travelling to batanes

Discussion in 'Travel' started by acaspillera, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. acaspillera

    acaspillera Member

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    hi guys!

    i'm planning to go to batanes this january for a vacation (and a picture-taking spree :D ). i've searched the net and found some useful info. but most of the info that i found seem like they were lifted from some guidebook. in other words, they're either vague, outdated, or totally bogus. i need suggestions from people who've actually been to batanes. cheapest way to get there, easiest way to explore the islands, what to expect, etc. actually, any practical info will be highly appreciated. thanks guys! :)
     
  2. francismir

    francismir Member

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    Well the last time I was there was over 10 years ago so a lot of things have really changed. Insofar as going there is concerned, you only have one option now, and that's Asian Spirit which if my sources are correct will stop over first at Laoag before flying you to Basco airport. During my first visit, we used PAL but they have since discontinued that flight.

    The easiest way to explore the islands would be for you to hire a jeep. Batan island has a road network that goes around it so you can check out the various sights. You should pay attention to the marvelous green hills the high cliffs and an island off the coast which looks like a sleeping woman. They also have pebble beaches and of course there's the people. No one is as friendly as the Ivantans, they welcome you like anything. Photo ops with them could mean really wrinkled old women puffing cigars. Watch out as well for Ivatans wearing their rain headgear made of grass. Those are an eyecatcher. Since its no longer the rainy season you may need to ask them to bring out those headresses for you. Pay special attention as well to their houses. They have really thick thatched roofs and really thick adobe walls. I guess if your buffeted by storms you would really need those. Another thing to look out for is this shipwreck at the pier in the northern part of the island. Again I don't know if that's still there.

    Accomodations, the only accomodations and food I could remember was Mama Lily's. She lives right in the middle of the Town Square. Just ask around. However, its been 10 years so I really don't know if she's still alive. So there. Just go around and ask the natives about what to visit. They'd be able to tell you what is good! I hope this helps!
     
  3. acaspillera

    acaspillera Member

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    hi francismir! thank you so much! i really appreciate your suggestions. :)

    [Edited on 12-28-2004 by acaspillera]
     
  4. Mykolant

    Mykolant PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Hey acaspillera!

    I was in Batanes in 2002 for a brief visit and it totally overwhelmed me!

    Most of what francismir said still holds true, although PAL doesn't fly there anymore. Asian Spirit does, with a brief stopover at Laoag.

    I stayed at the Batanes Resort, run by the Phil. Tourism Authority, and its good enough. I think a few more hotels have opened up since then.

    Food is not difficult to get, although most canteens and diners offer basic Filipino food at Manila prices. Beer and other liquor are also priced like Manila because these are all "imported" from Manila. What is cheap, though, are the flying fish -- I think these are abundant this time of year.

    You can easily walk around the main town of Basco but to get to other towns on Batan Island, you'd need to take a jeep that serves the round-trip route around the island. You can also hire one for a day trip, and I'm sure a local will be willing to serve as tour guide. Check out the churches in each town and the beaches on the southern end of Batan island are not that bad too!

    Try to visit the other islands, Sabtang and Itbayat. Sabtang is a quaint town where most of the stone houses are still standing - preserved in its original form. You take a ferry ride from the port at Ivana. Itbayat Island is the bigger, more isolated island and getting there is trickier. Most locals take the four-hour ferry ride on rough seas (waves as big as houses!), although when i went there, I took a commercial 9-seater plane from Basco airport. The ride takes all of 15 minutes. Itbayat is a rough island but its worth the trouble. You can stay overnight at any of the houses there; most locals are open to such arrangements.

    I hear January is one of the best months to be in Batanes - its cold and windy, and if a storm does pass your way, then better! Typhoons in Batanes are not that bad as they are projected to be. They usually last one day and the howling winds and battering rain really does things for you! But you can expect to wake up the next day to clear blue skies!

    Here's a site where most of our Batanes stories and pics were uploaded:
    http://mobilemediaph.com/projectE/Batanes/Batanes.html

    For other info on Batanes, visit:

    http://www.batanesinteractive.net

    They have Smart coverage in Basco, and a couple of Internet cafes where you can check your email and surf. But why would you want to do that when you're in a different kind of paradise in which isolation is a blessing, not a curse.

    The warmth of the Ivatans are a good counterpoint to the rough, cold and muggy scenery of Batanes!

    Enjoy!

    mykolant
     
  5. acaspillera

    acaspillera Member

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    hi mykolant!

    thank you for the links and the info. i'm starting to get disappointed, though. a friend of mine told me that they went to batanes via SEAIR. he even gave me a contact # for SEAIR. when i called them up, they told me that it was a chartered flight. apparently, my friend went there for a press junket. they can afford a chartered flight because there were a lot of them. i'm going alone and i don't think i can afford to charter my own plane. :( i'll call asian spirit after i log off. i'm hoping that they still offer flights to batanes. well, wish me luck! :) thanks again!
     
  6. Mykolant

    Mykolant PhilMUG Addict Member

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    I think Asian Spirit flies 4 times a week to Batanes so you won't have trouble with the schedule. It's always best to book in advance as it usually is fully booked. Expect to shell out about P8,000 for a round-trip ticket, pretty steep but well worth it!
     
