Breathtaking Batanes: BASCO (Philippines)

Duane Carey once said — “And, obviously as one who likes to travel around myself a lot, I think the Earth is a beautiful place. And, I’m looking forward to some new perspectives.”

I have always dreamt of going to Batanes (the smallest and the northernmost island province of the Philippines). Since I started backpacking in 2004, it has been in my bucket list. And just last year, that once elusive dream turned into a reality. Batanes is pretty different from any other province I have visited across the Philippines. Every corner is worth seeing and experiencing . And to say that this sojourn was surreal, would be a tad understatement.

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Batanes is the only province in the Philippines declared in its entirety as protected landscape and seascape are. It is a haven for individuals who are into nature’s beauty and great outdoor adventure. Most travel-enthusiasts include Batanes in their bucket list. The province offers breathtaking sceneries to spirited and tranquil community experience.

DSC_0959This is a series of write-up about Batanes. First stop is a feature of the capital town of Batanes – BASCO.

Welcome to Basco!

Welcome to Basco!

WHAT TO SEE IN BASCO:

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral – This is the first Catholic Church built in Batanes during the early 18th century. It was the first church to have galvanized iron roofing in the early 1890’s. The feast of Basco’s patron saint, Santo Domingo de Guzman, is celebrated by the Ivatans every 8th of August.

DSC_1855Valugan Boulder Beach (also known as Chanpan Beach) – This rock lined bay is known for its long stretch of boulders from Mount Iraya’s eruption in 400 AD. The rock formation that looks like dinosaur eggs, presents a panoramic link between the sea horizon and Mount Iraya. If you are in for an early morning sunrise view, then this beach is the place to go.

Valugan Beach

Valugan Beach

Naidi Hills and Lighthouse – Its name is derived from 2 Ivatan words – “na” (meaning past) and “idi” (meaning community). Located in this sitio are the American period wireless telegraph facilities that were bombed by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1941. One may also marvel at a breathtaking view of Basco atop the 66- feet high Naidi lighthouse. The hills are also a perfect spot to view Batanes sunset.

Naidi Hills and its lighthouse.

Naidi Hills and its lighthouse.

Vayang Rolling Hills – These are ostensibly unending waves of rolling hills. It boasts a perfect combination of stunning seascapes and landscapes that can either be enjoyed from afar or experienced on foot. This is the best vantage point to see the 3 major islands of Batanes.

The verdant rolling hills of Vayang.

The verdant rolling hills of Vayang.

Tukon Hills – This is home to various remarkable Batanes landmarks such as the Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel, a 5-door chambered tunnels with a water reservoir and a bunker that serves as a look-out point for soldiers during the Japanese occupancy. It is also in Tukon Hills where the beautifully constructed Tukon Chapel and the majestic Fundacion Pacita are.

PicMonkey CollageMount Carmel Chapel or Tukon Chapel.

Mount Iraya – Towering over Basco at approximately 1,009 feet above sea level, this dormant volcano is the first attraction one gets to see upon deplaning at the Basco Airport. Mountain enthusiasts would usually include a climb to this mountain during their Batanes trip. It brags an abundance of endemic flora and fauna, and has been the source of spring water distributed in Basco homes.

Basco airport with Mount Iraya as its majestic backdrop.

Basco airport with Mount Iraya as its majestic backdrop.

WHERE TO STAY IN BASCO:

Name of Establishment Contact Number E-Mail Address
Amboy’s Hometel 0917-971-7633/ 0920-910-3492 amboy_hometel@yahoo.com
Batanes Resort & Ivatan Lodge 0916-599-4023/ 0999-990-7554 batanes_resort2011@yahoo.com.ph
Batanes Seaside Lodge & Restaurant 0921-229-0120/ 0999-994-2313 batanesseasidelodge@yahoo.com
Berlen’s Lodge  0908-893-1475
De Borja’s Lodging House 0919-987-0806
Dive Batanes Lodge 0939-922-4609 divebatanes@yahoo.com
Fundacion Pacita 0939-198-2733 www.fundacionpacita.ph
Ivatan Brandon’s Lodging 0999-992-3844/ 0929-541-7786 brandons_lodging@yahoo.com
Marfel’s Lodge 0918-364-9722/ 0939-901-6359
Novita House 0927-412-1031/ 0928-239-7629 novitahouse@gmail.com
Shanedel’s Inn and Cafe 0919-823-4510/ 0920-447-0737 shanedels@yahoo.com

WHERE TO EAT:

FOOD ESTABLISHMENT CONTACT NUMBER ADDRESS
Casa Napoli Pizza and Pasta 0999-389-2101 La Fuente St., Brgy. Kayhuvokan
Koocharah Express 0918-644-5457 Lizardo St., Brgy. Kayhuvokan
Octagon Bed and Dine 0929-597-9380/ 0939-904-6278 National Road, Brgy. Kaychanarian
Pension Ivatan Restaurant 0917-585-9288/ 0919-211-7378 Reyes St., Brgy. Kayvaluganan

*** Casa Napoli is my personal favorite. Super foodgasmic pizza!

Basco Sunset.

Basco Sunset.

HOW TO REACH BATANES:

The fastest and safest (but could be an expensive) way to get to Batanes for now is by plane. Airline companies serving the island province with 3 flights per week from Manila are SkyJetAir, and PAL Express; while local airlines from Tuguegarao, Cagayan have a minimum number of passengers required for a flight and if there aren’t enough, the flight will be delayed / re-scheduled for 24-72 hours.

***And oh, by the way… if you need some help with your itinerary contact the very gracious Sir Ryan Cardona of Bisumi Tour and Services. He is simply the best! (https://www.facebook.com/batanestravelguide)

Blogging next is the island town of Sabtang!

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