#GRATEFULinBATANES: Exploring Batan & Sabtang Islands with BISUMI

I’m a bit nervous writing this article because I feel like I’m producing a sequel after a blockbuster.

My Batanes story was published on this blog last August 2015, re-published by TripZilla a few months later, and re-written for Rappler the following year.

Collectively, these articles have gained over 400,000+ views. That I know of. Rappler does not disclose reader statistics and there are a few websites that have copied & published my Batanes stories without permission. 

Up until now, my Batanes blog is still one of the most viewed articles on Inspiring Grateful Travels. When TripZilla and Rappler share my Batanes write-ups on social media from time to time, the posts would have at least a thousand likes and a hundred comments. In my book, I would say that it’s a huge hit!

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View at Alapad Hills

So here I am now writing my

  • Batanes, a sweeter the second time around story?
  • Batanes: A Sequel?          

Sequels tend to be flops but I want this to be another great story because Batanes deserves no less than that. My first story took a lot of heart in me to write it. Although most people clicked on it for the budget, I’m grateful for the readers who took the time to share to me that my story inspired them.

According to one testimonial, it was full of heart, definitely written with love…I’ve received a lot more similar reactions sent through chat messages, emails, and comments.

It was that Batanes blog that made realize how I wanted to share my travel stories…with integrity, gratitude, and inspiration. These articles may not always be categorized as popular but I stand by its value and quality because I try as much as possible to publish articles with lessons, character, and a lot of gratefulness.

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My Sister at the Naidi Lighthouse Area

Nowadays, no one needs inspiration to visit Batanes. Probably. It’s a well sought out destination. It’s a must in travel bucket lists. It’s one of the go-to destinations on that arrival click-down-menu space during seat sales.

The province is an inspiration itself producing countless travel stories, enticing photographs, and stunned tourists who over and over again can’t get that shaky feeling of Batanes whispering in their hearts, come back!

3 years later, Batanes is still as beautiful and breathtaking as ever…

Let me share with you familiar and new experiences in one of the best destinations in the Philippines! #It’sMoreFunInThePhilippines

 

BATANES TRAVEL GUIDE & ITINERARY

 

BISUMI TOURS & SERVICES

Back in 2015, I availed tours from BISUMI owned by Sir Ryan Cardona. This was the most convenient option for a solo traveler that I came across back then. Plus, it was always mentioned by popular travel bloggers. It’s one thing to take recommendations but it’s a whole other thing to personally experience them.

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Stop & Stare (View at Alapad Hills)

Through that tour, I met amazing travelers that made me feel like we’ve known each other for a long time, I was able to explore the best of Batanes conveniently at an affordable rate, and I was able to witness what a tour guide should truly be…not only a conveyor of facts and direction but a figure full of heart & passion for service and an influencer who inspires a worthy story through his admirable efforts. 

I wasted no time in writing about the tour and the guide. I recommended them so much because I knew and felt that their service is what travelers deserved. They blew up. My BISUMI tour guide then told me he felt like a Rockstar after my stories were published. I received messages asking for information on my tour guide and BISUMI tours. After their trips, they would relay their stories and would have the same amazing Batanes experience.

They deserve the praise and the fan fare. I am grateful for the experiences I had and it was only right to share their stories through mine.

Last December 2018, Sir Ryan & BISUMI tours provided me the opportunity of experiencing Batanes once again. This time around, I was able to bring my sister.

We are very grateful to Sir Ryan & the whole BISUMI team for taking care of us during our stay. It was definitely one of the best travel experiences of our lives! #GRATEFULinBATANES

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My Sister & I at Valugan Boulder Beach

BISUMI, named after the six municipalities in Batanes (Basco, Itbayat, Sabtang, Uyugan, Mahatao, & Ivana), is a personalized local tour provider. They provide quality and affordable tours to make sure that you’re left with fantastic memories and getting the most out of what you paid for.

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Early Morning at Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint

If you need anything for your Batanes trip, BISUMI will definitely fulfill your travel needs. BISUMI offers travel packages that include flights, accommodation, and tours. Their tours cater to all kinds of travelers – private, group, solo travelers, etc. As it says on their website, they provide everything.

If you want to tour Batanes with confidence!, book with BISUMI!

BISUMI Tours & Services has a lot of travel packages. You can view different options at www.bisumi.com 

If you’re a solo/group traveler and looking for the most efficient tour, check out BISUMI’s affordable Join Tours or Share-A-Tours. These adventures include the main tours available in Batanes – North Batan, South Batan, and Sabtang Island. No minimum # of participants is needed to book these tours.

Here are the rates:

North Batan

South Batan

Sabtang Island

₱1,500

₱2,000

₱2,000

What are the inclusions?

  • Roundtrip Basco Airport Transfers
  • Land Transportation
  • THE BEST TOUR GUIDE EVER!!!
  • Lunch
  • Safety Gear & Equipment (Life Vest, Helmet, etc) 
  • Municipal Registration Fees (Sabtang/Itbayat/Mahatao)
  • Roundtrip Faluwa Boat Rides to Sabtang
  • Complimentary Souvenirs (Tumbler, Postcards, Bag, etc)
  • Discounts at BISUMI Souvenir Shop
  • Travel Insurance
  • Taxes

To reserve a slot for the 3 day join tour, a payment of ₱2,000 is required. Balance is payable at the BISUMI office in Basco. Payment of reservation can be made through bank deposit (BDO, Metrobank, or PNB) and via Palawan Express Pera Padala.

