The Ultimate Travel Guide to Batanes, Philippines
Batanes, Philippines — Among more than a hundred islands and destinations I have visited, I can say that Batanes is the best destination I have ever been to in the Philippines. It is the northernmost province in the country and the smallest, both in population and land area. Its capital is Basco, located on the island of Batan. The Province is composed of ten islands situated between the vast expanse of Bashi Channel and Balintang Channel, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea. The three largest islands, Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang, are the only inhabited islands.
The entire Province is listed in the UNESCO tentative list for inscription in the World Heritage List. Batanes is also rich with marine resources, including the rarest sea corals in the world. Truly a gem for underwater explorers being the most unexplored and unexploited dive destination in the archipelago.
In this Batanes Travel Guide blog post, our goal is to provide you a Budget and DIY Travel Guide complete with details on how to get there, where to eat, where to stay, things to do, and other details that can help you plan your next trip to Batanes.
Basco Batanes COVID-19 Health and Travel Requirements (Alert Level 1: May 16-31, 2022)
Returning Residents, APORs, LSIs
- Valid ID
- Letter/ Certificate of Acceptance
- A certificate of Acceptance (COA) is required upon booking a flight. To apply for a COA, the following information must be submitted to the official Facebook page of Basco Travel Acceptance:
- Hometown / Assigned Municipality
- Complete name
- Purpose of Travel to Basco
- Intended Airline
- Name of Hotel Quarantine Facility (if non, you will be assigned to a government quarantine facility)
- Work/Travel Order from your agency/company (applicable for government and private employees)
- Age, Birthday, and Gender
- Contact Information
- Address in Batanes
- Address in the point of Origin
- Vaccination Card
- Line of Work
- Approved S-PASS
- Proof of Vaccination
- (5 yrs old and below, those ineligible for vaccination or any person not fully vaccinated, SHALL NOT BE ACCEPTED)
- Booking at any DOT-accredited local tour operators to facilitate their acceptance and manage their tour in the province.
- Certificate of Acceptance issued by PGO HERITAGE AND TOURISM SECTION (mailto:[email protected])
- Approved S-PASS
For the latest advice, information and resources, go to: https://www.facebook.com/BatanesProvincee/
Source: Philippine Airlines
How to get to Basco Batanes
PAL, SkyJet Airlines, Airswift, and Cebu Pacific offer daily flights to Batanes. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Manila-Basco-Manila (1.45 hours)
Contact Info: 0939.9228.754/ 0928.5250.818/ 0917.5570.370
PAL also operates flights from Manila to Basco twice daily.
Manila-Basco-Manila (1.30 hours)
Flight Schedule: Mon-Wed-Fri-Sun
Contact Info: 0917.8537.430
Roundtrip Airfare to Batanes ranges from 8,000 to 12,000 depending on the season, but watch out for Cheap Flights to Batanes by visiting the yearly Philippine Travel Mart and Philippine Travel Expo.
From Clark, Pampanga
Philippine Airlines is now offering daily flights to Basco from Clark International Airport.
More details on How to get to Batanes
How to get to Sabtang, Batanes
To get to Sabtang from Basco, you travel first via jeepney, tricycle or van to San Vicente port in Ivana. Motorized ferries bring to you Sabtang (750 pesos, 30-40 minutes boat ride). If you arrive at San Vicente Port at 6:30AM, you’re safe for the first boat trip to Sabtang. Make sure all your valuables are stored inside sealed plastic containers for waterproofing.
How to get to Itbayat, Batanes
- To go to Itbayat, you can either take a 12-minute plane ride or enjoy a three to four and a half-hour motorized Banca ride crossing the West Philippine Sea.
- A boat with a maximum passenger capacity of 50 that costs P450.00 one way is available every day (if weather permits), while by plane, you may take a 4 to 8 seater plane that costs around P1,800.00.
- The road leading to the center of the town is quite rugged. Expect to do lots of walking here since there is no public transportation within the island.
- Either you rent a motorcycle or hitch in one of the privately-owned or government-owned vehicles passing by. Water in Itbayat is not potable. Tourists are advised to bring mineral water or buy one in the town center.
