Whenever people ask about how to go to Batanes, it’s almost synonymous to asking if it’s really safe to travel to the northernmost islands of the Philippines. Let’s face it, people normally think of huge incessant waves, stormy weather, and destructive winds whenever they hear about Batanes. And this is just one of the great misconceptions about this tourist destination.
Despite its stunning landscape and scenery, a lot of people are still hesitant to plan a trip to Batanes due to several negative stereotypes that have been unfairly hurled at it. So allow us to debunk these myths so you can finally decide to plan that trip with your #travelsquad.
1. It’s too expensive to fly to Batanes.
This was true in the past. Many people thought of traveling to these islands as a ludicrous feat. But since the boom of tourism in the early 2010s, visiting Basco no longer remains a luxury. Thank heavens for cheap flights to Batanes, we are now able to reach the area for as low as PHP 2,000 (sometimes cheaper if you’re really lucky).
Seat sales from prominent airlines such as Skyjet and Philippine Airlines now afford us the opportunity to experience the rich Ivatan culture. Not only that, Cebu Pacific has recently hopped in the bandwagon offering affordable flights to Batanes as a test run. If that’s not reason enough to start booking now, we don’t know what else is.
2. Batanes weather is always stormy.
This misconception probably has something to do with the fact that it sits between the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, which is right on the typhoon belt. Because of this, the province is always mentioned in weather reports, especially when it comes to updates about storm conditions.
Batanes is always used as a reference point of the typhoon even if they don’t really cross the islands at all. So here’s the hard fact about its weather: it’s actually safe to travel to Batanes during the 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarter of the year. See? That’s almost all-year round!
3. Agriculture is suffering in Batanes.
Linked to its weather stereotype, people automatically think that agriculture is suffering in the area. This leads to many tourists thinking that there is a lack of variety when it comes to food options, but the truth is nowhere near this myth. They’re agriculture may not be thriving, but it is definitely not suffering.
Agriculture does not only include land crops, but also the fisheries. And if it’s fish and seafood you are after, Batanes has a ton to offer. Truth be told, even their crops and livestock are doing well since there is plenty of land to till and pastures to utilize. Ask about people who have been to Batanes, and they’ll tell you their produce and cattle meat are the best they’ve tasted so far.
4. There are no luxury accommodations in Batanes.
We all know Batanes is far out north and it’s actually closer to Taiwan than it is to the country’s capital. Because of this, many people assume that their way of living is highly traditional and that it doesn’t have any luxury accommodations. But that’s where everyone is wrong.
Strategically located atop a hill with a picturesque view of Batanes’ lush hills and magnificent seascape is Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge. Resembling a gallery, each uniquely designed accommodation is adorned by artworks of both well-known and new-coming artists. Essential assistance is provided by the hotel’s facilities that include airport and city transfers, room service, and massage treatments, offering a more luxurious take on an Ivatan experience.
5. There’s nothing special about it.
You may be surprised, but there are actually quite a lot of people who think Batanes is just an overrated and usual destination. And if you’re among the bunch who think this way, let us try to convince you otherwise.
According to UNESCO, Batanes is one of the few remaining areas in the Philippines that has unique land, rock formations, and inhabited white sand beaches. And while its grand display of nature is a given, it has also managed to preserve its cultural gems in the forms of architecture, traditions, and practices. More than a destination with stunning landscape, Batanes is a cultural immersion to a different side of the Philippines which all of us should get to know.
6. It’s not a safe place.
Remote areas normally receive the notion of being an unsafe place for tourists. While this may be true for some places, Batanes compels you to reconsider this mindset. Other than the fact that it is a safe place to visit almost all year round, Batanes takes pride in being one of the provinces with extremely low crime records. Truth be told, the crime rate in Sabtang Island is almost zero.
Honesty is a characteristic innately present among the Ivatans. As a further testament to it, they even have the famous Honesty Store which is operated on the basis of their faith in the people’s honesty to pay for anything they take from the store. This pure display of honesty is definitely hard to come by even in the “safest places” in the metro.
7. There isn’t good education in the islands.
We’ve probably seen too many documentaries of how going to school is extremely difficult in far flung areas that we immediately think the same about Batanes. However, if you look into the facts and figures, you might be surprised that Batanes has been declared as the first province to achieve zero out-of-school youth status in the Philippines.
Initiatives such as the Department of Education’s Abot Alam program which provide interventions on education, entrepreneurship, and employment play a key role in achieving this status. The involvement of corporate institutions like Fundacion Pacita also contributes to this cause by supporting the education of Ivatan students through providing educational materials to an identified school in Batanes.
We hope these busted myths would alleviate your hesitations and turn you from asking “how to go to Batanes” to actually going on a trip to these lovely islands. We promise you won’t regret it.