Jul 20, 2014

BATANES : Drizzling NORTH BATAN on Day 3

We had two days of pleasant weather while exploring South Batan and Sabtang Island and a drizzling day 3 going around North Batan. The drizzling wasn't at all a downer, in fact, it made the whole Batanes experience complete. We explored North Batan on foot, on a bike, on a jeep and on a trike and we had a field day.
Biking around North Batan

I've read how some travelers successfully toured Batan Island on foot while others did through pedal power. I'd love to see someone do it on a long-board just like what Walter Mitty (portrayed by Ben Stiller) did from the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty while cruising the road leading to Eyjafjallajökull (pronounced as eya-fiyatla-yokut) in Iceland. That scene is a picture of bliss. Maybe someone can pull that stunt going around North Batan.
this scene from the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

We didn't do anything differently, but we have the whole morning to try an activity locals normally do before our scheduled North Batan tour that noon. Lucky for us, right after our Sabtang tour the previous day while having our hearty merienda of camote cue and pancit bihon over a cup of coffee at the restaurant of Batanes Seaside Lodge where we stayed, one kitchen staff overheard our discussion and volunteered to help make our morning plans happen. 

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Bettina, the gracious kitchen staff who volunteered to accompany us that morning already informed the bike rental shop the other day that we will be picking up the bikes ahead of their opening hours, at around 6:30AM. She also acted as our photographer and my aide, positioning herself at my side since I was lagging behind from the group, struggling during the first 20 minutes of pedaling and can't seem to find my balance while navigating the inclined slopes going to Valugan Boulder Beach. 
when pedaling becomes so exhausting ;)
It was such a relief when the downhill road came into view after Basco Airport. I kept my speed at a relaxed pace, fast enough to feel the cold breeze yet slow enough to allow me to appreciate the stunning views around. After 2 hours, and 7 kilometers of biking, our bike rental charge was only 50 pesos for each. Whew, that activity was almost free! Indeed it's true, the best things in life are free. :) Thanks a lot Bettina.
Does it look like a scene in a Korean telenovela? lol  :)


It's not your ordinary beach where people flocked to for swimming. The shoreline is filled with smooth boulders that actually came out from Mt Iraya when it erupted in 1454, and with big waves crashing on it. You could go here for some quiet time while communing with nature while photographers won't go wrong taking awesome shots from every angle. Too bad, we didn't make it here before sunrise.

Valugan Boulder Beach, Batanes

Valugan Boulder Beach, Batanes


The Town Plaza is just a few walks away from where we stayed. From there, you'll see the Basco Cathedral, the Provincial Capitol, restaurants and lodging inns and you'll have a view of Naidi Hills where Basco lighthouse is standing tall.

Basco Town Plaza, Batanes
Basco Town Proper, Batanes
Basco Cathedral, Batanes

Come noon, a bit rested and groomed after the biking and walking activities, our tour guide arrived to fetch us at Batanes Seaside Lodge together with a group of new visitors on board a jeep. Our first stop was Amboy's hometel where we had lunch.

Amboy's Hometel, Batanes
Lunch at Amboy's Hometel with the enthusiastic host Mr Roger Amboy


The drizzling started to gain strength coupled with strong winds that hindered our plans to go down and explore the place. Photo ops at this beautiful spot became difficult as we have to take cover inside our service jeep and wait until we can visit our next stop.
Vayang Rolling Hills


From within distance is the Tukon Chapel or Mt Carmel Chapel resting on top of a hill and offering a panoramic vista of Batan Island. It's built using the same principle in building Ivatan's stone houses.
Tukon / Mt Carmel Chapel, Batanes
Tukon / Mt Carmel Chapel, North Batan


It's a Japanese-constructed World War 2 tunnel used as a shelter for soldiers.
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel, Batanes


Just a little more than a kilometer away from Basco town proper, you can get here easily on foot, on a bike or a trike. Best time to be here is before sunset. At Naidi Hills, you can see the Basco Lighthouse, the Bunker's Cafe and some remnants of telegraph facilities used by Americans during World War 2. If you plan to have a dinner at Bunker's Cafe, be sure to have prior reservation to secure a seat. A set meal cost around 300+ pesos.

Bunker's Cafe and Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills
Bunker's Cafe and Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills
Bunker's Cafe, Naidi Hills
view from Basco Lighthouse
Dinner at Bunker's Cafe
while waiting for dinner to be served


I had the chance to stay here but opted not to for practical reasons. Batanes is all about the outdoors and since our scheduled tours would only allow us to spend the night here to sleep, shelling out that much for accommodation is unwise even if someone offered to pay for it. But then, it's also a must to make it a point to visit this iconic lodging nestled on a hilltop.

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Fundacion Pacita
It's not a part of the North Batan tour package and your guide will only show Fundacion Pacita from afar. To get inside, we reserved a 7pm dinner that night and arrived there 2 hours earlier to better appreciate the views while there's still light.
Fundacion Pacita
Despite the overcast skies posing threats of an oncoming rain, the scenery remains beautiful and serene, quiet and cool.
Fundacion Pacita, Batanes
Inside Fundacion Pacita, the lovely countryside interior put us all in a cozy mood. My eyes travel over the ceiling, down to the floors, then drawn to the walls where the colorful works of Pacita Abad are displayed.

Dinner Set Meal at 700+ per pax
The meal was lovely, but getting back to our place on a rainy night posed a little challenge. It took us an hour to convince a trike ride to pick us up. Fog, rain and almost zero road visibility made the trip a little bit unnerving but nonetheless fun.

North Batan tour got us all worked up. Thank you Batanes for the surreal experience.


  1. Astounding outdoors scenery - puts one in a dreamy state and wish he/she was there!!

    It's easy to see why you opted to go the practical route on your accommodations.

    For the sake of conversation, let's say, hypothetically, that there is this person who is such a big fan of stone buildings & structures. He is crazy enough to ask you, at his/her expense, to travel to Batanes to do "research" and produce an article that would put some historical context into how these structures came to be (not only Fundacion Pacita, but other simpler and more modest stone buildings in the area), wherein part of the arrangements would be to stay at the aforementioned place. For "impractical reasons" would you consider this scenario??

    Have a gorgeous day! :))

    1. Hmmm, since the scenario is totally different and staying in Fundacion Pacita can help get the job done, of course I will gladly oblige. :))

    2. Cool! Let's hope that this crazy person will put his/her money where his/her mouth is, and make the hypothetical a reality :))

  2. Hahaha, that's just a hypothetical response to the hypothetical question, no pressure meant on the crazy person :))


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