No doubt the most visited island in Batanes is Batan Island, the landing point for any plane coming in this northernmost region in the country. The provincial capital, Basco is also located in the island making it as a starting point for exploration. I have written extensively about the places in Batan Island already so I won’t be repeating much aside from some updates and new site takes from our recent Backpack Photography 3-Island Hop in Batanes. But don’t get me wrong, even if I’ve been here several times already, the views still never fails to amaze me.
Day 1, arriving from our Island Hop in Sabtang Island, we went to one of my favorite spots in Batan Island, the Rolling Hills of Vayang. I’m always amused with the look as first timers are captivated by the scenery. The scene is so vast I think no picture can really justify the immensity one feels being there on the spot.
Day 3, arriving from our exciting overnight Island hop in Itbayat Island, we now visit the western portion of Batan Island for the sunset. But before that we passed by Basco Church, newly painted and restored to its former glory. It’s the first time I’ve seen Sto Domingo de Basco Church free from scaffolds in and out the church. When the church was damaged back in 2002 from an earthquake, it has been in constant restoration. Finally after 10 years, the scaffolding was removed last March 2012 and it looks brand new but still retaining the old qualities of its original limestone church. The church is also now elevated into a Cathedral status.
West of Batan Island is the often overlooked site of Chadpidan. This large boulder beach mirrors the image of its more popular eastern counterpart, the Valugan Boulder Beach. It has the same qualities except for different views. The southern rock formations in the horizon at Chadpidan reminds me of Lakay-lakay in Claveria.
Morning of day 4 finds us driving before the sun came up in Diura Fishing village as the start of our Batan Island tour. While the onset of rain made itself felt with a light drizzle, we pushed through with the sunrise shoot hoping to get some dramatic moody shots of the weather in turmoil. Breakfast was always a delight at the overlooking dining area at Monica’s Cottage there.
The nearby Mahatao Lighthouse was literally a stop to just chill, lie back on the grass and enjoy the view. There’s nothing more relaxing with cool fresh wind blowing up high on a hill overlooking Diura Fishing village below.
There’s the usual stops like the playful slopes of Marlboro Hills, the windswept and iconic hill of Alapad in Imnajbu and then marveling at the crashing waves and steep cliffs at Chanarian Viewdeck. It was a full day but we left time for our participants to have some free time to shop and explore on their own.
Our Batanes 3-Island Hop closed that evening with an awesome dinner prepared by the staff at DDD Habitat. It was a night of sharing our favorite images during the trip and recollecting some unforgettable moments and sights that would be clearly be engraved in our memory.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.