Direct & walk-in guests are welcome. If you’re interested in booking tours on the spot when you arrive in Batanes, you can visit the BISUMI tour office from 8AM to 6PM and check for availability of the join tours. This is only applicable to day tours and down payment is not required. 

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My Sister at the Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint

Here are sample itineraries you can follow when booking these join tours from BISUMI:

3D/2N

4D/3N

5D/4N

FIRST DAY

  • Airport Arrival
  • South Batan Tour
  • Sunset Spot

SECOND DAY

  • Sunrise Spot (if time permits)
  • Sabtang Island Tour
  • North Batan Tour

THIRD DAY

  • Sunrise Spot (if time permits)
  • Airport Departure
FIRST DAY

  • Airport Arrival
  • Rest
  • North Batan Tour

SECOND DAY

  • Sabtang Island Tour
  • Free Afternoon
  • Sunset Spot

THIRD DAY

  • Sunrise Spot
  • South Batan Tour
  • Sunset Spot

FOURTH DAY

  • Airport Departure
FIRST DAY

  • Airport Arrival
  • Rest
  • North Batan Tour

SECOND DAY

  • Sabtang Island Tour
  • Sabtang Overnight Stay
  • Sunset Spot

THIRD DAY

  • South Batan Tour
  • Sunset Spot

FOURTH DAY

  • Sunrise Spot
  • Free Day
  • Sunset Spot

FIFTH DAY

  • Airport Departure

BOOK A TOUR WITH BISUMI!

BISUMI TOURS

BISUMI Travel Packages (Screenshot from bisumitours.com)

  1. Browse travel package options at www.bisumi.com!
  2.  Inquire reservation through
    • Email – bisumitours@gmail.com
    • BISUMI Tours Hotlines:
      • +63 919 279 5963
      • +63 915 803 4582
      • +63 998 889 8078
      • +63 977 850 9647
    • Social Media Accounts
    • BISUMI office is located at #71 Lopez Street, Brgy. Kayvaluganan, Basco, Batanes 3900 Philippines 3600
  3. Wait for payment instructions.
  4. Pay your reservation fee.
  5. Tour Batanes Gratefully & with Confidence with BISUMI!

Just follow these quick steps to have the best Batanes adventure of your life!

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BEST TOUR GUIDES EVER!

No Batanes story of mine will ever be complete without a special feature dedicated to the best tour guides ever!

Batanes is awe-inspiringly beautiful on its own that even if you just take a photo & go, you’ll be left with a splash of overwhelming feelings. But what takes Batanes on another, much higher level is the exceeds expectation service from local Ivatan tour guides. Ask any tourist and you’ll probably learn that they all had that best tour guide ever! We appreciate & enjoy Batanes more because of the humbling service and praise-worthy integrity that they live & display.

There’s what I call a TOUR GUIDE and a BISUMI TOUR GUIDE. What’s the difference? It starts with P! PUSO AT PASSION. From almost 5 years of frequent traveling, I’ve never encountered tour guides that have surpassed the greatness of BISUMI guides.

From both my trips to Batanes (Aug 2015 & Dec 2018), I’ve felt this sadness that I won’t get to wake up the next day and experience Batanes with a BISUMI tour guide.

The emotion is like, “gusto ko pa ng isang sulyap!” OA BA? HAHAHAHAHAH! I mean, seriously. It’s like within a span of a few days, they have become our best friends who made us experience an already captivating destination into something more. I feel that the training of these tour guides infused with the inspiring Ivatan culture is what makes them special. They are knowledgeable, smart, outgoing, creative photographers, funny, and many more. They take care of your travel preferences and go out of their way to exceed expectations

During our recent trip to Batanes (Dec 2018), we had 3 different tour guides! And they were all impressive! Sometimes, we can’t help but compare…but each one of them had their own unique way of touring that my sister and I said at the end of the trip, “ang galing nila lahat!” that we couldn’t forget what each guide significantly meant to our wonderful Batanes trip as a whole.

KUYA HARVEY

Our tour guide for 2 out of the 3 tours was Kuya Harvey. I really liked talking to him and listening to his stories. He was comfortable to talk to and tolerated our jokes. HAHAHA! He also patiently and excitedly helped us locate most of the photograph spots my Lola was in back in 1995.

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Some of the spots weren’t included in the tour itinerary but he went out of his way to make sure that we revisited it all. He was really nice and great!

KUYA JIMMY

Kuya Jimmy was our tour guide during our overnight stay in Sabtang. Usually, tours in Sabtang only take up half a day and the guides along these tours are based in Batan. Since we extended our stay, we were assigned to a new guide who lived on the island. 

Kuya Jimmy was very maalaga. I used the tagalog term so that you could really feel it. Sobrang maalaga! He was similar to a father figure during our tour. The respect and genuine Ivatan character is definitely there. He said po and opo in every phrase that I imitated it a few times for the rest of our stay.

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At first, he may seem shy. But he’ll definitely make you feel that he’s there waiting and ready to assist you in any way he can. When we had questions, he answered. When we had any requests, he was quick to fulfill them.

He wasn’t flashy.

He was genuine.

