Sabtang Tour | Batanes Travel Guide

Sabtang Tour | Batanes Travel Guide

Started our day early as we were headed to Sabtang Island, the southernmost part of the Batanes Group of Islands. We left our hotel as early as 6am to be transferred to Ivana port to ride a faluwa, a boat used by the locals to transfer people, goods, and believe it or not, tractors. Yes, a freaking tractor! My bf and I were both in awe that we forgot to record the whole thing. I was thinking, if a faluwa can transport a tractor safely from one point to another, then it can get us to Sabtang unharmed as well right?! I must say, that was the coolest thing I have seen in years!

Must read: Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500

Jump-off point

From Manila, the fastest way to get to Batanes is by plane. Philippine Airlines has daily direct flights to Basco and takes 1.5 hours to get there. Alternatively, you can take the Manila-Tuguegarao route and do a connecting flight to Basco via Sky Pasada which offers Tuguegarao-Basco routes.

What We Did

The trike ride from Marfel’s Lodge to Ivana port can take 30 minutes and the faluwa ride to Sabtang is from 30-45 minutes. Try not be nauseous during the ride as it could really get a little bit rugged depending on how big the waves are. Definitely, the journey going to the island is not for the faint-hearted.

(Also read: our South BatanNorth Batan and Batanes Free Day tour experience)

On our tour trike with cogon grass roof. Way to start our day.

Spots to visit:

Sinakan & Chavayan Stone Houses
Being a city girl who is getting a bit tired of the city, it was a pleasant walk around the Sinakan village. Locals are just living a simple island life and I envy that. Oh, all those old stone houses that has withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes, it was like stroll in history.


Sto Tomas Chapel
A small chapel in Savidug to which has an abandoned priest house almost beside it. I didn’t get to go inside the chapel but we did made it in the beaterio, though you really to be careful as this is not much stable flooring to step into.


Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
Unquestionably, the most stunning point of interest in Sabtang. The green pastures with the magnificent seaside view makes the tour experience even more remarkable.

Just look at these scenery. Can you blame me if I never wanted to leave this place? Sigh.


Ivatan Headgears
I told myself that I will do another #OOTD post again if I get to Batanes? Why? Because I vowed to wear the traditional vacul used by local Ivatans during farming. Vaculs are made in order to protect the Ivatan farmers from the heat of the sun. I thought it was going to be quite heavy but surprisingly it wasn’t which made it made really cooler.

Vacul #OOTD

I was also pleased to even have a brief conversation with nanay from the Sabtang Weaver’s Association. She told stories of how they weave the vacul and for how long. Wanted to have an #ootd vacul pose with nanay as well but she’s quite shy.

Sta Rosa de Lima Chapel
As we were strolling in Brgy. Chavayan, we walked past by this church. I observed that from the churches that we have been in Batanes, this is the only one with cogon grass roof. Chavayan actually reminded me of the streets of El Nido. Backed with a superb mountain background and simple island life, yes, kinda like El Nido way back in 2009.



Morong Beach, Nakabuang Cave & Ahaw (Limestone Arc Formation)
One of the white sand beaches of Batanes with not-so-strong waves and a gorgeous backdrop, I don’t have much words to describe the beauty of this place.

Not too mention that it has the famous Ahaw rock formation, which is the most photographed spot in the beach. So yeah, Morong Beach possesses an oh-so-beyond-stunning landscape. Really.

Look at me! I successfully climbed Ahaw and could almost touch the clouds. Hihi.

Should you wish to climb the rock formation, kindly ask permission first and kindly proceed with caution. Stones in the arc are not that stable and it is quite high. Please do not hurt yourself.


San Vicente Ferrer Church
A Catholic church situated near the Sabtang port and was built in the 1800s. It was also said to be patterned after the Basco Church.

Sabtang (2)


Malakdang Lighthouse
Positioned near the San Vicente port, the Malakdang Lighthouse is still a beauty even when shot from afar. Currently off limits from tourists though as such is under renovation. Too bad.

Where We Stayed

We stayed for 4 nights in Marfel’s Lodge (extension) fan room for P1,000 per night for 2 people.

Food Recommendations

Below are the dishes we ate during our 3rd day in Batanes:

>> Luniz – From Pananayan Canteen in Sabtang Island. Luniz is the Ivatan way of cooking adobo, which the pork is cooked with its own salt and fat. Actually tastes like fried liempo.

>> Cheesy Baked Lobster From Octagon Restaurant in Basco. Lobster + cheese? Do I really need to say more? Perfectly divine. Best to chow down during lunch or dinner.

Travel Tips

• The faluwa ride can be a little bit bumpy so if you are the type who gets dizzy easily, make sure to drink your meds accordingly. Bonamine anyone?
• Please note that it can get cold during the night and though we originally reserved for an AC room (P1,500/night). In Marfel, we just settled for a fan room instead. #tipidtip
• Most dishes in Batanes’ restos are usually good for two. If you don’t have a big appetite, you can just settle to one ulam.
• If less than 3 people, it is better to do a trike tour than to join a group tour or rent a van. It will  be cheaper that way.

**Our Sabtang tour has been done during our Batanes trip last Jul 21-25, 2015. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100.

Travel Expense Summary

Day 3 Expenses Total Divide by 2
Marfel’s Lodge Fan Room (1 night) 1,000 500
Tour Guide 1-day Exclusive Tour 1,000 500
Sabtang trike rental 800 400
Ivana Transfers 440 220
Sabtang Environmental Fee 400 200
Honesty Store 135 67.5
RT Trike to Octagon 60 30
Lunch 600 300
Dinner 840 420
Snacks 70 35
TOTAL 5,345 2,672.50


Special shout out to the people who helped us make this trip possible. In behalf of my travel crew, maraming salamat po. Sa uulitin. Apir!

Kuya Jhun Gasilao, whom I have contacted months before our trip but a DOT seminar conflicted with our sched, thank you po for finding an alternative to take your place. Di nio po kame pinabayaan. Contact him at 0906-565-3457 and 0999-825-9130.

Ate Donna, our tour guide, contact her at 0939-288-1164.

Ate Fe and her kwelang Marfel Lodge staffs, contact them at 0917-857-4493 and 0908-893-1475.

#Ahaw#Batanes#Chamantad Tinyan#Chavayan#Cheesy Baked Lobster#faluwa#Ivatan#Ivatan Headgears#Limestone Arc Formation#Luniz#Malakdang Lighthouse#Marfel's Lodge#Morong Beach#Nakabuang Cave#Octagon#ootd#Pananayan Canteen#Philippine Airlines#Sabtang#Sabtang Weavers Association#San Vicente Ferrer Church#Sinakan#Sky Pasada#Sta Rosa de Lima Chapel#Sto Tomas Chapel#Stone Houses#vacul
Written by Tody Dino