Manggwan aku jinu? Where do I go? Got a ticket for Batanes, the northernmost province in the Philippines. It was only a few days before the flight that I was certain that I am traveling solo. All this time, I was too at ease thinking I could sort out my accommodation and itinerary when I get there – as in go with the flow and be open for an adventure…until it dawned on me that I’m going there on Easter break, i.e. the peak season! Is there no room in the inn? Switch to anxious mode!
I started checking anything and everything about Batanes. Tried emailing, texting and calling recommended contacts. No reply…until Ate Fe of Marfel’s Lodge took my call. A number of bloggers mentioned her in their posts. Recently she has expanded running Marfel’s Extension and Marfel’s Annex. And would you believe, she is fully booked until July! True to what bloggers wrote about her, she is very accommodating – a true Ivatan trait, a true Filipino trait.
Ate Fe took care of me. She met me at the airport. She found me a home-stay lodging, a street away from her place. She introduced me to other solo travelers and so we teamed up together. She contacted Ryan, a recognized tour coordinator and guide, and enabled me to join a couple of group tours. Ate Fe, Ryan and Jay Ann, our guide to Sabtang even helped us with logistics, table reservations and planning our Do-It-Yourself trips on our free days.
As it turned out, I did go with the flow and had an amazing adventure! I have to thank the bloggers whose sites I found very useful, namely PinoyAdventurista, SolitaryWanderer, ThePoorTraveler, EscapeManila and the known media sites such as PhilStar and GMAnetwork for their articles featuring Batanes. I owe it to them that I got enough info about this beautiful travel destination and met the right people. To pay it forward, I am sharing my experience with you. Hope the next visitor to Batanes finds this blog helpful.
Accommodation: Fe Fitero +63908-893-1475
Package Tours: Ryan Cardona +63919-279-5963/+63998-988-5898 (Smart) and/or +63915-803-4582 (Globe)
Snorkeling & Diving: Chico Domingo +63939-922-4609/+63916-419-7295
BATODA (Basco Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association) Hotline: +63929-703-8404
Places to Eat in Batan Island: (1) Pension Ivatan Restaurant (with reservations); (2) Bunker’s Café (with reservations); (3) Octagon Restaurant; (4) Napoli’s Pizza; (5) Koocharah Express Pizza; or (6) cook a simple meal in your home-stay lodge