If there’s only one reason why everyone would love to fly to Batanes, most likely, it’s going to be the incredible landscape. The province’s rolling terrain is a real deal. Other places can claim that they’re the Batanes of the east, or the west, but none of them can beat the original.
For the longest time, Batanes had been one of my ultimate dream destinations here in the Philippines.
Only a few get the chance to visit the northernmost province because of the expensive airfare. But now, the fate of Batanes is changing, thanks to travel booking websites like Traveloka, which always offers discounts, ensuring that travelers get the lowest possible deals. Travel agencies like Safetravel Philippines, on the other hand, offer hassle-free tours around the island.
I stayed in Batanes for 9 days and 8 nights (my stay got extended because of a canceled flight). I was supposed to visit Itbayat, but the trip didn’t push through due to bad weather. I had a great time nonetheless.
Read on as I guide you through a sample itinerary arranged by Safetravel Philippines. I commend them for being flexible amidst the numerous changes during the trip.
Day 1 – Arrival in Basco and North Batan Tour
Most likely, you will arrive before noon in Batanes. Don’t worry, your accommodation will probably allow you to check in early. Check this link for my recommended accommodations in Batanes.
The rest of your first day will go like this:
– Check in at your chosen accommodation.- Where to stay in Batanes?
– Eat lunch at Harbour Cafe Batanes, my favorite restaurant. If you’re on a budget, you may eat out at eateries around Basco. Otherwise, your tour driver can bring you to a restaurant that offers a set meal on a fixed price.
– Venture into your North Batan tour–the shortest tour in Batanes, which you could finish in 3 hours, depending on how long you’ll stay at each stop
TIP: Always bring the information guide provided by the tourism office. There are times they will check and stamp it.
If you want to maximize your time, I recommend staying longer on Vayang Rolling Hills, at the Basco Lighthouse, and on Valugan Boulder beach. These are my top destinations in North Batan. If you have free time, rent a bike and explore Basco Town Proper.
TIP: Do not attempt to fly your drone over Vayang Rolling Hills. If the wind is too strong, there’s a big chance that it’ll be blown away.
– Take your dinner and retire for the night. The town of Basco sleeps early. Most establishments close as soon as the sun sets There’s no nightlife, but you can create one for yourself by drinking with your localhost.
Day 2 – Overnight on Sabtang Island
You can reach Sabtang Island by riding a boat from either of the two ports (Mainly Ivana Port) in Basco on the island of Batan. Travel time is about 30 minutes.
– Leave at 6am to catch the first trip going to Sabtang. The fare is PHP100.
– Expected time of arrival on Sabtang is 8am. Travel time is 30 minutes.
We immediately commenced our tour after we registered at the port. Chavayan Village is the highlight of my Sabtang tour. I suggest staying there longer than the rest of the other spots. The view going to the village is breathtaking and jaw-dropping. Our tour lasted for 5 hours.
I can’t recommend any restaurant in Sabtang town proper, because we had lunch at the fiesta in Chavayan and our dinner was prepared by our host, Neyala’s Homestay. Although when I walked around the town, I really haven’t seen any restaurant and there are very few stores and eateries. Sabtang town proper is twice as laid-back as Basco, which I loved about it the most.
TIP: It’s worth staying overnight, so you won’t have to be in a rush to catch the afternoon trip back to Batan. If you’re in hurry to go back to Batan the next day, you can catch the first trip at 5 am. If you have enough time, you can catch the 12:30 pm trip.
If you’re afraid of big waves, goodluck. The waters you will traverse are rough and turbulent. I rarely get dizzy on boat rides, but this one almost made me puke. Locals recommend sitting in the back portion of the faluwa, the bigger traditional Ivatan boat, experience less dizziness.
Day 3 – South Batan or Rest in Basco
The entirety of your third day will depend on what time you leave Sabtang Island. If you take the 5am trip, you can do the South Batan tour on your third day. if you choose to leave a little later than that, you can rest when you get back to Basco or go biking around the town.
I opted to rest in Basco on my third day since I had a lot of time in Batanes. I recommend taking this opportunity to conversing with the locals or with your host.
Day 4 – South Batan Tour
Next to Sabtang tour, South Batan is my favorite. It’s longer than North Batan tour and the scenery is much more beautiful. South Batan has some of the most breathtaking landscapes I’ve ever seen in my entire life. It’ll really make you say, “Breathtaking Batanes.” This is where you should prepare your OOTD for the vast rolling hills of Marlboro Country.
Our tour guide took us to Nanay Ching Restaurant for lunch. They offer their menu of the day, a complete set of meals with dessert for only PHP300 per head. Marlboro Country and Imnajbu Point: Alapad Pass and Rock Formation was the highlight of my South Batan tour.
TIP: Start your tour early. South Batan tour requires more time that North Batan tour. Plus it’s more picturesque, so you’ll definitely need more time to take Instagramable photos.
Day 5 – Fly Back Home
Batanes FAQs (answers are based on my own experience)
- Where should I book my flight to Batanes?
I always book my flights using Traveloka, so I can get a discount. You can fly from Manila via Cebu Pacific or from Clark via PAL.
- How long should I stay in Batanes?
If you’re not planning to visit Itbayat, 5 days and 4 nights should be enough.
- Should I go DIY or get a travel agency?
It’s your choice, but for a hassle free trip, get help from Safetravel Philippines, which arranged my trip to Batanes. They are very flexible amidst the changes during my trip. Use promo code “Travelosyo” to get a PHP500 discount.
- Is rainy season (July-September) a good time to visit?
I went to Batanes in August. Mostly, it was cloudy. It was raining during the afternoon. The weather in the morning is better. On the brighter side, grass is greener during this month compared to summer. Given the chance, though, I’d like to visit the province in summertime when the sky is bluer.
- Where to stay in Basco?
There are plenty of homestays to choose from. Price starts at PHP350 per night. But if you want a more cozy and more comfortable place to stay, I highly recommend Katuvang B&B.
If you’re traveling with a big group, you can also check Baletin Hometel-Batanes. They serve really good food, too.
- Where to eat?
Food is not cheap in Batanes, but there are some eateries where you can buy food for as low as PHP80. There might be others offering food for a lower price, but I didn’t find one. If you’re looking for good food, check out Harbour Cafe Batanes. It’s a nice place to hangout and eat good food.
- Should I stay overnight in Sabtang?
Definitely! If you want to tour the place at your own pace, stay the night. It’s worth it. Specially Chavayan, It’s a very beautiful community. Where to stay in Sabtang? Check out NEYALA’s Homestay, Very homey and the price starts at PHP300.
- Is Batanes worth all the effort and money?
Fly and see it for yourself. Best view so far in the Philippines.
- Is it expensive to travel to Batanes?
Compared to most of the provinces here in the Philippines, yes, mainly because the flight is expensive. But once you get a cheap flight, you can take control of your other expenses, so it will be easy for you to budget things. I must warn you, though: food is not cheap.