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Batanes Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

The smallest province in the Philippines and can be found in the northernmost part of the country. With a land mass of only a third of Metro Manila. The province is a small archipelago consisting of 10 islands, and only 3 of which are inhabited by the locals namely: Sabtang, Itbayat, and Batan. The province's capital of Basco is the most populated and is also where the airport can be found. Being remotely situated in the country's northern borders, the beauty and elegance of Batanes is unspoilt — emerald hills, towering volcanoes, hanging cliffs, all surrounded by crystal-clear waters and lovely natives.

Where to go in Batanes

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BASCO MARINE SANCTUARY

National Highway Basco (capital), Batanes, Cagayan Valley, 3900, Philippines

Chavayan Community / Barrio

Sabtang Island Basco, Batanes, Cagayan Valley, 3900, Philippines

Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel

Tukon Hills Basco (capital), Batanes, Cagayan Valley, 3900, Philippines

Fundacion Pacita

Tukon Brgy. Chanarian Basco, Batanes, Cagayan Valley, 3900, Philippines

How to Get Here

By Plane
Check out the following airlines for both local and international flights (and look out for major seat sales!):
Cebu Pacific
Philippine Airlines
Skyjet Airlines

You can take a direct flight from any of the following local cities to Batanes:
Manila (1-hour travel time)
Clark
Cebu
Busuanga
Caticlan

The easiest way for foreign tourists to visit wonderful Batanes is by getting a flight from Manila from their respective countries.

Popular Food

One Ivatan delicacy that closely resembles meatballs only that it is made of finely grated or minced corn mixed with ground pork or beef, minced fish, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and onions. It can be served as is or with or without its broth.

Another native Ivatan dish of preserved fried pork. The dish is prepared using a traditional Ivatan preservation method. The pork is salted and cooked in big batches until the lard comes out. After which the pork is placed in tagaw or jars and is marinated in its own lard. Upon serving, it is garnished with garlic and simulates dried pork adobo.

(c) Batanes Delicate Balance / facebook.com

An exclusive treat in the city can be found as part of the common Ivatan cuisine. Payi or lobsters are quite abundant in Batanes, with the bigger ones sold at around 3$ or Php 150! While there is another popular crustacean from the province, it is now considered as an endagered species and authorities have put a stop to the consumption of these Coconut Crabs, or locally known as tatus.

(c) Efren Reyes Jr / facebook.com

The azure waters surrounding the islands also boasts plentiful resources. This includes one of the province's most popular dishes, the flying fish or as the natives call it, dibang. The fish can be served in a myriad of ways, through grilling, or the favorite, fried served with a side of soy sauce and tomatoes.

(c) Dean Ignacio / facebook.om

The vegans of course shouldn't feel left behind because the Ivatans have a cuisine that is prepared fully with dried taro(gabi) stalks and can consist of minced fish, pork, or beef — but of course, the meat is optional as the dish itself with the taro stalks are extremely hearty on its own. It is lightly seasoned so that the flavor of the gabi stalks can delight your taste buds.

(c) Batanes Cultural Travel Agency / facebook.com

Best Time to Go

Best Time to Go
Experience four seasons (unofficially) in Batanes. Cycling between the regular two seasons of sunny and rainy for the tropic regions, Batanes also experiences a very cold season which can be considered as winter and the extremely hot season which is summer (with the sunny season considered as spring). The coldest months are usually from November to February, while the hottest months are from March to May with April as the driest month. During the rest of the year, it is often rainy with the usual typhoons and August as the month where most typhoons are experienced.

There are also a couple of festivals scattered across the year and since Batanes is the smallest province in the country, it is easy to go and experience these festivals for yourself.

During the second week of April, the 5-day Kulay Festival is held in cooperation with Basco's local government and the Philippines' very own Department of Trade and Industry. The festival means "anything dried" and is held to highlight the food heritage of the Ivatans. The locals then introduce locally produced and processed food products to both local and foreign tourists.

Another 5-day festival is the Bayanihan or Payuhuan Festival which is celebrated every June. During the event, a procession is done across the whole province to remember the route of evangelization.

The Palu-Palo Festival is celebrated every first week of August and showcases the rich culture, history, and of course, food of the Ivatans. Centered, on culture and livelihood, there is no better time to immerse in the Ivatan way than witnessing this festival.

Sabtang Island also has its own festival which is the Vakul Kanayi Festival held every April 25 - April 27. Partake in local outdoor games, cultural shows, colorful parades, and witness a street dancing competition in this big event.

What to Do

Gram it up
The beauty of Batanes will take your breath away. We're willing to bet on it. It's the kind of beauty that deserves to be shared to the whole world to see - and that's exactly what Instagram is for! Get your phones ready and make sure you have enough memory because we're sure you'll be taking a snap of every moment in this majestic province. A snapshot of you against a wonderful sunset backdrop? Check. Admiring the lush rolling hills? Check. Show everyone just how beautiful Batanes is, after all, you deserve bragging rights for reaching Batanes too!
Frolic at Nakabuang Beach
A lot of beaches claim the title of unspoiled, but for the beaches in Batanes, this is definitely the gospel truth. Now that we're talking about unspoiled beaches, Morong Beach or more popularly known as Nakabuang Beach in Sabtang Island would take the cake. Famous for the Nakabuang Arch, a natural rock formation that serves as an icon for the whole province. It's also the best place to just relax, get a tan, have a picnic, swim, and have fun! The perfect white sand rivals that of Boracay, but what makes it better is that the beach is surrounded by lush greenery, azure skies, and calm waters.
Grab a bike
Exploring the island via tours is all well and dandy but renting a bike or motorbike is even better! Get to experience the island at your own pace plus never worry about traffic because there isn't any, aside from the occasional herds of cows that cross the street.

It is also the common means for getting around the island aside from jeepneys and tricycles. While there are also some cars for rent, it is still recommended you at least try going on a bike to get a feel of the fresh island breeze as you pedal your way across the emerald green pastures of Batanes. Best part is, whenever you see something interesting, you can get off your bike and explore on your own!

Estimated Costs

Domestic Flight to Cebu (One-Way)
Roundtrips can cost from Php 4,000 - 15,000 depending on the season.
Hotel
Php 1,000 - 3,000 per night
Meals
Php 120 - 300
Tourist Attraction Entrance Fees
Php 10 - 50
Taxi
None available
Day Tours
Php 4,000 - 5,000 for 3 days

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