batanes ultimate guide

Escape to the northernmost part of the Philippines with postcard-perfect views – Batanes. When is the best time to go and how do you get there? What are the must-see tourist spots and must-eat local food? How many days should you plan for your itinerary? Read on to learn everything you need to know about Batanes, Home of the Winds. 

Batanes has a little bit of everything for different types of travelers: the mountains, the sea, the rolling hills, and the food. But above all, Batanes offers a unique type of refuge — peace and quiet, and the taste of a back-to-basics lifestyle.

Batanes, called the Home of the Winds, is considered the smallest province in the Philippines with only 230 kilometers of total land area. Part of Batanes’ charm comes from its somewhat seclusion from its busier and more crowded neighboring provinces. As the northernmost province in the country, its distance, size, and small population help preserve the unspoiled beauty of the place and the peaceful lifestyle of its people. A trip to Batanes is a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city living.

batanes-tourist-spotsBatanes’ refreshingly chill and peaceful vibe gives local and foreign travelers a different taste of island life. One that is simpler, laidback, quiet, but definitely revitalizing. For a country that is known for its tropical islands, Batanes’ rock formations, quaint lighthouses, and wild horses that roam freely in vast pastureland make it a truly unique destination for many people.

If you’re planning a trip to this part of the Philippines, we offer you this ultimate guide on everything you need to know for the perfect getaway. 

CONTENTS 

Going to Batanes

The best way to go to Batanes is by air and thanks to more flights coming from different parts of the Philippines, the province has enjoyed an astonishing increase in tourist arrivals since 2015. Depending on where you’re flying from, domestic flights to Basco can take between 70 and 110 minutes. 

By Flights

Try booking a Tuesday or Wednesday flight instead of a weekend one if you’re on a budget and looking for less expensive plane tickets. Normally, flights during these days are less expensive. While promo fares to Batanes are very few, if you do chance upon some, it’s best to book ahead and enjoy the big savings. Here are some of the flight options from different parts of the Philippines:

From Luzon: Manila and Clark

If you’re in Metro Manila, flights to Basco will take 2 hours and 10 minutes. Cebgo and Sky Jet both offer direct flights once a day. If you’re coming from the northern part of Metro Manila or Luzon, the best option would be to fly out of Clark, Pampanga. Not only do you skip the traffic in Metro Manila, but you also enjoy generally lower airfare. Philippine Airlines (PAL) flies twice daily from Clark, Pampanga straight to Basco, Batanes for 1 hour and 40 minutes.

From Cebu

If you’re coming from Cebu in Visayas, the Philippines’ Queen City of the South, there are two airlines offering daily flights to Batanes. PAL has two daily flights with one stopover in Clark, Pampanga for a total duration of 2 hours and 55 minutes while Cebgo has seven daily flights with one stopover in Manila for a total duration of 3 hours and 55 minutes.

From Davao

If you’re coming from Davao in Mindanao, the so-called Durian Capital of the Philippines, there are also two airlines offering daily flights to Batanes. PAL has two daily flights with one stopover in Clark, Pampanga for a total duration of 3 hours and 30 minutes while Cebgo has two daily flights with one stopover in Manila for a total duration of 4 hours and 10 minutes.

Best Time to Go to Batanes

The best time to visit Batanes is during the dry or summer season. In the Philippines, the months of March, April, May, and June are considered the hottest months with minimal rainfall. These are also the best months to visit Batanes. Fewer chances of rainfall mean fewer chances of delayed or canceled flights and you’ll be able to enjoy your trip better since Batanes tourist attractions are mostly outdoors. 

Dry and Summer Season | March to June 

For a hassle-free trip, it’s best to plan your Batanes adventure around the months of the dry and summer season in the Philippines. March to June has a minimal amount of rainfall. But if you want to enjoy a “cooler” Batanes in terms of temperature, you can visit during the first quarter of the year. However, the weather can quickly change from sunny to cold and rainy. 

Climate and Weather

Batanes has a tropical climate like the rest of the Philippines. The average yearly temperature is 26.0 °C. April is the driest month, while August is the rainiest month so best to avoid traveling to Batanes during that time. November to February are the coldest and often have rainy days as well. 

