Revisit Batanes: PHILTOA Familiarization Tour 2014 Day 1

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Batanes may not be a perfect destination to visit during Habagat (southwest monsoon) season but despite uncertainties, I accepted the invite from PHILTOA to join their Batanes Familiarization tour few weeks ago.

Batanes Flights via Skyjet Airlines
Batanes Flights via Skyjet Airlines

Last August 8, 2014, We gathered at NAIA Terminal 4 at around 3:00am for our 5:30am flight to Batanes via SkyJet Airlines. Although this old domestic airport recently had a facelift, the airport authority still cant address the over capacity problems of the terminal.

PHILTOA Members in Batanes
PHILTOA Members in Batanes

The lack of seats, overpriced meals and slow check-in process made me convinced that NAIA Terminal 4 is one of the worst Low Cost Terminal I’ve been to so far.

It was my first time flying with Skyjet Airlines and luckily, the flight was on time and the experience was truly awesome. Compare to other airlines that offers flights to Batanes, SkyJet offers spacious seats and variety of drinks, such as champagne, fruit juices and brewed coffee. SkyJet Airlines flies to Basco Batanes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Breakfast at Bernardos Hotel
Breakfast at Bernardos Hotel

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Upon arrival at Basco Airport, we headed to Bernardo’s Hotel for breakfast and tour briefing. We were given ample time to check-in at the hotel then we proceeded to Racuh a Payaman. Fondly called as the Marlboro hills of Batanes, Racuh a Payaman in Mahatao is one of the favorite tourist stops in Batan Island.

Marlboro Hills in Basco
Marlboro Hills in Mahatao

Batanes lets you experience the uniqueness of the island. More than just the beautiful landscape and unique culture, The Ivatan’s are definitely the islands treasure. PHILTOA is helping the island in terms of tourism promotion but we still believe the the islands charm can only be maintained if the local tourism industry will keep things simple, peaceful, and community-based. says Cesar Cruz – PHILTOA President

Racuh a payaman in Basco
Racuh a payaman in Basco

Our next stop was at Tayid Lighthouse. Located in the coastal town of Mahatao, this lighthouse was built on a hillside facing the West Philippine Sea. We also visited the Pagasa Station then followed by an ocular inspection at Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge.

Tayid Lighthouse
Tayid Lighthouse

Located on top of a scenic hill in Basco Batanes, Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge was originally built in memory of a globally acclaimed Ivatan artist named Pacita Abad. The gallery was later converted into a boutique hotel that showcased artworks from various well-known Filipino visual artists.

Fundacion Pacita in Batanes
Fundacion Pacita in Batanes

Few minutes after inspecting the rooms, we had pasta in white sauce lunch at the Fundacion Pacita restaurant then we headed back to Bernardo’s Hotel to freshen up and prepare for our afternoon activities.

After our quick break, we headed to Naidi Hills for sunset viewing and visit the famous Basco Lighthouse. This lighthouse is a famous biking destination for tourists who wants to see the birds eyeview of Basco. Completed in 2003, Basco Lighthouse is a 6-story building with viewing deck on the fifth floor.

The Coastal Town of Mahatao
The Coastal Town of Mahatao

It was cloudy afternoon and we were not able to witness the beautiful sunset in Naidi Hills so after our video shoot, we visited Santo Domingo Cathedral in Basco to have group photos.

Fundacion Pacita Hotel
Fundacion Pacita Hotel

Our last stop was at Batanes Resort for room inspections and dinner. We had a taste of some of the famous local cuisine and while having dinner, we were given trip reminders for our Sabtang Island tour. Batanes Resort is memorable for me since Ive stayed here couple of times already during my previous visits in the island.

Santo Domingo Cathedral in Basco
Santo Domingo Cathedral in Basco

Owned by the local government, Batanes Resort has 6 stone houses with 2 rooms each stone house replica and can accommodate up to 3 guests per room. The resort is located right beside a hill and a beautiful beach cove. All rooms has Air condition, hot and cold showers and a 24 hour front desk. After dinner, we proceeded to Bernardo’s Hotel to rest and prepare for our second day early morning activities in Sabtang Island.

SkyJet Airlines brings you closer to Batanes – your dream vacation. For discounted flights and Batanes Travel and Tour Packages, visit The Philippine Travel Mart 2014 this coming 5-7 September (Fri-Sun) at SMX Mall of Asia.

Up Next: Exploring Sabtang Island: PHILTOA Familiarization Tour 2014 Day 2

Also Read: Batanes Travel Guide: Explore Breathtaking Batanes

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