A couple of weeks ago, I was with a group going to the Twin Lakes in Negros Oriental. There was a German guy, a Canadian, a Japanese, an Australian, two British people, and a Dane.
They were all talking about their trip to the Philippines, each one trying to make their story more memorable than the others.
They mentioned the usual places that tourists visit in the Philippines: Boracay, Cebu, Sagada, Siquijor, and Bohol. I never heard them mention Batanes. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever met a foreign traveler who had been to Batanes.
When the group asked me for my recommendation (I was the only Filipino), I, of course, highly recommended that they visit Batanes. What’s special there? they asked. Gorgeous views, I said. Mountains. Rolling hills. Delicious food. Very friendly locals.
It was only later when I realized that my descriptions were very generic. They could apply to Sagada, for example, or even to Bohol. Indeed, when it comes to Batanes, there are no words to accurately paint its beauty. You have to be there to appreciate it.
Failing that, photographs can speak much better than words when it comes to showing how beautiful this province is. There are only two places I’d been to where it doesn’t matter if you’re a photographer or not: Batanes and Santorini. Everyone can take good photos, because the photos and the reality would always match.
So if you want to know why you should visit Batanes, take a look at these photos. These are more than enough reasons to go!
Better yet, just stay still and absorb the beauty around you.
I think Batanes is the only place in the Philippines where lobster is as common as chicken. We had it on days 1 and 2 of our tour (check out Discover Batanes), and we still wanted more of it.
Even the “regular” dishes tasted really good, too. I couldn’t have enough of the fern salad which was served to us on the first day, and the snails also looked delicious. It was the lunch of workers who were repairing the lighthouse in Tayid, so I was too shy to ask if I could have a taste of it.
As an island-province, Batanes doesn’t lack of natural attractions. There are beaches, caves, and rock formations. You can climb Mt. Iraya, go swimming, diving, or snorkeling.
Batanes also abounds with cool structures. Their stone houses, churches, and lighthouses are by themselves worth a visit. They’re built to withstand the numerous typhoons that beset the islands every year.
All Creatures Great and Small…
Finally, get the chance to meet really nice people (and cute animals) in Batanes. Locals are very trusting; they have stores which are untended. Customers just get what they want and leave the exact amount to cover the cost of the items they took. I just hope the proliferation of tourists won’t change this.
A local family, the manager of Marfel’s Homestay, also invited me to swim with them one Sunday morning after Mass (yes, I went to Mass too).
It isn’t white sand like in Sabtang, but the water was refreshing enough. It was walking distance from the homestay, too.
I know it can be expensive to go to Batanes. There are ways to cut cost (read my post: How to Travel Cheaply in Batanes), but I’m also a bit glad that it’s off the tourist trail.
I encourage people to visit Batanes but I really hope that those who will would do their best to keep Batanes as beautiful as it is now, for as long as possible. That’s the least we can do.
Going to Batanes soon? Find hotels/guesthouses in Basco, Batanes here.