And superstar ata si Kuya Jimmy sa Sabtang! Lahat ng nadaanan naming tao kumaway kay Kuya at kinawayan niya. HAHAHAHA! 

That’s what made Kuya Jimmy unique and cool. It was relevant for us to have a guide like him so that we could see how Ivatans truly are and what we should be inspired to be like. Thanks to Kuya Jimmy, our experience in Sabtang was really significant, heartwarming, and refreshing.

KUYA ARBIN

Kuya Arbin.

Sir Arbs.

Kuya Arbs.

I couldn’t make up my mind on how to address him. HAHA! ANG GALING NIYA! That’s the main thing I can say. ANG GALING TALAGA NIYA! IBA YUNG GALING!

The standards I had for tour guides were high because of my BISUMI tour guide back in 2015 but when I met Kuya Arbin, it went even higher. I had a tour guide in Japan who told us facts about destinations by reading a pamphlet. She was just reciting paragraphs from it which made it pretty boring.

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With Kuya Arbin, his knowledge on Batanes is vast and very detailed. It may seem like he’s lecturing but the way he presents it is so passionate and full of heart & warmth. It’s like he really wants us to learn. It’s not boring because there’s genuine care there and effort to make you really understand how amazingly lucky you are to be able to explore and experience Batanes.

That blew me away. It was like Batanes was speaking to me through him. He made me more grateful than I already was.

His energy never faded all throughout the tour. He had a sense of humor, was very accommodating, and he shot the best angled photos of us especially my sister. My sister really loved his photography skills.

Throughout the tour, I couldn’t wait to write about him and praise him as another BEST TOUR GUIDE EVER! ANG GALING TALAGA!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR KUYA TOUR GUIDES! THE BEST KAYO LAHAT!

CLAP CLAP! & KUDOS! to BISUMI for investing in their tour guides to make them the best pillars in making BREATHTAKING Batanes MORE BREATHTAKING! Thank you so much, Sir Ryan!

Please note that our experiences with these BISUMI tour guides may or may not be the same as yours. Our experiences should be considered as options not as priorities because I’m sure that the services other tour guides from BISUMI are able to provide have the same level of excellence. We just didn’t get to experience them as guides. Each one of them has their own unique way of providing amazing travel experiences for their guests.

If you’re visiting Batanes and want to make the most out of your stay, book a convenient and affordable tour from BISUMI. Tour guides palang worth it na! If you’re a solo traveler, book a JOIN TOUR! Check out the reviews on FB and their website! You won’t regret it! PROMISE!

#ExploreBatanesWithBISUMI by booking a tour at www.bisumi.com or inquire at bisumitours@gmail.com

You may also contact Sir Ryan Cardona at +63919-279-5963 or ryan.batanes@gmail.com

 

EXPLORING BATANES WITH BISUMI TOURS

TRAVEL DATES: DECEMBER 20 – 24, 2018

BISUMI tours provided us with a 5D/4N all-in private tour of Batanes. Here is a summary of our itinerary:

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

DAY 4

DAY 5

Flight from Manila to Batanes via Skyjet

Breakfast at B&G Guesthouse

Rest at B&G Guesthouse

Lunch at Vunung Dinette

Quick Stop at BISUMI Tours & Services Main Office

Payment of Protective Area & Batan Island Evironmental Fees at Capitol Building

Mt Carmel Chapel

PAGASA Tukon & Radar Station

Fundacion Pacita

Basco Idjang

WWII Japanese Tunnel

Valugan Boulder Beach

Abad Street

Basco Cathedral

Vayang Rolling Hills

Naidi Lighthouse

Dinner at Pension Ivatan

Breakfast at B&G Guesthouse

Van to Ivana Port

Faluwa Boat Ride to Sabtang

Drop-off bags at Faberes-Rasayan Ivatan Nu Hometel

Brgy Savidug

Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint

Brgy Chavayan & Sabtang Weavers Association

Sta. Rosa de Lima Chapel

Ahaw Rock Formation

Lunch at Morong Beach (Paypanapanyan Canteen)

Sabtang (Malakdang) Lighthouse

Brgy Nakanmuan

Brgy Sumnanga

Faberes Hometel

Dinner delivery by Paypanapanyan Canteen

Sunrise at Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint

Sinakan Area

Breakfast at Paypanapanyan Canteen (Sabtang Port Area)

Sabtang Lighthouse

Lukoy Beach

Lunch at Wakaii Beach Resort

Faluwa Boat Ride to Ivana

White Beach

Spanish Lagoon

BISUMI Souvenirs Shop

Dinner at Octagon Bed & Dine 

Sunrise at Valugan Boulder Beach

Breakfast at B&G Guesthouse

Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse

Marlboro Hills

San Lorenzo Ruiz Church

Alapad Hills & Rock Formation

Honesty Store

San Jose de Ivana Church

House of Dakay

Spanish Bridge

Lunch at Maivanaman

Spanish Lagoon

San Carlos Borromeo Church

Diura Fishing Village

Chawa Viewing Deck

Paderes Point & Cliff Road

Chadpiran Boulder Beach

Dinner at Fundacion Pacita

Flight from Batanes to Manila via Skyjet

DAY 1

FLIGHT FROM MANILA TO BATANES

I know that one of the reasons why my Batanes story was so popular was because of the ₱564+ roundtrip flight fare I was able to snatch from Skyjet’s seat sale back then. If I read any negative comments on my Batanes article, it would mostly be about that flight fare. People assumed it was fake news or a hoax.

