Your Complete Batanes Itinerary: Explore The North In 4 Days
Metro Manila is an energetic city overcrowded with people, various nightlife options, and unbelievable pollution. Being constantly surrounded by the urban jungle can get nauseating sometimes. If you feel like screaming at the top of your lungs, why not do it at Vayang Rolling Hills in Batanes? Believe it or not, this picturesque beauty exists in the Philippines. With this reliable Batanes itinerary bookmarked, find out why people have fallen in love with this place and make plans to come back!
How to Get to Batanes
The best way to travel up to this northernmost province is via airplane. Hop on the (only) morning flight headed for Basco via PAL Express or SkyJet Airlines. PAL Express flies daily, while SkyJet Airlines flies daily except Tuesdays to Basco from Manila. It takes about an hour and a half to fly to Batanes from Manila.
Day 1: Begin the Batanes adventure
Rise and shine, sleepyhead. We hope you got some shut-eye on the plane because your adventure begins with this Batanes itinerary now!
Grab breakfast at Café du Tukon
Café du Tukon is at Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge. Enjoy a fresh and organic breakfast. Try their Pork Luñis, which is the Ivatan version of adobo. All of the ingredients they use are locally sourced and directly from the Ivatan farmers.
Explore Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge
Once the house of world-renowned painter Pacita Abad, it has been transformed into an upscale accommodation. Visitors flock to the place to gaze at its numerous beautiful artworks.
Rent a bike to get around while soaking up the fresh and unpolluted air. Though the terrains can get quite challenging, the surrounding views will definitely make up for it. If you don’t know how to bike, trekking might be the best solution for you.
Go lighthouse hopping
Believe it or not, Batanes is actually made up of 10 islands, and only three are inhabited. The coastline goes all the way around these islands, which is why each inhabited island has its own lighthouse. The 20-meter Basco Lighthouse is recognized by its red lantern top and white column, all supported by limestone masonry. On Sabtang Island, Sabtang Lighthouse is entirely made of rubble masonry and definitely sets a rustic mood! The hexagonal-shaped Tayid Lighthouse lies on Batan Island, Mahatao and faces the Pacific Ocean. No Batanes itinerary will be complete without the chance to climb up to enjoy a panoramic view of the highlands!
Drop by Honesty Coffee Shop
Take note that Ivatans are known for their truthfulness. It has been reported that Batanes has little to none crime rate (take that, Manila!). Originally, Honesty Coffee Shop served coffee, hot water, and sugar to local travelers. Payment would be left by a customer and collected in the afternoon. Later on, owners Elena and Jose Gabilo added a few snacks, soft drinks, and vakoul, the native headgear. How we wish we can do the same in the city!
Take a dip at Spanish Lagoon
In between Mahatao and Ivana lies Homoron Blue Lagoon aka Spanish Lagoon. It was once reserved only for the Spanish, thus earning the name Spaniard’s Lagoon. Now open to the public, locals and tourists can feel free to find solace in this part of town.
Sample their seafood-rich diet
Batanes is known for their cheap and fresh seafood like lobsters and coconut crabs. However, coconut crabs are an endangered species, so we don’t recommend trying them out. Instead, try out the Ivatan Platter found at Pension Ivatan. They serve a good selection of lobster, crab, uvud balls (made of banana pith, pork, and fish), lunis, inihaw na dibang (grilled flying fish), kananiz (grilled cuttlefish), pako (fern salad) and copious amounts of rice!
Day 2: Take in the local scene
It’s another beautiful day in paradise. See what more this Batanes itinerary has to offer you!
Sample the local cuisine at Paulvanas Canteen
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the restaurant. They serve a mean Ivatan cuisine that’s totally worth drooling over. For starters, their seaweed soup will warm you inside from the chilly weather.
Go church hopping
Santo Domingo Cathedral or Basco Cathedral stands tall and mighty in spite of it being one of the oldest churches around. In 2011, it was restored due to damages from an earthquake. On your way to Valugan Beach, you’ll come across photogenic Tukon Chapel adorned with smooth edge boulders.
