Saturday, November 6, 2010

Batanes: My Dream Destination

I’ve read and watched so many nice things about Batanes -- the northernmost tip of the country and with most number of typhoon visits; the only place in the country with 4 seasons; the smallest province with unique landscape; the province with lowest crime rate; friendly and courteous Ivatans (Batanes inhabitants) who have preserved their culture and way of life, inspite of globalization and new technologies.
Batanes is one of my top dream destinations. Why? Below are my 10 reasons why Batanes is worth a visit:
1.  Nice Beaches
Devoid of tourist crowds, Batanes beaches has unspoilt fine white sand beaches that could rival Boracay and Palawan beaches. I’m a beach buff, so I would like to see how Batanes beaches fare with the other 2 top beach destinations in the country. The rock formations like in the photo below are added bonus.

2.  Lighthouse
I’ve always been fond of lighthouses, particularly the old ones. Aside from aiding maritime vessels at night, especially on this storm-prone part of the seas, lighthouses provide a glimpse of the area’s history. Climbing the top of a lighthouse to see the magnificent view of the sea is also very refreshing.
3.  Impressive Landscape
Hilly terrains, sea-facing cliffs, and small version of rice terraces are also some of the things that make this province attractive. When I look at Batanes’ photos on the internet, I feel like I would be transported to a European or South American countryside if given the chance to stay there.
4.  Unique Churches
The charm of old churches is like a magnet to me. I like to see its history, how it was built, type of materials used, the style, the fine details of craftmanship, and what makes it different from other churches. The photo below from Business Mirror shows a different style of stone church, which I have not seen on other churches I visited.
5.  Stone Houses
Since Batanes is the most typhoon-visited part of the country, its no wonder that they have built their houses made of sturdy stone structures. I would like to stay on one stone house for at least a night, to see how it provides protection from strong winds, as well as insulation from noise and outside temperature.
6.  Seafood Overdose
I’m a seafood lover and I eat any creature that swims. Remember that Erap joke when his doctor advised him that he could only eat food that swims? Well, the next day, he was teaching a pig to swim. :) Getting back at the topic, I read that lobsters and coconut crab are plentiful in the Batanes islands, and also very affordable.
7.  Chayi Lychees and Ivatan Cuisine
I saw a photo of a variety of lychees found in Batanes, called chayi. Like any new food item, I would like to taste it, and see how it differs from the commercially sold lychees. The same way that I like to sample their Ivatan cuisine, and compare it with their neighboring Ilocano cuisine, as part of culinary tour.

8.  Palo Palo Festival
We’ve seen various Filipino ethnic dances during Linggo ng Wika (National Language Week) and other Philippine festivities. It would be nice to see the Ivatan’s preserved heritage displayed on their provincial activities, like in the Palo Palo Festival.

9.  Honesty Store and Coffee Shop
A lot of local TV documentaries have featured this famous Honesty Coffee Shop and Store in Batanes. With Ivatans known as peaceful and honest people with lowest crime rate, its now easier to believe that they could operate a shop without any personnel manning it. Customers can get anything they want from the shop, pay the listed price, and get their change. 

If the open cash box has insufficient change, customers can go back later to get their change. Now that shows how the Ivatan community is one of the most civilized society, that we can compare to Londoners' practice of voluntarily dropping a pound to get a copy of the Times newspaper from the unmanned sidewalk.
10.  Experience Ivatan Culture
Last but not the least, how does it feel to wear the women’s headrest made of grass leaves? How’s the tone of their language, and which words are similar with our other regional languages? How do they address and treat the strangers and their neighbors? 

Are they really courteous, helpful, and warm people, in contrast with the islands’ usual cold climate? It would be interesting to briefly experience their customs, language, and traditions.
Currently, only one airline serves the Batanes route twice daily, and that is SEAIR. Unfortunately, I cannot afford yet to bring my whole family in Batanes for a vacation, because SEAIR is not a budget airline. Known to serve paradise-to-paradise destinations, their regular airfare rates help keep the crowd away from Batanes. Somehow, it helps the province preserve its charm and identity.

All the photos above are not mine, but I will replace them if given the chance to visit Batanes. Credits are given to their rightful owners from the websites I visited like phil., utgtravel, trip advisor, pinoyexchange, virtual tourist, tua-link.blogspot, aboutph, webshots, and

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  1. golly, i didn't know batanes is this beautiful. i'd really like to see the stone houses, their old churches, and their white beach! :)

  2. True, not many people knew what Batanes has to offer. Book now to Batanes!

  3. quite expensive kc ang airfare :( same here wish to go there :)

  4. Agree, its quite expensive for a budget traveller like me who is used to less than P500 promo RT airfares. Mag-ipon na lang, hehe.

  5. Thanks for posting the highlights of Batanes. Batanes is also one of my dream destinations. Bata pa lang ako pangarap ko na makapunta dyan. :-) I got more excited after reading your post! But I guess I need to save up more money because of the airfare.

    I really hope you could go to Batanes soon. The Honesty Store and Coffee shop also looks very interesting :-)

  6. I super like your post. those could be my reasons as well why people should visit Batanes. My ultimate dream vacation destination as well.

  7. Batanes is also one of the places I want to visit someday. Mahal nga lang ng airfare.

  8. So beautiful! Yung ibang pictures parang pasadya lang para sa isang movie

  9. this is also one of my dream trip. aside from singapore. i heard about many good things in this place. i hope to visit this place this year or nx yr for sure.

  10. I've been to Batanes a decade ago, (grabe, sobrang tagal na) it's a work-related visit, but still, I was able to see most of what you have mentioned here. Pero dahil di pa uso digicam, limited lang photos ko, mostly souvenir shots lang. Sana mabalikan ko 'to ulit someday. :)


  11. Hi, Tal. You're lucky to have visited Batanes, even if its job-related. On my case, I could only visit it when airfares to Batanes become more affordable in the future.

  12. though i'm not that affluent, i really hope that the fare remains this expensive, to prevent it from being too commercialized. :D. i would really love to go and live on this paradise.

  13. the paradise of the northern phils. try to visit you will find true happiness within you


  14. Two weeks ago, PAL Express had a P688 promo fare to Batanes, but there is no more promo seats when I checked. Will try again next year to finally see the paradise of northern Phils.