Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines and is situated halfway between (see map) the mainland Philippines and Taiwan, smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! Therefore, the only means of transportation to get there is by taking a flight.
Other fancy names that Batanes goes by are ‘Orphan of the Motherland’ and also the ‘New Zealand of the Philippines’. These are fancy names for a place that has nothing much to offer.
Here’s my 33 reasons why you should never visit Batanes:
1. There’s nothing but rolling hills that goes on and on and on and on and on and on and …
Nothing but rolling hills as far as the eyes can see at Vayang Rolling Hills.
2. It is dangerously windy there you might get blown away!
It is quite windy at Vayang Rolling Hills, so always grab hold of something when the wind blows.
If you don’t have the strength like Bella, just hug a pole like Tawny does.
Just make sure you don’t get blown over the ledge. Those poles are actually markers used by the people to indicate the borders of their respective lands.
Be like these cows where they have developed a natural capability to withstand the wind.
3. There’s nothing much you can do there other than lie around all day
The grass at Racuh A Payaman (also called Marlboro Country) is so green and short …
that it looks as if you’re standing on a trimmed lawn.
Or just keep jumping until you get the jump shot right…
Too much boredom can make anyone go crazy.
4. The beach is filled with big boulders you can’t even swim!
These naturally shaped boulders on the whole stretch of Valugan Beach is a result of mother nature’s work.
From the eruption of Mount Iraya a century ago, rocks from within the volcano were thrown into the sea and from there onwards, the wind and sea slamming against these rocks, polishing them like marbles, into what they are today.
5. There’s no Hilton Hotel on the Island only an old art gallery.
This place is called Fundacion Pacita…
It’s just an old home-studio of Pacita Abad (Philippines’ World Renowed Artist) built atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which was then refurbished by her brother into a lodge.
Nothing special with our room, just a normal bedroom…
With a balcony that faces the Pacific Ocean where we can enjoy and fall asleep with the freezing ocean breeze blowing against our skin…
Even the washroom is nature-themed… the shower comes out of a tree trunk… how silly is that.
The windows in the Cafe Tukon are so big that it allows so much sunlight into the place…
and while you’re having your breakfast by the window…
all you can see are greens and more greens… oh and a mountain that is constantly covered by clouds.
6. Forget about doing any shopping in the malls
A humble police station at Mahatao district.
Kids either just walk …
or cycle …
Even the tricycle stand is just a simple sign at the corner of the street.
The ferry terminal in Sabtang Island is actually just a shed.
The jeepney happens to be the largest vehicle there.
What fish market? Just get the fish straight from the sea.
What vegetable market? Just pluck the vegetables straight from the garden.
The local Family Mart
What gas supply? There’s enough firewood to last for awhile.
Who needs car parks when there are more boats in Diura village than cars.
Don’t waste your time looking for shopping malls, just play some b-ball!
7. There’s a bad place that you should avoid in town
A bad street (Abad Street)
Once you step foot on this street …
It releases the inner monster in you … hungry for …
8. And they have a beach that sounds like moron
Who names a beach after such a word anyway?
Nope, no morons here, just a pretty lady.
Just because I can.
Found a mermaid rather than a moron.
Morong beach is perfect for a walk in the sea
9. For a small island, they sure do have a lot of churches
Tukon Church built above the hill … of all places.
Century old Sabtang church (San Vicente Ferrer Church)
San Carlos church made out of limestone and corals
And another church? San Jose de Obrero Church
Not to forget the little churches in the village with the traditional cogon roofs.
10. The architects can’t make up their mind on a standard built for their lighthouses
First, there’s the roundish main lighthouse of Batanes at Naidi Hills.
It’s situated way up high all the way on a cliff… can you see it? That small little thing on the cliff?
So yea, I think round and white is the way to go for the lighthouse.
And then there’s the other, Tayid lighthouse located east of the island… and guess what, also built atop a cliff…
But then they suddenly decided it should be a hexagonal lighthouse. Maybe they wanted the incoming ships to be able to know which side of the island they are approaching? I’m so smart.
11. There’s a silly shop that works solely based on your honesty
Honesty Coffee Shop with no one manning the cash register? Just take the items you need and drop the money into the box? They will need to close down by tomorrow!
And you know what’s ironic? They call themselves a coffee shop yet we can’t even order any coffee there!
There you go. Proof that we are honest people.
12. The Airport is a den for an illegal activity
Basco airport is scenically located next to a majestic mountain, which the pilot must totally avoid crashing into …
And don’t be fooled … this airport is actually a cover for its real purpose …
In the evening, it transforms into a den for an illegal activity … JOGGING!
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof!
Some people even had the nerve to bring their cows jogging there too!
