It’s been more than a month since this trip and I just feel obliged (to who?!) to have it down my blog history.
Don’t get me wrong, the place IS BEYOND beautiful and you can just lie down on the grass and stare at the sky all day (and night) but I suppose other actual experiences also count for a majority vote on the entire thing.
We got 50% off promo air tickets late last year because of Erma‘s vigilance (haha) and we just had to wait 9months before the actual trip!
The plane ride was pleasant enough (albeit a bit scary during takeoff and touchdown) and we just had to take a short trike ride to our inn (Shanedel’s Inn & Cafe). We waited around 2 hours before we got into a room because the owner went to mass and they also had to clean the room as we had opted to just walk-in instead of doing a reservation (because we didn’t want to pay the fee as a Force Majeure is most likely to happen on our trip, i.e. typhoons, plane problems etc)
(This photo was grabbed from BiyahengPandeSal)
The place was okay but they don’t serve food so we had to walk around the main street to find something to eat. We arrived on a Sunday so most establishments were closed (and there weren’t many establishments to start with) and we had to eat pansit and bread or something that day.
The first thing we noticed was that people weren’t too fond of tourists. We bought stuff from stores and not only do they NOT smile at all but they have this leering expression on their faces because of I DON”T KNOW WHY. This happened about 85% of our time here in Batanes and this is all I can remember afterwards. They might have had a bad experience with tourists before but this is just disheartening :(
We booked a three-day tour, also with Shanedel’s, and we enjoyed it because the tour guide and driver were knowleadgable and friendly and we had good food! Here are a few photos during the trip:
The hills are very much alive.
Rolling hills and stonehouses. I was expecting sheep. But cows and goats are okay too.
The shores are very, very rocky. I forgot the actual explanation. Something about the seabed and the volcano. Hmm.
We also had a swim the last day. As usual, I “forgot” to put on sunscreen (okay, I am tamad). Well, maybe I did a little bit but that little bit didn’t help at all so I was red-brown for 3 weeks.
There were three lighthouses in Batanes. Two in the mainland and one in the nearby island. You can only go up the one in North Batan and the view is spectacular.
Batanes is famous for its stonehouses that were built to battle the regions constant storms. The walls are very thick and the ceilings are low for that function but nowadays people are integrating modern house designs into their homes.
More lighthouse group photos.
My profile picture for a while. This was taken in Sabtang island. The people there seem to be a bit nicer but the sun is also a bit harsher on the skin (pardon le grammar)
Batanes takes pride in its many chapels and churches, most built during the early part of the 18th century. We went to the Ivana, Mahatao and Tukon churches and it was a sight to see (even though I am not fond of churches).
It is a very good idea to wander around town with a rented bike. Just make sure that the brakes are working because the road are really steep.
More stones. This is Boulder Beach for a reason.
We rode a boat to Sabtang Island. I don’t get dizzy on boat rides but this one was spectacularly shaky.
More beach photos. INHALE.
It’s never too early for a group selfie.
Old house photo ops by Kuya Guide.
Umang and co.
Sabtang lighthouse from afar.
Honesty shop. I only bought their bukayo.
My cover photo for a while.
The town and the volcano.
We also went into a tunnel made by the Japanese but I don’t have a photo with me right now. Maybe later.
Here’s a photo of the coconuts crabs that almost saved the day (or the experience):
It has a flavor all on its own. I am not fond of aligue though so I didn’t appreciate the heapful it has hidden in its underbelly. It is more a spider than a crab and it can tear your fingers off with its claws.
Speaking of food, the clincher to this awesome adventure was a reservation gone wrong that followed me all the way to the airport as we were about to leave.
The end of this all is that we enjoyed the view but its the people who actually make or break the experience. So when people ask me about the place, I would always say ” It’s beautiful but…”
But hey, it’s just me and my experience. It can definitely be different for you!
We tried to get our itinerary from these sites so you can check on it too: