Batan Island

An incontrovertible proof that you went to Batanes would be pictures of Rakuh a Payaman, the communal pastureland also known as Marlboro Country. Jump shots are better to cement the hardcore tourist vibe. For safe measure, also include photos of the Vayang rolling hills, Valugan boulder beach and 50 more ridiculously scenic shots from just about anywhere in the province.

Batan is one of the three inhabited islands in Batanes. It is home to four of the six municipalities including Basco, the provincial capital. The other two are island municipalities, Sabtang and Itbayat, which deserve their own blog entries. Sorry folks, as I said before, this is going to be an epic series of Batanes blather.

Rakuh a Payaman: Each family can have up to 10 cows in the pastureland, my guide said. A limit is imposed to prevent overgrazing. In exchange for use of the land, cattle owners must help out in community activities such as fixing the fences around the land and other maintenance works.

Shot from Rakuh a Payaman. You can stand on just about any hill in Batan and you’ll have a nice view of the sea.

Batan’s rocky coastline

Instead of sand, the Valugan boulder beach is covered in andesite rocks spewed out by Mt. Iraya when it erupted several centuries ago. The rocks were gradually polished smooth by powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean.

White Beach. The southern part of Batan has a friendlier terrain of white sand beaches.

Fundacion Pacita, owned by the Abads, is the most expensive accommodation in Batanes. Rates start at P4,800 per night. In contrast, I only paid P450 for my room which offered a magnificent view of the neighbor’s roof.

Artwork in Fundacion Pacita. The place used to be the home studio of painter Pacita Abad.

Vayang rolling hills, another picturesque pastureland with a great view of the sunset. Also a good place for napping (which I did), just watch out for cow poop.

Road going to the southern part of Batan. Best way to go around the island: motorcycle! I am officially addicted to motorcycle rides.

Things don’t always go well with our motorbike rides though. We had a flat tire on the first day of the Batan tour. Kuya Romy, the driver/guide, had to go all the way back to Basco to get another motorcycle while I was left in Vatang Restaurant in Ivana where we had lunch. Vatang serves the best seafood by the way, don’t miss it. The staff was very kind and gracious while I was stranded there. They offered me a hammock right by the beach and kept me company while waiting for my ride. In return, I tried to entertain them with stories of how I often make an ass of myself when travelling.

When they learned that I was from Gensan, they eagerly asked for insider details about Manny Pacquiao, as if Pacman and I were best buds back in the day. Actually, the only time I ever saw him in person was when he played pool in our neighborhood back when he still wasn’t that famous. Nonetheless, my street cred still went up a couple of notches just by virtue of being born in the same town as Pacquiao. Works every time.

I was stuck in Ivana for about an hour and while it may have been time lost on my tour, it didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. I was hanging out on a hammock by the beach with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. That’s worth more than all the pretty photos of rolling hills and boulder beaches.


10 thoughts on “Batan Island

  1. liquiddruid

    It’s a good thing the Vatang Restaurant is already there when you got stranded. Back in December ’09, there was no such restaurant yet. One day, I biked all the way from Basco to Ivana arriving at just past lunch time. Imagine my shock to find out that all the lunch food from all the carinderias already ran out (wtf?!). I had to content myself with biscuits and softdrinks …and swore to myself that I’ll eat an entire coconut crab – shells and all – once I got back to Basco.

    1. nagbabasang pinoy Post author

      Yeah it’s a new place with good food and awesome people. You should check it out when you go back. You won’t be munching on biscuits anymore. Hehe Try their kinilaw and octopus in chili gata. Really good.

      That’s one thing I would’ve loved to do, go biking around Batan. I should really learn how to ride a bike soon. I know, ang loser ko, di ako marunong magbisikleta. Pfft. πŸ˜›

      1. liquiddruid

        That’s not too bad. I know a law graduate who doesn’t know how to ride a bike, nor swim …. and who has never been to Baguio. Haha! You can have one good guess about what he did after passing the bar. ;D

        Hey, you seem like a fun person to travel with. I don’t want to sound like I’m begging, but do you mind having someone tag along your adventures? I could use some craziness in my travels (and alcohol too – mahirap uminom mag-isa). Hehe

    1. liquiddruid

      Teka, lugi yata ako dun ah, haha. Sige na nga, deal. So when and where will be your next adventure?

      My next definite gala is Batanes in early September, but I doubt you’d be crazy enough to go back there just months after your visit, haha. Might go to some other place in late September, not sure yet. I’ll spend a week in Vietnam/Cambodia in late November/early December to cap off 2011.

      I have a score to settle with Mt. Batulao, might do a daytrip one of these weekends too.

      1. nagbabasang pinoy Post author

        Maybe a surfing trip to Aurora in late August. I’ve never been there and I’ve never done any surfing which are more than enough reasons to go and try it. September, I’ll be in Cebu with my mother and obviously, I’d have to keep the craziness in check for this one. πŸ˜› I’d looooove to go back to Batanes though and maybe, uh, live there. Haha

        Uy Batulao. I’ve heard about it pero di ko pa nararating. Pwedeng sumabit sa daytrip? πŸ˜€


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