Batanes is a remote island in North of the Philippines. There are 3 islands habited: Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang. Basco is the biggest town and the population around Batanes are 17 000 people. There are many Batanes tourist spots and we will discover for you in our full Batanes travel guide.
Batanes is a wedding destination and prenuptial destination for Filipinos since it is very picturesque. For Rachel’s been a dream destination and finally we made it together for the first time.
HOW TO GO TO BATANES
The only way to go Batanes is by plane. There are daily flights from Clark, Tuguegarao and Manila going to Batanes. Take note that there are no boats going to Batanes anymore. So the only option will be the flight.
HOW TO GO TO BATANES FROM CLARK
There are two flights coming from Clark International airport with Philippine Airlines. If you get a promo you can get one way ticket for around 4000 PHP each way. If not prices can go up to 10 000 PHP one way. It will include luggage up to 10 kilos plus hand luggage.
HOW TO GO TO BATANES FROM MANILA
There are flights with Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Sky Jet. Just look for the best price and schedule for you. Prices are around 4000-5000 PHP for one way.
HOW TO GET TO BATANES FROM TUGUEGARAO
There are also flights from Tuguegarao to Batanes with Sky Pasada. We always use Skycanner to compare prices and schedule.
WEATHER/BEST TIME TO VISIT BATANES
Best time to visit Batanes is in Summer, around March to June. It’s a time where there are only minimal rainfalls and it’s nice and sunny in Batanes. You wouldn’t have a problem to explore from places to places. But if you’re the type to like the cold instead of the warm, you can visit Batanes in December to February where the weather is nice and cold. As the weather is so unpredictable in Batanes, click here to know more about the weather in Batanes!
WIFI AND INTERNET CONNECTION IN BATANES
There is no wifi connection in Batanes. But you can use your data Smart and Globe with LTE around Basco and also in Sabtang around the port area and town. Based in our experience both companies were working properly but if we have to choose the most reliable of both of them we would say is Smart.
Around Troy’s Lodge area we found the best connection in town close to Abad street. Check here if you want to know the best Filipino sim card.
ATMS IN BASCO
There are two ATMs in Basco: PNB and Landbank. So if you can bring cash will make things easier. Both ATMs are located in city center and everybody knows about them. And there are even signs pointing each ATM in Basco, so you will not get lost.
TRANSPORTATION AROUND BATANES
There are bicycles and motorbikes for renting. You can also get a tricycle which is the most common transportation around Batanes. You can rent bicycles starting from 30 PHP per hour it would be great for heading to the lighthouse and moving around the town.
You can rent a mountain bike great for heading to rolling hills and the lighthouse to move with total freedom. Prices are around 600 PHP per day which is enough to visit these destinations. You can rent a motorbike around 800 PHP to move around the island.
If you are renting a motorbike remember there is only one petrol station located in Basco and you will not find more around the island.
Prices for a tricycle ride around the town are 50 PHP and little bit more expensive if you are going outside the center of Basco. If you want to rent a tricycle for a tour prices are 1000 PHP for North tour, 1500 PHP for South tour and 1000 PHP for touring around Sabtang.
The boat ride from Basco to Sabtang is 100 PHP each way. The boats are leaving around 7 am from Batan to Sabtang expect to stay there 30 minutes before to buy the ticket. You also need to add the transfers by tricycle to Ivana port around 250 PHP for two people.
To come back to Ivana port from Sabtang boats are leaving around 1-2 pm isn’t exact time. If you do overnight in Sabtang as we did boats are leaving 6 am in the morning and expect to stay there 30 minutes before. From Sabtang no need to take a tricycle since you will find the tricycle for the tour in the port. The boat ride lasts 30-40 minutes.
The boat ride from Basco to Itbaya leaves at 6 am and it costs 450 PHP each way. It takes around 3 hours to get there and the trip can be tough depending on the weather.
There are also jeepneys available starting from 6 am until 6 pm but better you ask locals to know the exact time and picking point since it can vary.
For our trip to Batanes we decided to book in advance with Amazing Tour Batanes. And we are happy to recommend you guys our experience. We got customized tours plus we enjoyed the cuisine of tita Lydia at Hiro Joy Cafe in Batanes.
DAILY BUDGET IN BATANES
There is a enviromental fee 350 PHP per person excluded children until 12 years old for payment. This payment is for valid Basco in Batan island and if you are heading to Sabtang you have to pay extra 200 PHP.
