“Batanes does not just make you forget; it makes you remember what truly matters,” is what mareng Toni Gonzaga once said in the film You’re My Boss.
Indeed, this unspoiled paradise should be on every Filipino’s travel bucket list. Blessed with natural wonders that look like they belong in a fairy tale, the northernmost province of the Philippines holds countless sights to revel in—one might even say you haven't truly explored the full potential and beauty of the country until you've ventured to Batanes. Aside from the picturesque landscapes that will greet your eyes, there is one activity that’s worth experiencing even for first-time visitors: cycling around the whole Batan Island. Here's why it's the most interesting way to get around this unforgettable destination.
What to Expect When You Bike Around Batanes
Riding a bike around the 40-kilometer Batan Island Loop is what I would call a “chill challenge.” It’s possible if you put your mind to it, and the charm of the island just makes the ride even more enjoyable. There is a main road that passes through the four towns, starting from Basco to Mahatao then Ivana all the way to Uyugan leading to Marlboro Country. The scenery is priceless: rolling hills on the left, a jagged coastline on the right, and a winding stretch of road that goes on for miles.
It would take around five hours without resting stops to bike around Batan Island, although the crisp, refreshing breeze makes up for all the effort. Mountain bikes for rent cost ₱500 a day, and there are many rental stores just around the corner in the town proper or the poblacion.
Most of the bikes for rent in the province are Japanese surplus bikes which do not have gears. The problem with this is that when there are inclines, the rider must exert more effort to go uphill. If you can find one, look for a sturdy mountain bike with traction on the wheels and a fixed gear set instead for a faster and easier ride.
There are plenty of noteworthy places that are non-negotiables when it comes to listing down stops for your biking tour. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Vayang Rolling Hills
This spot is arguably the most iconic location in Batanes, and is truly a must-see. Located in Basco, what’s incredible about it is that it provides a spectacular view of the West Philippine Sea as well, offering a striking contrast between the deep green hills and the rich blue of the water. The Rolling Hills also give you a breathtaking overview of Chadpidan Beach, so make sure you capture the beauty through lots of photos. The strong winds pose a real challenge, but that only makes victory sweeter when you finally get the perfect picture for your feed.
Valugan Boulder Beach
The fiercest and strongest waves from the Pacific can be found here—the same ones that perfectly polished these rocks by the shore. The boulders all came from Mt. Iraya which is a nearby active volcano that erupted in 400 AD. Sadly, swimming is not allowed here and for good reason: the waves and andesite rocks can seriously injure people.
Homoron Blue Lagoon in Mahatao
This natural pool with vividly blue water is located near White Beach, connecting Mahatao and Ivana. It used to be called Spanish Lagoon or Spaniards’ Lagoon since friars were the only ones allowed to bathe here during the Colonization Period. Now the area is open for all to visit, and travelers from near and far can enjoy the pristinely clear and soft waves.
Perhaps one of the most postcard-worthy sights to see in Batanes is the Basco Lighthouse on Naidi Hill. The structure first lit up in 2003, and offers a panorama of Baluan Bay, the town of Basco, Mt. Iraya, and the Rolling Hills. From the Port of Basco, the lighthouse is about 1.2 kilometers away. The other two lighthouses in the area are the Tayid Lighthouse in Mahatao and the Sabtang Lighthouse.
Ultimately, Batanes is a haven to both those seeking respite and those in search of a thrilling adventure. Take note that completing this 40-kilometer cycling challenge is no easy feat, meaning it'll require a lot of hard work to catch that scenic glimpse of creation. It can be physically demanding and mentally exhausting, but as it is with all good things, the experience is truly worth it.
If all else fails, rent a tricycle to finish the loop. The trike tours usually cost around ₱200-250 per hour. Some brave souls have even set out on foot!
For inquiries and reservations:
Leonardo Garcia (Kuya Nards) – Bike Rental
Contact Number: (0999) 994 5408
Though Basco was undamaged by the earthquake that hit Itbayat in July 2019, we at Deal Grocer are keeping Batanes in our thoughts. To support relief and rehabilitation efforts, visit this page.
Taking a BatanESCAPE? Check out this Travel Guide for things to do!
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This article was last edited on August 7, 2019 by the DG Traveler team.
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