Here’s what blogs gloss over. Batanes, beautiful though every angle might be, is very small. As such tours only take a half day, leaving the rest of the day and the night pretty empty. Since it’s laid-back and quiet, there’s no semblance of nightlife on the islands either.
But don’t take that to mean it’s boring. On the contrary, it gives us city-folk all the opportunity to bask in the province’s natural wonders. So when you find yourself back at the hotel with a whole afternoon in front of you, remember these spots where you could kill time and revel in Batanes’ beauty all by yourself!
Sunrise at Valugan Beach
Because Batanes is a group of islands, pretty much its entire eastern coastline is a great spot for sunrise. But Valugan Boulder Beach is something special. Just picture the sun rising on the horizon, right where the mountain and the sea meets and slowly lights up the giant boulders that make the shore. Top that with tall waves and their soothing sound, and you got the perfect start to another beautiful day.
Sunset at Rolling Hills
Northern tours of Mahatao Island end with sunset at the famous lighthouse. It’s a great spot for sure, with sweeping views of the horizon. But this is also where every other tourist goes which is why it can get pretty crowded. Instead of getting caught in the throng, switch it up by opting to see the sunset at the Rolling Hills. It can also get dramatic, with the tall weeds blowing in the wind and the hills outlined against the golden sun. And the best part, if timed right you can have this magical moment all to yourself.
Swimming in Morong Beach, Sabtang
Morong Beach in Sabtang is a popular lunch stopover and pictorial spot thanks to the iconic Nakabuang Arch. But it’s such a shame to just pass over its fine white sand and crystalline turquoise waters. When booking your tour, request to have lunch here so that you can steal a quick dip before heading back to the main island. You might not be able to soak for a length of time due to limited boats from Sabtang, but the respite from the hot sun (and the photo ops!) would be well worth it.
Beach bumming in Homoron, Mahatao
Southern Batan is filled with pockets of powdery shores, clear waters, and gentle waves, such as the Homoron beach and lagoon. Unlike some beaches north of the island that have big waves, Homoron’s little coves are perfect for soaking. However, because these are not as well advertised, it’s rare for people to bother bringing beach gear and going beach bumming. Don’t make this mistake. After a morning of sightseeing, this is the perfect way to wind down and cool down for the rest of the afternoon.
Harbour Café in Basco
Harbour Café is perhaps the most youthful and hip restaurant in town. It’s also brand new, having only opened in April of this year. While other spots offer local delicacies and lutong bahay, Harbour Café has pasta, sandwiches, lattes, and shakes. Their Pomodoro and Grana Padano pastas are certified bestsellers, tasting just as good as their Manila counterparts. Their shakes are also a great balance of healthy and refreshing. To top it off, the café has a view of the harbor too.
Itbayat is Batanes and country’s northernmost island. A visit here is even more authentic than a visit to Sabtang because its remoteness has left it relatively untouched. Apart from traditional houses and villages, there are also handfuls of caves and mountains to explore. An overnight stay is required when visiting because only one boat arrives to and departs from Itbayat in the mornings. There aren’t any hotels here either, so homestays must be arranged before coming. Thanks to its small size and distance, visitors will get a truly unique cultural experience.