The Many Faces of Batanes

The Many Faces of Batanes

Batanes is one of my ultimate dream local destinations. I used to google and daydream so much about this place. Now that Ive actually been to this province, I cant believe that I still find myself daydreaming about Batanes. I can give you a hundred reasons why you have to visit this place but I will let my photos do most of the talking. Batanes will not just captivate you with its beauty, it will also warm your heart with the kindness of its people. I promise you, you’d never want to leave this place.

Batanes

Naidi Lighthouse

During our stoke-filled, eleven-day-stay in the islands of Batanes, me and my friends kept blurting out “We’re like in California or Greece or Middle Earth”. Batanes has this kind of beauty that will make you feel that you are in, all these different places.

Batanes

California Dreams

A famous phrase in Batanes says “Blow Ur Horn”. Even their souvenirs have this phrase written on them. I guess its because of so many blind curves on their scenic corniche roads. Driving along the road overlooking the coastline that displays the huge waves of Pacific Ocean and South China Sea felt like we were in a 90210 scene in California. Except that we weren’t on a convertible Porsche. We were on a trike, feeling the wind in our hair, gasping for the nth time how breathtaking Batanes is.

Batanes

Batanes

Travel tip: Its more fun and cheap if you hire a trike than joining a group tour in a closed van. I like going in my own pace and stopping once in awhile to take photos which I cant do in a package or group tours since they have a schedule to follow. But then again, you’ll get all the convenience in a group tour since you will be inside an air conditioned van with comfortable seats. It all comes down to your preference. If you decide to hire a trike, I highly recommend our trike driver/guide Kuya Eugene (+639206090770). He will take care of everything you need like restaurant reservations, transport to other islands,  even accommodation, he knows just the right place and he’s very knowledgeable about the sights and the history of every place you will visit.

Batanes

Batanes

Santorini Vibe

Im not sure if its just a coincidence that most of the doors and windows in Batanes are painted in blue. Even our guide has no explanation for it. But it doesn’t matter because it made their town pretty darn charming. I fell particularly in love with the vernacular hut we stayed at in Itbayat. It was so basic, breezy and almost empty, except for our beds and a huge comfortable chair by one of the doors. It was painted in white with powder blue windows and doors. We can hear the church bells and watch the whole town from our room. My friend who have been to Greece said that it really felt like Santorini. Even the port in Itbayat felt like Santorini.

Batanes

Vernacular Hut

Batanes

Itbayat Port

Batanes

Travel tip: We stayed at Nanay Cano’s homestay (+639193004787) in Itbayat but we requested to stay at the old vernacular house as recommended by our host in Batan. You can let your guide arrange this for you. Yes, you will need a guide in Itbayat and I highly recommend Kuya Jojo (+639206603801). He’s the best guide you could ever ask for. He will do everything to give you the best experience and he will take very good care of you.

Batanes

Batanes

Itbayat Port

Batanes

New Zealand/ Scotland Adventure

The endless greens, the grazing cows, the rolling hills, even the rugged mountains will definitely make you feel like you’re somewhere in New Zealand or Scotland. The stone houses are very much like the stone cottages in Scotland.

Batanes

Batanes

When I saw the rugged Rapang Hills, I gasped out of excitement because it really felt like I was in Middle Earth. It was breathtaking. Aside from the adventures of Frodo Baggins, Batanes also reminded me of Mary Poppins. The image of her singing and skipping merrily popped in my head when we visited the rolling hills, although we didn’t actually sing ‘The Sound of Music’ because we were busy trying not to get swept away by the strong winds.

Batanes

Batanes

Batanes

Scenic Italy

The dreamy turquoise waters below the deadly cliffs will transport you to the picturesque towns of Cinque Terre, Capri and Amalfi Coast in Italy, minus the colourful houses. This part of Batanes surprised me the most. This is in Itbayat, it is the last and the northern most inhabited island of Batanes and of the Philippines. Only a few would dare to visit this island because of the three hour hellish Faluwa (boat) ride from Batan. But I promise you, this island will floor you with its beauty and the people here are the kindest and the nicest people I have ever met.

Batanes

Batanes

Proudly Pinoy

There are still other places I can think of that is comparable to some sights in Batanes, like Australia or even Halong Bay in Vietnam. But it also has some incomparable beauty that is unique and undeniably Pinoy.

