Aside from Batanes’ amazing landscape, peaceful beach, huge waves and wonderful people, one more thing I’ll never forget about the province is it’s strong wind. Yep! I’m not kidding, it’s so windy it takes a lot of effort to take a proper selfie 😉 But if you want a wind-blown effect, you’re in the right place, just know where to angle your face 🙂
So our adventure continues, first stop of our 3rd day Batanes tour is Paderes Point and Cliff Road. It’s a viewing deck beside the road with stairs leading all the way down to the bottom of the rocky cliff where it meets the strong breeze and waves of the Philippine Sea.
I didn’t get to explore the Mahatao Boat Shelter Port because it started drizzling so my son and I have to stay inside the van. Mahatao is a town near Basco which houses a lot of Batanes’ famous tourist destination. One of them is the Boat Shelter Port, based on its name, it’s a port with a boat shelter build to protect water vessels from the unruly weather.
The sky started clearing up and we headed to the famous Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse which is commonly mistaken as the Mahatao Spanish lighthouse. The latter is much older and has been around for over 316 years! The Tayid lighthouse, on the other hand, is a modern lighthouse built in 2000. It also looks over the Philippine Sea and has a hexagonal tower.
Unlike the Naidi lighthouse, Tayid lighthouse is closed so we didn’t get to see what’s inside. It’s okay though because the view outside is more than enough.
Batanes has it’s own White Beach but compared to other provinces, this beach is less comercialized, no bars, resorts and hotels can be seen around the area, and you won’t find tourists lounging around or swimming (due to huge waves).
Not far from White Beach is the Homoron Blue Lagoon. It is nestled between huge outcrops and the road going to Ivana from Mahatao. Back in the days, Spaniards used to swim here but now it’s open for everyone. Be careful though, the rocks can be slippery. Afterwards, we drove further to Ivana and made a short stopover along the road to see one of the oldest bridges in Batanes–the Spanish Bridge or Ivana Tuhel Bridge; Tuhel because it stands over the Tuhel creek. Aside from being the oldest, it is also one of the few standing and intact bridges in the Philippines constructed during the Spanish period.
As we drove to our next destination I can’t help but be amazed by Batanes’ beauty. I took photos with every turn of the road. The cliffs, the huge rocks and sea gives a breathtaking view one would never thought existed in the Philippines. I was marveling at the magnificent landscape when a certain outcrop caught my eye. It was tilted around 45 degrees as shown by it’s bedding and striation with low lying grass covering most of it. It was really pretty I wanted to take a clear photo of it and when I was about to ask our guide if we could park for a while, the van stopped. Apparently, the outcrop I was gawking at is our next destination: the famous Alapad Rock Formation. Upon further observation, it appears that it used to be a small hill which is now split into two by the concrete road. Unfortunately I can’t go near the outcrop since it’s along the road and our guide says it could be dangerous.
As we moved on, we walked towards the Alapad hills and the view it offers instantly reminded me of Hawaii. I watched as the greenish-blue water of the Philippine Sea slammed against the sharp rocks creating a soft mist splashing up in the air. I looked around and their were areas where the waves calmly subside after reaching the shore. I looked closely and noticed a man walking or probably fishing along the shore.
As we continue our tour, we made a short stop at one of the famous coffee shops in Batanes, the Honesty Coffee Shop. Built in 1995, its initial purpose is to serve coffee to travelers going and coming from Sabtang Island. What makes it popular is it’s honesty concept. The shop has no guardian; tourists and locals can buy whatever is available inside the store and would honestly leave their payment inside a box thus the coffee shop’s name. Interestingly, this concept is not uncommon around Batanes. Small shops inside lodges adapted the honesty concept.
After getting our dose of caffeine, we drove to Batanes’ “Marlboro Country,” or Racu A Payaman, as locally called, another famous destination of the province. The green grass carpeted low sloping hills give you a jawdropping view of the the Philippine Sea, the adjacent hills and Mahatao Tayid lighthouse. But prepare to be literally blown away because the wind here seems to try to push tourists off the hills with its strength. Then again, the place is so amazingly breathtaking, not even a typhoon will stop you from exploring it.
- The best time to visit Batanes would be February or summer making it less likely to have rain showers.
- Whether it’s cloudy or sunny, remember to put on sunscreen and sunblock because you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
- Don’t forget your cameras! Bring extra batteries or powerbanks if you must and remember to charge everything. Just imagine going around Batanes with a battery drained camera or phone. That’ll be a bummer.
- Wear comfortable shoes because there will be a lot of short walk.
- Wear comfortable clothes as well. I don’t recommend wearing bulky jeans. Bring a wind breaker or jacket just in case it drizzles.
- Bring water, extra clothes and snacks for your kids.
- Expect to have NO CELLULAR SERVICE in most parts of Batanes. Take advantage of this, time to have social media detox.
- Mingle with the Ivatans; they are very friendly and accommodating.
- Instead of getting a package tour, you can opt for a DIY one. Getting around Batanes won’t be a problem, if that’s your concern, there are plenty of tricyles and bicycles you can rent in the province.
DAY 3: SOUTHERN BATAN TOUR
7:00 AM – Wake up call
8:00 AM – Breakfast
9:00 AM – Pick up Time and Start Of Tour
Walking tour at Paderes Point and Cliff Road
Chawa Viewing Deck
Mahatao Boat Shelter Port
Mahatao Town Tour
San Carlos Borromeo Church
Blank Book Archive
Mahatao Spanish Lighthouse
Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse
12:00 NN – Lunch at paulvannas
White Beach and Hohmoron Lagoon (swimming optional)
House of Dakay and Old Spanish Bridge
Alapad Hills and Rock Formation
San Jose de Ivana Church and Ruins
Honesty Coffee Shop
San Antonino de Florencia Church in Uyugan
Motchong Viewpoint (Uyugan Municipal Park)
Ruins of Song-song and (Batanes Movie, House Scene)
Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Itbud
San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel in Imnajbu
Lo-Ran Old Naval Base
Racu-ah- Payaman (Marlboro Hills)
5:00 PM – Back to Hotel
7:00 PM – Dinner at Bulalo House (forgot the name)