At long last, I am done with all the photos and all the posts. It is time for a summary. This is basically for anyone who wants to go to Batanes and is wondering where to stay, where to eat, what to do and see, and how much will it actually cost. Here is our itinerary and expenses incurred in our 6D/5N stay in Batanes.
Sept 27, 2010 (Day 1)
– arrival at the Basco Airport at 7:30 AM, picked up at the airport by the Novita House van and our tour guide, Ate Remy Santos
– rest and exploration of Abad and nearby streets
– Lunch at Novita House
– pick up at 1:00 pm for our half-day tour of the Northern part of Batan Island
There aren’t a lot of places to eat in Basco. Some of the places listed in some travel blogs do not even exist anymore. While we were there, we had someone cook food for us at Novita House. In our six days and five nights in Batanes, we did manage to find places to hang out at.
1. Lunchbox Restaurant
Though we were informed the Lunchbox Restaurant is independent of DDD Habitat, they do share the same building. Food here is good enough for its price. Be prepared to wait though.
When we were looking for accommodations in Batanes, I found two other blog sites especially helpful – and because of that, I thought it would be also be nice if I helped out in return by posting more information. On our way back from biking from Mahatao, we also took a little bit of time checking out where the other accommodations in Basco are.
1. BATANES RESORT
About 3 kilometers outside of Basco town proper, this is a pretty and quiet place to stay at. Food is really, really good too. If you don’t mind staying too far out from where the stores and other places to eat are, this would be just fine. Rate: P1.800/day. Click here to read separate post.
Website: Batanes Resort
Contact: 02-922-9621 local 327 or 332 (Ivatan Center in Quezon City)
Batanes Resort is about 3 kilometers away from the town proper of Basco and we passed by it on our way to the port in Ivana when we were on our way to Sabtang Island, and we passed by it again when we were doing the southern tour of Batan Island.
When we decided to ride our bikes to Mahatao, we passed by it again and decided it was a great place to have dinner. They have a P200 set meal that included rice, salad and two viands. The food was absolutely delicious and was well worth the price.
Mahatao town proper is 7 kilometers away from the town of Basco. We know because we biked it. One and a half times!
Though on our official Southern Batan Island tour, now with 13 adults, infant, tour guide and van driver, the first stops were in Mahatao, and so were the last.
CHAWA VIEW DECK
Uyugan, the fourth and last town in Batan island, is a 6th class municipality in the province of Batanes, Philippines with a population of 1,203 people in 277 households (2007 census). It is in the southeastern part of Batan Island, bounded by Mahatao on the north, the Balintang Channel on the south, the Philippine Sea on the east and Ivana on the west.
The Uyugan town proper is 19 kilometers from Basco, and though we didn’t really make it to the town proper, the places to see in Uyugan include:
THE RUINS OF SONG-SONG
A group of destroyed lime and stone houses is what remains of this once vibrant village that was wiped out in a 1954 tidal wave. Its inhabitants had migrated after their village had been destroyed, some sources say Bukidnon, while other sources say Mindoro.
After a brief stop in Mahatao to visit the San Carlos Borromeo church and register at the Tourism office, we headed for the town of Ivana. We’ve been to Ivana two days before, when we were on our way to Sabtang.
On our way to Ivana, we made a couple of stops by the side of the road.
We were told by our guide that this place can be a nice swimming area as it has a flat coral or stone bed (we could not determine which).
The second stop for our tour of the southern part of Batan Island is the town of Mahatao and the San Carlos Borromeo church. This is also where we registered at the Municipal Tourism Office and paid P50 each.
It has always been my mother’s dream to go to Batanes, so when SEAIR tickets went on sale, I immediately booked her one. My mother almost always never travels alone though. I have organized her trips to Coron and El Nido on separate occasions and she had me making travel arrangements for never less than five people. So on this trip to Batanes, I booked her a ticket, as well as her eight other friends.
On that note, we needed a house. I got them an entire house in El Nido and they liked that. They liked the fact that they could cook their own meals to save money. They have so much fun going to the market and cooking.
Four days before our trip to Batanes, we were denied services by Pension Ivatan, even after full payment, just because I expressed a sentiment about their booking policy. I, in panic, immediately called up DDD Habitat Inc. after I got the offensive text message from Mrs. Valiente, the General Manager of Pension Ivatan, and was able to book on the spot.
I read about DDD Habitat on Ferdz Decena’s website and their Facebook page and was able to call them on their landline. What struck me first and foremost was how nice the lady I talked to on the phone was. She was very polite and was easy to talk to. When I asked about downpayment, I was told a downpayment was not required. Hooray, I thought! “You could pay us when you get here. Or on your last day of stay.” That, given the circumstances, was the best thing I heard that day.
DDD Habitat is a fairly new place to stay and can be found along Lopez St. in Brgy. Kayvaluganan. It is walking distance from the airport, the National Road and Abad St. – the main street of commerce in Basco.
The night before, we were told we were going out very early so I woke up really early too. I woke up at 5 am! I was the one who woke up my Mama and Papa. I was that excited about this day.
My Mama told me the boat ride, in what was called a faluwa, might be rough and that I might get seasick so I braced myself. I did get a little seasick but I fell asleep in my Papa’s arms so it was not too bad.
That’s the reason I’m looking a little ruffled still while I was driving the jeepney all by my lonesome.
Pull-out time from Novita House was scheduled at 6am, but when the 3.5 of us got there at 5:45am, we found everybody else not ready to go. Some of them have just woken up, some of them were just taking a bath or brushing their teeth. Needless to say, we pulled out of Novita House at 7am. Our tour guide, Ate Remy, kept saying we needed to go and kept talking to someone on the phone – someone who was in the boat at the port in Ivana, saying that we were on our way and that they should wait for us.
Our driver drove really fast, as fast as one can drive through the winding roads of Batanes, from Basco all the way to Ivana. When we got there, we found the other passengers looking at us warily. We made them wait for us for more or less an hour.
I read other blogs about other travelers being late and being left behind by the boat and I feel very fortunate that ours did not leave without us.
Our faluwa (boats without outrigger) was piloted by a very adept man wearing a BCTA tshirt and our boat was very spacious, as there were only our group and a handful of other tourists. The ride from the port of Ivana to the San Vicente port in Sabtang took less than the average 45 minutes because the sea was wonderfully and surprisingly calm. I fell asleep! We were very fortunate to have had really good weather during our entire trip to Batanes.
My mama almost never travels without me, so wherever she goes, I go too. I do love travel too! I love people and I love seeing new places.