First Day in Batanes: Hitchhiking and Getting Drunk with Strangers

I was barely out of the airport when I had my first taste of Ivatan hospitality. I had no idea where my hostel was so the plan was to just walk and ask around until I find it. I was about to cross the street when an airport employee offered to take me there on his motorcycle. I’ve never hitchhiked before but I figured Batanes would probably be the safest place to try it so I hopped on with no second thoughts. As I correctly assumed, he was not a serial killer and he brought me to the hostel safe and sound.

Later that evening, I had dinner and beer in a nearby canteen and since I was alone, the owner wouldn’t stop fussing over me to make sure that I didn’t feel lonely and bored. I assured her that I was perfectly comfortable being on my own since I travel solo most of the time anyway but that didn’t diminish her resolve to make me feel at home. The other diners who were also her friends joined in on the welcome party and started talking to me as well. One of the guys was a pilot and another turned out to be the vice-governor of Batanes.

They joined me at my table, ordered more beer, brought in plates of steamed lapulapu and coconut crabs and we ended up drinking until 3am. With free beer and delicious seafood, they sure know how to make a stranger feel right at home. More people came in and soon enough, the place was filled with loud chatter in a language I couldn’t understand. I was happily drunk when I learned my first Ivatan phrase: Kapian kapanu dios si cha mavekhas which means “good morning.” At one point they started talking to me in Ivatan and I answered in Bisaya which made for a very fun albeit completely incomprehensible conversation.

While still considerably intoxicated, I was dragged into a walking tour of the town center and the pier in the dead of night so we could stare at the stars, watch the waves and engage in more drunken conversations. I crawled into bed at 5am and was woken up two hours later by the hostel owner for my Batan Island tour. What better way to enjoy the rolling hills and seaside views than while nursing a nasty hangover. But more on that later.


10 thoughts on “First Day in Batanes: Hitchhiking and Getting Drunk with Strangers

  1. chique

    hi there! what was the name of your hostel if you don’t mind? planning to visit batanes soon also…

    thank you!

    1. nagbabasang pinoy Post author

      Hi Chique! I stayed at Shanedel’s Inn. It was okay, cheaper than the others. Just be sure to arrange your own tours instead of having the hostel owner do it for you. I found out from my guides that she takes a cut from the tour guide fees, so they end up getting, say, only P800 instead of the P1,000 standard rate. You can contact Romy Daroca at 0908.927.2358 or Ryan Cardona at 0919.279.5963 for your tours. Have fun! You’ll definitely love Batanes.

  2. chique

    thank you, madame! i do have the contact number of ryan already. and my itinerary is still a work in progress. got to armed myself with all the important details. thank you so much for the tip 🙂 so where’s your next stop?

    1. nagbabasang pinoy Post author

      Ryan’s a cool guy. I’m sure you’ll have fun with him as your guide. How long will you be staying there? You may also want to check out Itbayat, another inhabited island aside from Sabtang and Batan. I’ll post something on it soon.

      Pahinga muna for a few weeks. Gotta catch up with work para may panggastos ulit. 😛
      Baka Aurora later this month or in August. A friend badgered me to go to Boracay so we’ll spend a long weekend there next month. Ang cliche lang ‘no. Hehe. At least off-peak season so the accommodations are not so expensive and hopefully there won’t be as many people. Not really crazy about crowds and beach parties. When are you going to Batanes by the way?

  3. chique

    i want it to be longggggggg!!!!! hahaha:)… initial plan is 15 days minimum and maximum of 20days. i want to have an immersion and been reading online kung saan pwede mag-homestay! got available prospect but i don’t have the contact numbers yet. off to kalibo for a short stop this coming 23rd then head to bora after. i willl just accompany a first timer tourist in the visayas. Aurora is a very nice choice. though i’m waiting for someone who will exposed tawi-tawi at its best 🙂

    1. nagbabasang pinoy Post author

      Wow kakainggit!!! 20 days in Batanes! I wanna live there for a year. Baka pagbalik mo nag-iivatan ka na. Hehe. I enjoyed learning the language and everyone is willing enough to teach me. Pinagpapasensiyahan na lang nila kahit balu-baluktot ang pagkakasabi ko. 😀 Sige mararating din natin ‘yang Tawi-tawi.

  4. dlee

    Hi. I discovered your blog through your comment in one of Ms. GD Chong’s blog ‘Leaves of Grace’. I am glad I clicked on your name/link. I am loving your entries. You’re now officially in my bookmarked webpages.
    Btw, how long did you stay in Batanes? I am planning to go there also but I don’t know how long do I need to stay there to be able to visit all the places that you have described here in your blog.Thank you.

    1. nagbabasang pinoy Post author

      Wow thanks! I’m very flattered. 🙂 I stayed there for a week but I suggest you stay longer than that if you really want to visit all three islands, climb Iraya, and not feel like you’re in The Amazing Race. I was able to squeeze in everything but it felt rushed and a bit exhausting. Have fun! When are you going?


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