You asked for it? You got it! Here’s a Batanes Travel Guide for those who are dreaming of Batanes.
But before anything, let me thank my fellow traveler Christine of Jovial Wanderer for sharing her insights for this Batanes Travel Guide Collab.
Christine says: Batanes is for travelers who find delight in lavishing nature just as it is, with no modern structures obscuring the views. It’s also an adventurer’s haven because you can go paddling, kiting, fishing and do a lot of hiking.
James says: Batanes is a dream come true! Its like traveling back in time, maybe around 50 years ago. Rustic, raw and real. Ohhhh, I wanna visit Batanes again (and stay looooonger like a month).
2. What do you like most about the place?
Christine says: I love that I can see vast mountains everywhere I look! Another endearing thing about Batanes are its people, the Ivatans. They’re confident, welcoming, simple and happy people!
James says: The locals- Ivatan. I give two incidents: First, we are taking some photos of this old bridge and suddenly little kids line-up to us and started getting our hands. At first I thought they were asking for money but I was wrong. They took our hands and put it on their foreheads for “mano po” a sign of respect. Second, we are walking along the streets of Sabtang island and suddenly the windows and doors of the old houses opened, the locals started greeting us good morning as we pass by their houses. Most of them already old but they managed to give their smile or wave to us, no animosity whatsover.
3. Is there anything the local government can do (or stop doing) in order to make the place more tourist friendly.
Christine says: The government should strive to preserve Batanes just as it is. It’s beautiful that way.
James says: I hope they would limit the visitors to Batanes.
4. Don’t go home without seeing/visiting/experiencing ___________ .
Christine says: The faluwa ride (motorized boats) to Sabtang Island. These simple but sturdy structures regularly transport people, animals and merchandise from Batan to Sabtang and back. The 45 minute travel time where you will encounter waves that look that they’re about to swallow the boat is exciting.
You should also bring or rent a bike and tour around Batanes. Their roads are smooth and the view of the ocean from the cliff sides is thrilling.
James says: Plus one on the faluwa ride because its the only way to reach Sabtang island. Sabtang island is where you see the iconic houses made of stone. Chamantad Viewpoint in Chavayan has a different charm on me.
5. Don’t go home without trying/eating ________.
Christine says: Go on a food trip around Batanes and try their delicacies. Don’t miss out on turmeric rice which is rice cooked in garlic, onion and a plant called turmeric, which is from the same family as ginger. The preparation turns the rice into an odd shade of yellow and when consumed, has a very faint hint of ginger which is meant to accompany practically any dish.
You should also try flying fish and coconut crabs, which by law, can only be consumed within Batanes as it’s rare. Foreign cuisine that’s worth trying are Casa Napoli’s homemade pizzas, prepared with fresh ingredients and ZanTan’s burger made of 100% beef from Batanes.
James says: Listen to Christine, she is authority when it comes to food. If you are too full, relax with a bottle of Miniovaheng or their local wine made from sugarcane.
6. Traveler’s Tip:
- Peak season for Batanes is March – June and October – February. When traveling on these months, it is best to reserve a place in advance.
- Bring enough cash.There’s only one ATM (Landbank) and it’s not guaranteed to be online all the time. I haven’t seen any establishment accept credit cards either. If you check other resources on the web, there’s no mention of other ATM’s either.
- Talk to locals – always! You can both learn from each other, pick up tips on best places to go and perhaps build lasting bonds.
- The most expensive part of your Batanes trip would be the airfare. Watch out for promo tickets and buy ticket asap. 4 days or more is recommended when going to Batanes.
- Depending on your arte-ness, solo budget for getting around starts at Php1,000/day. This is do-it-yourself way.
- Its not true that there are typhoons always in Batanes. We hear reports of typhoon around Batanes because our Doplar station, or the station where typhoons are measured is in Batanes. Next time you hear typhoon Batanes, listen closely. They say typhoon is seen 500kms. from Batanes. Note how far from Batanes it is. 🙂
7. Recommendation Hotel, Inn?
Christine says: I’ve only been able to stay at Batanes Seaside Lodge (www.batanesseasidelodge.com). They have two branches, one is located near the beach while the other one’s called the annex which is near the city center. I love that it’s clean and that you can also arrange tours with them. Single rooms start at 1,400/night during lean season.
If you’re looking for posh accommodation that’s built at the top of a mountain, book with Fundacion Pacita (www.fundacionpacita.ph) . Prices start at 7,500 Pesos/night for a two person suite.
James says: We stayed at Batanes Seaside Lodge when we went there 2011. I wrote a separate article on Accommodations in Batanes. Note that the prices might have changed.
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Thanks Christine for collaborating with JourneyingJames for this Batanes post.
Enjoy Batanes sooooooon!
You can read my past articles about Batanes below:
- Dear Batanes, “Ichaddaw ku imu”
- Batanes: It All Started With A Love Letter
- Visit Batanes Series
- The Colorful Churches of Batanes
- Lola Ida- From Silay City to the House of Dakay
- Sabong at Diura Fishing Village
- Quotes and Reflections at Honesty Café
- Surviving the Faluwa Ride
- Batanes: Snapshots from Sabtang Island
- 10 Food to Try When Visiting Batanes
- “Gin Kampay” with the Ivatans at Mahatao Lighthouse
- Running in Batanes
- Accommodations in Batanes
If you want to join the Travel Bloggers Collab, please do email me at journeyingjames(AT)gmail(DOT)com together with the place you want to talk about. I want to learn from you and see from your perspective. 🙂