A meal is 350 PHP in a restaurant almost all of them they have fixed prices. You can find 60 PHP per dish in a carinderia and rice 25 PHP. You can find street food fish barbecue for 40-60 PHP depending of the season. Prices in Batanes are much higher than the rest of the country. The food is so delicious and we really loved fish in Batanes.
For accommodation the cheapest that you can find in Bascos is 700-900 PHP and if you want more comfort prices will be around 2000 PHP. If you go to Sabtang you can find accommodation for around 300-500 PHP per room in a local Homestay. Also in Itbayat prices will be going 300-500 PHP for a Homestay.
Prices for the tours are bounding but they will make fix price starting from March, these prices are from January 2019.
BATANES TOURIST SPOTS AND PLACES TO VISIT IN BATANES
NORTH BATANES TOURIST SPOTS
We will tell you step by step Batanes tourist spots to visit in North tour. You have around 4-5 hours to finish the tour even isn’t strict time. If you do the tour after lunch we suggest you to head to the Rolling Hills for sunset since is so magical at that time the colors.
1. TUKON CHURCH
Tukon Church is under construction church in Baco, Batanes. It was destroyed for the typhoon and its being buitlt by donations that’s why it’s taking so long. Churches are a must as places to visit in Batanes, you will find a few of them on the way.
2. FUNDACION PACITA
Fundacion Pacita is the most expensive resort in the island and prices are around 10 000 PHP per night. It’s a great place to take pictures around. Everything is so beautiful and you can also have a cup of coffee.
3. JAPANESE TUNNEL
During the Second World War the Japanese were leaving for 4 years inside the tunnel. For us it was one of the most interesting stops of the day.
We went inside visiting the rooms and checking all the entrance around the tunnel.
4. VALUGAN BOULDER BEACH
Valugan Boulder Beach is one of the busiest Batanes tourist spots in the North. Locals were taking pictures since the views were so beautiful. The stones were coming with the last eruption of the volcano.
5. STO DOMINGO CHURCH
It’s also known as Basco Cathedral located in Bascos city centre!
6. IDJANG VIEWING
One of our favorite spots in North tour in Batanes. Its close to Vayang Rolling Hills and the views are breathtaking. The best time to visit here is at sunset.
7. PAG-ASA WEATHER STATION
We loved the view here, our first contact with green colors in Batanes and great place to take pcitures with those amazing views.
8. BASCO LIGHTHOUSE AT NAIDI HILLS
Great view for sunset, you can go walking from Basco city centre or even renting a bicycle. Basco Lighthouse is very close to Vayang Rolling Hills. Did you know that you can even book the lighthouse for dinner?
9. VAYANG ROLLING HILLS
One of our favorite Batanes tourist spots and for sure the best in North tour. We recommend you visiting at sunset and enjoy the colors while taking pictures or just sitting down and relaxing.
10. NAKAMAYA BURIAL SITE
It’s located in North East part of Batan Island in Bascos. There is a small trek around 10 minutes that can be slippery so it would be great if you bring proper shoes.
People are getting burial with the shape of a boat in their graves looking to the sea. They believe that their spirit needs to go back to the sea when you die!
MORE BATANES TOURIST SPOTS
SOUTH BATANES TOURIST SPOTS
11. CHAWA VIEWDECK
Chawa viewpoint was our first stop doing South tour in Batanes. The views are breathtaking and we were lucky going down we could see the fisherman finishing their job and watching their catch. You can go downstairs in a couple of minutes and it’s totally safe!
12. MAHATAO TOWN TOUR
Between North and South part in Basco is Mahatao. There are a couple of interesting places to visit like San Carlos Borromeo Church from 18th Century, the yatch port and you cna also go to the beach.
13. SHELTER PORT
The views from the top are so beautiful and you can see the clear water of the port with the boats.
14. SAN CARLOS BORROMEO CHURCH
San Carlos Borromeo Church is a landmark in San Carlos City, as well as an icon of Catholicism in the area.
15. TAYID LIGHTHOUSE
One of the highlights of the South tour. The views from Tayid lighthouse are so incredible and the area around with the mountains is also really beautiful. It’s the previous point to Racuh A Payaman viewpoint most famous for foreigners for Malboro Country.