Batanes Travel Guide: Itinerary, Hotels, and Tips to Plan the Best Trip

Source: NOAA

What to Wear

During the dry summer months, wear comfortable clothes with breathable fabric since you’ll be spending most of the time outdoors. Better bring your sunblock and umbrella to keep you shaded from the sun. If you’re planning a trip in the rainy or cold months, bring an umbrella and raincoat/poncho to keep you dry. You might also want to bring extra clothes for a quick change during your tours.

Getting Around Batanes

batanes tour

Batanes may be small but it’s still not small enough to just walk around to see the tourist spots. Here are a number of transport options you can choose from to explore Batanes:

Tricycles 

You can hail or rent a public tricycle (auto-rickshaw) for drop-off or pick-ups or get their services for a whole day of tours. Tricycles are readily available most of the day, traveling from one Batanes resort or tourist spot to another. These can only accommodate a small group of 3-4 people. 

Private Vans and Cars

If you are traveling in a big group, we recommend hiring a private van or car. This is the most convenient option since you don’t have to worry about navigating the islands. The van or car transfers are operated by local tour agencies and are usually included in all-inclusive Batanes tour packages. 

Jeepneys

If you’re opting for public transportation, there are jeepneys traveling from Basco to Mahatao, Ivana, and Uyugan daily. However, the trips are limited and are only available from 5:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. 

Bicycles

When it comes to getting around just the town proper, you can rent a bicycle if you have the stamina for it. The rolling hills and the landscape can prove to be challenging. Cycling in Batanes is scenic but rugged.

Motorbikes

You can also take a different kind of bike — motorbikes! You can hire one with a driver (called habal-habal) or rent a motorbike that you can drive yourself. But these are only applicable for those who have a driver’s license and can operate one. 

Boats

If you’re exploring the different islands of Batanes like Sabtang Island and Itbayat Island, you can ride their traditional Ivatan passenger boats called faluwa. Each island has its own port and the boats have scheduled limited trips per day. Trips are also dependent on the weather so make sure to check weather updates or coordinate with your tour operators when planning your Batanes itinerary. 

Where to Stay in Batanes

Batanes may be the smallest province in the Philippines but there are many lodging options for travelers with varying budgets. The location of your accommodation in Batanes will greatly affect your itinerary so it’s best to book it in the area where you want to frequent or where majority of the tourist spots you want to visit are in. The majority of tourists stay in the provincial capital of Basco in the island of Batan where there are plenty of options for Batanes resorts, hotels, lodges, and inns.

Types of Accommodations

Unlike major destinations in the Philippines, Batanes doesn’t have a wide collection of hotels and resorts for tourists. The majority of hotels in Batanes are modest homestays and hotels, lodges, or guesthouses that offer basic amenities. 

Homestays

A number of private homes in Batanes are open to tourists wherein you can experience the local hospitality of the people who live in them. They are usually owned and managed by local Ivatan families who have rooms to spare in their private property so they have turned it into a bed and breakfast business. Most of these also offer cooking services or shared kitchens where you can ask them to whip up local dishes for you. 

Hotels/Lodge/Guesthouse

You can also stay in hotels, lodges, or guesthouses in Batanes, mostly found in Basco area. The hotels in Batanes range from traditional to modern designs with basic to slightly luxurious amenities. Hotels with swimming pools, located by the beach, or have a more posh design are usually higher in price. But compared to luxury hotels in the big city, mid-range to luxury priced hotels in Batanes are still affordable. 

Neighborhoods and Areas

batanes where to stay

Batanes is made up of 10 islands but only 3 are inhabited: Batan (where Basco is located), Sabtang, and Itbayat. These are also the areas where you can book accommodations and visit tourist spots. Here’s a guide on the different areas in Batanes to help you decide where to book your hotel. 

Batan

The main island of Batanes. This is where Basco, the provincial capital and airport are located. Aside from being home to Basco, it’s also where you can find majority of the accommodations and tourist spots in Batanes. Batan is divided into two areas: North and South. This division can also be your basis on how you will create your itinerary. 

