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Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Precarious Journey to Sabtang

Batanes Day 3

We were already up by 5:00 AM to catch the boat going to Sabtang Island. Thankfully, the medicines I took seemed effective. I was feeling better that morning and the headache and chills were gone. We took a jeep going to Ivana and by 6:15, we were already there. The boat usually leaves between 7 to 7:30.

jump-off point to Sabtang Island

We signed the manifesto provided by jeepney driver. It turned out that he is also the one fetching the passengers who came from Sabtang at the port every morning. Since we arrived early, the passenger boat that we're taking hasn't arrived from the island yet. We still had the time to go for a walk a little bit and observe the local scene.

locals weeding together

We haven't had the chance to visit this place the previous day, so it also became the perfect chance for us to do so. It looked like they hadn't restocked the store supplies yet that morning. There was nothing we could buy. They probably ran out due to the numerous tourists they had the day before.

Honesty Coffee Shop

It was the first time I've been in a store like this. The Ivatans are really very honest and trustful. I wish these virtues will spread all over the country.


I initially thought that we are taking this boat (the group tour one). But when we asked the guy providing the life jackets to the tourists and he confirmed with whom we were with. It turned out that the one we're taking is the local passenger boat.

the boat for group tours

 Our boat has finally arrived. It was full of locals and a lot of other things. It has motorcycles, drums, lumbers and goats even. It took them longer than usual to arrive because the sea was rough. It was raining hard the night before so we already knew that this might happen. The coast guard ended up canceling the trip of the tourist boat. We saw their disappointed faces and how excitement vanished from them. Fortunately, we were accounted for the local boat.

pay before you leave

On a calm day, the boat ride only takes 30 minutes. But since the sea was bumpy, ours took 10 minutes more. It was okay on the first 15 minutes but as soon as we got to the mid sea, the waves became bigger and bigger. I've been traveling and crossing seas for several years but these Batanes waves are different. It was thrilling and frightening at the same time. There were moments when you feel like the boat is capsizing any moment. But that rainbow I saw just before we got in the boat was a sign for me that it's going to be alright.

a rainbow came out of the dark clouds :)

The waves got even crazier as we approach Sabtang. Docking the boat was a challenge. The direction of the waves was swaying our boat away from the port. Our boat retreated then came back much faster until we successfully passed through the breakwater.

Where is your sun, Sabtang?

I wasn't really paying attention to the waves crashing our boat so when Beau pointed to them on the right side, I was speechless. They were really big! I was so much in awe that instead of taking pictures, I was just left appalled.Whew! We went through that? Slow clap to the boat captain. And he's even using his feet! Amazing! ;)

our cool ride in the island ;)

Our driver/guide was already waiting for us at the port when we arrived. He immediately took us to the Municipal Tourism Office so we can pay for Environmental Fee which is Php 200.00 (per person). Quite steep if you will ask me.

Sabtang Municipal Tourism Office

We placed our order for lunch in a nearby canteen before our driver took us to our home stay in Chavayan to leave our stuff and to explore the village.

Ate Ching's Canteen

The trip to Chavayan is breathtaking in different ways. One, the views are stunning. Two, the jagged circuits at the edge of the cliff without barriers was a little terrifying. Plus, the roads are mostly half-unpaved and rocky so it felt like you will fall off the cliff each time there is a bump. Eeekk... But the drivers here are very skillful so there's nothing to be afraid of hehe.

Hello Chavayan! :)

After a few minutes we were already here in this quaint village called Chavayan and from here our adventure continued...

"Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail." ~Robert Motherwell

This is Part 5-1 of my Batanes travel series.


  1. how did you make arrangements on ur sabtang tour? im planning it diy, whom to col for tour guides there and how to arrange boat ride? where to ride the jeepney going to the port? thanks very much

    1. how did you make arrangements on ur sabtang tour? whom to col for tour guides there
      -everything was arranged by our host, Kuya Mon of Crisan Lodge in Basco. i did a separate blog post for my review of their services.

      where to ride the jeepney going to the port?
      from Basco -just ask your hotel owner where you should, our guesthouse is just located in a street near where the jeeps pass by

      how to arrange boat ride?
      - ours was DIY so we just took the passenger boat for the locals to Sabtang