Beautiful Batanes

I’m sorry for not updating this blog for weeks. I was swamped with work then headed to far-flung Batanes for almost a week to rejuvenate.

fundacion

Fundacion Pacita

Batanes is found in the northernmost part of the Philippines, and is the country’s smallest province in terms of population and land area. It is a beautiful place that has been on my must-visit destinations list since I saw it featured in a magazine a decade ago. Though I’ve long wanted to go there, I was hampered by the fact that it’s quite inaccessible (only one airline travels there as of this writing) and the fare is quite expensive that no one among my friends was willing to accompany me there. As many of them would say, it’s cheaper to go to our neighboring Asian countries than visit Batanes.

Last January, I got lucky and finally found a friend who was willing to splurge on a trip to Batanes. Turned out it too has been her dream destination for years.

Being in Batanes is like journeying to another world, another time. The place is stunningly picturesque and unspoiled.

IMG_8242

Chavayan’s cliffs and shoreline

With its hills and mountains and vast expanse of water, Batanes looks nothing like many of the islands of the Philippines – and I’ve been to many.

taken while driving

And unlike other Philippine beaches, most of Batanes’ beaches are rocky. It was amazing to see the waves crash against the huge multi-colored boulders that according to our guide came from Mt. Iraya.

boulder beach valugan

Boulder Beach Valugan

chadpidan boulder beach

Boulder Beach Chadpidan

The rolling hills and massive cliffs were also a sight to behold. As another friend who was there last year said, these looked straight out of that Sound of Music scene of Maria singing, “The hills are alive…”

Rolling Hills

Rolling Hills

at Marlboro Country

at Marlboro Country

Their lighthouses scattered in the province’s islands were also very picturesque.

margarita-fringed lighthouse

Basco Lighthouse in Naidi Hills

mahatao lighthouse

Mahatao Lighthouse

sabtang lighthouse

Sabtang Lighthouse

The native stone houses also charmed me, especially since it’s so unlike the usual cement or wood houses of Filipinos.

IMG_8239

Sabtang

The people of Batanes are called Ivatans and they are the kindest and most accommodating people I’ve ever met. In the Philippines, especially in the provinces, it’s common to see people smiling at you. In Batanes, they go the extra mile by smiling then greeting us. I even noticed some Ivatans putting their palm to their chest and nodding while saying their greeting. In one island, two children did the pagmamano (the now rare Filipino tradition of raising an elder’s hand to one’s forehead as a sign of respect) on us, which was quite a pleasant surprise.

All these and more (to be discussed in future posts) made the trip a most memorable one. As I now keep telling my friends, traveling to Batanes should be on everyone’s bucket list. Trust me, it’s something you shouldn’t miss.

sunset at rolling hills

Sunset at Rolling Hills

16 thoughts on “Beautiful Batanes

  1. Deb

    This looks like an amazing place. The lighthouse with the stone building was really interesting looking as was the boulder beach. Thank you for posting about a place I never knew existed.

    Reply
  2. camcope

    Hi Milai, just discovered your blog after noticing you liked my recent post Changing Tide. Wow Batanes looks like a kind of Tropical Ireland! Might have to add it to my own list =)

    Reply
  3. carmine ragusa

    Wow, simply beautiful. It’s so lush and green. This looks like the Scottish Highlands or Ireland or New Zealand. This is a must see and a hidden gem of the Philippines. I hope it stays this way and doesn’t become over commercialize.
    BTW, how is the temperature there? Is it hot and muggy like tropical Philippines or more like the weather in Bagio City? It seems to be higher in altitude, how cold does it get there?
    Again, your pictures are stunning.

    Reply
    1. milai Post author

      It’s one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been to. And yes, it does look like the Scottish Highlands or New Zealand.

      It was almost summer when we went there so the weather was hot, but it got chilly in the early morning and at night, but it’s not as cold as the weather in Baguio. Locals recommend going there from January to June since after these months, it’s the rainy season so it’s difficult to go around the island.

      Thanks for the kind comments. 🙂

      Reply
    1. milai Post author

      It is a breathtakingly beautiful place! In one of my posts on Facebook, I even wrote this line from a song: “You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be, and I don’t want to go home right now…” as a photo caption.

      Thank you for dropping by. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Batanes: Day 1 | Thoughts, Tales, and Whatnot

  5. Pingback: Batanes: Day 3 | Thoughts, Tales, and Whatnot

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