The Road Less Travelled – Batanes in 2011
Batanes, also called the Batanes Islands, is a Philippine province comprising ten islands that are located in the Luzon Strait between the islands of Luzon and Taiwan. It is the northernmost part of the Philippines and is also the smallest province, both in terms of population and land area.
The island group is located about 162 km north of Luzon and about 190 kilometers south of Taiwan, separated from the Babuyan Islands of CagayanProvince, Luzon, by the Balintang Channel and from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel.
We touched down on an early morning of July 16, 2011 at the provincial capital of Basco on Batan Island via Seair. It was a dream come true, having been lurking at Seair’s website for sometime, waiting for that chance of discounted airfares going to this location. And when we had that chance, grabbed it and started planning the itinerary including the clothes to wear 🙂
We were met by the van driver at the arrival section of the Basco Airport, where he escorted us to the van that would take us to our hotel Batanes Seaside Lodge. We however didn’t went straight to our hotel because we were told that our flight back to Manila on July 19 was cancelled due to foreseen weather conditions. Instead we went to Seair’s office located in Basco town to confirm our flight back to Manila on the 20th. After the revisions were made to our itinerary, we headed then to our hotel.
The hotel has easy access since it’s located along the highway going to other towns. It’s also a few steps away from the beach, if you have that courage to swim under strong currents and winds, then why not! The hotel has free WIFI access, if there’s electricity 🙂 What surprised me is that it had an amazing view of the mountains to my right, the sea to my left. We were able to capture a few pictures of how amazing the sun sets in Batanes. All the photos shown below were taken from the hotel’s rooftop at sundown.
Having had enough time succumbing the views to our delight, Batanes sunset has proved to get us hungry by nature. Although our resort offers a wide selection of foodies we however decided to go out and get a taste of what’s beyond our comfort zone. The first on my list was the government-owned Batanes Resort located somewhat 20 minutes away from our hotel. We hailed a tricycle from our hotel’s gate and instructed the driver to get us to Batanes Resort. It was a night silent of people’s hushes, and the only sound to be heard was of course coming from our transportation, strong waves of the sea and the howling of the winds. The scenery was actually perfect for people who were in the mood for some night life, although that’s the only factor missing from this silent town of Basco.
Upon reaching Batanes Resort, we were met by an empty guard house, so we walked all the way from the resort’s entrance to the main pavilion. The reception area was also empty when we entered so we welcomed ourselves to the restaurant where we were finally greeted by the cashier. She was actually surprised to see there were guests coming in at that ungodly hour. To her delight, she forgot to tell us that they’re already closed for the night. But when the cook went inside the restaurant, he told us that they will be able to cook food for us although we had to wait for at least 30 minutes in preparation of our desired dinner. Now that’s good customer service, surprisingly from a cook at that! We hurriedly scoured through their menu and ordered vegetables, soup, rice and their specialty Lechon Karahay (lechon kawali in Tagalog).
The dinner was well worth the wait. I loved the Lechon Karahay! No wonder it was dubbed as one of their best sellers. The meat was tender and it was fried to perfection, just the way I wanted a lechon kawali to be. We were actually about to order for another one for our take out but then we realized that they were about to go home when we came in. I guess we’ll just have to come back the following day to get a load of this treat from Batanes Resort.
We didn’t realized that it was hard getting a tricycle from Batanes Resort back to our own hotel. There was no other transport mode in the area, only private vehicles. We waited for about an hour just to get a ride back, whew! Good thing the receptionist at the resort offered to get us a tricycle when she headed home via her own motorcycle. From then on, Janyl and I decided that we should be getting our own ride. Probably rent a motorcycle (even if we didn’t had our licenses), a bicycle or a van to take us anywhere we want to.
Good thing there’s still electricity when we arrived at our hotel. We intended to get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s activities. But then all was lost because at around 9pm the electricity went off. So I guess it was goodbye to good night’s sleep 😦