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Ideas from a Native (2022)


One of many issues that all the time surprises my readers every time they request a Batanes itinerary or a prime listing of issues to do in Batanes is after they uncover the truth that I grew up on this beautiful 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 lady!)

» READ: Batanes Itinerary for five Days

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

  • It’s a small northern paradise that’s nearly 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‘ as a result 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 primary island and probably the most populated one because it has 6 districts (one in all 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 have been extensively unknown — at the least up till mid-2000 — that we even needed to right a well-liked 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 communicate or perceive Taiwanese.
  • Aircraft tickets generally is a tad too costly however it is going to be value each cent
    Kind of 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 images I’ll be posting but additionally with the highest 10 listing of issues to do in Batanes that I’ll be sharing.
    • You is likely to be pondering: why are the tickets costly? Properly, it was cheaper, like half of that value now and even decrease… however that was a time when there have been competing airways that have been touring to our island. Finally, as know-how progressed and the variety of individuals on flights are acknowledged as very low, the large airways didn’t discover our small airport as a really perfect 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 while you seize some promos!)
  • Virtually everybody is aware of each other
    We’ve got 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 seemingly say: “Ah! You’re the daughter of Adalid! How’s your mother?” — one thing like that.
    • By the best way, we, the ‘natives’ are referred to as “Ivatan” and our dialect/language is named that too. When you’re a foreigner, don’t fear about any doable language boundaries as a result of a LOT of locals know how one can communicate fluent English in contrast to another far-flung provinces within the Philippines.
  • It solely began to achieve publicity within the mid-2000s
    Our household typically went to Manila for holidays once 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 all the time reply again with an: “Ah, Batangas!” (A giant province in southwestern Luzon). I’ll, after all, attempt to right 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 try to right them on a regular basis. However after tourism efforts picked up some steam round 2008, Batanes is now one of the 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?!” (Apart from, it’s not day by day that you just meet somebody from my province).
    • Proper now, Batanes is finest identified for its untouched and unspoiled magnificence, and it has even earned a nomination on the UNESCO World Heritage Checklist.
  • We’ve got a really low crime price or no crime in any respect
    I nonetheless vividly keep in mind that we primarily had Taiwanese fishermen as our solely prisoners (as a result of they typically cross the border of the Philippines, do unlawful fishing inside our borders, and many others.). Aside 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 once I began dwelling completely in Manila, there was a section the place my pals must continually exclaim, “Why aren’t you holding on to your bag? You loopy girl, don’t depart it everywhere!”
    • What’s extra is that we even have this widespread Honesty Espresso Store whereby nobody mans the shop: we simply get the issues that we need to purchase after which we’ll drop our fee 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 right this false impression: we aren’t continually battered by typhoons. Individuals simply began having this ‘thought’ as a result of we’re usually used as a reference level throughout climate stories. Second, I’m actually unsure if it’s proper to say that we’ve 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 Might (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 huge firms appear to be making an attempt to bypass that now (I’ve learn of an article whereby San Miguel is planning to construct a resort right here, in partnership with an area. Let’s see how that goes… although in the event you ask me, I’d love for giant names to remain away as a result of I just like the appeal and state of Batanes as it’s. However I assume change is actually inevitable.)

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

TIP: Deliver money — bank cards should not extensively accepted nor used right here. Relaxation assured, we, the locals can communicate fluent English; so in the event you 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 an enormous thought of what Batanes can give you!)

With that stated and executed, every time you could have the money and time and are within the Philippines, I recommend that you just pack your baggage and e book a visit to this northern paradise! And when you’re there — from a full-blooded ‘Ivatan’ to you — here’s a listing of issues to do in Batanes that you must ABSOLUTELY comply with.