Sabtang

Located south of Batan, Sabtang is mountainous and dotted with steep cliffs. The island is less populated than Batan and is notable for preserving most of its old stone houses with cogon roofs. To get here from Batan, you need to ride boats that depart Ivana Port in Basco between 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM and travel back between 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Sometimes there are still boats until 5:00 PM but make sure to check with the boat operators first. To be safe, be back at the port by 2:00 PM. The travel time is around 1 hour. 

Itbayat

The largest island among the three in Batanes is located north of Batan. The island is notable for its coastline with steep cliffs and interiors of rolling hills and grasslands. It also features rainforests and caves. Electricity in Itbayat runs only until 12 midnight and resumes at 6AM the next day. To get here, you need to board boats that depart Basco Port in Batan between 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM and travel back between 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Sometimes there are still boats until 5:00 PM but make sure to check with the boat operators first. Depending on the water currents and winds, travel time is around 2-4 hours. If you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure to bring your meds, ointments, and a motion sickness bag.

Accommodation Highlights

Now that you know the types of accommodation and areas where you can book, here are some of our recommended hotel listings in Batanes 

Budget Accommodations

Don’t want to break the bank for your Batanes hotel? Take a look at some of your options of the top-rated budget-friendly accommodations in Batanes:

Nathaniel's Lodge

This is one of the best options for those looking to stay in downtown Batanes. Well-lit and located near most commercial establishments, Nathaniel’s Lodge offers travelers the bare necessities. The fully furnished guest rooms come with private bathrooms, free toiletries, TV with satellite channels, and air conditioning.

Troy Lodge

For those who want to experience homestays, travelers highly recommend this place. The owner is very accommodating. The toilet and shower are kept clean and comes with a heater. Guests can use the TV, terrace, kitchen utensils. Plus, the towels and blankets are free. 

DDD Habitat

DDD Habitat has a total of seven air-conditioned rooms with TV, lampshade, and side tables apart from the beds, of course. Its close proximity to parks, government offices, and commercial stores make it a good choice for budget travelers.

Mid-Range Accommodations

If comfort is a priority for you but you don’t want to spend too much on hotels in Batanes, check out these highly-rated accommodations:

Bernardo’s Hotel

This 3-star hotel is conveniently located five minutes away from Basco airport and the town. The rooms are fitted with a seating area, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, air conditioning, and a private bathroom. The in-house restaurant, Casa Napoli, serves Italian cuisine from breakfast to brick-oven pizzas. Bernardo’s Hotel is also popular for its rooms with sea views.

Florabells Iraya Guest House

If you want to enjoy the mountain views, go to Florabells Iraya Guest House. Popular among vacationing couples, this guesthouse is also near the Basco airport and offers breakfast for its guests. The guest rooms have air conditioning, a private bathroom with free toiletries and an overhead shower, and a flat-screen TV. Some units have a balcony to better enjoy the mountain views.

Villa de Babat

Villa de Babat's close proximity to Basco airport makes it a traveler's favorite. This bed and breakfast inn has a total of six air-conditioned rooms for a total of 22 guests. It also has a mini-golf drive, an in-ground swimming pool, and a two-level deck. It's an ideal accommodation for large groups.

Luxury Accommodation

Batanes isn’t as developed yet as other Philippine destinations, but it has a number of hotels luxury hotels that you can choose from. Check out some of these tourist favorites:

Amboy Hometel

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in Batanes, this is the place to be. Batanes Amboy Hometel has a 24-hour front desk and room service, free shuttle services, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, buffet breakfast, and fantastic sea views.

Baletin Hometel

Baletin Hometel’s rooms have a balcony that offers a great view of the sea and are equipped with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and desks. Guest rooms also have kettles, perfect for enjoying a warm drink in the cool Batanes weather. The on-site restaurant offers grilled meat and seafood favorites. Baletin Hometel is popular for bike and car rentals.

Magnfred's Place Batanes

Its location gives its visitors the most comfort. Located just five minutes away from Basco airport, Magnfred’s Place Batanes is also close to most stores, souvenir shops, local banks, and more. The guest rooms have private bathrooms with overhead showers and free toiletries. The garden is also a nice place where guests can relax. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast and free WiFi.

