When it comes to tourism, Batan is the main island of Batanes.
Flying here you’ll arrive in Basco, capitol city of the entire province. It’s just a laid back little town with a small harbor. At night the city really comes to live. People play basketball, men drink in the streets and children are playing around.
As the rest of Batanes it’s extremely safe here. Walking home after nightfall, even as a girl alone, is no problem at all!
There are two popular tours on Batan island – the North Tour (1.000 pesos) and the South Tour (1.500 pesos). As the price indicates, the South Tour will take you a little longer than her northern brother.
I will not tell you exactly what the tours include, but I will show you!
The video doesn’t feature exactly all the spots you’ll be seeing, but it sure covers the highlights of attractions.
Also, let me give you some tips before going on your tour
- Leave early morning.
I left at around 6 o’clock at Nanay Cita’s. If you want to catch the sunrise at a beautiful point, you’d preferably leave even earlier. By leaving early you’ll be sure to catch some good light for photography and film in the morning. During the day the sun will shine very bright, which will give too much of a sharp shade. But also as a person it’s better to do your walking and sightseeing when it doesn’t feel like an oven yet!
Also great: you’ll dodge the crowds by going early and have a lot of good spots all for yourself. Check out our vid. I would never be able to make shots like these at marlboro hills later on, cause there would be much more people on the hills.
- Talking food.
There are multiple great places for a picknick. Little beaches or somewhere high on the hills. There is also a place for food at Marlboro Hills for example – South Tour – but if you leave early morning it won’t be open yet.
Don’t forget to check out Honesty Coffeeshop! You can’t buy yourself a hot meal here, but there’s cookies and coffee. Great thing about this place is them trusting you to be honest. There’s no one taking your order or making you pay – you just put your money in the donationbox and leave with your stuff.
- Get yourself some sunscreen and a hat when going in summer. The sun is sharp and many of the sightseeing (hills) don’t provide any shade. Better safe than sorry!
- Places you visit might be privately owned. I walked a bit further from one of the lighthouses to take a good shot, only to find out later that it was someones property I was standing on. My guide hesitated a little, but eventually told me the farmer might not like all too many people just galloping over his grass. I can totally imagine! So just check where you can go 🙂
Besides the standard tours, you can easily enjoy yourself a little longer. Rent a motorbike (120 pesos an hour including gasoline) and go around the island by yourself or conquer Mt Iraya! The highest viewpoint on the island and definitely a touch climb. You could also visit the Spring of Youth. Or go birdwatching, there seem to be some special species around here.
There are many places to stay all around Batan, but most people will stay in Basco. There is a hotel or guesthouse for every budget. I stayed over at Nanay Cita’s. Reach her on 09399193616 smart or find her on facebook. She prefers for you to call, but if you’re from abroad like me you better send her a FB message for a reservation, and contact her again by phone when you’re in the country.
She charges 350 a night. If you’d travel with two, you’d even be able to split this since it’s a double room.
Rooms are good, with a fan, no airco. And most importantly: Nanay Cita and her husband are very friendly, welcoming and helpful. I definitely recommend this place!
If you really have a lot to spend, you might consider staying in Fundacion Pacita. The house on the hill, with the stunning view and yummi restaurant just next to it. Though I read a blog stating it’s not necessary to stay here, since the entire island is already so beautiful. Which is true I think 😉
If you’re traveling on a budget it’s good to know you can cook at some of the guesthouses. At Nanai Cita’s for example there’s a common kitchen, so you can easily prepare your own food. Saves some money right?!
One of the places many people visit is Cafe du Tukon, near La Fundacion Pacita. It’s a restaurant with a stunning sunset, and some very decent service. Portions are small and the food might be a bit expensive, but all together it makes a good experience! Make a reservation if you want to be sure to get a good spot. And try the local iced tea! It’s very delicious here.
Other places that are recommended:
Jino’s or Casa Napoli(for pizza)
Pension Ivatan (near the airport)
& Octagon (with a good sea view)
From Batan you can go to Itbayat (Basco port) and Sabtang (Ivana port)
Itbayat will be 2,5 hours of boatride and costs 400 pesos, one way. If you want to go to Itbayat it might be best to do this first thing in your trip. When the weather get’s too rough, you might get stuck.
There are 2 boats to Itbayat, both leaving early morning. Going to Itbayat means you must stay here overnight.
A trip to Sabtang can be done in half a day. Leave early morning by Jeepney or motor to Ivana, and take a half an hour boatride from here. Guides will be waiting for you after arriving, but you might want to make a reservation. Your guesthouse will know names and numbers better than I do. If you have the time I’d recommend you to also stay overnight in Sabtang! The boat back to Batan will leave around noon.
If you’re with a bigger group you could also arrange your own transport and go back any moment you want. A small fisherman’s boat would cost you 1.000 pesos and a bigger private boat around 4.500
I hope this article will help you out, while planning your trip to Batanes! It is very easy to do it on a DIY – which probably will save you some money. So don’t hesitate, just get your promo fare and go 🙂