Ins & Outs: Batanes

A guide to the wild, wild North

By Lei Chavez

Valugan Bay By Jocas See

Where to stay
Homestays in traditional Ivatan stone houses are popular, according to the Batanes Cultural Travel Agency Tours. Contact Batanes Travel & Tours for help in booking a homestay. Tour packages start at P12,000 (about US$671) per person for a two-night accommodation. For inquiries and reservations, call Batanes Travel Agency Tours, tel +63917 775 2282, visit Batanes Cultural Travel Agency Tours; Call Batanes Travel & Tours, tel +63915 201 2755, visit Batanes Travel & Tours’ website.

Shanedel’s Inn & Café, a charming cliffside hostel that overlooks Basco Port, has clean rooms with private toilet and bath starting at P450 per person for fan rooms and P1,300 to P2,500 for air-conditioned single rooms. For inquiries and reservations call +63928 194 1910, email shanedelsbatanes@gmail.com.

DDD Habitat, a four- storey pension house with a roof deck, offers a 360-degree view of Basco. Its single bedrooms come with cable TV, Wi-Fi and private toilet and bath. For inquiries and reservations contact Noemi Cruz at +63906 517 7580 or +632 681 9085, visit DDD Habitat.  

Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge is highly recommended. It has a lush garden setting and nicely-furnished rooms displaying paintings from up and coming Ivatan artists, Wi-Fi access, hot and cold shower and bath, and massage service. Room rates start at about P11,700. For inquiries and reservations, call +63939 901 6353, visit Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge.

Honesty Coffee Shop By Oggie Ramos
Dine
There are numerous hole-in-the-wall eateries in Batanes. Brandon’s Lodge near the airport serves sandwiches and ovod, a native Ivatan dish of minced banana rhizome with condiments. Tel +63908 814 0698, visit Brandon’s Lodge.

Casa Napoli serves freshly made pizzas. Call +63920 284 2019.

Homey Honesty Coffee Shop in the town of Ivanah serves Lola Gabilo’s special bukayo (caramelized coconut meat) and garlic chips and sells souvenir items.

See and do
Batanes is famous for its pastoral scenery – sloping hills and rocky seaside cliffs.

House of Dakay By Jocas See

Visit the House of Dakay, a UNESCO heritage stone house in the town of Ivana, the prehistoric burial caves in Itbayat, and the Idjan or fortress in southern Batan.

Further down south is the seaside town of Uyugan, which has good views of Chana’tuan fields and the sea.

Songsong Ruins By Jocas See

Drop by nostalgic and eerie Songsong Ruins, the only remnant of a seaside town struck by a tsunami in the 50s.

Cuyab is a good spot for bird - watching in October, when migratory birds from China flock to the island.

There are also numerous lighthouses you can visit like the one in Naidi Hills in Basco, which has a round rubblestone base.

If you like the beaches, check out Nakaboang, Chadpidan, White Beach, and the famous Valugan rocky beach.

Rakuh-A-Payaman By Oggie Ramos

When none of these inspire you, try walking or biking around the island to get good views of Rakuh-A-Payaman, more popularly known as Marlboro Country, and the rolling hills in Naidi and Vayang Ranch.

For more information contact Batanes Travel & Tours, tel +63915 201 2755, visit Batanes Travel & Tours’ website.

Originally published in InFlight Traveller February to March 2010. Updated April 2016