February 12, 2019

Day 1: North Batan Island Tour in Batanes

Let’s continue my Batanes series. Batanes is one of my dream destinations in the Philippines but few days before our trip, I was not excited and I don’t even want to go because it’s been raining cats and dogs since the holiday season started. I was worried that there may be a flight delay, flight cancellation or we will not enjoy our trip because of the rainy weather.

On the way to the Clark International Airport, I was praying and hoping that everything will fall into place. So I felt at ease when the plane landed at Basco Airport Terminal Building, at last, bucket list checked. We paid the tourism fee and checked-in at Bernardo’s Hotel, the staff informed us that our North Batan Island Tour will start at 12NN.

Read: Bernardo’s Hotel Review

We ate our breakfast and rested for few hours so we have the energy for our first-day tour. Since we availed Bernardo’s Hotel Tour Package, we don’t have any problem with our transportation and food. There are so many places that you can visit in North Batan but for our tour package, we visited 8 tourist spots. Watch the video here.

Mt. Carmel Church (Tukon Church)
PAGASA Tukon Radar Station
Fundacion Pacita
Basco Idjang Viewing Point
Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
Valugan Boulder Beach
Cathedral of Santo Domingo de Guzman
Vayang Rolling Hills
Naidi Lighthouse

Our van driver and tour guide fetch us and we went straight to Pension Ivatan Hometel Restaurant for our lunch.

Read: Where to Eat in Batanes

Mt. Carmel Church

Then we started our tour, the first stop is Mt. Carmel Church or Tukon Chapel. This chapel is located in Chanarian Basco, Batanes, a small church made of rocks just like the Ivatan Stone Houses. A local resident donated a piece of land so those who live in Chanarian has a place of worship. With the help of generous people from Metro Manila, the church was officially opened on May 3, 2008.

Mt. Carmel Church is located on top of a hill so you can see Mt. Iraya, boulder beach, Basco Town Proper, and even the airport. I’ve seen some of the photos of Tukon Chapel and I find it so beautiful so there is no doubt that this became a wedding church destination. Unfortunately, even it is made of rocks, the chapel was destroyed by the typhoon.

PAGASA Tukon Radar Station 

Next stop in PAGASA Tukon Radar Station, this is the northernmost station of PAGASA in the Philippines. You can see Mt. Carmel Church and Fundacion Pacita from this site and it also gives you 360 degrees view of the Batan Island. The place is between Mt. Matarem and Mt. Iraya.

Same fate of Mt. Carmel church, the PAGASA Station was destroyed by the typhoon Ferdie and I’m not sure when it will be repaired since we all know that PAGASA equipment is not cheap.

Fundacion Pacita

The third stop is Fundacion Pacita, if the budget is not an issue then stay at Fundacion Pacita. This is the popular accommodation in Basco Batanes because of the location. This hotel offers the best view of the mountain, sea, and sky. And because of that, this hotel is not cheap too but if you want a luxury staycation, then stay at Fundacion Pacita.

We don’t have a budget for that but we are still lucky to have a glimpse of Fundacion Pacita because it is part of our North Batan tour. We are only allowed to visit the garden and restaurant. Too bad, we were not able to eat at Cafe Du Tukon.

Fundacion Pacita was used to be the home studio of Pacita Abad. She was born in Basco, Batanes. An Ivatan and an internationally renowned contemporary painter. Fundacion Pacita is her legacy to her family and Ivatan people. Her brother, Butch Abad changed and renovated her home studio to a Boutique Hotel.

Basco Idjang Viewing Point 

I have no idea that Spanish, American and even Japanese invaders went to Batanes, pati pala Batanes naisipan nila sakupin. Ivatans built idjangs on elevated area to protect themselves. And Basco Idjang is one of their fortresses.

Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel 

Don’t forget to bring your Eco Tourism Fee Tickets wherever you go because they will check that from time to time. When we went to Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel, there is a booth there where they check our ticket.

Anyway, this Japanese Tunnel is a five-door tunnel that is located in the hills of Tukon. It was constructed during the Japanese occupation, it has bunker and water reservoir. Since we have a kid in tow, we did not explore the Japanese Tunnel. It was really dark so better bring your own flashlight, we just used our phone flashlight inside.

Chanpan Beach or Valugan Boulder Beach 

Chanpan Beach or Valugan Boulder Beach is a sacred fishing port of those who live in Barangay San Joaquin. They followed their traditional fishing season which is called Paypatawen. It is from March to May only. The boulders are living evidence of the volcanic eruptions of Mt. Iraya in 325 B.C.

The waves are strong here so it is not good for swimming. The waves of Pacific Ocean and West Philippines Sea smoothens the boulders and gravels. My son enjoyed playing with the stone. He was making a tower of stones.

Cathedral of Santo Domingo de Guzman 

Cathedral of Santo Domingo de Guzman is also known as Our Lady of the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral, this is the first parish church in Batanes that was built in early 18th century.

Basco Rolling Hills or Vayang Rolling Hills 

Among the places of North Batan Tour, Vayang Rolling Hills is my favorite spot. Even I’m afraid of heights and strong winds, I still enjoy the extraordinary beauty of rolling hills. I wish my photos can do justice but nothing beats seeing this site up close and personal.

Basco Rolling Hills is just ordinary pastureland of Diptan farmers but for us, this is an amazing view of endless rolling hills. The site gives you a combination of seascapes and landscapes. From afar, you can already see the Naidi Lighthouse and you can also view the major municipalities all at once. Yes, you can see Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat Island.

Naidi Lighthouse 

Our last stop is Basco Lighthouse or Naidi Lighthouse, this is the popular landmark in Basco. It was constructed in March 2003 with 66 feet in height to serve as a navigational facility for local fishermen. The site is an overlooking of Basco town on the east and Basco Bay on the west. This is also a good spot for sunset viewing, but we did not wait for the sunset anymore since we wanted to rest already. It is nice to end the year 2018 in Batanes.

We started our North Batan Tour at 12NN and we’re back at the hotel before 4PM. Some say you need at least 5 hours for North Batan Tour pero ang bilis lang namin, maybe because we had a private tour so wala nang hintayan sa iba.

We paid P7200/per person for our 3 Days Batanes Tour Package (Private Tour). It is a little bit expensive but if you want to save for your Batanes trip, check my post here.

Read: Pasalubong from Batanes

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