UPDATED | Batanes is one of the top travel destinations in the Philippines and one of the recommended travel spots in the country. Its geographic location makes it a frequent typhoon path and is also the reason why it is known for its howling and strong winds. But however many typhoons that passes by this part of the Philippines, Batanes is still on top of eveyone’s travel destinations. I’ve been meaning to visit Batanes for a couple of years but never gotten the chance to until recently. Here is a Batanes travel guide to help you plan your trip!
Batanes is actually a group of islands made of islands and islets scattered in the open seas between the northern tip of the Philippines and of Taiwan. There are 10 islands that makes the Batanes group of islands, and only three of them are inhabited – Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat. Both Batan (the main island), and Sabtang are known for its famous rolling hills, jagged rock formations, and beaches with strong wave while Itbayat is unique with its elevation and a sudden drop coastal line.
Helpful Batanes Travel Guide
How To Get To Batanes
Batanes is accessible only by sea and by air. However, only cargo ships travel to Batanes via sea carrying supplies to and from the main island.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Sky Jet, and Airswift have regular commercial flights from Manila and Clark to Basco, Batanes. The prices can be steep but there are flight that can get you a good deal.
Upon arrival at the airport, if you are a walk-in tourist or your doing a DIY Batanes tour or if your travel agency have not included the environmental fee, there’s a 350 PHP Environmental Fee that will be collected at the reception area or Provincial Capitol Treasury Office at the airport. This will serve as an ecotourism fee for maintenance and improvement of natural & cultural attractions.
How To Get To And Around Batan Island
Batan Island is the main island of Batanes group of islands and it is where Basco, Batanes is located. All flights coming from Manila, and Clark will fly through here. With six municipalities located in Batan Island – this makes it the highly residential and the center of business and trade of all the islands of this province.
Attractions & Places To See
There are a lot of places to see at Batan Island. It is best that you see or tour them based on its proximity. Here are places to see or visit at North and South Batan respectively:
|Places to see in North Batan:||Places to see in South Batan:|
The town is quiet small and you can get to anywhere by walking an hour. There are also limited numbers of jeepneys that is only available from 5:00 AM – 5:00 PM. The primary mode of public transport is a tricycle.
Most places to see in any of the islands may be covered in a day. For small groups or solo travelers you can rent bicycles or tricycles for a few hours to a day. For large groups, you can find van rentals which is the recommended transport for large groups inclusive of driver and a tour guide. You can easily find these outside the airport or ask an airport tourism officer to recommend you with accredited ones, or you hotel/agency book it for you.
Where to Stay in Batan Island
It is best you get the travel agency to book this for you but if you’re booking your accommodation yourself, there are several Batanes accommodations to choose and book with.
How To Get To And Around Sabtang
Sabtang Island is next highly inhabited island of Batanes, and is accessible by faluwa. Faluwa is a traditional boat. It that can withstand the big waves, and strong winds as it crosses from Batan to Sabtang Island. The locals use it for transport, and to ferry produce and merchandise to and from Sabtang Island. It has two trip everyday if weather allows it with a 75 PHP/pax fare (one way), and has a 30-45 minutes travel time.
BATAN ISLAND (main island) – SABTANG ISLAND
Schedule departures: 6:00 to 7:00 AM and 11:00AM to 12:00NN
Jump-off: Radiwan Port of Ivana
SABTANG ISLAND – BATAN ISLAND
Schedule departures: 5:00 AM and 1:00 PM
Attractions & Places To See
There are a lot of places to see at Sabtang Island which you can tour in a day. Here are places to see or visit at Sabtang Island:
|Places to see in Sabtang Island:|
How To Get To And Around Itbayat
Itbayat Island is the northernmost inhabited island of Batanes. It is a municipality in itself and is accessible via sea and air. It is a difficult island for tourists to visit, taking the faluwa can be nerve wrecking with big lashing waves making disembarking from the faluwa difficult.
During the time of our travel, we we’re not able to fit Itbayat Island in our itinerary, and the weather would not allow it. If you plan to visit Itbayat it is best that you visit Batanes during the calm summer months when the waves are tolerable or fly to Itbayat via NorthSky Air from Basco, Batanes. The flight takes just 15-20 mins but the schedules can be irregular depending on the weather conditions.
Best Times to Visit Batanes
The best times to visit Batanes with calm sea waves, and minimal strong winds would be during the summer months April, May, and June. If you want to experience the cold, and windy weather like we did, you can visit it during the winter months of December, January, and February.
Batanes Tour Agencies
To support local business, I would highly recommend Batanes Wakay Travel and Tours for Batanes tour agency. They booked our flights, prepared our Batanes “winter” trip for us – accommodation, transportation, along with tour guide and itinerary. Our trip included both Batan and Sabtang Islands leaving Itbayat for another visit. It was a no-hassle, affordable, highly informative trip and we really enjoyed the warm and accommodating tour guide we had.
Batanes Wakay Travel and Tours : www.facebook.com/bataneswakaytravel
Check out our Batanes Travel Videos
If you’re planning to visit Batanes during the “winter” months when the winds are strong, and the weather is always gloomy and grey, check out the videos I managed to take during our trip!
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