THINGS TO DO
Batanes is a photographer’s haven. Everywhere you look is a visual feast. From traditional houses to enigmatic landscapes to breathtaking seascapes. In Batanes, it’s a sin not to have fully-charged camera batteries and films. Shoot all you can. All sights are as astounding as the stories they keep. Don’t forget to ask permission when taking picture of a local though.
Batanes has also been a favorite site for filming movies, documentaries, and TV commercials. Before such activities are allowed, three letters to the following must be given to seek permission to shoot within the Batanes Protected landscapes and Seascapes where the Ivatans as Indigenous Peoples live.
Honorable Marilou H. Cayco Mr. Tomas Ibardo
Provincial Governor Provincial Officer
Provincial Capitol, Basco, Batanes National Commission on Indigenous Peoples
Mr. George R. Reyes
When you go to Batanes, make sure you bring good hiking shoes. It is a big relief from hours of walking. Batanes means a number of routes on different terrain of various difficulty to get to countless spots. The place is perfect for both recreational and serious trekkers. Batanes is a very safe place. Most trails are established and there’s no insurgency to worry about. Still, it is always a good idea to have a local guide with you.
Do not expect stretches and stretches of fine white sand beaches in Batanes. The coastline throughout the islands is lined by shallow reef with killer waves, something that’s not for the faint-hearted. Some beaches are adorned with white sands, others with boulders.
For those who want a dip, visitors are often taken to Maydangeb Cove between Mahatao and Ivana, or at the beach in Tamulong Bay, around two kilometers south of Basco just beneath the Batanes Resort area. Avoid Kanyuyan Beach on Baluarte Bay in Basco for swimming as two creeks drain there. Likewise, it is best to skip swimming at one of the boulder beaches (in Valugan Bay or Chadpidan in Basco). The rough surges make it difficult even for experienced swimmers to maneuver in the rocks.
To enjoy the beach, it is best to just choose from among the hundred secluded beach spots in the island and read a book while getting tanned. Batanes is the best place for introspection.
A Batanes vacation is never complete without braving the channel where the Pacific Ocean meets the South China Sea to visit the island municipality of Sabtang. Enjoy a 30-minute motorized boat ride to Sabtang where you experience Batanes in the early days. If you’re lucky, dolphins escort your trip to the island.
If you stay longer, consider visiting the island of Itbayat. This is the northernmost inhabited island of the Philippines. Getting there means completely trusting the local banca to ferry you for four hours to the island. It is worth the trip. Being in Itbayat is like arriving in a different world.
Deep or shallow, near the shore, or far in the middle of the sea, catch different kinds of fish using a rod or a net. Just make sure to bring enough containers for these sea creatures never run out.
Bicycles and motorcycles are the basic means of transportation in Batanes. You can inquire from your hotel about where to rent bikes. Biking is the best way to enjoy the 26-kilometer stretch from the main town in Basco to the last village of Imnajbu. Traffic is the last thing you would have to worry about. When you move to the other islands, the motorcylces and bikes still are king of the road. They bring you closer to the breathtaking landscapes. They make roadtrips more meaningful.
Starting in September and October when the Siberian breeze begins to reign, a host of migratory birds fly southwards to escape the severe cold season. These birds come to Batanes first before they move even southwards to Luzon.
The same rolling hills and mountains seem to offer a different sight every time. Wander in the green hills of Vayang in Basco or greet the Pacific Ocean from the vast Payaman in Mahatao. They are best experienced early in the morning or late afternoon — with your favorite coffee.
Get that once in a lifetime wedding experience in Batanes as you unite not just with your love one but with God’s wonderful picturesque creation.