Upon arrival at Basco Airport, all tourists must visit and register at the Tourism Information Center. A tourism officer will conduct a basic orientation on the do’s and don’t while in the island province. If you are a walk-in tourist or if your agency has not paid your environmental fee, you are to pay an amount of P350.00 at the reception area or at the provincial capitol treasury office as an ecotourism fee. This fee will be used to maintain and improve the natural and cultural attractions in the different municipalities of Batanes.
Basco – The Capital of the Province is a reference point each time a typhoon enters the Philippine area of responsibility. Due to this, people think that the island is always affected by typhoons. But for the Ivatans, the Province’s native inhabitants, the mainlanders’ perception of their home is inaccurate.
Batanes is the Philippines’ smallest Province in terms of population and land area; it is hilly and mountainous with only 1,631.50 hectares or 7.10% of its area level to undulating and 78.20% or 17,994.40 hectares varying in terms from rolling to steep and very steep.
Everyday Life in Batanes is so lax. More than half of the Ivatans are farmers and fishermen. Some locals are employed in the government and services sector like the local government and the public schools.
Ivatans also plant vegetables for their food like camote (sweet potato), cassava, gabi, or tuber, and a unique variety of white uvi. Crime is not even part of their vocabulary; in fact, the provincial jail has been useless for several years now.
How to Get Around Batanes
Everywhere in any town is within walking distance. You can cover any town on foot in an hour. Most sites to see in any of the islands may be covered in a day.
DIY Batanes Tour
- Private vehicles/motorcycles and bicycles may be rented to tour the islands of Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat. This can be arranged with your hotel or your tour operator.
- The best way to make sure you cover all tourist sites is to rent a jeepney or a van to bring you to all the must-see spots.
- When asking for a tricycle service, it is best to ask for a driver who has completed the Tour Guiding and/or Tourist Driver seminar sponsored by the Provincial Government and the DOT.
Why Batanes is everyone’s dream Destination?
- Friendly People – Tourists are always greeted with a warm smile
- Fresh Food – Fresh Seafood is abundant on the island
- Ivatan House – stonewalled and thick thatched roofs that can survive any typhoon passing the island.
- Wear Vacul – the unique all-weather headgear of the Ivatans, which is made of shredded leaves of an impressive palm that is endemic in Sabtang island.
- Learn Ivatan – an Austronesian language, with pidgin Spanish and Chinese accent.
- Test your Honesty – Batanes’ Honesty Coffee Shop, No one is minding the store. Just read the price list, get the item and leave your payment in a jar.
- Experience Faluwa – If you need to travel to Sabtang or Itbayat, you need to take a motorized boat called faluwa.
- Drink Palek – A native wine made from Sugarcane.
When is the best time to visit Batanes?
To avoid getting stranded on the island, It’s best to visit the Island from March – to June; however, November to February is also an excellent time to visit if you want cold weather.
Visiting Batanes during the rainy season is not recommended as flights are prone to cancellation due to strong winds and heavy rains.
Places to Stay in Batanes:
Midtown Inn Batanes
Location: Abad St, cor. Lizardo St. Basco, Batanes
DDD Habitat Lodging House
Address: Lopez St. Barangay Kayvaluganan, Basco, Batanes
Shanedel’s Inn & Café
Address: Basco Batanes
Batanes Seaside Lodge & Restaurant
Address: National Road, Basco, 3900 Batanes
List of Hotels, Inns, Lodging House, Resorts, and Homestays in Batanes:
- Batanes Resort – 078-533-3444 / 078-533-3456 or at their Manila office at 02-927-2393
- Bernardos Hotel
- Brandon’s Lodge
- Pension Ivatan – 0905-303-5855 / 0929-207-4643
- Ivatan Lodge- ([email protected])
- Amboy’s Hometel
- Dive Batanes
- Troy Lodge – 0920-447-0726
- Fundacion Pacita – 929-2602 / 0927-290-2404 ([email protected])
- Novita House – 0915-886-5802.
