Return to Batanes (a prologue)

Batanes is very close to my heart.  When I first started traveling as a serious hobby, this paradise on Earth was the first destination that I went to.  I had a grand time and I’ve always promised myself that I will come back someday.  Hopefully by then, I would no longer be traveling solo and be with friends when I return.

There are 2 advantages when traveling with a group in Batanes: (1) it effectively divides the costs of guide fees, transportation and lodging between members of the group; and (2) it’s simply more fun than touring solo.  Although I also like traveling alone, Batanes is best experienced with friends.

My return trip was planned 8 months in advance.  Last January, my colleague at work, Danna, who also travels a lot (and whom I previously traveled with in my Taal Volcano trek), planned on going to Batanes with her friend Andrea, and asked if I would like to join them.  Of course I said yes.

So we attentively monitored SEAir’s announcements for seat sales.  We decided on a common date, booked the flights and patiently waited.  Just 48 hours before our intended flight date, SEAir screwed up and rescheduled our flights (I’ll discuss this horrible incident in a separate blog), with the result being that Danna and Andrea weren’t able to travel with me.  And so once again I would be traveling to Batanes alone.

With my carefully planned itinerary ruined, I then took it as an opportunity to have a more laid-back approach to traveling within Batanes.  I intended to shoot less pictures and instead, spend more time seeing Batanes with my own eyes.  I also wanted to interact with the Ivatans more.  There were places in Batanes that I was not able to visit the last time I was there – the most important of which is the northernmost inhabited island of Itbayat – and I planned to seize the opportunity to visit it.

On the eve of my flight, my main concern was the weather.  Manila hasn’t seen the sun in weeks and I began to come across reports that a storm was brewing near Batanes.  I was assured by the guide I contacted that Batanes had fine weather.  I hoped that it would remain that way for the length of my stay.

For this next series of blogs, I will detract from my usual chronological format of blogging and will adopt a more theme-based approach.  As I’m writing this, I’m preparing for another trip – this time in Surigao.  I might not finish this Batanes series anytime soon.  So for the meantime, here are a few pictures:

= = = = = = = = = =
This entry is part of the Batanes II series dated September 10-14, 2011:

1. Return to Batanes (a prologue)
2. Hiking in Northern Batan
3. Preview: Mt. Iraya
4. The Back-breaking Mt. Iraya Climb
5. Mahatao’s Lighthouses: Setting the Facts Straight
6. Stuck in Batan: New Sites & Sentimental Favorites
7. In search of Batanes’ prehispanic past
8. The 2-lie system of SEAir’s Manila-Basco flights (a warning)
9. Everyone’s kinder in Batanes (even the tourists.)



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