Trending Now: Batanes – Day 1

Batanes is truly a breathtaking place. With its rolling hills, steep cliffs and boulder-lined shores, it was like waking up to a dream or a different country. I had to constantly remind myself we were still in the Philippines. The whole experience was just unreal. It was so picturesque and quaint! Most houses are made of stone and are centuries old, yet they are well-maintained and clean, with pretty potted flowers everywhere. And the people–they were so nice, welcoming and honest. The Ivatans (that’s what you call them) are known for their honesty, they pride themselves with their zero crime rate and get this, they even have a store called ‘Honesty Cafe’ where you basically get what you need and leave your payment in a designated area. It was such a unique experience–I felt like I was one with nature when I was there, and I swear, time went by at a slower pace.

I would’ve enjoyed it more if I had brought the right clothes for the trip. I don’t know why I thought it was going to be hot (I think I was only able to retain the word “beach” when they were explaining the itinerary to me and just based it on that), and so my luggage was full of tank tops, shorts and bikinis and I was freezing the entire time. So apparently Batanes is known for its cool and windy weather (everyone knew except me) and it rains all the time there, at any month of the year. We were lucky to experience all sorts of weather conditions when we were there–it was cloudy, foggy, rainy and sunny during the four days we were there. Oh, I forgot to mention we were there filming my show, Trending Now that’s why the weather was so important to us. But more or less our stay there was pleasant–mostly cool and a little sunny.

Our trip was made possible by the good people of Skyjet and Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA), who organized everything for us. From our air travel to our itinerary, food and accommodations, they made it all happen. And if you were planning a trip to Batanes, it would be way easier to go through them as they can fix everything for you. My fun experience was documented in Trending Now–the show airs every Sunday, 9pm on ANC (haha shameless plug). Of course, I also took lots of photos for my blog. Hope you enjoy my little travel diary!

IMG_1461Here’s what we rode: a BAE-146 series 200 (94-seater), the same aircraft used by the British Royal Family. It specializes in operating in short and unpaved runways and is built for safety and speed, allowing for shorter travel time. With extra cargo space, it also affords travellers the ease of bringing your favorite things and gears along with you – surfboards included!

IMG_1439It was a nice, smooth flight. And they serve free food and drinks, too.

IMG_1447With the CEO of Skyjet Airlines, Dr. Joel Mendoza.

IMG_1724As soon as we land, we are greeted by this. SO beautiful.

IMG_1787What a view.

IMG_1714More rocky shores.

IMG_1790Most beaches have these amazing rock formations.

IMG_1672Can you spot the fisherman?

IMG_1752We visited the House of Dakay (1887) a UNESCO heritage building. I went inside and saw there was a family living there, the descendants of Dakay. This is the oldest house in Batanes and constructed in the traditional way: rocks cemented together with cooked limestone.

IMG_1740This was taken next door. We had to wait for a tour group to finish visiting the house before shooting. In the meantime, I shot my “summer outfit” haha–denim shirt and shorts from GUESS Jeans, sandals from TOMS, scarf from Vero Moda and bag from Kooba.

img_1733-1I really love this scarf from Vero Moda–it saved me from the cold!

IMG_1732I love these details. Most houses had shutters and doors painted in bright colors.

IMG_1749Potted flowers. Most houses had these on their front porches. Pretty!

IMG_1777Just another normal thing here in Batanes–to see horses grazing.

IMG_1830Here I am at Rakuh-A-Payaman – known as “Marlboro Country”, a pasture overlooking farm fields & the Pacific Ocean. It is just beautiful here. But what you don’t see are my teeth chattering. I was freezing!!! 

IMG_1863Attempting to shoot something. It was so windy!

IMG_1544But what a view. I mean, it is so worth the cold!

IMG_2223A lighthouse not so far away.     

IMG_1875The Church of San Carlos Borromeo, Mahatao. It is one of the few churches in the Philippines that bear the Spanish escudo.

IMG_1889Looking up.

IMG_1898Inside the church.

IMG_1899I love the ceiling. It makes the church look so interesting.   

IMG_1886I made a turn into one of the rooms of the church and saw this view.

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