5-day Batanes Itinerary - Sabtang Island

by - Wednesday, January 02, 2019

After two exhilarating days in Batanes, the day has arrived for us to visit the southernmost island municipality of the Batanes island group - the Sabtang Island. We had to wake up extra early on this day to catch our 7 am boat ride. Ate Jane, our tour guide from Bisumi Travel and Tours, was early as usual in picking us up at Nathaniel's Lodge.

Chamantad-Tiรฑan viewing point at Sabtang island, Batanes

This is the view of the cliff leading to Mahatao early in the morning. It just takes my breath away every time. This is the same road that we took yesterday when we headed to South Batan. Our tour guide said that some tourist chooses to go to South Batan and Sabtang in one day if time is a concern.



Upon arriving in Ivana Port, Ate Jane asked us to sit back and relax as she paid the environmental fee included in our booking already. After enlisting us, she handed our vest and told us to wait until it's time to board the faluwa.

Ivana Port, South Batan, Batanes
TLW hack: Ate Jane told us to sit on the left side (facing the boat) so we won't be able to feel the boat's vibration during the entire 30-minute ride to Sabtang.

Locals loading wood in faluwa (boat) in Ivana Port
It was a pleasant ride going to Sabtang on a non-peak season. After enjoying the seascape, we got to see a good view of the Sabtang Lighthouse signaling that we are near to the Sabtang Port. Sadly, going near the lighthouse is not included in our itinerary for today.

Sabtang Lighthouse in Sabtang, Batanes
Ate Jane headed to the tourist registration kiosk and settled the environmental fee shortly after we alighted the boat. Afterward, we headed to the private van that's waiting for us so we can kick off our day tour on this island. 

Port of Sabtang, Batanes

AHAW ARCH IN MORONG BEACH

You can't say that you've been to Sabtang without taking a moment (and photo) in the Ahaw natural arch formation situated in Morong Beach. There was a line when we arrived but everyone was patient enough to wait for their turn. To make sure that nobody photobombs behind the arch, the tourist guides with us were kind enough to remind their respective guests to avoid the arches when there are people taking their pictures. 

Ahaw Arch formation in Morong Beach
The Morong Beach isn't as rocky as the other beaches I've seen in Batanes, making it ideal for camping. We hung around for a bit around the beach and appreciated nature's offering before leaving for our next destination.

Morong Beach

SINAKAN AND SAVIDUG STONE HOUSES

We had to stop nearby Brgy. Savidug because of its narrow roads. Before starting our walking tour around the barangay, Ate Jane convinced us to try the Wild Berry wine from the store that offers Vakul (headdress), Yuvuk (bag) rental. Jonas and I liked it so much that we took brought a bottle home. 

Fun fact: Sabtang offers one of the cheapest deals when it comes to lobsters.

They were also selling one whole lobster for Php 1k which we happily obliged to. The seller told us that they will personally deliver the lobster to where we'll have our lunch. This is perfect since we can keep the lobster fresh and we won't need to lug this during the entire trip around Sabtang.

(L-R) One of the first few stone houses to be seen in Brgy, Savidug, Free wine tasting at the Vakul rental
Of course, I didn't pass the chance to take the Vakul and Yuvuk for a short spin. We were only allowed to take these handicrafts up to this house which is why most photoshoots happened around this stone house. If I'm not mistaken, the rental for these two items costs Php 20 only.

After taking the photo on the left, Ate Jane schooled me on the right way of wearing the Yuvuk. Its handle is meant to be placed by the head before wearing the Vakul, and not on the shoulder like we usually wear our bags. 

Clad in Vakul (headdress) and Yuvuk (bag) at Brgy. Savidug

ST. THOMAS AQUINAS CHAPEL AND OLD BEATERIO

Just before our walking tour ended, we stumbled upon the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel. This quaint chapel reminded me of the simple life in Tuguegarao (again) where villagers can simply walk in the chapel in time for the mass. 

TLW fact: Notice the blue-colored door? This color is also rampant in stone houses' doors and windows. The reason why they all have a similar color in their houses is that they use the leftover paint from their boat on their doors and windows. 