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Batanes Flight Details

Skyjet Flight Itinerary from 2015 Batanes Trip

But it was real! To verify, here are other travelers who wrote about booking that same flight fare:

That rate from Skyjet hasn’t popped up since. It might have been an error or introductory fare.

I remember loving my Skyjet flight experience back then. The aircraft felt new & shiny. The leg rooms were comfortable and there were free snacks.

The opposite can be said with our recent experience. Although the flight took around a breezy hour and half only, the wear and tear of the aircraft’s interiors was clearly evident. The seats felt old & looked worn out. No snacks were served and the leg room resembled that of low cost airlines as well. The comfortable space didn’t exist anymore. I’m not sure if this can be said for all of Skyjet’s aircrafts but the flights we were on felt like this.

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What I like about the flight is the flight duration and the fact that Skyjet has the lowest probability of getting cancelled. It also has one of the earliest flights to Batanes. During our flights, there was no turbulence. It was smooth sailing all throughout.

Interested in booking the quickest flights to Batanes? Check out http://www.flyskyjetair.com or inquire with BISUMI so that they can book your flights on your behalf.

At Basco airport, the same arrival procedures still prevail. Once all the travelers are inside the airport, the staff closes the doors and places all of the luggage in an area. Once all the baggage has been placed, they open the door, and everyone retrieves their belongings.

Walking towards the exit, we immediately saw the BISUMI staff holding up their sign. Ms Zarah Cardona immediately led us to our van transfer and informed us of our itinerary for the day. Thank you to Ms Zarah for all your help during our stay!

STAY AT B&G GUESTHOUSE

A less than a minute transfer from the airport (Kahit sobrang lapit, BISUMI will still provide a van transfer. We were okay with walking but they still insisted with the complimentary transfer), we arrived at our homestay – B&G Guesthouse.

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B&G feels like a cross between a home and hotel. It has mostly the simplicity of a home but with a hotel’s feature of complete and clean amenities. My sister and I had a room with a double bed and a bunk bed. We also had our own private bathroom and TV.

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You have the option of choosing the room using a fan only or with air-conditioning. They also provide breakfast for ₱150. The meal consists of rice, 1 viand (hotdog, longganisa, tocino, or tapa), and egg. The dining area is a quaint veranda just outside the rooms. There is also a gallon of water provided for guests at this area. Utensils are freely displayed at the veranda as well for use.

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The ates there were really nice and accommodated us when we needed anything.

One problem though during our stay was the mosquitoes. It was hard closing and opening the doors without them entering. We had to be careful and quick. Although there were screens in our room, there was an open window in our bathroom for ventilation. I felt that this was where the mosquitoes passed through. I hope options like citronella candles, sprays, or coils can be offered or displayed inside the bedrooms to remedy this. Since it was cold already in Batanes, we wanted the windows opened for fresh air but because we wanted to prevent more mosquitoes from coming in, we just kept them closed all throughout. Outside the room at the veranda, there is an electric mosquito killer but this doesn’t help much. There were still a few that we had to spat in our room.

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If you’re interested in staying at B&G Guesthouse, inquire with BISUMI.

NORTH BATAN TOUR WITH KUYA ARBIN

At around 12NOON, Kuya Arbin picked us up at B&G Guesthouse for our North Batan Tour.

He started his introductions and we immediately felt at ease. He exuded that friendliness that needs no ice breaker.

BISUMI TOURS & SERVICES OFFICE

We stopped by at the main office of BISUMI tours to register and receive our souvenirs. They offered post cards that we could write on and mail. We also saw Ms Zarah Cardona again and the rest of the staff. They informed us of our whole itinerary and wished us an enjoyable trip. The team assured us that our guides would be there for us if we needed anything.

LUNCH AT VUNUNG DINETTE

Our first Batanes local delicacies meal! I remember having lunch there back in 2015 & the group I was with. I recall it being very humid. Kuya Arbin led us to a seating area where the wind breezed through so our lunch would be nice and comfortable.

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While waiting for our meal, Kuya Arbin discussed a lot of things about Batanes.

When the meals arrived, he provided a brief description for each meal.

PAYMENT OF TOURISM FEES AT BASCO PLAZA (CAPITOL BUILDING)

We had a brief stop at the Capitol Building in Basco. This is where all tourists pay a total of ₱400 (₱50 Protective Area Fee + ₱350 Batan Island Environmental fee) per person. Please note that the amounts are paid separately at 2 different booths. This fee is not included in travel packages by BISUMI.

In exchange of payment, you receive a small Protected Area Fee ticket for the ₱50 and a Batanes travel pamphlet for the ₱350. Do not lose any of these documents as the pamphlet specifically is required in Sabtang and a few tourist sites in Batan.

MT CARMEL CHAPEL

A destination wedding option, Mt Carmel Chapel is a popular tourist site in Batanes. But during our visit, it wasn’t as whole as I’ve first seen it. A typhoon struck and destroyed around 40% of its structure.

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During our visit, there were some workers rebuilding it.

PAGASA TUKON RADAR STATION

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FUNDACION PACITA NATURE LODGE

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BASCO IDJANG VIEWING

We made a quick stop by the side of the road so Kuya Arbin can point at the Idjang, a fortress in Batanes. This is an elevated structure where Ivatans used to stay to protect themselves from invaders.

