Solo Backpacking Diaries: North Batan, Batanes

Dear Blog,

My birthday this year is one of the bests ever. I crossed an item in my bucket list and it took me a while (almost a month) to talk to you about all the things that happened because I was so hyped about everything.

I went to Batanes, dear blog!!! YES, BATANES!

I arrived there early in the morning on my natal day, around 7 if my memory serves me right.

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After checking in at my lovely homestay which was just a few minutes walk from the airport, I biked around the lovely town of Basco.

 

 

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My Birthday Pi Pancit from Pension Ivatan ^_^
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At Basco’s Town Hall/ Capitol Building. I think they also call it Casa Real

9:30 am and I’m ready to explore North Batan!

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Our first stop and my favorite is Vayang Rolling Hills. I just can’t describe how much I looooove this place. In some instances, I felt like I was in Europe of some sorts. It’s really pretty and although the sun was high, the wind was refreshing and of course, very useful in creating dramatic shots. lol  The three major island municipalities of Batanes (Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat) can also be viewed from here.

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I didn’t want to leave the place, but the gala has to go on.

Just beside the Bunker’s Cafe in Naidi Hills was a little stand selling ice candy, and it was so good I bought three. Don’t judge. haha

The Basco Lighthouse  is indeed beautiful.

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As beautiful as the view from top.

And oh, blog. I didn’t forget to light candles for my birthday just so you know. This is the Basco Cathedral (Sto Domingo Cathedral). I was told the church has undergone several renovations in response to disasters.

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Then went to Sitio Tukon, Barangay Chanarian for the famous Mt. Carmel Chapel a.k.a. Tukon Chapel. It’s dreamy, blog. Dreamy.

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Everything in this place is beautiful. Geez. I’m running out of words. Or maybe I’m just not that articulate in describing a picture-perfect scenery. Are there even words for such?

Just uphill from Tukon Chapel is the Basco Weather Station. Due to my lack of photographer-creativity, I forgot to take a photo of the station. Sorry ’bout that! But the view is overwhelming, blog. It’ll take your breath away. I’m being a bit dramatic here lol. It reminds me a lot of those Nippon-animation series I watched when I was a kid – that Romeo Blue Skies and Dog and the Flanders setting. I sighed of happiness so many times.

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Bad hair, don’t care.  lol

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Nestled in the hill below is Fundacion Pacita , the most expensive hotel in Batanes.

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Checked out their cafe and boy is it expensive. The carrot cake with cream cheese I ordered costs 290 per slice. Whew. But it was my birthday and I haven’t had cake yet so I guess I’ll just consider this a treat for myself.

At the back of Fundacion Pacita is another pretty view. Walked this small, narrow, bushy path and voila!

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“The goodness of God be with you.”

And then there’s the Didawud Idjang or Basco Idjang a molten volcanic magma which acted as a plug on an extinct crater. It has an elevation of approximately 100 meters above mean sea level. I had a hard time taking a good photo of Didawud Idjang because the sun was on that side that time.

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A really bad shot, but this is all I could manage.

Now, that crater maybe extinct but the volcano towering over Basco, is dormant Mt. Iraya.

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I was not able to see the peak at all. I was told it’s almost always covered by clouds. She’s shy just like Mt. Mayon. Making her more beautiful 🙂

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I can stay here all day watching the cows and goats run, walk, and eat grass.
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This cute 9-month old calf reminds me so much of why I don’t eat beef anymore.

The second-to-the-last stop is Dipnaysuhuan Japanese Tunnel.

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And finally my second favorite spot of the day… Chanpan/Valugan Boulder Beach!

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Pictures(the ones that I took most especially) do not do justice to the beauty of this place. 50 sighs of delight.

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All these picturesque green meadows and views are love. I AM SO HAPPY! It may be hard to express it in just that short sentence and all I could really do to enhance the emotion is type in capital letters, but I am sooooo soooooooooo happy, blog…more than words can say. Happy Birthday, self! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY (million times) birthday!

I ended the day with a good serving of halo-halo and Uved Balls (a local delicacy) at Beehan Restaurant which is just a bike away from the homestay.

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It’s really good! Lots of beans and ube. Yum! And it’s only 50 pesos.
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Uved balls – made of ubod ng saging (pith of a banana), mixed with ground meat, fish and spices

If in case you are wondering about how much I spent, because you are a damn thrifty blog lol… the breakdown’s below. I had a long layover in Manila so I’m just going to include the stuff I spent on to/from/in both Cebu and Manila airports.

Budget Breakdown Cebu, Manila and Batanes Day 1:

Total: Php 5748.00 (excluding accommodation inital deposit and airfare)

Cebu and Manila Airport

Fare to Airport from house: 8+10 = 18.00

Pasalubong for the wonderful Ate Linda of TimeTravel Lodge: 240.00

Vegetarian Pita Wrap for Dinner @ MCIAA: 70.00

NAIA Wings Transit Lounge Package Promo (lounging plus 1-hr massage): 1000 + 200 (tip) = 1200.00

——–

Breakfast in NAIA Food Lounge – 110.00 (arroz caldo and siopao)

Basco Day 1

Payment Accommodation: 600.00 + initial deposit of 1200.00 = 1800.00

Time Travel Lodge Bike Rent (1hr) = 25.00

Pi Pancit at Ivatan Pension House(around 70-90 pesos) = 90.00

Tourism Fee 350.00

Tricycle for North Batan – 1200 + 200 (tip) = 1400.00 (I highly recommend Kuya Jared Libaton (+63 999 675 3395). He’s really nice and takes really good pictures)

Ice candy at Basco Lighthouse 3pcs: 30.00

Fundacion Pacita cafe –Carrot Cake: 290.00 & Tubho Iced tea: 85.00 = 375.00

Beehan Restaurant – Pasalubong: 305.00, Halo Halo and Uved balls – 50+75: 125.00 = 430.00

 

It’s not over yet, blog. I still have a lot of stories to tell. I’m still going to tell you about my South Batan and Sabtang Island adventures.

Till next post.

Love always,

Me

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