What to See and Do in Batanes

Batanes Travel Guide: Itinerary, Hotels, and Tips to Plan the Best Trip

Because of the rather expensive plane tickets and limited months that you can explore Batanes, it’s important that you make sure you’re maximizing your stay in this beautiful province. Here are some of the tourist spots that you shouldn’t miss when in Batanes:

Explore North Batan

batanes-philippinesThe best starting point is to tour North Batan, which will take you either about half a day or the whole day adventure. Here are some tourist spots on this main island of Batanes that you should add to your itinerary:

  • Basco Lighthouse - Batanes has three main lighthouses and one of the most popular is the 66-ft Basco Lighthouse that was built in 2003. It stands proudly on Naidi Hills where the old American telegraph tower used to stand before the Japanese destroyed it in 1941. The tower ruins can still be found on Naidi Hills today. The 20-meter tall and six-story Basco Lighthouse is easily recognizable with its white main column and red lantern room. It offers visitors a stunning 360-degree view of Basco town power as well as the Basco port and the West Philippine Sea on top of its round tower deck.

  • Valugan Boulder Beach - Enjoy a different kind of beach experience in Batanes. As the name suggests, Valugan Boulder Beach is famous for its three-kilometer shoreline filled with round boulders and smaller stones. Because of the beach’s rough and rugged terrain, swimming is not allowed here. If you want to take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, it is best to bring non-slip shoes to avoid any accidents.

  • Vayang Rolling Holls - If you’ve ever wanted to burst out into a song, the Vayang Rolling Hills is the best place to do it. After all, the hills really are “alive” perhaps not with the sound of music but with the different layers of green and grazing livestock. The Vayang Rolling Hills is also the best vantage point to see the beautiful Mt. Iraya and Batanes’ three inhabited islands. The gently sloping hills fade into the West Philippine Sea, creating a breathtaking view that people around the world travel to Batanes for.

  • Tukon Chapel or Mt. Carmel Church- Batanes' three inhabited islands have many churches and the most recognizable one is the Tukon Chapel, as locals call it, the Mt. Carmel Church. It was built by local fishermen and opened on May 3, 2008. It is famous for its traditional stone house design, orange roof, and painted interiors. The chapel's ceiling is adorned by the paintings of its patron saints, carefully done by the Pacita Abad Center for the Arts scholars. Standing proudly on top of a hill, the Tukon Chapel is also a great place to see the convergence of the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

  • Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel - This served as a shelter for the Japanese troops during WWII. While the Japanese tunnels are open for tourists to see, make sure to bring your own flashlight if you want to explore the interconnected network of tunnels. If you are claustrophobic, better skip this part of the tour.

Discover South Batan 

batanes marlboro countryA South Batan tour, on the other hand, would take you about an entire day so it is best to start early in the morning so you can maximize your trip. Take note of these tourist spots:

  • Marlboro Country or Rakuh a Payaman -  If you’re itching to take a selfie at Batanes’ most photographed tourist spot, add the Rakuh a Payaman in your itinerary, also known as Marlboro Country. Located in Mahatao, this vast pastureland is picturesque with wild horses, carabaos, and grazing cows, thus the nickname. It’s a place where the land, sea, and sky kiss each other that make a breathtaking view. It is also the best place to see the Tayid Lighthouse and the waves of Diura Beach. If you’re looking for a place to take a breather from all the walking, this is it. You can follow the narrow foot trails that lead you to the best vantage points for sight-seeing.

  • Tayid Lighthouse - The Tayid Lighthouse is located on the other side of Batan Island, in Mahatao, and is just about as old as the Basco Lighthouse. Its much older predecessor, which is nearby, was built in the 1700s and is currently non-functional. It also has a white-painted body and red lantern room but the Tayid Lighthouse is hexagonal in shape, unlike its sister in Basco which has a round column. It is also less accessible to tourists and can best be seen from the Diura Fishing Village and Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country). The Tayid Lighthouse faces the Pacific Ocean.