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WWII JAPANESE HIDEOUT/TUNNEL

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VALUGAN BOULDER BEACH

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This is still one of my favorites! One of the most beautiful sights in Batanes! We were the first ones here during our day tour so it was nice having it all to ourselves.

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VAYANG ROLLING HILLS

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It started to rain a bit when we arrived at the hills so we just had a quick photo-op here.

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SUNSET AT NAIDI LIGHTHOUSE

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It was cloudy that day so we didn’t get to experience the famous sunset in all its glory but the view was still amazing.

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DINNER AT PENSION IVATAN

OMG! We loved the Sinigang and Inihaw na Tadyang! SOBRANG SARAP! MUST TRY!

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DAY 2

FALUWA BOAT RIDE TO SABTANG ISLAND

The waves were a bit strong during our trip to Sabtang so I got dizzy. I got cold sweats after the cruise. I didn’t vomit but I needed to sit for a few minutes to recover.

STAY AT FABERES RASAYAN NU IVATAN HOMETEL

I was really excited to stay in Sabtang for the night because back in 2015, I felt like our day tour was too quick. It felt like we were in a hurry at each island site that I didn’t get to maximize my experiences. 

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For the overnight stay, we lived at the Faberes Rasayan Nu Ivatan Hometel beside the Sabtang Lighthouse. The view was stunning! We couldn’t contain our excitement! 

I didn’t get to see this part of Sabtang in 2015 because it wasn’t open to tourists yet as this is a privately owned area.

No contest! One of the best viewing areas in Sabtang.

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Just a few comments on the stay were the ants on the beds, floor, walls, and sinks. The bathroom was a bit dirty too. It wasn’t well kept. I would have preferred to lay a blanket on the grass and sleep there but there were a lot of goats around and their waste (even inside the lighthouse).

There is also a small beach some steps down from the hometel and lighthouse. The sand was a mix of fine sand but mostly corals.

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I wouldn’t stay at this hometel again but the view was definitely unbeatable! From time to time, there were a few tourists taking photos outside the hometel. The lighthouse structure is government-owned so I feel that the owners and local government reached an agreement for tourists.

SABTANG ISLAND TOUR WITH KUYA HARVEY

After dropping off our bags at the hometel, we started our half day Sabtang tour with Kuya Harvey.

BRGY SAVIDUG STONE HOUSES

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CHAMANTAD-TINYAN VIEWPOINT

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AHAW & MORONG BEACH

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LUNCH AT PAYPANAPANAYAN CANTEEN (BY MORONG BEACH)

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SABTANG LIGHTHOUSE

After lunch, Kuya Harvey dropped us off at the Sabtang Lighthouse and said goodbye. We rested for a few hours before Kuya Jimmy picked us up at around 3PM to continue the rest of our tour of Sabtang.

SABTANG ISLAND TOUR WITH KUYA JIMMY

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Since Kuya Harvey is based in Batan, we were passed on to Kuya Jimmy for the rest of our stay in Sabtang.

I really liked the tour with Kuya Jimmy. I would liken it to a refreshing itinerary.

The Sabtang Island tour that everyone knows is like a front, the flashy part of Sabtang. But the villages and scenery at the back of the island definitely had the aura of being untouched. You could feel the raw culture.

BRGY. NAKANMUAN & SUMNANGA

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VUHUS ISLAND VIEW FROM SABTANG

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SUNSET AT ZIPLINE AREA

There’s a reason why Batanes is called Home of the Winds. At this sunset viewing area, the wind was pretty strong. We were so worried na tatangayin kami ng hangin while we were climbing the hills. We felt like the wind was pushing us to stumble down! Good thing Kuya Jimmy was there to hold us in place while we were taking photos! It was really a fun and funny experience! HAHAHA!

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DINNER AT PAYPANAPANAYAN CANTEEN (DELIVERY AT HOMETEL)

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Our dinner was delivered at the hometel by the same catering service who served lunch at Morong Beach. We ate our dinner at the dining area. What I liked about this is that they used utensils and not single use plastics. The staff delivered our food and waited for us to finish so that they can get the plates and utensils after.

DAY 3

SABTANG ISLAND TOUR WITH KUYA JIMMY

We woke up at 5:30AM so we can view the sunrise at Chamantad-Tinyan viewpoint.

SUNRISE AT CHAMANTAD-TINYAN VIEWPOINT

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It was cloudy again that day so there was no clear sunrise for photo-ops but what we loved was that we had the Chamantad-Tinyan viewpoint all to ourselves!

There were no sellers or tourists and even other tricycle drivers & vans parked.

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It was like having our own Hacienda! ANG SAYA!

The view was still as spectacular as ever!

BREAKFAST AT PAYPANAPANAYAN CANTEEN (BY SABTANG PORT)

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SABTANG LIGHTHOUSE

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For the rest of our morning, we just stayed at the Sabtang Lighthouse to fix our things and take in the amazing view.

I also checked out the mini beach at the side of the hill. 

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LUKOY BEACH

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A new site & definitely underrated! If you’re visiting Sabtang, just make a quick stop at Morong Beach for the rock formation photo and have lunch at Lukoy beach instead.

I like this beach better!

LUNCH AT WAKAII BEACH RESORT

Delicious food! We definitely liked the meal set here more than the Paypanapanyan meal set at Morong beach. The veggie side dish was so tasty. It was my favorite! 