Come and take a look at this listing of the finest Batanes excursions which options one of the best 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 bundle charges; it’s owned by an area who’s a pal 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’ve got an AMAZING shoreline! When you ask me, we would simply have all of the forms 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 right 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 lovely coastal terrain, we even have a magical lagoon referred to as Homoron Blue Lagoon in Mahatao which can also be referred to as the Spaniard’s Lagoon as a result of, through the olden instances, solely the Spaniards have been allowed to take a dip in right here. (However definitely, now, anybody can… so take that, Spaniards of the Spanish period!)

If you’d like a photograph spree on one distinctive seashore, strive Valugan Seaside. There are these quite a few giant boulders which can be unfold out throughout the coast, charming loads of photographers and vacationers alike!

Aside from seashores, we frequently have caves close to the coast which can be additionally wonders in themselves, worthy of exploration. A number of the widespread 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 all the time bear in mind how my classmates and I’d 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 manner, or flash us a smile and we’ll appear to be a pricey pal that you just have identified for years.

We’ll even be more than pleased to reply your questions and make you are feeling at house. (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 identified 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 through the struggle in Uyugan, or to the Ruins of Songsong, a gaggle of roofless previous stone homes that have been deserted within the 50s when a tidal wave hit Batan.

We even have a LOT of WWII memorials or landmarks and we frequently 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 bike and simply head to the Ivana municipality (the place it’s positioned).

Study our well-known headgear too! It’s referred to 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: It’s best to 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: E book on-line to order your spot on a Sabtang day tour!

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

Itbayat is the most important 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 just one,000+).

Aside from these 3 occupied islands, you may strive visiting the unspoiled ones within the gray textual content above.

I imagine Siayan and Mavudis (Y’Ami) are at the moment 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 robust over these elements, so the journeys can be a little bit of a journey!

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4. See the standard stone homes

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

…Most likely as a result of they heard of the time period ‘stone homes’. I resisted the urge to snort however, no, we don’t stay in caves, darling. Our ‘stone homes’ are very like another home, however constructed with totally different supplies.

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

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

Many of the homes are fashionable brick or cement homes now; however, don’t fret! There are nonetheless loads of stone homes within the different districts like Ivana and Mahatao, nevertheless it’s in Itbayat and Sabtang the place you possibly can 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 may rival the fantastic thing about New Zealand. So heed my recommendation and head to the hills: benefit from the view, take soar photographs 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 photographs in one of many quite a few picturesque spots — which is like… all over the place!

One couldn’t even name it a ‘Batanes’ expertise in the event you received’t take the chance of happening a hike. There are simply so many areas to discover! When you can, I strongly advise that you just 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 all the time been the Naidi Hills (the place you possibly can additionally discover the Basco lighthouse). I even bear in mind the numerous instances that my classmates and I’d roll down the hills, after which I’d arrive house with bruises and bits of grass in my hair and on my garments — however with a VERY huge smile on my face… island life FOR THE WIN!

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

We truly name it ‘Rakuh a Payaman’ in our language (which accurately means: an enormous place the place you may 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 nicely!

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

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6. Go to the man-made sights

Aside 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 loads of church buildings which have been constructed within the 70s or 80s. Some have been renovated like the primary church in Basco referred to as the St. Dominic de Guzman Cathedral nevertheless it nonetheless holds the identical appeal that it had again then.

Each municipality has church buildings of its personal as nicely; however one of the iconic ones it appears is that of Mahatao’s church: San Carlos Borromeo Church. This was inbuilt 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, in order for you a soothing 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!

It is a should!

There are retailers 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, nevertheless, I might have solely counted the automobiles with my fingers Relaxation assured, I don’t assume there can be a lot of them anyhow as a result of our roads should not that vast and it’s way more enjoyable with a motorbike.

Now that you’ve got your bike, go and journey alongside the winding and cliff-hugging roads that join one in all our municipalities to the subsequent. Keep in mind to blow your horn when on a curved street!