  • House of Dakay - Apart from the postcard-worthy lighthouses, Batanes has also become famous because of its stone houses, which are symbols of the Ivatan’s preparedness for natural calamities and their strength.  When the island was hit by a strong earthquake in the early 1990s, the House of Dakay on Batan Island is one of the only five surviving stone houses in Batanes that still stand today. It is also the oldest, built in 1887 by Luisa Estrella. The house was named after Luisa’s nephew Jose Dakay Estrella to whom she gave the stone house.

  • Homoron Blue Lagoon - In the colonial era, the Homoron Blue Lagoon in Mahatao on Batan Island was called the Spanish Lagoon because only the Spaniards were allowed to swim here. Today, of course, you can take a dip in its waters any time you fancy. From here, you can walk to the nearby White Beach if you want to swim in shallow waters with gentler waves. The White Beach is also a favorite go-to spot for picnics. 

  • Diura Fishing Village - While you’re in Mahatao, visit the Diura Fishing Village and soak in the local activities, especially in the months of March and April where the age-old ritual of kapayvanuvanu is observed. The local fishermen perform this ritual to make sure that the incoming fishing season is a bountiful one. 

  • San Jose de Ivana Church - The foundation of this church dates back to 1775. The ruins of the original church can still be found at the back of the new church. The National Historical Commission declared the San Jose de Ivana Church a National Historical Landmark. Apart from its history, the church is a beautiful, living example of the Filipino and Spanish craftsmanship.

  • Honesty Coffee Shop -  Near San Jose de Ivana Church, you'll find the famous Honesty Coffee Shop. It is famous not for its coffee or its souvenirs; rather, it is famous because of its honesty system. The café, which is more like a sari-sari store (small convenience store) is unmanned. They sell all sorts of inexpensive items that travelers may need or want for their tours including instant coffee, local bread and pastry, souvenir shirts, candy, crackers, and cup noodles. They have a thermos filled with hot water for your instant coffee and noodle. You can get what you want, pay for the item, clean up after yourself, and leave the store feeling better about yourself. Retirees Jose and Elena Gabilo first opened the Honesty Coffee Shop in 1995 and so far, the honesty system works for both locals and tourists. The shop is open from 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.

Immerse Yourself in Sabtang

batanes ivatan stone houses

Your Batanes trip isn’t complete when you don’t visit the other islands beyond Batan, one of which is Sabtang. Here are some activities you can add in your Sabtang itinerary:

  • Sabtang Lighthouse - The Sabtang Lighthouse is the only lighthouse in Sabtang Island. The lighthouse immediately greets you as you approach the island, as it is located on a cliff near the port. The Sabtang Lighthouse’s column has a stone masonry finish, giving it a more organic, masculine look compared to the first two.

  • Ivatan’s Stone Houses - Apart from the House of Dakay, the best-preserved stone houses in Batanes can be found in Chavayan, Savidug, and Sinakan Villages on Sabtang Island. Some of these stone houses have stood proudly for more than 100 years. At the Savidug Village on Sabtang Island, the streets are lined with centuries-old stone houses. You can spend hours walking along the streets and marveling at how the people were able to preserve them all these years.

  • Morong Beach - If you’re looking to take a dip, go to Morong Beach in Sabtang Island instead and visit the Nakabuang Arch. Morong Beach has softer, kinder waves compared to other beaches in Batanes. Morong Beach has a nearby restaurant, making it a famous lunch stopover during tours. If you are traveling with kids, Morong Beach is the place to be. Of course, there are some Batanes resorts with in-ground swimming pools but if you want to experience some waves, go to the beach!

Go on a Nature Trip at Itbayat

Looking for more adventures in Batanes? Check out these tourist spots in Itbayat that you can add in your itinerary. Take note that there are limited boat trips going to Itbayat and the travel time from Basco Port is around 2.5-3.5 hours if the weather is pleasant and waters are calm. It’s also recommended to stay here for a night and leave the next day back to Basco. 

  • Mt. Karoboban - Marvel at the beauty of the four uninhabited islands north of Batanes when you go to the highest elevation in Itbayat. The view deck is one of Itbayat’s foundations that served as a settlement area for the people in Itbayat.