16. RACUH A PAYAMAN (MARLBORO COUNTRY)
Another top highlight Batanes tourist spots! This is our favorite one in South tour in Batanes. The place is so magical and first you can see an amazing view from the top and we recommend you to go down to appreciate it better the views of clear water, the lighthouse is perfect for taking pictures!
17. ALAPAD ROCK FORMATION
It’s so incredible the nature in Batanes and this spot will take time in your sightseeing during South tour. In front of Alapad Rock formation there are also incredible views to the water for taking pictures.
18. MADANGAY BEACH
The views from the top are amazing if you feel swimming you can go down and swim. There are locals swimming especially on the weekend.
19. MOTCHONG VIEWPOINT
On the way down from Marlboro Country just a few minutes driving you will find this spot with small hills with view to the sea and so beautiful landscape. Just take a quick stop in your tour to take a few pictures.
20. SPRING OF YOUTH
One of our favorite Batanes tourist spots. It’s located in Diura fishing village. You have to walk around 10 minutes, it’s an easy trekking. But it can be slippery if it’s rainning. There is a pool at the end of the way with amazing views to the sea. Just on the top is Marlboro Country one of the most popular spots in Batanes.
21. SAN JOSE EL OBRERO CHURCH
It’s very close to Ivana port in South part of the island.
22. HOUSE OF DAKAY
One of the oldest stone houses in South part of Batan island. You can see the sign from the road and you can even see the interior of the house.
23. SPANISH BRIDGE
It took 8 years to build the Spanish bridge. It’s on the way to the church and is from 19th Century. It’s located in South part of the island close to House of Dakay and Honesty coffee shop.
24. HONESTY COFFEE SHOP
We really liked it here! There are souvenirs and local sweets, it’s the perfect place for pasalubong. You self served and you put the money inside a box. There is nobody watching that’s why the name: Honesty coffee shop.
25. ART EXPOSITION IN BATANES
A great plan when the weather is rainy stop and check the artists exposure in Batanes. It’s located in the South part of the island and you can have a coffee while watching their paintings.
26. SONGSONG RUINS
There are almost no ruins nowdays. They built houses and it’s not like a few years ago but you can still see that part close to the road.
27. SAN LORENZO CHURCH
Just in front of Imnajbu beach and just a few minutes far from Alapad Rock formation.
28. IMNAJBU BEACH
It’s located close to Alapad Rock formation and in front of San Lorenzo Church. The water is so calm in this area.
29. MAYDANGEB WHITE BEACH
It’s perfect for relaxing and swimming, the water is clear and you can even do snorkeling if you are bringing.
30. HOMORON BLUE LAGOON
The water is clear and it’s a perfect spot for swimming during your South tour, make sure you have enough time to enjoy here since South tour is quite busy with the multiple stops.
31. DIURA FISHING VILLAGE
This quiet village is great to walk around with the sea view. It’s the view that you can get from Marlboro Country and close to Spring Youth that we mentioned above.
SABTANG ISLAND TOURIST SPOTS
32. CHAMANTAD-TIÑAN VIEWPOINT
It’s the first stop of the Sabtang tour. The landscape is great and it’s the best highlight in the tour. You have to hike up and down to reach all the spots. Views to the sea and mountains will make the best place for taking pcitures in Sabtang.
There are souvenirs and typical products if you want to purchase. Also coconuts for only 35 PHP perfect after spending time hiking around and taking pcitures under the sun.
33. CHAVAYAN STONE HOUSES
If you want to feel the culture of Batanes Chavayan barrio is a must. You can go walking around and it will only take 10 minutes. You can see the stone houses Spanish style where they separate the kitchen of the other part of the houses. Some of the houses are still well conserved!
34. SABTANG WEAVERS ASSOCIATION
In Chavayan, the Sabtang Weavers Association created hats and raincoats that people can use for farming during hot and rainy season. These hats are made from woven shredded leaves known as voyawoy.
35. MORONG BEACH
We did our stop for lunch in Morong Beach. It’s great place for pictures to the Ahau Arch in the beach. If you want to avoid the crowded avoid going there on lunch time since it will be super busy.
36. SABTANG LIGHTHOUSE
It’s close to the port coming from Batan island just 5 minutes walking distance. You can go up to have a great view and even sleeping since there is a homestay in the lighthouse.
37. SABTANG CHURCH
It’s located just in the center of the small town.
