2017: It has now been declared that tatus is an endangered species in Batanes. Therefore, consuming it’s unlawful. We dearly hope on your cooperation in order that they’ll repopulate and be taken off of the endangered record.

Different fish dishes it’s best to strive are arayu, doradu, mahi-mahi. Strive the lataven a amung (kinilaw) too which is an ideal pair on your bottle of beer!

Rootcrops: pinasu a wakay, dukay, gabi, and amay (mashed candy potato and taro). And sure, always remember to strive vunes (dried gabi) and uved (pork balls with flying fish and banana trunk). For absolutely the expertise: eat it together with your arms and on a vunung leaf!

» READ: Batanes Meals – What & The place to Eat for the Greatest Ivatan Delicacies

• • •

Batanes Journey F.A.Q.

The place is the most effective place to remain in Batanes?

For Batanes lodge decisions and the most effective worth or packaged offers, I counsel trying out Agoda and In case you’re relatively desirous about renting inexpensive but snug homes or flats, at all times examine AirBnB as there are a selection of nice decisions there to be discovered.

The place can I change cash in Batanes?

There are NO cash change services in Batanes, however there are a number of ATMs (Landbank and PNB who settle for Bancnet/Megalink & Expressnet playing cards). Provided that truth, it’s finest to change your cash for Philippine pesos in Manila earlier than flying into Batanes. Don’t hassle whipping out your bank card both as a result of there aren’t any institutions within the islands both that settle for it.

What’s the energy socket utilized in Batanes?

Batanes primarily makes use of plug sort A (two flat parallel pins) and operates on a 220V voltage with a frequency of 60Hz.

How’s the web connection in Batanes?

Provided that Batanes is a far-flung group of islands, the web connection right here is kind of restricted and gradual. Some lodges have it however they’ll usually ask for an additional cost to make use of it; if you happen to don’t need that, you should buy a Good or Globe SIM card however they’ll solely have LTE sign power. There are additionally some pc cafes present in Basco with an honest web connection, primarily utilized by the youthful ones for gaming — however nonetheless, these are value a shot.

Desire a detailed Batanes journey information?

For more information about the most effective months to go to Batanes, methods to get round, and many others. — come and skim my Batanes Itinerary information!

• • •


There are nonetheless a LOT of different issues to do in Batanes! In addition to, I imagine that with the optimistic response that we’ve got been receiving from vacationers, it’s probably that there are quite a few different actions which can be being supplied (like scuba diving, browsing, and many others.). Regardless of this, I nonetheless would attempt to coerce you to take a look at our pure and man-made sights at the beginning.

Indulge your self and take your time to soak all of the surprise in!

By the best way, I suppose I’ve to confess one thing… I feel that if I had been requested to reside in Batanes once more, I couldn’t do it. I imply, not but. Possibly after I’m outdated, I’ll undoubtedly take into account spending the final years of my life right here! However actually not now, after I’m nonetheless on the bustling enterprise to take advantage of out of my youth. (It looks like I’m nonetheless conditioned to the city metropolis life).

Saying that is NOT a foul factor although as a result of it brings me to the conclusion that it will likely be an excellent thought so that you can take a while away on this northern paradise! Particularly if you’re in search of a break out of your busy life, or if you’re searching for a change of surroundings.

In case you’re additionally aiming to expertise some simplicity and tranquility in life, Batanes is bound to carry you again to the fundamentals because it additionally brings you nearer to nature.

Merely put: it’s the PERFECT getaway!

That is however simply one of many many traits that I really like about it, so if you end up within the Philippines, don’t you ever neglect this place and that it’s best to completely do these prime 10 issues to do in Batanes when you’ve arrived — you’ll undoubtedly have an EPIC and MEMORABLE time. Assured!

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