Sunday, December 19, 2010

[BATAN] To Strangle a Stewardess

Batanes is the Philippines' last frontier to the north. The province experiences four seasons, albeit no snowfall for winter. Basco serves as the gateway to the province and is located on the island of Batan right in the middle, while largest island Itbayat is the last municipality of the country to the north and is actually closer to Taiwan. Sabtang to the south, on the other hand, is where Chavayan, a UNESCO World Heritage site nominee, is located.

Seair is one of only two airlines with flights to Batanes and unfortunately, the only one flying the direct Manila to Basco route. The other one, Air Pasada, departs from either Laoag or Tuguegarao in the north.

The Manila Domestic Terminal is so... simple. They offer free WiFi and sell 167-peso corned beef and rice meals, perhaps cooked by Boy Abunda or Kris Aquino, thus the price. I could not hit them with sanitation issues though for the airport is pretty neat and well-ventilated.

The flight was supposed to be at 6 AM but Seair sent a text brigade two days earlier saying that it was canceled and that we were to be bumped to the next flight at 8:20 AM on the same day. The said flight was delayed to 9 AM. And then it got delayed again to 10 AM. At 10 they started giving out free food because we were delayed again to 11. The plane had technical problems and we had to wait for the plane coming from Cebu. At 11 AM we heard a message through the intercom: Dear Seair passengers. We suck. Your flight has been delayed to 11:30. Please wait for further announcements. We finally left at 11:30 AM after one passenger's failed attempt to strangle the ground stewardess. No, the passenger was not me but let me take this opportunity to thank Seair for wasting half day of my vacation leave. Fuck you, Seair. If I wanted a day tour of the Manila Domestic Terminal I would have booked a cheaper flight. Wow, I just FU'd an airline in my travel blog. Well, never did I claim that all of the entries here are GP.

We landed at the Basco Airport at quarter to one. The terminal is just one building modeled after the traditional Ivatan stone house. It is a very unique way of expressing Welcome to Batanes! You immediately witness the commanding presence of Mt. Iraya upon deplaning for the airport is located right at its foot. If you reserved accommodations online, your welcoming committee should be waiting for you. If not, then it is time to walk. You do have legs. Use them.

Going down the National road, you pass by some accommodations like Pension Ivatan and Brandon's Lodge. Farther down the road are a school and a hospital. A few more steps and you reach the capitol, which is a great vantage point for a photo op. You could even snap a photo of the town hall with Mt. Iraya as the backdrop. Look south and you get a glimpse of the dock overlooking South China Sea. A few cartwheels to the left of the capitol and you see Basco Church. To the southwest is the Naidi Rolling Hills. To the east is the town proper where the locals reside.

Go straight down National road and you reach the port. If you don't go all the way to the dock you have a choice going left or right. Right goes to the rolling hills, Basco light house, and the town of Nakamaya where you can see some boat shaped burial markers. Choose the path to the left to continue your course through National road. The Batanes Seaside Lodge is along this stretch.

It was around 1 PM when I reached Batanes Seaside by foot. I decided to have lunch at the restaurant located at the basement. Food was nice and the place had the ambiance of a retreat house refectory. I checked in at around two. I tried the bed and fell asleep. It was already dark when I woke up. The clock said 6 PM. I ate dinner. In short, Seair wasted my first morning in Batanes, while sleep robbed me of my first afternoon. In fairness to myself I have been awake since 8 PM yesterday because of work. Excuses! I tried walking by the beach in front of the lodge after dinner. I almost froze to death. The breeze is so cold it just pierces through your skin to give you a chill. They do not call it winter for nothing.

[BATAN] To Strangle a Stewardess

2 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

hi there! i enjoyed reading all your batanes posts. i am planning to solo travel to batanes soon, and i would like to know if it is possible to do a walking tour around the islands, instead of renting a van. i don't really mind walking five kms to get to a site if it means i get to save some money.

thanks so much!

ihcahieh said...

@Anonymous - Sorry for the super late reply. Thanks for reading my blog!! Even if you love walking, I think it might be a bit difficult as Batanes is hilly. I'd suggest alternating between biking and trekking. Better that way, I guess. Bike rent is cheap. Walk uphill. Bike downhill.


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