Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Travel Post: Batanes

Hey loves!

I'm no travel blogger but I just have to post about my recent vacation with the family at Batanes. We don't go on vacations much mostly because of my mom's busy schedule. So we're very happy that we finally were able to go out of town that's not near Metro Manila. We always try to plan an outing but it doesn't usually push through. We suck at planning and my mom changes her mind quite often (she's a doctor and it can be quite difficult to leave her patients for a vacation). But last February, there was a Travel and Tour Expo at SMX. We were on a search for an affordable ticket to L.A. because I wanted to visit my best friend, Rica, who is currently living there. After buying a PAL ticket to L.A., we were told that local flight fares were discounted big time. How big? Well, the usual tickets for Batanes is 14k but we got ours for only Php 1.8k—roundtrip. We were lucky that there were still seats available to Batanes. Almost every flight was full already since we went during the last day of the expo. 

We're glad that there's available seats for the flight that was going to Batanes this summer because we've seen shows that featured the place and it looked so beautiful. I really tried my best to convince my mom to buy us tickets and she did!

By the way, Batanes is located at the northernmost part of the Philippines. It is made up of 3 islands—Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat.

Shot taken at the southern part of Batan Island, Batanes.

So first tip, always try to find discounts before purchasing a plane ticket. ;) Not all local airlines have planes going to Batanes. I think Cebu Pacific can't yet. That's probably why tickets can be expensive.

Second tip, always plan your itinerary weeks or even months ahead. We had no idea what was there in Batanes and we do not have relatives nor friends who stay there. It was important that we get tour guides for the place. Also, we will be staying for 4 days and 3 nights so we need to book a place where we can stay. I heard that many travel guides get fully booked so better be prepared and book weeks before your flight.

My brother and I made some research and there are many travel packages available online. My brother was the one who did the reservations and it was under Ms. Lydia of Hiro's Travel and Tours. She was very professional and she made sure that our stay in Batanes will be fun and hassle-free.


April 6, 2014—It was around 9 in the morning when we arrived at Basco, Batanes.


It was colder compared to the very hot temperature in Manila. I think it was around 8 degrees celsius cooler.

We were picked up by Ms. Hilda, one of our tour guides during our trip. They took us to Ms. Lydia's cafe...


The place was small but very homey. It looks like a typical Filipino house. Ms. Lydia welcomed us and informed us about what our 4 days, 3 nights would be like. 

And btw, Ms. Lydia is like a superwoman. Besides managing Hiro's Travel and Tours, she also cooks for her cafe/resto and owns a tailor shop.

Anyway, we LOVE her cooking. My bro especially. He took these pics of some of the food we ate:





The pic above is candied tomatoes. Yes, TOMATOES. And they are super yummy! 

Here's us posting with Ms. Lydia. <3 font="">

The package we got from Ms. Lydia is the 4 days, 3 nights package with lodging, food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), transportation (vans and boats) and tours. It costs 11k per person. It might sound expensive but everything is already taken care of for you.

1st day—Arrival, Tour: North Batan Island
2nd Day—Sabtang Island Tour
3rd Day—South Batan Island
4th Day—Departure

We stayed at the Novita House. It's a home stay at the heart of the city of Basco. I think this is better for us compared to staying at a hotel since it's a lot quieter, we get the house to ourselves, and during late in the afternoon after our tour, we get to walk around town to shop for souvenirs and stuff from their local market and thrift shops.

Below are pics of the Novita House:

The Novita house is air conditioned with two bathrooms, 3 queen size beds, a TV, and hot and cold water for bathing are available.

So for the first day, we toured the northern part of Batan Island. I think this was the least interesting for me if I compare it to the other two days of our trip. But I was still excited and I was so amazed at how beautiful Batanes is that I didn't felt that way during that time. I think it's better to visit the northern part first so that things get more exciting because the days 2 and 3 of our trip were a lot more enjoying.

Anyway, I'll just post some pictures of the places we visited. I would rather have you experience and learn about these places personally instead. :)














And that was DAY 1!
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On our 2nd day, we woke up pretty early so that we can catch the boat to Sabtang Island. It's the island near Batan and it's population is less than 2,000.


Oh yeah, my mom didn't like the boat ride. LOL It took 30 minutes before we arrived to Sabtang Island. It was bumpy but according to the locals, it was actually a good day that day. I can't imagine what it would be like if the sea's waves were strong... 


The famous stone houses of the Ivatans! These are made out of rocks, corals, limestones and cogon grass.







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DAY 3 is all about the southern part of Batan Island.













Oooh, we were toured by Ms. Hilda (the one with the black cap) during our 3rd day in Batanes. She's one of the well-known tour guides there. Do get in-touch with her if you have plans on visiting the islands.

And we were also joined by Kuya Gerry and Ate Agnes during our tour in South Batan. It's always great to meet new friends. :)






I have to mention the Honesty Cafe. Why was it called such? It's because no one's there to guard the place. It's a store where you can get some food or souvenirs, list the items you'll take, and just drop the money in a box. You just have to be honest. Try to give exact cash since no one will be there to give change. You can always give tips. Haha! It's weird but interesting.


And that's that I guess. I took hundreds of pictures but I'll just share these with you since it's best if you can see these places yourself. I really recommend that you visit this awesome place. I believe the land is much greener during the later months of the year. We visited during April (summer) that's why the grasses were dry and brown. :P

And also, a special mention to this sign:


Can you believe, the Ivatans already have this sign even before there's cellphones and texting? They already shorten their "your" to "UR." Haha! Fascinating! You'll get to see these signs on the roads because there are a lot of zigzag parts since the place is mostly uphill, so to avoid accidents, BLOW UR HORN! Haha!

It was definitely one of our best vacations. Batanes is really beautiful and I hope more people would go there and discover how lovely it is. 

Hope this post is somehow helpful if you're planning to go there. I also hope you liked my photos and that they convinced you to visit this wonderful place!


Cheers,
DAWN

6 comments:

  1. Ahhh! Batanes. One of my dream Philippine destinations. :)
    Great post. Love ur pics! :)

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    Replies
    1. You should visit it someday! I'm sure you'll enjoy there as well! :D

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  2. Sooo freaking beautiful! I love quiet and relaxing getaways and this looked like you all had a great time unwinding! The seaside shot is just fantastic, the water color is sooo turquoise and I love seeing the landscapes! Do check out my Krabi beach holiday post! I got back from my holiday almost a month ago and I also am not a travel blogger but I love posting when I do travel!

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    1. We really did! Our Batanes trip is one of our most memorable vacations. :) I'll check out your post and maybe I'll know which place to go next. :D

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  3. Hi Dundeh! Loved your Batanes post! Sayang we weren't able to go to the Travel Expo in SMX, wild pala talaga mga sale dun. Anyways we're going to Batanes this June, sana walang bagyo :) a friend recently went there (nauna lang ata siya ng 1-2 days sayo) and makulimlim nung nandun siya. Looks like the weather was perfect while you were there :)

    Lalo ako naexcite nung nakita ko tong pics! Any tips saan masarap na resto? Mahal daw food dyan sabi ng friend ko eh. Hehe!

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    1. Our first day was also little cloudy but on the 2nd and 3rd day, the sun showed up. :)

      Lydia's was the only place we ate at besides at the lighthouse (medyo pricey) and the cafe at Sabtang (our meals here were already included in the package so I don't really know how much the food there is). We didn't eat at other places so I don't have any to recommend. :(

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