Since I booked this trip pretty early, I was a ball of anxiety during the weeks leading up to the flight. So many things could go wrong: canceled flights, bad weather, accidents, terrible roommates. I kept the anxiety at bay by not thinking of the trip at all. I did not buy anything new (I usually buy a new shirt or a new scarf before a major trip, just something small), and the night before the flight I found myself still digging around for a sachet of shampoo I could bring.
It’s funny, Batanes was never on my bucket list. Actually, that’s a strange way to put it, since I don’t even have a bucket list. I mean, it was never on my agenda. It felt like one of those (financially and geographically) unreachable places I would never see in this lifetime (like Paris, France). Plane fares are prohibitively expensive (they can go as high as PhP14,000), so taking a trip to Batanes never even crossed my mind.
And yet, here I am, after having spent three and half days in the country’s most northernmost province. I still can’t quite believe it.
I booked the trip and the flights early in the year (around April) and considered it a birthday gift to myself. The flight out of Manila was at 6 AM on a Thursday. I packed just one bag. (Another first! That bag would have been just my overnight bag, if I had allowed myself to get carried away.)
I checked in online to avoid the hassle. I met up with Aica, our Travel Coordinator for this trip, got my ID and my shirt, and waited for the call to board.
There was a moment when I heard the announcement about the aircraft being late, and I thought, Well here it is. Me and my imagination of disaster. But the flight left the terminal without a hitch. I got a window seat next to my roommate Lee (but I didn’t know this at the time), and enjoyed the view. It had been a while since I got on a plane and flew in the early morning.
This is Ate Remy, our Ivatan tour guide.
This is where we stayed for the duration of the trip. Our group is composed of 15 people: couples, solo travelers, moms, fresh graduates, and urban professionals, from the age of 20+ to 50+.
We had breakfast and had hours to spare. I took a nap before we started our North Batan tour.
Lovely view during lunch. I ate two snails!
This is Mt. Carmel Church. They hold Mass here only every first Sunday of the month.
This view is in front of the Basco weather station. Batanes is unbelievably postcard-perfect. You can point your camera anywhere and still manage to capture something beautiful.
That’s the famous Fundacion Pacita in the distance. You can get a room for PhP8,000 a night.
If it looks tiny, that’s because the hotel rooms are underground.
Approaching Valugan Boulder Beach.
Then we went to Rolling Hills. My fave spot. These stupid phone camera photos do not do the place justice.
Watch your step.
Oh man. I could sit here for hours.
Lighthouse. It’s pretty small when you see it in person.
I climbed up to take a photo of the sunset.
I love this blue door. Can’t resist.
Tomorrow we got up early for our faluwa ride to the island of Sabtang.