  • Torongan Cave and Torongan Hills - The massive Torongan Cave in Itbayat is said to be where the Austronesians from Formoso first landed back in 4000 BC. You can reach the cave by hiking for around 45 minutes to 1 hour where you’ll pass by a dense forest first. After exploring Torongan Cave, hike up to the top of Torongan Hills where you’ll see burial markers in the shape of boats. It’s believed that this used to be a burial ground for the cave’s early settlers.

  • Rapang Cliffs - If you’re up for a challenge, take the 5- to 7-hour hike to and from Rapang Cliffs. This natural park is a picturesque destination with its bonsai arius tree-decorated cliffs and rocky hills. You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the island from its highest point.

  • Small Lagoon -  Located at the foot of Paganaman Port’s cliff, you can take a refreshing dip with the locals at Itbayat’s swimming holes. The Small Lagoon has several natural swimming pools that are shallow enough for a relaxing swim after a day full of tours.

Hike Mt. Iraya or Mt. Matarem 

If you’re up for a more physical activity, you can also hike Mt. Iraya and Mt. Matarem. Mt. Iraya in Batan, an active volcano, is the highest point in Batanes and is ideal for nature lovers and experienced (or daring beginner) hikers. Mt. Iraya requires a half to full day hike depending on your pace. For beginners, you can hike Mt. Matarem instead, also located in Batan. For half a day, you can climb to the second-highest peak in Batanes which also features stunning views. 



What to Eat in Batanes

batanes what to eat

You will definitely be fulfilled not just by the stunning views in Batanes but also by the local dishes in the province. Read on to find out the unique cuisine in Batanes and must-try dishes during your trip. 

Local Cuisine 

Unlike other destinations in the Philippines like Ilocos, Bicol, Cebu, and Iloilo that have distinct local cuisine, Batanes is not known as a food destination. Still, there are many local dishes here, the majority of which are seafood, that are surprising food finds and must-tries.

Batanes has its own unique way of limiting plastic waste. They serve traditional dishes wrapped in vunung or breadfruit tree leaves and the experience is a must-try. This practice can also be observed in neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. In Batanes, there are many restaurants and eateries that use vunung leaves as paper plates.

Recommended Foods 

There are only a few restaurants in Batanes, but that shouldn’t stop you from having filling meals especially with unique dishes in the province. Here are some must-try dishes that are staples in Batanes restaurants or homestay kitchens. 

Uvud

This dish is made from grated banana heart or banana stalks mixed with ground meat and minced fish. It is normally served in meatball form but some restaurants and eateries wrap the uvud in leaves and steam them. There are also vegetarian versions of uvud but both are served with sauce.

Vunes

Batanes also has its own version of Bicol’s famous laing, called vunes. It is made of preserved gabi (taro) leaves and stalks cooked with cream, garlic,  pork and patola (sponge gourd). These are usually served in homestays and local restaurants in Batanes with rice. 

Luñis or Luniz

Batanes also has its own spin on the classic Filipino adobo, called luñis. It looks different than your usual dark and usually wet adobo. Luñis/Luniz is made with pork and rock salt, cooked low and slow until the pork’s fat is rendered and the meat turns golden brown, where it gets its color. They don’t add soy sauce that’s why the luñis/luniz is paler and drier. Luñis/Luniz is eaten best dipped in vinegar and paired with rice.

Mahi-mahi

At the Diura Fishing Village, make sure to try the dried mahi-mahi, which is one of the staple foods across the islands. The Mahi-mahi or “dorado” has a golden exterior mixed with green and blue hues. Harvesting this type of fish, which is sometimes called the arayu, is part of the age-old kapayvanuvanua ritual in the fishing village of Diura. Even in today’s modern times, the Ivatans still practice this ritual to help ensure a bountiful harvest every year. The mahi-mahi is dried in the sun for preservation purposes. 

Dibang

Also known as the flying fish because it “flies” across the water when you try to catch it, this Batanes delicacy is worth trying. You can eat it kilawin-style (similar to ceviche), or dried and salted. Its dried version is also a great take-home food souvenir. 

