When we first set foot in Batanes, we really had no idea of what we would do in the province. And since we only have eight days to accomplish everything we could, we needed to come up with some sort of itinerary. We asked around and gathered some leaflets and flyers from travel agencies near our lodge which would serve as our reference. Because Batanes’ weather is so unpredictable, Rowjie and I thought that it’d be best to get done and over with Itbayat before anything else. We thought it’d better to be stuck in Basco while waiting for our flight back to Manila than be in Itbayat which is three hours away by boat from the capital.
How to get to Itbayat From the capital Basco, you can either ride a boat or a plane to Itbayat. Below are the details:
Basco, the gateway to the northernmost province of the Philippines, is also the capital of Batanes. Located in Batan Island, Basco is politically divided into six barangays—Ihubok II (Kayvaluganan), Ihubok I (Kaychanarianan), San Antonio, San Joaquin, Chanarian, Kayhuvokan—making it the largest municipality in the island in terms of population and land area.
Mahatao is definitely one of the most famous municipalities in Batan Island because of its several popular tourist attractions. It also is the town next to Basco when you’re going to the southern part of the island via the National Road. Mahatao is divided into four barangays: Hanib, Kaumbakan, Panatayan, and Uvoy. It is the smallest town in Batan in terms of land area but has the second largest population next to Basco.
When Rowjie and I arrived in Batanes, we had no definite itinerary and basically had no idea on what we could do around the province. We were staying there for eight days and I didn’t do enough research because we wanted to just go wherever our feet take us. Or maybe I was just too lazy. Anyway, the only thing we knew was it’s cold. And true enough, it was indeed freezing. Brrr. Winter in Batanes!
Half day tour in Itbayat, said someone. WUT? As in WUT in high pitch! After the death-defying three-hour boat ride from Basco, after becoming a human pachinko ball, after you vomited all throughout the trip, you’re leaving again tomorrow? You must be kidding. Traveling from Basco to Itbayat isn’t a joke. If you need two days to see the major spots in Batan, what more with Itbayat being the largest among the three islands of Batanes. There is so much to see in this amazing town! A whole day tour isn’t enough let alone five hours. So please, don’t cut your Itbayat stay short.
Going to Itbayat, the largest among the three islands of Batanes, can be a lot expensive especially when you’re traveling alone because of its distance being the last municipality in the northernmost part of the Philippines, literally the last frontier. But hear me, it’s all worth it! Just the boat ride alone is one thing you cannot forget for the rest of your life.
Rowjie wakes up at 5:00 AM. It is drizzling and still very cold. He wakes me up. I fixed myself and brushed my teeth. I did not dare take a bath because the water was too frikken cold. He calls the contact person of the MB Ocean Spirit at 5:30 AM; the person on the other line confirms that the 6:00 AM trip to Itbayat is pushing through this time. Yes! We’re sticking to our planned schedule. The trip the other day was cancelled because of the bad weather. At 5:45, we are on our way to the port, which is just a good 5-minute walk from our lodge.