38. DUVEK BAY
It’s located in Sumnanga Barrio and it was very interesting since we saw fisherman fishing cuttlefish. Apart from fishing the view of the beach has a beautiful landscape.
39. SUMNANGA BARRIO
In the South of Sabtang you will reach here if you do a full day tour staying in the island. Otherwise you will have no time for coming back to Batan island from Sabtang since the last boats are leaving around lunch time. There is a Little Hong Kong around the barrio.
40. SAVIDUG VILLAGE STONE HOUSES
Another barrio in Sabtang with the typical stones houses around.
THINGS TO DO IN BATANES
HAVING A ROMANTIC DINNER IN BASCO LIGHTHOUSE
Everybody knows in the Philippines that Batanes is wedding destination. And one of our favorite plans was apart from enjoying the sunset in Basco Lighthouse was enjoying a delicious dinner.
The views, the lights and the service made a magical and romantic moment for us. Not many restaurants organize the dinner, Hiro Joy Cafe organized the dinner for us!
The boats going to Itbayat are leaving at 6 am from Basco prices is 450 PHP for 3 hours boat ride that can be tough. There also flights around 2000 PHP to get to Itbayat and avoid the ferry ride. The enviromental fee is 100 PHP.
MT IRAYA CLIMBING
If you like hiking apart from the tours in Batanes Mt Iraya is one of the best places to visit in Batanes. You have to hire a guide or joining a group to hike Mt Iraya.
Try to plan in advance since it can be expensive if you do the activity on your own. If you join to a group prices can be around 1000-1500 PHP depending how many people are joining.
There are day trips from Sabtang Island which is cheaper and also from Basco. You can even pitch the tent but there is no accommodation. You can get to the island if you arrange the price and schedule with the fisherman boats.
A trip can be around 600-800 PHP per boat for too people if you rent the boat in Sumnanga barrio which is pretty close.
Abad street is the main street in Basco. It is like a local market where you can find most of the things about food and shopping. It’s the busiest street in Basco but still quiet especially at night.
WALK AROUND CITY CENTER IN BASCO, BATANES
It’s quiet to walk around city center you can find a church, a park and a few places for street food and also local restaurants.
STREET FOOD IN BASCO
Around city center there are a few places where you can go for street food in Basco around the park. And close to landbank where you can find an ATM just in case you need it. Prices for burgers 70 PHP.
FOOD TO TRY IN BATANES
There are a lot of local foods that are a must try for tourists, may it be foreigners or not. The following foods are quite famous in Batanes, so you can ask around were to get certain food if you want to try them.
LOBSTER OR PAYI
There are many fishermen and hope you are lucky coming in lobster season to enjoy them.
Dry fish very typical in Batanes island.
FLYING FISH OR DIBANG
One of our favorite dishes. It’s served in carinderias and restaurants.
One of the most popular food in Batanes
As dessert Rachel’s favorite.
Seaweed soup, or is sometimes called lumot soup, are the seaweeds caught by the fishermen that is turned into a soup.
They are so big and one of the typical dishes in Batanes. We saw them everywhere since it was a seasonal dish.
LUMPIA WITH FISH
They refill the lumpia with flying fish since they have a lot of places where to fish. It was so delicious and different since we got used to meat and vegetable lumpia.
You can find them in every restaurants.
Fried chips from camote were served in the main dishes.
A typical delicious soup in the Philippines. When it’s a rainy day is perfect to have it.
We really loved the one at Hiro’s Joy Restaurant in Basco. So delicious with the special recipe of tita Lydia.
BUKO PANDAN ICE CREAM
It became in our favorite dessert aside ube.
Luñis is a pork dish that’s quite similar with adobo. While adobo has sauce, Luñis is cooked rather dry. It is a traditional dish that is mixed with salt and is cooked with salt until the pork becomes golden brown. It can be restored for quite a sometime while in a jar.
Tapa is dried or cured beef, although other meat or even fish may be used. Filipinos prepare tapa by using thin slices of meat and curing these with salt and spices as a preservation method. Tapa is often cooked fried or grilled.
Tocino is a classic local dish usually eater for breakfast. It’s a pork dish process and mixed with flavorings like sugar, then soaked/marinated for a time. When cooked, it is sweet and delicious.
VENES (BATANES LAING)
Mixed vegetables served with garlic and you can add pork if you wish.
