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Batanes, As Told By Travelers

by Angie Garcia

Despite its popularity, Batanes is still labeled as an off-the-beaten-path destination.

There are plenty of reasons why: expensive airfare, an extremely remote location, typhoon-prone climate, poor cellular signal, and the slow-paced lifestyle that city slickers are not accustomed to.

Unlike other places, however, Batanes proudly embraces it—and invites visitors to do the same. The magic of this quiet paradise lies in its inhabitants and the pristine, rugged masterpiece painted by Mother Nature herself.

If the pictures aren't enough to convince you, here's what fellow travelers have to say about this enchanting place.

1. What fascinated you the most about Batanes?

Chris: You won't find another place like my hometown. Visitors are attracted to the place due to its unique culture, natural landscapes, stone houses, and the hospitable locals.

Chris with the life-size bronze sculpture of Pacita Abad at Fundacion Pacita

Mikee: Anyone who has seen Batanes (in a photograph or in real life) will tell you about its breathtaking scenery. The landscape is one of a kind and the waters are pristine.

Mikee at the famous Marlboro Country or Racuh A Payaman

For one, Mt. Iraya, the source of the boulders surrounding the island, likes to tease those who peer at her by hiding behind the clouds. Locals share that she rarely reveals herself completely; I was lucky to have seen her for a few seconds before she was gone again.

What surprised me the most, however, was the simplicity of the Ivatans. At first glance, the world seems to be at a standstill but the people are always hustling. Sweepers fill the town proper in the early morning, workers go about their tasks for the day, and then everyone checks in for an early night.

I have been to a few sleepy towns, but I wouldn't mind living there!

Everything is so serene. The relaxed lifestyle Batanes has is evident in its people's kind hearts and warm smiles.

Chelsea: Batanes is a novel reality. The scenery is one of the most beautiful ones I’ve seen my whole life. Having been blessed the opportunity to see some of the most magnificent parts of the world, I could say that Batanes is still one of my favorites. The rolling hills and stone houses add to the magic touch of the Ivatans.

Chelsea at the Diura Fishing Village, a small coastal community in Batanes

It was as if I were in the Philippines but also in some foreign island.

2. Who would enjoy Batanes?

Chris: Batanes will appeal to all types of people, regardless of age groups and interests, but specifically those who appreciate nature. It's a place where the Pacific Ocean and China Sea converge which you can see on a mountaintop.

Chris at the famous Marlboro Country or Racuh A Payaman

Mikee: Couples, barkadas, families, and even solo travelers will definitely enjoy Batanes. There aren't many activities in Batanes, but you won't run out of sights to see.

Mikee at Tayid Lighthouse, one of the only three lighthouses in Batanes

Every corner is picturesque and Instagram-worthy! But I think one has to have a heart for nature to give Batanes the appreciation it truly deserves.

I spent my mornings walking around town. The afternoons were for touring (I DIY-ed a tricycle tour!) and then the evenings for stories under the stars. If you're the type of person who's game to chill out, then this is definitely the trip for you.

Chelsea: I love the outdoors and the provincial pace of life. So, it does not matter if you’re taking the trip alone, with your partner, or with a few special friends. As long as you enjoy both then you’ll probably fall in love just as easily with Batanes.

Chelsea with her boyfriend James at one of Batanes' renowned mountain stops

3. What tips can you share for first-time travelers or those who are considering a trip to Batanes?

Chris: Batanes is an expensive destination, but it's definitely worth it.

For budget-friendly accommodations, check out airbnb. There are plenty of affordable homestays and inns that will suit every traveler's requirements. Most homestays offer free breakfast, but you are free to cook if you wish.

Try a DIY tour. The accommodation host will be happy to assist your tour itinerary. Be prepared to shell out around 5-6k if you join tours with travel agencies. This will cover North Batan, South Batan & Sabtang Island with fees, lunch for 3 days, boat rides, tour guide, and transfers.

Chris at Valugan Boulder Beach, a famous spot for tourists and photographers

Mikee: Airfare prices tend to be steep, but watch out for promos! Do a lot of research when you're planning your trip. It will be easier to DIY your itinerary (like what I did) or scout for sulit packages online.

Mikee on a trail going to Vayang Rolling Hills

Finally, make the most out of your stay by exploring on your own and chatting with the locals. You'll learn a lot about its history and culture, and who knows, maybe a little bit about yourself too!

Chelsea: Travel light, but be ready for any kind of weather. Respect the sanctity of the place, spend as much time away from your black mirror, and get to know the people!

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About Angie
Angie is a third-culture kid with a voracious appetite for adventure and street food delicacies. She has a hard time deciding whether she's more of a beach or mountain person, but she's thankful that the Philippines has a good amount of both.

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