Take jump shots at scenic backdrops
A scene taken from Salzburg? Nope. Or even New Zealand or Scotland? Nope. Believe it or not, these are gorgeous views taken from Racuh A Payaman aka Marlboro Country (because of its livestock freely grazing the land) and Vayang Rolling Hills. No filter required. Now, that’s something you don’t see in the city every day!
Sample local delicacies
What’s an adventure without trying the local food, right? Get your hands on their national dish, namely uvud balls, made of ground pork mixed with banana stalk pith and fish flakes. Don’t leave the island without trying their dibang or flying fish. You can have it smoked, fried, turned into sinigang or lumpia!
Play bahay-bahayan at Chavayan Village
If you truly want to see something that has been built for toughness, check out these ancient stone houses. It’s cooler in Batanes thanks to its hilly terrain, so Ivatans needed strong houses to protect them from climate extremities.
Trek to Mount Iraya
Up for a real adventure with your Batanes itinerary? Take advantage of the lovely climate by going on a three-hour trek up to Mount Iraya. As long as it’s not typhoon season, you’ll be able to see the lovely view all the way up from there. Make sure you have all your gear with you, and you’re ready to go!
Day 3: Hunt for some ghosts
Ready to take on more of stunning Batanes? Make sure you’ve got lots of energy for today!
Grab a heavy breakfast at Octagon
You’ll definitely love the vibe of Octagon, thanks to its local art-infested interiors. Feast on your Filipino favorites, or try out their Ivatan cuisine. The spectacular view of both land and sea will simply take your breath away.
Hunt for ghosts at Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
Oops, we didn’t mean to scare you about this one. For those who love a sense of thrill in their adventure, this one is something you want to add to your Batanes itinerary. The tunnel was built in World War II by the Ivatans who were forced to hide from Japanese soldiers. Ghost stories, anyone?
Catch some sun at the beach
Who said you had to fly to Cebu, Boracay, or Palawan for an intimate encounter with the sea? People aren’t aware that its coastline is just as magical as its mountainous regions. Explore the beautiful Chadpidan Beach, Morong Beach, and Nakabuang Beach. To add to the list, try to visit the fine white sands at Homoron White Beach, or challenge the boulders at Valugan Beach as well! The best part of it is that you don’t need to share its unspoiled beauty with anyone else!
Strut their vakul and kanayi
Is that Bigfoot? Nope, it’s definitely not! Strike a pose in their famous vakul headgear and kanayi vest. These are used by the locals to protect themselves from the harsh weather elements. Hmm, we wonder if this outfit could protect us from the city’s pollution.
Get something for your loved ones at Vavayat Souvenirs
Round out your Batanes itinerary with the chance to pick out souvenirs for your family and friends from this place. They have a vast collection of local handicrafts.
Go Italian on your last night
Feast on your Italian favorites at Casa Napoli or Jino’s East Pizzaria. We know you can’t resist a round of good pizza!
Cap off the night with mineovaheng
Try out Batanes’ local sugarcane wine. You’ll feel it kick in after downing a couple of glasses! Call it an early night so that you can catch your flight going to Manila the next morning.
Philihappy Pro Tips
- Set the alarm and sleep early the night before your flight. The only flights available going to Batanes are all scheduled in the early morning.
- Bring sufficient cash and ditch your ATM and credit cards at home. You’ll save yourself trouble since there aren’t a lot of banks on the island.
- Make sure your camera, mobile phone/s, and power banks are always charged and ready for an adventure. Every Instagram-worthy view is worth preserving and looks great on your feed!
Doesn’t our Batanes itinerary set fire to your wanderlust soul? It will surely want to make you pack your bags and jump on a plane! With its remote location and laidback lifestyle, you may never want to return to the concrete madness again. Getting lost in this breathtaking province will truly make you proud that you’re a Filipino.
Have you escaped to Batanes before? If you’re up for a lighthouse-hopping adventure that includes Batanes, check out the list we’ve made for you! Share your experiences with us by commenting below or tagging @Philihappy on Instagram!