Rootcrops have been one of the major agricultural products of Batanes. It will be cooked in different ways. Some are steamed, some are fried and some are smoked!
SISIG IN BATANES
Our favorite in the Philippines as street food and in a restaurant. It was delicious the particular taste of sisig at Hoiro’s Joy in Batanes.
TORTA TALONG IN BATANES
Tortang talong is a dish made of eggplant mixed with egg and then fried. It’s a tasty dish that’s also a must try if you’re a tourist.
LONGANISA IN BATANES
Even the dish is from Ilocos Norte, we could taste in Batanes and we liked so much.
Supas is a dish that is a staple in Fiestas or Festivals in Batanes. It is a rice dish cooked in turmeric pulp (yellow ginger) that’s often mixed with garlic and pork.
HERBS IN BATANES
They usually use turmeric, garlic, yellow ginger. We loved it them and we could taste yellow, blue and brown rice.
It is an octopus dish that is fried and is a local favorite as a partner of cold beer.
Our preferred place is Hiro’s Joy Cafe. It is located in Abad Street in Basco. They serve tasty local Ivatan food with the freshest ingredients. They are so popular that they were even featured in a show in one of the biggest tv network in the Philippines.
Tita Lydia cooks as nobody in the Philippines and it became our favorite place to eat! She cooked our favorite dishes like sisig, tocino, beef tapa and torta talong and it was so delicious!
HIRO JOY CAFE
Thanks to Hiro Joy Cafe for such a great experience in Batanes. I personally tried the best food in the Philippines from Mrs Lydia and her staff. We enjoyed a lot talking to her about her experiences.
She introduced us to the Ivatan culture especially gastronomy. And hope we can meet her soon in Angeles City or in Batanes again!
FESTIVALS IN BATANES
For Ivatans, “Kulay” is a native term which means “anything dried” that may imply dried products such as onion, garlic, rice, corn and fish among others, proudly manufactured within their locality. In this festival, Unity dance performances of young basqueño dancers are showcased.
It is an annual event by the Ivatans in Basco. Hundreds of students and teachers as well as Ivatan Seniors are all clad in colorful costumes.
THE VAKUL-KANAYI FESTIVAL
A few years ago, Sabtang Island just held its first-ever Vakul-Kanayi Festival. Vakul is the headgear worn by women and kanayi are the vests wrapped on men when they work. It was made from Philippine date palm and they are still worn up to this day.
Starting from April 25 to 27, activities are made from indigenous outdoor games and cultural shows to colorful parades and street dancing competition.
Palu-palo means sticks or arnis that were used by the native Ivatans to fight the forces of the colonizers such as Spaniards and the Dutch. The natives wear the traditional suit made of indigenous materials from the bark of trees which were flattened.
This is a cultural presentation of the municipality of Basco, Batanes, showcasing their ethnic group’’s rugged yet storied existence.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN BATANES
Troy’s Lodge was our staying in Basco, the rates are from 900-1000 PHP and you have kitchen if you want to cook your own meal, heat water for coffee or tea and even a fridge to keep your food and drinks.
The location is great and you have everything that you need. The best of the accommodation data signal works great with Globe and Smart. It’s one of the best points for internet connection in Basco.
MAGNFRED’S PLACE BATANES
Located in Basco, Magnfred’s Place Batanes has accommodations with a flat-screen TV. There’s also a kitchenette in some of the units equipped with a fridge. The rooms are clean and neat. Guests can relax in the garden at the property. Room rate starts at 2,000 PHP a night.
SHANEDEL’S INN AND CAFE
Shanedel’s Inn is a small family-run inn. Though rooms are very basic, excellent views of the Batanes Port and surrounding area can be seen from Shanedel’s dining area and terrace. It is located in the town proper, walking distance to plaza and restaurants. Rooms are basic and clean, with private toilets and showers, and air-conditioning. Room rate starts at 1,441 PHP a night.
Tucked cozily between the streets of Basco and other commercial establishments, Nathaniel’s lodge also offers tours. They will gladly help you go around Batanes, just ask them. They also provide shuttle to and from the airport. Their room rate starts at 1,700 PHP a night.
Have you been to Batanes as well or do you have plans to go? Read here 10 Batanes off the beaten path places. Share with your friends and family this blog post if you think is useful for them.
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