- Marfel’s Lodge – 0908-8931475
- HOMESTAY ASSOCIATION – 0919-880-2444 / 0926-901-5689
Where to Eat in Batanes:
- Pension Ivatan – Located in Basco, this restaurant cooks authentic Ivatan Cuisine. Make sure to order coconut crab, yellow rice, sizzling Ivatan pansit, and uvud.
- Honesty Coffee Shop – A sari-sari store, souvenir shop, and a coffee shop near the Port of Ivana.
- Fundacion Pacita – Offers Italian, Filipino, and some local food.
- Casa Napoli – The first Pizza Place in Batanes.
- Octagon Restaurant – Offers alfresco dining. Try their Uved Balls, Adobo Ivatan, Yellow Rice, Pako Salad, Venes, and Lobster.
Souvenir Shops in Batanes
Most souvenir items can be bought in Basco. From Ivatan House and Ivatan headdress replicas, you can also buy food products like turmeric tea, sweet potato chips, native garlic and onions, and souvenir Batanes Tshirts.
Top Activities in Batanes:
- Island Hopping
- Hiking / Trekking
- Diving / Swimming
Things to do and see in Batanes
North Batan Island Activities:
- Naidi Hill Lighthouse
- Vayang Rolling Hills
- Fundacion Pacita
- Santo Domingo Cathedral of Basco
- Valugan Boulder Beach
- Chadpidan Boulder Beach
- Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
- Tukon Windmill
- PAGASA Station
- Tukon Chapel on the Hill (Mt. Carmel Chapel)
- Basco Idjang
- Mount Iraya
South Batan Activities:
- Chawa View Deck
- Mahatao Shelter Port
- Mahatao Town
- San Carlos Borromeo Church of Mahatao
- Blank Library
- Tayid Lighthouse
- Racuh a Payaman aka Marlboro Hills
- Diura Fishing Village
- Uyugan Town
- Fountain of Youth
- Alapad Hills
- National Museum Batanes
- San Jose de Ivana Church
- Honesty Coffee Shop
- House of Dakay
- Song-song Ruins
Activities in Sabtang Island:
Sabtang is best enjoyed, at least with an overnight stay, and leave early the next day. It is the closest you can get to experience the old Batanes. Chavayan is probably the most pictured village in the entire Province. It is not difficult to see why. It seemed time stood still in Chavayan with the entire village of old, well-preserved Ivatan houses neatly huddled against the foot of a majestic mountain. The waves lull you to sleep here.
While in Chavayan, it would be nice to contribute to the local economy and buy the famous traditional headgear for women called Vakul from the local women’s cooperative which produce the item. Local women gather daily to make the Vakul worth around P500 pesos.
- Sabtang Town
- Savidug Village
- Savidug Idjang
- Malakdang Lighthouse
- Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
- Chavayan Village
- Dequey Island
- Nakabuang Arch in Morong Beach
- Sumnanga Village
- Ivuhus Island
Mobile Phone Signal and Internet:
Globe, Smart, and Sun network is available in major parts of Batanes. For faster internet connectivity, bring a SMART sim with you. SMART is the first mobile network to offer LTE on the entire island of Batanes.
Free WIFI is available at the Batanes Seaside and other hotels. There are also several Internet Cafes in Basco.
Batanes Travel Tips:
- Summer in Batanes is from February through June. This is the ideal time to visit the island if you love taking photos and want to go Island Hopping without worrying about huge waves.
- Winter (Cold Season) on the island is from October through January. There’s definitely no snow, but the weather is similar to Baguio City.
- Visiting Batanes from July through October is not the best time. There are flight cancellations, too much rain, and waves are really, really huge.
- Drugstores in Basco have limited supplies; bring enough personal medicines.
- Bring Sunblock and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun
- Bring waterproof bags to protect your valuables and gadgets when doing island hopping.
Banking and Money Remittance:
LBC, Cebuana Lhuillier, and Western Union offer Money remittance services. There are Landbank and PNB ATMs in Basco that could serve your need for cash withdrawal.
Credit Card Payments and Money Exchange in Batanes
You can choose not to bring your credit cards with you as no establishment accepts credit card transactions yet, so expect to pay in cash all the time. There are also no formal money exchange services in Batanes.
Why do I love Batanes?
Check out our complete list of affordable hotels and resorts via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.