It was our second day in Batanes and we were supposed to do the Sabtang tour. But due to a conflict with the schedule of our tour guide, they just requested for us to do the South Batan instead. Well, no harm done so we just proceed with it. Little did we know that we were on the greatest surprise of our lives! South Batan was one of the tiring tours I have ever tried yet the most fulfilling one, I must say.
Must read: Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500
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
Anu pa nga ba, eh di tour galore! But unlike the North Batan tour, a whole day of exploration was ahead of us. There was too much strolling that I didn’t mind as we were busy doing ooohs and ahhhs upon the scenery we were handed. An 8-hour tour of picture taking and walking…to which my legs benefited as it became toned instantly! I kid you not, I swear. Though it is two-toned as well. Tan lines dahil sa shorts. Haha.
Spots to visit:
Chawa Viewing Deck
Located at the western part of Mahatao which provides an exceptional vantage point of the West Philippine Sea. We have to go down the steps (I lost count of how many it is) to have a better view. We were welcomed by strong waves, and I mean, ginormous, splashing-by-the-rock waves.
I was honestly quite scared because the waves are really strong. It felt like I am going to be eaten by the sea at any moment!
Mahatao Boat Shelter
A literal shelter for boats most especially during unfavorable weather conditions. Batanes already have strong waves on a normal day, what more if a typhoon comes in?
See that huge rock island? This was actually what I was eyeing the moment we set foot in the boat shelter. A part of me was nagging that I can climb on top of that. And guess what, I did.
Perhaps the daredevil in me won. It wasn’t easy though. There was only an unstable ladder and a rope that you can hold onto as you climb up the island. Ate Donna, our tour guide and a native resident of Batanes, even said that it was her first time to reach such all thanks to me.
If you wish to do what I did, please do so with caution. And take nothing but pictures. Learn to respect the beauty of nature.
Ruins of Song-song
What song you might ask? No, not really related to any song. It is the name of the sitio in Uyugan. These are stone house ruins that has been swept by a tsunami way back in the 1950s. I was actually thinking, matibay pa din, may natira pa nga eh.
Hohmoron Blue Lagoon
It was said to be the favorite bathing venue for priests during the Spanish era. It actually made sense since it is situated in a quite secluded spot and the waves are not that strong.
San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel
This sanctuary is said to be the birthplace of Christianity in Batanes as well as the place where the first Catholic mass and baptism was held.
Alapad Hills & Rock Formation
One of the famous spots in Batanes as this is where the movie 1990s flick Hihintayin Kita sa Langit starring Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez. They said this is the location for the i-Dawn Zulueta moment in the movie.
Would’ve really wanted to re-enact the moment but someone’s too KJ to do that. Wonk wonk. I did an emotera shot instead.
Now, there is a very interesting hill across Alapad Hills and it caught my attention. It was sooo green though quite steep to ascend. But guess what? We did climbed it anyway. Haha. After asking our tour guide if we can try going up the hill, off we go.
I never regretted the effort I exerted for this. And yeah, this is the advantage of going on an exclusive tour, hawak mo oras mo…without minding other people. I wanted to post more goofy shots but it feels like nakakahiya na. Lol.
This store will test a trait that not everyone possesses…and that is honesty. Everything in the store has its price tag. It’s up to you to pay for it or just keep the item and leave. Just remember, God is watching. So, matakot ka.
There are also stones inside the store for you to put your name as a souvenir. I found the stone where Coco Martin’s name was written (I guess during their You’re My Boss shoot?) and I immediately put ours next to his. Pasensya po sa mga naiusog kong bato to do this. Don’t hate me. Chos!
San Lorenzo de Ivana Church & Ruins
Situated near the Honesty Store, this church was declared as a National Historical Landmark in 2008. Filipino revolutionaries also waved the Katipunan flag in the church’s bell tower way back in 1898.
House of Dakay
Simple yet sturdy. That was the two words that came to mind when we visited House of Dakay. It was also nice to see that people still lives in this house after so many years (and strong typhoons). Well, what can you expect, it is said to be the oldest surviving house in Batan Island. Just wow.
Old Spanish Bridge
A bridge built during the Spanish era but is still functional to date.
Unlike in Valugan Beach, waves are a little bit friendlier in this side of the Batan Island. We arrived at the time where there are fewer tourists hence we were the only ones in this beach. And I like that.
Blank Book Archive & San Carlos Borromeo Church
Blank Book Archives is basically a room full of books with blank pages. Locals and tourists are encourage to jot down whatever you feel like writing. It’s a good way of expressing one’s self.
A few steps away from the archives is the San Carlos Borromeo Church, one of the cultural icons in Batanes. Love that the exterior of the church is painted in pure white which makes the blue door pop.
We have experienced Vayang Rolling Hills a day before and I thought it was remarkable! And yet we have experienced another prominent landmark in Batanes! Meet the Racuh-a-Payaman which is also known as the Marlboro Hills. Why? I will let the photos speak for itself.
It is a place where wild animals as horses and cows can freely graze. The Marlboro Hills has no appalling sight. We actually did a 360-degree turn just to check. What we saw was pure bliss. Amazing. Stunning. Beautiful.
Paderes Point and Cliff Road
A spot which offers the vantage point of the whole lot of Batan island.
Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse
Our trike kinda fell short when trailing the road leading to an uphill. So we have to walk to get to the lighthouse. Built in the early 2000s, like the others, Tayid Lighthouse was constructed in order to help the fisherman most especially at night.
Our tour guide told us that this lighthouse was actually situated in a private property but the owner got a deal with the government. That is to build a ‘house’ for its farm animals for free. Not bad, eh?
Where We Stayed
We stayed for 4 nights in Marfel’s Lodge (extension) fan room for P1,000 per night for 2 people.
Below are the dishes we ate during our second day in Batanes:
>> Salt & Pepper Pork and Venes with Gata – We have tasted these dishes from Vatang Grill & Restaurant. The salt and pepper pork is something that you can eat in the city but we have to try the venes, to which is basically a minced gabi stalks with coconut milk (gata). The venes served as our healthy food alongside the pork.
• Bring water with you if you wish to go down the Chawa Viewing Deck. Since it is a long way down, it only means that your athletic skills will be challenged as you return to the top. And eat some food too before doing the tour.
• Take you time exploring the Racuh-a-Payaman. There’s a lot to cover and the sights are incredible, I assure you.
• 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 South Batan tour has been done during our Batanes trip last Jul 21-25, 2015. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100.
Travel Expense Summary
|Day 2 Expenses||Total||Divide by 2|
|Marfel’s Lodge Fan Room (1 night)||1,000||500|
|Tour Guide 1-day Exclusive Tour||1,000||500|
|South Batan trike rental||1,500||750|
|Chawa View Entrance Fee||100||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.