Batanes

Beautiful Churches (Tukon Chapel and Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion)

Batanes

Tropical Sunset

Batanes

Tropical Waters

Batanes

Garlic (main produce of Batanes) and Coconut Crab

The thing that really impressed me about Batanes though are the values and practices of the Ivatans. This is the town where ‘bayanihan’ still exists, where trust and honesty are highly valued, they even have an honesty shop and a conscience store for it.

Batanes

Honesty Shop in Basco and Conscience Store in Sabtang

No one will scam you in this town, no one will take advantage of you because you’re a tourist. On the contrary, people here will help you to the best of their ability to make sure you will have the best experience. This is where you will witness genuine hospitality and kindness that will warm your heart and will really restore your faith back to humanity. I have experienced stranger’s kindness many times but what I have experienced in Batanes is beyond words. Batanes will always have a special place in my heart.

Batanes

Trike in Sabtang (nothing could be more Filipino than this)

 

Batanes

This port scene in Itbayat shows the Bayanihan spirit.

Batanes

Vakul Making

Batanes

Batanes

Batanes

Dried Fish (Arayu)

Travel tip: Stay at Marfel’s homestay (+639088931475) in Basco. Annex branch is particularly nice because of the wide lawn outside. Plus the people are so kind, they’ve been like family to us. We felt so at home during our stay. They’ll take very good care of you. Batanes is also home to really good food. Don’t forget to try Casa Napoli, Fundacion Pacita (a bit pricy but really delicious food) and Pension Ivatan.

You might also want to check out other tips and stories about Itbayat, Batanes here.

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15 Comments

  1. Moritz

    Batanas looks so great. Especially the nature is more than just incredible!

    REPLY
    • Lost Dreamer

      Indeed Moritz, Batanes is so remote and unexploited yet. You’ll feel very close to nature here. It’s amazing.

      REPLY
      • Moritz

        Sounds absolutely amazing. Such a retreat!

        REPLY
  2. Lucia

    Woooow it looks so beautiful!!!

    REPLY
    • Lost Dreamer

      It really is Lucia, I wish more people can witness how beautiful Batanes is. Happy travels! =)

      REPLY
  3. Anonymous

    Nice gud imong mga pix Getz ai… gusto naku mobalik og batanes.

    REPLY
    • Lost Dreamer

      Thank you. =)

      REPLY
  4. Rechito

    Your right, it’s not your typical Filipino landscape
    Where in the Philippines is this? so many beautiful places in the PI!
    You have a great eye for photography, amazing photos!

    REPLY
    • Lost Dreamer

      Thank you Rechito. Batanes is the northern most islands and province of the Philippines, above the mainland Luzon if you look at the Philippine map. Some say its closer to Taiwan than the Philippines. There’s a direct flight from Manila to Basco on Philippine Airlines and Skyjet. I hope you can visit Batanes someday. Happy travels!

      REPLY
      • Rechito

        I’ll be in the Philippines in a month, unfortunately my itinerary is full. Next time, I hope. Safe travels!

        REPLY
  5. Jhoana Carla

    Great photos Getz! And yes Batanes just looks heavenly. Will be including this on my bucketlist!

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thanks Jho! Batanes should really be in everyone’s bucketlist. Happy travels!

      REPLY
  6. Junel Sorongon

    Hello, I am planning to go to batanes and I will be staying at Marfel. Ask ko lang if naka gamit ka ng WIFI since concern ako sa reports na dapat ko isend during my trip. I mean is it not too slow and weak?

    REPLY
  7. Junel Sorongon

    Hello, very informative post! Ask ko lang po if nakagamit ka ng WIFI sa Marfel? Weak or slow ba yung signal? Concern kasi ako sa reports na ipapasa ko during my trip. Just want to know if pwede bang mag work online pag gabi. Any ideas or tips about internet connection is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Hi Junel, thanks for dropping by. Yes I was able to use Marfel’s wifi. It’s a little slow especially during peak hours when everyone’s using at the same time. I only used it for fb so its tolerable for me. If you really have to, there is an internet cafe in the corner of Abad Street which is walking distance from Marfel’s. Hope this helps.

      REPLY

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