My cousins and I wandered across Batanes for the first time last March 23-26. The province is composed of three islands namely Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat islands. We’ve explored the first two islands only because apparently, the boat ride from Batan port to Itbayat would take around four hours per way. We didn’t have enough time.
We availed almost everything from Wakay Tours – airline tickets, accommodation, tours, van transfers, and some of our meals.
Disclaimer: Our Batanes itinerary was not sponsored by the travel agency. We just really appreciate their efficiency and their kind people, especially our friendly and polite tour guide Kuya Charles. The details of our trip are as follows.
Day 1: Batan Island
Departure from Manila: 6:15AM via Skyjet Airlines
Arrival at Basco: 7:20AM
Check-in + Breakfast at Casa Feliciano: 8:00AM
Start of Tour: 9:00AM
Vayang Rolling Hills
If Ivatans have a “hideout,” probably it’s the Vayang Rolling Hills. You’ll hear nothing but the grass being swayed by the wind as well as the goats, water buffalos and cows. It’s composed of crumpled terrains that occasionally receives splashes from the West Philippine Sea.
Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)
Look at that view! For me, this is the top tourist spot in Batan because of its clean and mesmerizing landscapes, plus its evident New Zealand vibe. The view was a humbling sight. It reminded me how small I am compare to our majestic and incomparably artistic God.
Mahatao Shelter Port
This shelter port has always been a part of the South Batan tour. It was built in 2007 to protect Batan Island’s boats from the temperamental weather.
Located at Naidi Hills (Na means past and Idi means settlement), this lighthouse is overlooking Mount Iraya. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of Batan on the fifth floor which is accessible through the staircase.
Honesty Coffee Shop
It’s not just a coffee shop without a cashier; it also has souvenir shirts, keychains, ref magnets, food and more. While tourists can just drop their payments in the box, the owners also left a notebook where people can list down the items they got for bookkeeping purposes.
Valugan Boulder Beach
Our free lunch was scheduled at a restaurant in front of Valugan Bounder Beach. But we couldn’t just sit and enjoy the view. We went closer to the beach, and started hopping from one boulder to another. By the way, Valugan is an Ivatan word which means “east.”
Our tour guide also introduced us to some historic Catholic churches in Batan such as Sto. Domingo Cathedral, Mt. Carmel Chapel, San Carlos Borromeo Church, and San Jose de Obrero Church.
The tour guide also brought us to several viewpoints that offer equally astounding views of Batanes. We went to Paredes Viewpoint, Chawa View Deck, Mutchong Hilltop, and the Alapad Hill & Rock Formation.
Tukon Radar Station
We just passed by this radar station which was once used as a weather station of the United States. It also served as a lighthouse before.
Ruins of Songsong
We also passed by this so-called “ghost barangay.” It’s a long stretch of roofless old stone houses facing the beach. They were abandoned because of the tsunami in 1950. Some of the ruins are currently being restored by the locals.
Day 2: Sabtang Island
Start of Tour: 6:00AM
Boat Ride from Ivana Port to Sabtang Port: 7:00AM to 7:40AM
We did a walking tour around Brgy. Savidug where we saw the original and modern versions of Batanes’ trademark, the bahay na bato (stone house). The Ivatans built this sturdier version of nipa hut to withstand strong winds and heavy rains that they regularly experience. Aside from stones, they’re also made of Kugon grass and corals.
Spectacular view, fresh air and some sun – I have no words. Every adjective is an understatement for this beautiful creation. From the viewpoint, you can also see the Ivatan’s idjang. It’s a fortress that the earlier generations built and used to hide from their enemies and invaders.
Brgy. Chavayan is another village of old stone houses – some are more than 100 years old now. According to the tour guide, the bahay na bato was introduced by the Spanish men in the late 1800s.
Sabtang Weavers’ Association
At the association’s “headquarters” located at Brgy. Chavayan, you’ll find Ivatan women weaving some vakul. It’s a traditional headwear that Ivatan women use to protect their heads against the sun, wind and rain.
Morong Beach/Ahao/Natural Stone Arch
Compared to other beaches in Sabtang, the waves in Morong are more tamed which makes it a friendly place for swimming. It has also become a tourist favorite because of the unique natural wonder and photogenic Nakabuang Arch (the one on the photo).
Biking at Basco
We had fun biking around Basco! We felt safe, and the people are warm and helpful. I remember we were talking that one of our bikes needed air, when suddenly, a local guy approached us with an air pump. He said he heard us talking about the flat tire so he came to help. How kind of him! <3 The rental fee of each bicycle is only P25 per hour.
Day 3: Batan Island Part 2
The third day was tagged “free” day on our itinerary but my cousins and I decided to avail another Batan Island half-day tour for the prenuptial shoot of one of my cousins and her then-fiancé (they got married last June 9).
This wasn’t really part of the tour we availed, but thanks to our tour guide, we were able to visit this famous hotel in Basco. Aside from its luxurious rooms and colorful architecture, the hotel was featured several times by different media because of their museum and coffee shop.
Dipnaysuhuan Japanese Tunnel
Historic as it is, this tunnel was built by the Japanese, when they occupied the country. It has five entrance holes and is complete with a bunker, a water reservoir and a few chambers. It served as the home of the Japanese soldiers.
Marlboro Country + Rolling Hills Take 2
We revisited these sites solely for prenup purposes.
Pasalubong Shopping + Biking
We bought most of our pasalubong from Tolledo’s Souvenir Shop located a few blocks from Casa Feliciano. They sell shirts, keychains, ref magnets, handicrafts, bags, mugs, wallets, food items and more.
Day 4: Departure
We left Basco at 8:00 a.m. We’ll see you again soon, Batanes! <3
Allocated Budget: P21,500
- P16,900 – Airfare, Accommodation, Day 1 & Day 2 tour, Breakfast, Lunch (2 days only via Wakay Tours
- P1,200 – Budget for the food not covered on the package
- P500 – Extra half-day tour (day 3)
- P300 – Two-day Bike Rental (25/hr)
- P2,600 – Other expenses (Tip to tour guide, souvenirs, pasalubong, etc.)
Feel free to message/comment if you have questions. God bless!