St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel
The word Beaterio means a priest's house. Lucky for us because we got to look into its inside and have our photos taken, too. We had to be extra careful walking inside the beaterio because the flooring looks like it can give anytime.

The old Beaterio beside the chapel

SAVIDUG IDJANG

Coined as Sabtang Island's sleeping beauty, the Savidug Idjang served as a fortress against attacking enemies in the past. This formation can also be viewed in some parts of South Batan. 

Savidug Idjang, Sabtang, Batanes

SABTANG WEAVERS ASSOCIATION

For our first stop in Chavayan Village, we get to witness an Ivatan weaving a Vakul for a living. She told me that she farms for half a day and weaves on her remaining hours.

TLW Fact: During our short stay in this kubo (hut), I learned that most Ivatans are either a fisherman or a farmer aside from their other work. Talk about being a multihyphenate!

The setup in Sabtang Weaver Association's hut
Some weaved handicraft souvenirs are also sold here. Guests may also opt to rent handicrafts here if luggage weight is a concern.

Some handicrafts sold in the Sabtang Weavers Association's hut

BRGY. CHAVAYAN STONE HOUSES

You know that it is Barangay Chavayan when the narrow houses meet the sandy beach. Just in case you don't know yet, stone houses are well-renowned in Batanes for two reasons. First, the foundation of the house has a lime component to it and second, their roof is made up of layers of cogon grass that's able to withstand the typhoon and scorching hot that hits them.

Barangay Chavayan in Sabtang, Batanes
During our visit to Brgy. Chavayan, there were local health officers doing their rounds because due to the dengue outbreak in the municipality. It was great to see a quaint community working together for the betterment of each other. ๐Ÿ’–

A house in Brgy. Chavayan, Sabtang, Batanes
TLW fact: The houses in this barrio are all facing against the winds to prevent direct hit from the typhoon.

A doctor checking on a local kid's health
We were also able to go nearby the shore were the boats that Ivatan fishermen use. There's a lot more history to more to this place but I will let you your soon-to-be-tour-guide surprise you with interesting facts.

Boats parked by the Chavayan Beach

CHAMANTAD - TIร‘AN VIEWING POINT

The last stop for today's itinerary is the Chamantad-Tiรฑan viewing point aka Sabtang's rolling hills. I wish I was able to rent a Vakul all the way to this breathtaking view for some nice snaps.

This is probably my favorite viewpoint in Batanes because of the perfect framing of the hills to the Chamantad cove. We had to sit down and take a moment because of how magnificent this place is. This photo doesn't even give justice!


LUNCH AT PANANAYAN CATERINGS

We finished our tour faster because we're on an exclusive tour with Bisumi Travel and Tours. There were fewer delays and we get to the next destination quickly with our personal van. Because of that, we arrived at Pananayan Caterings around 11 am, early than the usual arrival of other guests. We requested for our lobster to be cooked inhouse along with the other food coordinated by our travel agency. 

Lunch at Pananayan Caterings
This lunch is memorable to us because this is the first time we'll be having a lobster EVER. We had it sliced in half since it's just the two of us sharing this huge, fresh lobster. We also fell in love with the turmeric rice that Jonas had to, later on, look for a turmeric powder to recreate the rice served to us on this canteen. I also enjoyed the turon they served us. It feels like the best dessert to cap off our sweet experience in Sabtang.

View of the Morong Beach at the back of Pananayan Caterings

EARLY DINNER AT BEEHAN

Since I was nursing a cold on this day, we opted to rest at Nathaniel's Lodge for the whole afternoon. Later that day, our designated driver picked us up and brought us to Beehan for our early dinner. You can tell once entering that it was once a house turned restaurant by the looks of the place.

Beehan Meals & Snacks at Basco, Batanes
While we're still a tad full from the lunch earlier, we can't say no to our remaining lobster. The staff from Beehan was generous enough to heat our lobster with a corresponding amount. They also cooked us a beef steak, pinakbet, and pork guisado for the main dish. 

I really like the laidback setup at Beehan's. It feels like I can tag my barkada along and have a good dinner with them over chill air and conversations.

Dinner at Beehan with Jonas
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Page 4: North Batan Itinerary
Page 5: Spring of Youth Experience

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