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

Apart from, you get to manage extra of your time and route as you journey by Batan. Be certain that to test by the View Deck in Mahatao that’s referred to as ‘Chawa‘. It offers you a beautiful view of our cliffs and it even has a steep staircase that can lead you to the underside shoreline. Afterward, while you attain Uyugan, see the Alapad Move which has an impressive rock formation and a improbable view of the encompassing seashores.

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8. Expertise native public transportation just like the faluwa!

When you’ve executed #7, you’ve skilled a journey for people, so now, I believe it’s time that you just strive our transportation for teams!

First up: our jeepneys. Positive, you could have these autos 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 in contrast to a lot of the boats within the Philippines as a result of ours don’t have the outriggers. Our smaller boats referred to as tataya, don’t have outriggers as nicely — why? As a result of on this manner, the boats can glide freely in tough or turbulent waves.

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

However I guarantee you, it’s secure. The journey is likely to be wild and loopy however more often than not, it received’t be. Apart from, it’s one in all our transportation autos; we received’t preserve utilizing it if individuals preserve dying, proper?

Anyhow, as a bonus for driving a faluwa, you may even get to see dolphins. However after all, you may solely journey a faluwa in the event you enterprise out to the opposite islands like Sabtang or Itbayat as one in all your issues to do in Batanes — which you must!

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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 you must witness is Batanes Day (which occurs on June 26) and it’s often a week-long celebration consisting of gala’s, parades, sports activities festivals, and exhibits.

Different festivities are:

  • Might 1: Ivana Fiesta
  • Might 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’ve got loads of occasions taking place through the holidays, and in the event you’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’re free to step into somebody’s home — everybody can be joyful to accommodate and feed you (sure, even in the event you’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 just ABSOLUTELY strive the payi (lobster), tatus (coconut crab; sure they do eat coconuts), and dibang (flying fish)! You’d be shocked how seafood right here could be very low cost, however I assume it might nonetheless make sense to you since we are an island.

Personally, I miss tatus that I swear, I’d kill to have it on my dinner desk each night time! ♥ We is likely to be 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 in your cooperation in order that they will repopulate and be taken off of the endangered listing.

Different fish dishes you must strive are arayu, doradu, mahi-mahi. Attempt the lataven a amung (kinilaw) too which is an ideal pair in 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 fingers 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 one of the best place to remain in Batanes?

For Batanes resort decisions and one of the best value or packaged offers, I recommend trying out Agoda and When you’re somewhat keen on renting reasonably priced but comfy homes or flats, all the time test AirBnB as there are a variety of nice decisions there to be discovered.

The place can I alternate cash in Batanes?

There are NO cash alternate services in Batanes, however there are just a few ATMs (Landbank and PNB who settle for Bancnet/Megalink & Expressnet playing cards). Provided that truth, it’s finest to alternate your cash for Philippine pesos in Manila earlier than flying into Batanes. Don’t trouble 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 sort of restricted and gradual. Some inns have it however they’ll typically ask for an additional cost to make use of it; in the event you don’t need that, you should purchase a Sensible or Globe SIM card however they’ll solely have LTE sign energy. There are additionally some pc cafes present in Basco with a good 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 one of the best months to go to Batanes, how one can get round, and many others. — come and skim my Batanes Itinerary information!

• • •


There are nonetheless a LOT of different issues to do in Batanes! Apart from, I imagine that with the optimistic response that we’ve been receiving from vacationers, it’s seemingly 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 before everything.

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

By the best way, I assume I’ve to confess one thing… I believe that if I have been requested to stay in Batanes once more, I couldn’t do it. I imply, not but. Perhaps once I’m previous, I’ll undoubtedly contemplate spending the final years of my life right here! However definitely not now, once 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 is going to be a superb thought so that you can take a while away on this northern paradise! Particularly in case you are searching for a break out of your busy life, or in case you are in search of a change of surroundings.

When you’re additionally aiming to expertise some simplicity and tranquility in life, Batanes is certain to convey 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 like about it, so if you end up within the Philippines, don’t you ever neglect this place and that you must 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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