Payi

Lobster is usually expensive, but not in Batanes! Called payi by the locals, you can have a huge serving all to yourself at the fraction of the Manila price. You can eat lobster here every single day and it won’t cost you your life’s savings. Some of the luxury and mid-range Batanes resorts have steamed lobsters on their menu. Other seafood that you should try in Batanes are Kanañis (octopus), uni (sea urchin), and dumay (sea snail) which are also served in restaurants and hotels across the province.  

Practical Information and Tips

To better prepare for your Batanes trip, especially if you’re visiting for the first time, here are some travel tips you should remember to make your visit more enjoyable and hassle-free:

Currency

Bring enough cash in Philippine Peso (PHP). There are only 2 ATM in Basco, Batanes and there are no foreign exchange facilities in town. Commercial establishments also do not accept credit card payments, so it’s best to bring cash and be smart with your expenses.

Language

Locals speak Ivatan, but the majority can speak and understand Filipino and English. Learning to speak the native tongue is a great way to befriend locals. Phrases like dius mamahes (thank you), ara ka mangu (how are you?), and avek dana / mangay aku na (goodbye) can go a long way.

What to Pack

Make sure you are prepared to travel simply. Bring the bare necessities with you. Remember that you’ll be doing a lot of walking and boat rides so pack light. While bottled water is readily available in most convenient stores, be kind to Mother Earth (and your wallet). Bring your own water bottle and just refill from your hotel or homestay. This way, you also don’t have to carry empty water bottles around.

Sample Itinerary in Batanes

Batanes is one of those destinations where a weekend is not enough to be able to visit its unique tourist spots.  We highly recommend planning for 5 days and 4 nights trip to the Home of the Winds. Here's a sample itinerary to help you maximize your visit.

Day 1: Arrival + Basco

  • 11:45 AM - ETA in Basco Airport, Batanes
  • 12:30 PM - Check-in at a Basco Hotel, Relax
  • 01:30 PM - Lunch
  • 03:00 PM - Rent a bike or do a walking tour of Basco 
  • 04:00 PM - Visit Mt. Carmel Church in Basco
  • 06:00 PM - Dinner 

Day 2: Sabtang Tour

  • 05:30 AM - ETD to Ivana Port
  • 06:30 AM - Board the faluwa for the Sabtang Island Tour
  • 08:30 AM - Start of Sabtang Tour
  • 12:00 NN - Lunch 
  • 01:00 PM. - Resume Sabtang Tour
  • 02:00 PM - Board the faluwa back to Ivana Port
  • 03:00 PM - Arrival at Ivana Port
  • 03:30 PM. - Rent a bike. Visit Ivana Church and Honesty Coffee Shop.
  • 05:00 PM - Watch the sunset while exploring Basco
  • 06:00 PM - Dinner 

Day 3: North Batan Tour 

  • 8:00 AM - Breakfast 
  • 9:00 AM - Bike or walk around town
  • 11:30 AM - Lunch
  • 1:00 PM - Start of North Batan Tour 
  • 5:00 PM - End of North Batan Tour
  • 07:00 PM - Dinner 

Day 4: South Batan Tour

  • 07:00 AM - Breakfast
  • 07:30 AM - Start of South Batan Tour
  • 11:30 AM - Lunch 
  • 12:30 PM - Resume South Batan Tour
  • 05:00 PM - End of tour. Last-minute shopping for souvenir.
  • 07:00 PM - Dinner

Day 5: Departure

  • 07:00 AM - Breakfast 
  • 08:00 AM - Visit the souvenir shops
  • 09:30 AM - Hotel checkout. Go to the airport.
  • 10:30 AM - Board plane back to Manila

Batanes is Waiting For You

Batanes Travel Guide: Itinerary, Hotels, and Tips to Plan the Best Trip

When people think about the Philippines, they immediately think of a tropical paradise—pristine, white sand beaches, clear, blue waters, towering palm trees, and even the beach party vibe. After all, the Philippine beaches are known around the world for its picturesque islands, particularly Boracay and Palawan. But, there are other islands in the Philippines that offer a unique island experience and Batanes is the best example of this.

Batanes is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the wonders of nature. It’s a magical, almost surreal place to go if you want to get away from your busy daily life.

Explore Batanes tours and activities that you can add in your itinerary for a hassle-free experience.