  7. acaspillera

    acaspillera Member

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    yup! i called them up already. round trip fare is P8750. i've already placed my reservation. YAHOO!!! :D my shutter-finger is already itching like crazy! :D thanks mykolant!

    btw, i was reading the articles in your link. got me extremely excited! i feel like jumping out of my skin! :lol:
     
  8. Mykolant

    Mykolant PhilMUG Addict Member

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    Good for you! Check out the photo gallery in the site to get an idea what kind of photo ops await you! Best part when you go this time of year is that the scenery is much greener than when I went, which was the middle of May in 2002.

    Take care and have fun!

    Mike
     
  9. brain1976

    brain1976 Member

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    My dad is a occasionally goes there with his friends to take pictures. They've been going there for almost 20 yrs. now.

    Itbayat is an adventure. You have to leap over jagged rocks from your boat to get on the island and make the steep climb and walk to get into town. You'll wonder on how they got the a PCSO Ambulance there.
     
  10. brain1976

    brain1976 Member

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    One more thing, don't bring alcohol. As in rubbing, isopropyl or clinical alcohol. The customs guy in Batanes will confiscate it.
     
  11. rizal

    rizal Member

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    Went there in 2002 also. Flew Laoag International Air, which stopped, of course, in Laoag. On the way from Batanes, we got out at Laoag, and spent a few days in Pagudpud (Arinaya resort--your door opens on the beach) and around Ilocos Norte and Sur, and then flew back to Manila on Philippine Airlines (filled with gamblers from Fort Ilocandia).

    Stayed at Batanes Resort, which is simple but with a wonderful view. I'd stay there again because I get my own bathroom! But if you can swing an invite into former Congressman Abad's lovely new house on the hill by the coast, ....

    Before I left for Batanes, I bought a mountain bike in Quiapo. Used this to get around the place, especially when I wanted to go from Batanes Resort into town. Whenever people said, Nice bike, I'd reply, It'll be for sale in a few days!

    I'm sure you've read about Marlboro Country. We hiked up the radio tower hill before sunrise so that we were at the top just when the day started and traipsed the fields all morning.

    You should go to the other islands, too. We only managed the closer island which could be reached by boat under an hour.

    There was a brilliant idea that was Local Color magazine. Their first issue featured Batanes, but I don't know if there was ever a second issue. Shame that it ended because it was a fantastic concept that was beautifully executed: every page was devoted to the locale in focus, and Batanes was a terrific first choice.

    Good luck!
     
  12. jayveef

    jayveef Member

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    1. mama lily's is your friend. (is she still there?! she makes the best leche flan)
    2. do bring your camera ... always!
    3. lie down on the hills overlooking the ocean
    4. be prepared to rough it out for a few more days ... worst case scenario. last time we were there, we got stranded for 1 week. others got stranded for almost a month. but that was a long time ago. im sure there are more flights now :)
     
  13. brain1976

    brain1976 Member

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    Mama Lily died a few years ago.
     
  14. francismir

    francismir Member

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    How sad. She was so nice pa naman. Oh well... May she rest in peace!
     
  15. acaspillera

    acaspillera Member

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    hey! been away for the past couple of days and was surprised to see this post was still alive. heehe!!! thanks, guys, for the suggestions. it did cross my mind to buy a really cheapo mountain bike and use it to explore the island. but i don't think i can afford to carry it. i'm going on a picture-taking frenzy. hehe! so that means i'm bringing 4 cameras with me. enough to give me a hernia and a broken back! :D

    hmm...they confiscate rubbing alchohol? why?! anyway, thanks brain1976!

    i read something about mama lily on the net. it's sad that i won't have a chance to meet her.

    anyway, thanks guys! i'll try to remember everything you suggested. :)
     
  16. totolabradog

    totolabradog Moderator
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    Aldwin, Also planning a trip later this year there, would love to see what you've shot when you get back! :)
     
  17. wershwie

    wershwie Member

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    I dreamt. I went. I loved.

    Here are some pics I took using my Sony Ericsson P900. My SLR conked out after 10 shots... Grrr... But anyway...


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v466/wershwie/53C30107.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v466/wershwie/53C20097.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v466/wershwie/53A900131.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v466/wershwie/53C20099.jpg


    - leslie -
     
  18. chocnut

    chocnut Member

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    any updates, re: accommodations? someone mentioned other/new hotels? i checked out some sites about batanes, but they seem to be outdated. batanesonline.com mentions the "latest updates on lodging prices xxx as of September 2000"!?

    can anyone recommend excellent accommodations? (i'm thinking of visiting basco, batanes on the week after holy week.)
     
  19. acaspillera

    acaspillera Member

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    i finally went on my long-overdue vacation to batanes last january. i was there from jan 2-jan 9. it was great coz i was the only tourist in the whole island. hahahahha!!! i stayed at the batanes seaside hotel. really nice people there. if anyone is planning to go there this summer, better book your hotel and plane tickets NOW. the locals told me that they're insanely booked every summer.
    there are now 4 large hotels in batanes: Batanes Seaside, Ivatan Lodge, Batanes Resort, and Shanedels.
    i highly suggest that you visit Sabtang Island. there are no hotels there but you can stay at the public school of fisheries for P150 a night. oh, and bring a portable water heater if you're scared of cold water like me. hahhaahha!!! you can also contact DANNY QUING if you need a reliable and friendly tour guide. message me for his cell #. and if you visit sabtang island, please go to aling lilia's carinderia. she'll take very good care of any visitor.
     
  20. super_ed

    super_ed Active Member

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    i heard there was a local photog group who went there last week. i am planning to go there too this lenten season.
     

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