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FALUWA BOAT RIDE TO BATAN ISLAND

This ride wasn’t as rocky as the boat going to Sabtang but still got a bit dizzy.

BATAN TOUR WITH KUYA HARVEY

At the Ivana Port, Kuya Harvey was already waiting to take us to a few sights in Batan.

SPANISH LAGOON

This is one of my super favorite sites in Batanes.

On a sunny free day, make sure you spend half a day here.

If you’re there during a tour, make sure you alight from your van or trike and see the lagoon up close. The local government already placed a cemented pathway so it’s easy to walk up & down to/from the lagoon area. You can also reach the blue lagoon through a cave starting from the White Beach. 

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BISUMI SOUVENIR SHOP

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My sister bought a really nice & quality custom shirt from BISUMI’s souvenir shop. The branch we went to is located just a few steps away from B&G Guesthouse. You can also find a mini branch of the souvenir shop inside the Maivanaman restaurant in Mahatao. 

DAY 4

SUNRISE AT VALUGAN BOULDER BEACH

If you’re visiting Batanes, don’t miss a sunrise experience at Valugan Boulder Beach. The early wake up call is worth it! PROMISE!

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SOUTH BATAN TOUR WITH KUYA HARVEY

MAHATAO TAYID LIGHTHOUSE

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RACUH A PAYAMAN (MARLBORO HILLS)

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ALAPAD HILLS & ROCK FORMATION

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HONESTY STORE

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When I was in Batanes in 2015, the Honesty store was just that…a simple store, a small stone house displaying snacks, water, and a few souvenirs. After 3 years, it has expanded to what seems like a convenience store. There were more items on display inside that small house and tripling the stock on the extended area right next to it. I even joked to Kuya Harvey that baka naman in 10 years maging HONESTY MALL na yan! HAHAHA! 

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LUNCH AT MAIVANAMAN

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Maivanaman is a new restaurant in Batanes that is also owned by Sir Ryan Cardona. The atmosphere is cozy and very clean.

We loved the spread because it was like a feast of Batanes goodies! Our favorite was the buttered chicken! SOOOO GOOOOOD! ONE OF THE BEST MEALS WE HAD IN BATANES! 

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DIURA FISHING VILLAGE

Back in 2015, the view from Marlboro Hills was something I was always curious about.

Staring at it, I wondered what it would be like being closer to that rock and beautiful beach.

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For our recent trip, we had the chance to visit the Diura Fishing Village where that rock and beach was actually situated. It was cool to see different POVs of this Batanes sight. I got to see it from Matayid Lighthouse then Marlboro Hills and lastly, up close & personal at the fishing village. 

CHAWA VIEWING DECK

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DINNER AT FUNDACION PACITA

For our last night in Batanes, we had a dinner at Fundacion Pacita. The food was good especially the salad. The menu is a bit expensive than most restaurants on the island but the orders live up to its price. I recommend having one meal or your last meal at Fundacion to cap off your Batanes trip.

DAY 5

FLIGHT FROM BATANES TO MANILA

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BATANES THEN & NOW!

Here are just some things that I feel you should see & know about Batanes THEN & NOW!

#BATANES1995 vs. #BATANES2018

Please note that these 1995 & 2018 photographs of Batanes can also be found on Rappler

Batanes 1995 VS 2018 (1)

Spanish Lagoon

After my 2015 Batanes trip, I discovered my grandmother’s photos from her own Batanes adventure way back in 1995. All I could do was collage them side by side but during our recent trip, my sister & I along with the great efforts of Kuya Harvey & Kuya Arbin, we were able to locate all the photo spots of my grandmother and took a photo of it in real time.

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View at PAGASA Radar Tukon Station

It felt meaningful being able to stand and take photos where my late grandmother stood almost 20+ years ago.

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Valugan Boulder Beach

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Brgy Savidug in Sabtang

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Brgy Savidug in Sabtang

 

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Songsong Beach

When we were at Song Song beach & Kuya Harvey was asking the locals where a specific spot was, they joked that, “yung lola nila nandun naghihintay”.

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San Jose de Ivana Church 

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Road near Spanish Lagoon Viewpoint

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View of Basco Town from Naidi Lighthouse Area

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Mahatao Port

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San Carlos Borromeo Church

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Paderes Point & Cliff Road

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Chadpiran Boulder Beach

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Basco Airport

Taking these photos, it was like we were living in the past, present, & hopefully, future of Batanes.

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY!

Seeing my grandmother’s photos against a present time background, I hope that Batanes stays the same.

I know that it will progress but I hope Filipinos can live through its scenery forever and beautifully intact.