13. And the food? Nothing special, just your typical Ivatan dishes
Vunang Restaurant at Basco
Marconine’s Food Catering at Marlboro Hills
Beehan at Basco
Octagon Bed and Dine at Basco
Pension Ivatan at Basco
14. They will also try to get you drunk with free local wine tasting
15. You will be bored of constantly having to wake up with the sun in your face
Sunrise in the cold
Breakfast with the same view as yesterday at Cafe Tukon
16. You might think that you’re in China because …
They have a replica of the Great Wall of China there
Which also stretches for miles
Well at least there are no tourist hogging the spot
17. The whole island is infested with animals!
18. You’ll be dazed in a magical spell which makes you think you’re one of the animals too
From left to right: Beauty and the Beast
I am not sure what’s going on here … Goat compass?
Making himself at home
19. You too will be locked in time, transported into another dimension
The traditional Ivatan stone houses at Chavayan Village withstands the test of time against anything mother nature throws at them.
They seemed to be locked in time a far cry away from the modern world that we are familiar with today.
House of Davao
The walls are made out from tough corals
These fishermen still catch fish the traditional way.
20. What can you do there? Learn to weave
Have you ever wanted to weave so badly? Here you can learn to weave a vakul.
Bella is intrigued and thinks they make for good wig.
Maybe my friend Tawny should just think about settling down here.
21. Don’t fall prey to the kids, they will not you leave once you befriend them
Having their school assembly outside singing their national anthem
Jo the temp teacher. Maybe she should consider settling down here too.
22. The villagers don’t know what is stress
Some just drive ride around all day
Some bring their pets for a walk
Some tend to their garden
Some bring their pets out for a poo-poo
Some get to drive around with their bikes
One thing’s for sure, this dog is happy its master is finally home
23. The books on the shelves are all blank!
At first glance, these books in the Blank Book Archive are nicely coloured in hues of blue looks very pleasing to the eyes.
But to your horror, you will find that all the books have blank pages!
They rely on your help to write something in these books so as they are not blank!
24. They seemed to be obsessed with the colour blue
Just like the blue books in the blank book archive, there seems to be a lot of doors and windows (and even chairs) around the island that are strangely coloured blue.
25. They just love the loud noise from their car horns
You are requires to horn your car horn every time you see this sign …
… or when you see pretty ladies on the road.
26. There’s an active volcano on the island!
Mount Iraya standing tall at 1,009 metres is actually a volcano that is still active!
The journey to the peak is not frequently used therefore the trail is mostly overgrown with gigantic plants.
The trail is also long and winding …
and also overgrown with huge plants …
… you will be climbing under and over things …
… might even need to walk on fallen tree trunks everywhere …
… that is if you are not lost in the thick jungle by now …
… there are even tree trunks that has snake scales …
You will know you’re near the top when the plants are bigger than you! …
… and also these spooky crosses that appeared out of nowhere. Felt as if we were in the middle of a graveyard …
Once at the top, quickly take your selfie in case the volcano decides to erupt …
… provided the clouds doesn’t surround you to the point that you can’t selfie yourself.
Good luck getting back down. Its harder going down than up!
Oh and watch out for the friendly leeches who just wants to suck some of you …
… or these creepy bugs crawling on your skin …
… or the hundreds of spiders (literally) that loves to weave their webs across the trail that you will pass.
At least there’s a nice view of the island throughout the climb …
… and at the end of the climb you can give yourself a pat on the back for successfully climbing a volcano.. an active volcano!
27. Ferry ride that can give you a permanent phobia to boat rides
If you zoom in closely, you will notice that the capacity of this ferry (it’s called a falowa and is used to ferry passengers between the main islands of Batanes) is stated as 115 passengers. Noticed it is also used to ferry … a truck!
The villagers also bring their motorcycles into the ferry when they head to the other islands.
With waves like this, you need balls of steels to brave the waves. Imagine the rough ride with a 115 loaded falowa! Good luck!
28. What? A zipline of only a kilometer long? Easy.
Oh, the Batanes Zipline starts from an altitude of 100 meters above sea level.
But first … let me take a selfie!
Henry wins with his superman pose.
29. Don’t have a camera? Ok just picnic then
Pack your picnic gears … we’re going to Homoron beach.
30. Still bored? Yoga
Since you’ve got nothing better to do, might as well try some yoga. Refer to these graphical illustration examples of beautiful Denise and Dilys against the serene blue ocean at Marlboro Country (Racuh A Payaman).
31. The sunset is as typical as any others
32. At night you can only count the stars
A typical starry night in town
The airport tower
33. Conclusion: There’s nothing much to do there except having a photoshoot
The traditional stone walls makes for a good backdrop.
She wanted the wall all to herself. *kick Bella out*
“Paint me like one of your french girls” – Rose to Jack in Titanic
Met these glamorous ladies having a photoshoot of their own!
Do you still want to visit Batanes? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! You had 33 reasons not to go!
After reading through all that, and if you are still planning to go… I can only say one thing …
BRING ME WITH YOU PLEASE!
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