It has been thirteen years when my friends encourage me to join their trip in this island. I book a plane following their schedule from Manila to Basco, Batanes. The flight is almost 45 minutes from Manila. It’s a small airport but once you landed you can feel that your holiday here will be worthy. You can feel the cold breeze and see the perfect photo profile of their nature. We went in the month of June where they are celebrating their Batanes Foundation day. Back then, there was no such festival day for them. They were living a simple life where not much tourist can travel because of the expensive and schedule of the flight.
Our hotel was walking distance at the airport. They have markets to buy with your stuff and a small resthouses/restaurants. Normal transportation there is jeepney and tricycle. They have friends and officemates who were assign in Basco, its easy for us to navigate even we do not have any much info regarding this province. We explored the whole Batan Island for a day just riding a jeepney and telling the driver where we want to go or where is the tourist spot along the way.
Then we were determined to go for an Island Hopping for two islands, Itbayat and Sabtang. Batanes is in the upper part of Luzon and covered by Pacific Ocean. The boat they were using to cross an island is without outrigger so that it can sway in the waves. In Sabtang island you can see the picturesque view of their famous white sands beach and the unique structures of their stone houses. Experiencing the Pacific Ocean Wave while riding the boat is fearful but I can say one of the best adventure for a person who grow in a city area like Manila. We were only two groups going to the two islands, one from Smart Telcom consist of three persons and we were four persons from Zestair plus the two boatman.
We took our lunch in Itbayat Islands and some photos on their stonehouses, can you believe the cost of one big lobster there, only one hundred pesos. In this island, we met a Japanese Explorer named Saturo Yahata (who looks like one of the actor in Philippines – Diether Ocampo). We had a simple chit chat and I asked how he can explore in this big body of waters. He said he’s using an 80 pounds yellow kayak. He got a GPS on his watch to direct him and tablets for food supplement that he has energy to sail. From Batanes Island he went towards Taiwan. Hope one of these days, I can hear from him again and his explorations. According to one of the locals from Batanes, if you want to cross to Taiwan it will take you around four hours by boat.
We supposed to be in a three days holiday but if you miss your flight, the next one will be on the other day, so it made us a 5-days adventure really enough to unwind and memorable.
This was a once in a lifetime experience for me that I cannot forget and the start of more water adventure or island hopping in our country and to Southeast Asia Region. I can say beach is life. 🙂
BEST BUY / SOUVENIR – rattan bag and native garlic and onions
BEST LOCAL FOOD TO EAT – lobsters with San Miguel Beer light
BEST WAY OF TRANSPORTATION – jeepney or tricycle
BEST WAY TO SHOP – their local native products and try to go to Honesty Store where you can get what you want and you will put your payment on their box, no sales person that will entertain you.
BEST LOCAL TOUR – do not forget to go to Sabtang Island after you explore the Batan Island