Here are some things we can do to keep Batanes the way it is: 

  • SEAFOOD ORDERS OR REQUESTS – Lobsters are very expensive in the city so when it’s cheaper elsewhere, we take the chance of getting it. Last December, we were excited to order lobster in Batanes but unfortunately, it wasn’t in season. It is abundant during the summer when water is calm. Coconut crabs are now endangered species in Batanes so tourists are not allowed to order this at restaurants anymore. Please try not to request this from local fishermen who may have personal catches for their families.
  • LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS! – This is a must when going ANYWHERE. Dispose your trash properly. Try not to bring single use plastics in Batanes and just request for utensils. The provincial tourism team holds monthly & quarterly coastal clean-ups in partnership with tourism stakeholders in Batanes. The province is strict on segregation (ex: stores & establishments regulate use of sando bags). If you see trash (wrappers, bottle caps, etc) during your tours, please note that since Batanes is a group of islands, unfortunately, some foreign trash/plastic waste washes up on beaches especially after Typhoons.
  • BE RESPECTFUL! – Ask permission first before entering stone houses. Greet locals with a smile and always say Thank you or Dios Mamajes!
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Dio Mamajes Mural at Fundacion Pacita

BATANES TOURISM FEES

As tourist arrivals rise, rates and fees follow suit. Here are some of the tourism fees required during your stay in Batanes:

  • Protected Area Entrance Fee ₱50 collected by the Provincial Environment & Natural Resources Officer (to be paid at Basco Casa Real Provincial Capitol Building Booth 1)
  • Tourism, Registration, Environmental, or Municipal Fees
    • Batanes ₱350 (to be paid at Basco Casa Real Provincial Capitol Building Booth 2) – This fee is equally divided and distributed to the 6 Batanes municipalities & the province as a whole. The share of this fee can only be claimed for tourism & environmental development projects. 
    • Sabtang ₱200 (to be paid in Sabtang; usually included in private/join tour rates)
    • Itbayat ₱170 (to be paid in Itbayat; usually included in private/join tour rates)
    • Mahatao ₱50 (to be paid at the entrance of the Blank Book Archive/San Carlos Borromeo Church; usually included in private/join tour rates)

Rates are per person basis.

For more information, visit http://www.batanes.gov.ph or inquire at

  • Provincial Governor’s Office governorbatanes@yahoo.com
  • PGO Heritage & Tourism Office breathtakingbatanes@yahoo.com or contact 0929-230-5934

OTHER SITES TO EXPLORE & NEW ACTIVITIES TO TRY IN BATANES!

You think Batan & Sabtang Island tour sites are the only places you should visit? Think again!

Although these are the popular and convenient options because of tour availability, try to change it up a little and experience these sites as well to maximize what Batanes can truly offer:

  • Crystal Kayaking at White Beach, Spanish Lagoon, Vuhus Island, or Lukoy Beach
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Crystal Kayaking (Photo provided by Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

  • Sabtang Island Zipline
  • Go on a Fishing Adventure with BISUMI! Depart from Mahatao Boat Shelter Port. Check out the experiences of Francis Ocoma & Finn Snow! Some fishing methods to try:
    • Trolling
    • Jigging
    • Bait Fishing
Fishing BISUMI

Fishing in Batanes (Photo from Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

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Catch of the Day! (Photo from Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

  • Bird Watching & Photography
Bird Watching & Photography BISUMI Batanes

Charls Lee is the only BISUMI Certified Bird Guide who represents Batanes’ Birding Community (Photo from Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

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Bird Photography (Photo from Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

  • Snorkeling at Blue Lagoon
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Snorkeling Session with Kuya Arbin (Photo provided by Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

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Snorkeling at Hohmoron/Blue Lagoon (Photo provided by Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

  • Spring of Youth
  • Motion & Landscape Photography
Batanes Landscape Photography Images from Ryan Cardona (2)

Photo provided by Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours

Batanes Landscape Photography Images from Ryan Cardona (1)

Photo provided by Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours

  • Chadpiran Boulder Beach

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  • Lukoy Beach
  • Vuhus Island Day Tour
  • Nakamaya Boat Shaped Burial Markers
  • Itbayat Island Overnight Tour
  • Mt. Iraya Hike
  • Cultural Immersion 
  • Research
  • BEST SUNRISE VIEWING SPOTS IN BATANES – When in Batanes, don’t miss the chance to wake up early to experience the sunrise. Here are some spots you can check out:
    • Valugan Boulder Beach
    • Fundacion Pacita 
    • Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse 
    • Marlboro Hills
    • PAGASA Tukon Radar Station
    • Lukoy Beach 
    • Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint 
    • Sabtang Lighthouse 
Batanes Landscape Photography Images from Ryan Cardona (3)

Sunrise at Valugan Boulder Beach (Photo provided by Sir Ryan Cardona of BISUMI Tours)

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Lukoy Beach in Sabtang

  • BEST SUNSET VIEWING SPOTS IN BATANES – During your tours or free days in Batanes, try to visit a beautiful sunset spot or join a sunset cruise organized by BISUMI to cap off your incredible day. Check out Batanes’ stunning sunset scenery at these locations:
    • Vayang Rolling Hills
    • Naidi Lighthouse 
    • Mahatao Boat Shelter Port
    • Chawa Viewing Deck 
    • Basco Beach
    • Zipline Area in Sabtang 
    • Sabtang Lighthouse

If you’re interested in trying these activities & exploring these sites, contact BISUMI Tours & Services for availability.

STAY CONNECTED IN BATANES WITH BIG SKY NATION!

In the movie You’re My Boss, Coco’s character tells Toni’s character, Hindi ka pumunta ng Batanes para mag-internet! & ine-experience ang Batanes, hindi ginoo-google. 

While I agree with Coco, it’s also nice to share photos and videos of Batanes LIVE a few times but mostly post on social media before or at the end of an itinerary.

Last year, Smart & Globe LTEs were launched in Batanes bringing greatly improved internet services and connection in one of the most remote locations in the Philippines.

