Finally. After almost a year of dreaming and cancelled plans, and an aborted departure a few days early, I am finally of to Batanes for my final lakwatsa for 2009.
[ Booking my flight was effortless. I did everything off the Seair website at flyseair.com ]
The Seair flight took off on time at around 8:20am and we landed 10 min early on Batan island at around 9:55am. The flight itself was quite pleasant. I was asleep for around half the time. When I opened my eyes, I was over water… which means I missed flying over Pangasinan, Benguet, and Ilocos. Outside the window, I looked down, and even from the plane Batanes – Batan Island specifically – looked wonderful from the air… below are few of the pics I took from the plane. I didn’t realize I would going back and forth through that coastline frequently throughout the next 3 days.
After we landed, we asked to stay on the plane and to wait for some luggage to be off loaded. Apparently our tail was quite heavy. I was imagining that if we got off, the plane would tip with its nose in the air! :)
The Batanes Airport was constructed like a traditional Ivatan stone house
The resort had sent a driver for me. Then I was greeted by the hotel manager herself, Lydia Roberto. She said she wanted to make sure everything was ok with me. A few moments later, we were at the hotel… give or take just around 5 minutes from the airport.
There aren’t a lot of choices to stay in Batanes. There are only a few options. After searching the internet, I decided to choose Batanes Seaside Lodge. I definitely do not regret this choice. The manager, Lydia Roberto is probably the most accommodating host I have ever met in the Philippine travels. She’s a bubbly lady full of stories about all sorts of topics. She definitely went out of her way to make sure all my needs (which weren’t much) were met. We originally discussed everything through e-mail and text before hand. I opted to take a package which included 4 days/3 nights and the tours around Batanes, inclusive of meals. All for just P7,500 for one pax. Not bad.
Batanes Seaside Lodge isn’t fancy by western standards. But it was clean, comfy, and the food cooked by Ate Precy was always yummy. After I arrived at the lodge, I rested a bit and took a walk on the beach.
Little did I know that the photo above would be representative of the beautiful nature scenes around the small province. From this moment, I just took tons of pictues. I later ended up with over 800 pics between my two cameras.
Around 12nn I went and had a hearty lunch which consisted of 4 different viands (bistek, calamares, sinigang na baboy, fish) with dessert. I ate as much as I could but it was a lot. After I ate, they were wondering if anything was wrong because I didn’t finish my food. I apologetically explained that it was just too much.
At 1pm, I started with the first tour of Batanes. As we were driving around, the first thing I noticed was every hill seemed to have either a cow, a carabao, a horse, or a goat… just roaming around the various hills. And as I later found out… their poo was everywhere as well.
We stopped by this beautiful quaint chapel. This apparently wasn’t part of the tour, but I asked if we could stop so I could take pictures. The chapel was also constructed ala an Ivatan stone house. The chapel was obviously new… perfect for weddings and small events. Luckily the chapel was open.
The interior was beautiful. The craftsmanship simply amazing.
I appreciated the carvings for the stations of the cross. Note the light from the stained glass windows.
We then proceeded to the Basco Pagasa Station.
From here, we got great 360 degree views all over Batan Island.
Directly from the Pagasa station we proceeded to the Abad Mansion
Ok… so this wasn’t quite the Abad Mansion… rather the foundation. The mansion is to the left of the picture. I wasn’t in the mood looking at private property… so we proceeded to the rest of the tour…
END PART ONE (to be continued)