Sorry for the long delayed third day journal of my Batanes trip. It’s been almost more than 2 months since I went there but the memories of the place still lingers on me. It’s really a good de-stresser and perhaps it would really lighten up your feelings going there. Also, my guide (the paper that I have written during my stay there) was lost and it was just recently when I found the paper again. I thought I have posted this already but noticed that it was still on the draft section of my blog.
Our third day was a Sunday and of course, I still went to Church for a mass. Inasmuch as we wanted to go on the first mass (to make the most of the last full day vacation, as the flight going back to Manila the next day is before 8 am), we weren’t able to do it but instead take the second one. It was raining when we arrived in the Church in Basco. I forgot the name of the Church but it has a nice facade which I think is newly painted.
The mass in Basco is in Ivatan, except that the Gospel is in Filipino. Maybe it depends on the priest but I guess most people knows Filipino. After the mass, we had our breakfast back in the resort and Roger, our tour guide planned to bring us to Mahatao fishing village. The fishing village is also the entry point of the hike going to the fountain of youth. Initially, I had doubts if we can reach our itinerary safe since the rain might cause the hiking trail slippery or muddy and might cause some accident if ever. Nonetheless, Roger assured us that it will be safe.
The trip going to the fishing village have to pass through the sides of a mountain and the road is a bit slippery so we have to slow in going down. The weather then was a bit rainy so we really have to be careful and literally, I am not sure if it’s a cliff but the side of the road going to it is a ravine. Upon reaching the fishing village, the strong winds from the sea welcomed us. The roar of the waves that hit the shores is strong and you’ll feel the strength of the winds and the water.
According to Roger, we have to hike our way to the fountain of youth which is on the other side of the mountain. When we’re on our way to the fountain of youth, we chanced again on the group of Mandy Navasero shooting at the foot of the mountain going to the fountain of youth as well. I have told myself that there’s nothing much of a difference between going in Mandy’s group than in the group that I have joined to since we have been to same places at almost the same time. Maybe they arrived there first in the place but we were the first to hike the place. (Well, the group that I have joined has saved me at the least 6,000 pesos – 17k is my total trip expense exclusive of pasalubong while hers is 23k).
The hike from the fishing village up to the fountain of youth is approximately 2-3 kilometers and it is a walk on the side of a mountain with the coastline facing Pacific Ocean as a view. The trembling sound of the waves slamming on the shore makes the walking more exciting. The bad in me is that I didn’t bring any jacket with me so I have to borrow one from my companions who has an extra jacket. The one lent to me is a wind breaker and I tell you that it is not enough to keep yourself warm on the hike. On our way to the fountain of youth, we passed through some locations that has something to do with the locals. The passage way to the fountain of youth is the other side of the Alapad Hills better known as “Marlboro” country. Along the way, you can also notice a monkey head formation facing the sea. There are also some archaeological locations which was believed to be the settlement site of the first Ivatans. Their place was hit hard by a tsunami then and the remnants of their settlement are found there (with some of the stone structures remained standing). Past that site is a downhill path going to the main area of the fountain of youth. According to the tour guide of Mandy (they came after we have settled there and take some pictures), the water is being checked by the local government (perhaps the health center) and we are assured that the water is potable. The sea water is cool and the waves going on our area are a bit “tamed” as the rocks lessen the force that comes to us.
After this trip, we went back to the resort for lunch and rest a bit. The concluding part of our 3rd day trip include a trip to a Catholic Chapel/Church that was built during the incumbency of then Congressman Butch Abad, a trip to the Pacita Abad house, and the Japanese occupation tunnel. We also had a time going to Vayang ranch and the lighthouse in Basco.
We capped the day by buying souvenirs and by packing up things for our departure the next day. The fourth day is not much more of an exciting day except that it is the day of our flight back to Manila. So far, the only commercial airline that flies Batanes is Asian Spirit and hopefully in Cebu Pacific continues their plan to expand their fleet with small light aircraft, I do hope that they’ll fly Batanes too so that people can have a choice on what to fly and with a cheaper price than the prevailing ones (currently, a one-way flight to Batanes is 4,700 pesos exclusive of taxes).
As a concluding remark, Batanes is truly one of the places every Filipino should visit. The hospitality of the people is truly great and I hope they do get the recognition of the UNESCO as a World Heritage site. According to our tour guide, summer is the best period to go to Batanes but expect that it would be much more expense. From experience, here are my recommendations.
LENS (for photographers)
- Ultra Wide Angle (for landscapes)
- Wide-Angle – Mid Telephoto (for portraits and group shots)
- Telephoto (for some long range images)
- Filters (CPL)
On some cases, you might be unfortunate to catch the rains, make sure your cameras are protected against the rain. An umbrella would suffice, though prepare also some gadgets that will help clean your lens fast when raindrops hit your lens/filters. I only have one prime (which is the 50mm 1.8) but I didn’t use it in the trip as I didn’t find any reason to use.
- Wear comfortable clothes BUT bring a decent thick jacket. Wind breakers don’t work. Trust me.
- While trekking, wear Crocs styled sandals. Even though it’s a bit wet when we hiked, it is not that muddy.
- Don’t wear pants on the trip going to Sabtang and of course, don’t wear rubber shoes. I am not promoting Crocs, you can get the cheaper similar ones and let your feet enjoy the cool water of the see.
- Mahatao ecological fee: 50 pesos
- Sabtang ecological fee: 100 pesos
- Souvenirs cost almost the same with any other destination, depends on your budget. An extra 1000 pesos would be enough.
- On Batan Island, tricycles, according to my companion charge for 40 pesos. I think this would be pretty much understandable as Batanes is powered mainly by diesel so that resource is a bit precious for them.
- If I’m not mistaken there’s an airport fee upon arrival in Batanes (but we weren’t charged). There’s an ecological fee I think of 15 pesos on departure plus 20 pesos airport fee.
- Batanes Resort I think is the best placed accommodations When you get there, try to have the Sabtang or Basco rooms. We stayed in Basco A and our alarm clock is the raging waves slamming the coast line. The people there are accommodating and the food served there is great. Note however that this is named as a resort but don’t expect that there are swimming pools though.
- Pension Ivatan is located inside Basco. No sceneries are visible in the place.
- Batanes Seaside lodge is indeed seaside but I prefer Batanes Resort more than this.
- There’s internet in Basco. They’re not behind technology.
- Globe has a better signal in Sabtang since they have a cell site there (based from my experience, Globe has a stronger signal there than Smart).
I think I have shared already some stuff about a typical Batanes trip. Hope you learned a lot from my entry. 🙂 The people of Batanes are truly hospitable, I do hope you treat them nice too.