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Having a Skyroam wi-fi was something my sister was happy about because it was her first time in Batanes and she got to post her IG stories live in some locations. The internet connection in Batanes can be intermittent and non-existent in a few areas. 

The wi-fi was strongest within areas of Basco Town and Ivana Port. In Sabtang Island, connection was at its peak at the Sabtang Lighthouse and Chamantad Viewpoint. There was no or intermittent signal within vicinities of the Alapad Hills, Songsong Beach, and Chavayan, Nakanmuan, & Sumnanga Villages in Sabtang.

I downloaded 3 speed test apps to check the speed data of different Batanes locations. All apps displayed numbers within the same range, just off by 1 to 2 values. I used Speed Test by Ookla the most.

In Batanes, I noticed that the Big Sky Nation wi-fi either connects to the Globe or Smart coverage but signal strengths seemed to be optimized from Taipei/China servers. This is according to the app data.

Here is the data I collected & summarized. I included our location in Batanes/Manila, date, time, app I used, and the download & upload speed:

LOCATION

DATE

TIME

SPEED TEST APP

MBPS (Download/Upload)

Pasig

Dec 20

12:01MD

SpeedSmart

4.82/4.57

NAIA 4

Dec 20

5:00 AM

Speed Test by Ookla

6.57/0.92

Basco Airport

Dec 20

8:00 AM

Speedcheck

22.31/7.58

Vayang Rolling Hills

Dec 20

4:35 PM

Speed Test by Ookla

5.94/0.00

Naidi Lighthouse

Dec 20

5:56 PM

Speed Test by Ookla

1.13/7.02

Ivana Port

Dec 21

6:44 AM

Speed Test by Ookla

37.5/10.5

Sabtang Port

Dec 21

8:19 AM

Speed Test by Ookla

41.1/8.77

Sabtang Lighthouse

Dec 21

12:21 NN

Speed Test by Ookla

15.8/8.71

Sabtang Lighthouse

Dec 21

6:24 PM

SpeedSmart

0.96/1.42

Sabtang Lighthouse

Dec 22

12:44 MD

Speedcheck

43.38/9.69

Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint

Dec 22

7:11 AM

Speed Test by Ookla

23.5/4.88

Octagon Bed & Dine

Dec 22

6:35 PM

Speed Test by Ookla

1.04/1.06

Maivanaman Restaurant

Dec 23

12:00 NN

Speedcheck

4.67/0.00

Mahatao

Dec 23

1:36 PM

Speed Test by Ookla

2.59/7.89

Basco Airport

Dec 24

6:11 AM

Speed Test by Ookla

30.7/7.85

Pasig

Dec 24

1:13 PM

Speedcheck

1.01/0.20

After I take scenery photos, I usually sat down beside her and we enjoyed the view together. I connected with her happiness. She posts on social media then enjoy. I enjoy the destination first then post. We have our unique and preferred ways of experiencing things. And that’s okay. 

It was great connecting with Big Sky Nation in areas like the Chamantad-Tinyan viewpoint because it was definitely a moment or breathtaking place to share immediately.

For more information, visit bigskynation.com

For inquiries:

  • Hotline
    • Landline (403-1399/885-7627)
    • WhatsApp/Viber/WeChat (0918-964-7626/0917-713-2855)
  • Email
    • info@bigskynation.com
    • support@bigskynation.com
  • You may also visit the Big Sky Nation office at 201 Festejo & Ella Building, 816 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City 1224

For updates on promos, follow Big Sky Nation’s social media accounts:

  • Facebook: @bigskynation 
  • Instagram: @bigskynationph
  • You may also use this 10% off discount code: GRATEFULTRAVELS 

 

#GRATEFULinBATANES

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Whenever I travel with my sisters, the first thing they do when we arrive at different tourist sites is tell me, “Ate! Pa-Picture!”. I used to be annoyed by this because I wanted to take in the place first…appreciate it, be grateful for it. After a while, I realized that we have our own ways of enjoying travel experiences. I’ve been used to my sisters that my immediate act is to take their picture. 

But at the Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint in Batanes, my sister sat down & I told her, “Iris, I’ll take your picture.” I was so surprised when she replied, “Can we just relax and look at this amazing view?” OMG! It was only Batanes that made her react that way! I felt proud and told her, “Batanes lang pala makakagawa niyan sayo!” and then we laughed & enjoyed the breathtaking sight together.

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View at Alapad Hills

I ended my first Batanes story with…

All I can say is when you see her, you’ll fall in love. When you leave her, she’ll break your heart.

After being back there for the second time…

No matter how many times you leave it, what makes you feel love will always find its way back to you!

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View at Matayid Lighthouse

When I left Batanes, my experiences stayed with me until I wrote it. Then my story lived on through my readers. It has lived on as a popular article on my blog. It has lived every time a reader asks me a question about Batanes.

It has lived through my communications with the BISUMI team and friends I’ve met when I was there. It has lived on through my trip with my sister. It is rooted in me because of my first Batanes story…THIS Batanes story, and probably potential Batanes stories to come.

Prices indicated are updated as of March 2019.

This is a sponsored write-up. My experiences with products & services may or may not be the same as yours. All opinions are inspired by my (& my sister’s) experiences & nothing else.

5 thoughts on “#GRATEFULinBATANES: Exploring Batan & Sabtang Islands with BISUMI

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