There is no other destination in the Philippines that evokes such a sense of inquisitiveness and mystery as Batanes, a series of volcanic islands in the archipelago’s northern coast. Every image of the location appears to radiate unrivalled beauty. It’s no surprise that it’s on the bucket list of every local traveler. Its magnificent rolling hills, temperate climate, panoramic coasts, landmark lighthouses, distinct culture, hidden coves of white sand beaches, incredible people, and other fascinating surroundings deliver really breathtaking stills.
Batanes comprises about ten islets and islands that are spread over the raging water that separates the Philippines from the country Taiwan. It is located between the Bashi and Balintang Channels. It is the country’s northernmost boundary, the Ivatan homeland, the land of howling winds, and the typhoon highway. The only inhabited islands are Sabtang, Batan, and Itbayat, which are mostly visited by tourists. Let’s look at what to do and see in Batanes, as well as the cost and flight details.
PEACEFUL PASTORAL LANDSCAPES
Batanes, which is made up of three main islands that are Sabtang, Batan, and Itbayat is located between the South China Sea and North Pacific Ocean. It is frequently beaten by typhoons that form in both bodies of water. It is also part of the Circum-Pacific Ring of Fire, which is prone to earthquakes, one of which destroyed the island of Itbayat also back in 2019.
BEAUTIFUL MORONG BEACH
The pristine beauty of Batanes is best seen on it’s lovely beaches. Morong Beach boasts a range of seascapes to swim in, visit, and sun bath at, ranging from pristine silver sand to sprinkled stones polished by beautiful waves. Morong Beach, on Sabtang Island, is one of the province’s most popular beaches, because of the enormous rock features. This beauty is claimed to be the highest photographed place in all Batanes, and it has become a sign of Batanes and Sabtang Islands in general.
AMAZING MOUNT IRAYA HIKE
You will find every view of Batanes as stunning, and you will struggle hard to find a site on these beautiful islands that is not worth photo snapping. Mt. Iraya, a popular tourist destination in Batanes, is one such example. Hikers really enjoy the active volcano adventure. This tourist attraction is a major landmark for Ivatans. When an important member of the Ivatan tribe dies, a circle of clouds appears above the mountains, according to their elders. They have also mentioned the former Mount Iraya explosion that refer to the holes near the top where water and lava emerge.
THE BASCO LIGHTHOUSE VIEW
Begin your lighthouse tour in Basco, which is located on Batan’s main island. The 66-foot tower Basco Lighthouse, which was built back in 2003 to act as a guide for regional fishermen. It gives a breathtaking view over the Western Philippine Sea, Basco port, and Basco town itself. Florencio Abad who was a former Batanes Congressman, suggested three operating lighthouses among which Basco Lighthouse is the one. The other two lighthouses are Mahatao and Sabtang, all of which are famous tourist destinations in the region.
THE FASCINATING WILD ITBAYAT
Sabtang isn’t as far away as you would think. Itbayat, being the Philippines’ northernmost municipality, is essentially the country’s final inhabited frontier. Itbayat may not have a beach, but it does have an interesting geological story to tell. Because the seabed has been uplifted for endless years, Itbayat is essentially one of the world’s largest coral reefs. Volcanic and Typhoon eruptions have tortured this rocky fairyland, which includes a cave and a lot of extinct volcanoes.
SEE THE VAYANG ROLLING HILLS
The majestic Mt. Iraya and the province’s key islands Sabtang, Itbayat, and Batan all can be seen from Vayang Rolling Hills. A large portion of these rolling hills used to be the land of the public that was covered in cogon grassland, which their locals used to build the cogon rooftops.
The majority of Vayang’s land is now used for farming. Cows and goats can be seen grazing in the greenery from far afield. When you are in the rolling hills, you will also see the gorgeous West Philippine Sea. You can also take photos of these sceneries at this tourist site, which is a significant part of a Northern Batan journey.
The best approach to get to Batanes is by plane. The province has seen a dramatic surge in visitor visits since the year 2015, due to the increased flights from all over the Philippines. If you’re on a smaller budget and want to save money on aircraft tickets, then you can schedule a flight on Tuesday or Wednesday rather than a weekend journey. Flights are usually less expensive on other days.
Usually, promo fares to Batanes are uncommon, but if you do come across one, book ahead to take advantage of the substantial savings. Up to three airlines operate flights to Basco Airport after December 2018. Cebu Pacific and Skyjet fly directly from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino Airport, while Philippine Airlines flies from Clark Airport. Manila is an hour distance away from Clark.
DAY TRIPS COST
Day trips per van cost 3500 pesos for South Batan, 2500 pesos for North Batan, and 3500 for a Sabtang Island tour.
WHERE TO STAY
If you don’t want to empty your pocket, homestays and guesthouses are the way to go. Unlike many other tourist spots in the Philippines, most accommodations can only be reserved by texting the owners. If you’re not the kind to plan ahead, you can simply walk up to the guesthouses, knock on the traditional wooden doors, and you will most likely find that you have the entire homestay for yourself.
Some of the top-rated vacation rental hotels according to Airbnb are Ukuy’s Place with solo or couple rooms (cost starting from PHP 1300 per night) and Ztone house (cost starting from PHP 5800 per night). These stays are highly rated because of their good location and cleanliness. You can also check other hotels according to your convenience and cost at Airbnb here: https://www.airbnb.com/batanes-philippines/stays