The second stop for our tour of the southern part of Batan Island is the town of Mahatao and the San Carlos Borromeo church. This is also where we registered at the Municipal Tourism Office and paid P50 each.
It has always been my mother’s dream to go to Batanes, so when SEAIR tickets went on sale, I immediately booked her one. My mother almost always never travels alone though. I have organized her trips to Coron and El Nido on separate occasions and she had me making travel arrangements for never less than five people. So on this trip to Batanes, I booked her a ticket, as well as her eight other friends.
On that note, we needed a house. I got them an entire house in El Nido and they liked that. They liked the fact that they could cook their own meals to save money. They have so much fun going to the market and cooking.
Four days before our trip to Batanes, we were denied services by Pension Ivatan, even after full payment, just because I expressed a sentiment about their booking policy. I, in panic, immediately called up DDD Habitat Inc. after I got the offensive text message from Mrs. Valiente, the General Manager of Pension Ivatan, and was able to book on the spot.
I read about DDD Habitat on Ferdz Decena’s website and their Facebook page and was able to call them on their landline. What struck me first and foremost was how nice the lady I talked to on the phone was. She was very polite and was easy to talk to. When I asked about downpayment, I was told a downpayment was not required. Hooray, I thought! “You could pay us when you get here. Or on your last day of stay.” That, given the circumstances, was the best thing I heard that day.
DDD Habitat is a fairly new place to stay and can be found along Lopez St. in Brgy. Kayvaluganan. It is walking distance from the airport, the National Road and Abad St. – the main street of commerce in Basco.
The night before, we were told we were going out very early so I woke up really early too. I woke up at 5 am! I was the one who woke up my Mama and Papa. I was that excited about this day.
My Mama told me the boat ride, in what was called a faluwa, might be rough and that I might get seasick so I braced myself. I did get a little seasick but I fell asleep in my Papa’s arms so it was not too bad.
That’s the reason I’m looking a little ruffled still while I was driving the jeepney all by my lonesome.
Pull-out time from Novita House was scheduled at 6am, but when the 3.5 of us got there at 5:45am, we found everybody else not ready to go. Some of them have just woken up, some of them were just taking a bath or brushing their teeth. Needless to say, we pulled out of Novita House at 7am. Our tour guide, Ate Remy, kept saying we needed to go and kept talking to someone on the phone – someone who was in the boat at the port in Ivana, saying that we were on our way and that they should wait for us.
Our driver drove really fast, as fast as one can drive through the winding roads of Batanes, from Basco all the way to Ivana. When we got there, we found the other passengers looking at us warily. We made them wait for us for more or less an hour.
I read other blogs about other travelers being late and being left behind by the boat and I feel very fortunate that ours did not leave without us.
Our faluwa (boats without outrigger) was piloted by a very adept man wearing a BCTA tshirt and our boat was very spacious, as there were only our group and a handful of other tourists. The ride from the port of Ivana to the San Vicente port in Sabtang took less than the average 45 minutes because the sea was wonderfully and surprisingly calm. I fell asleep! We were very fortunate to have had really good weather during our entire trip to Batanes.
My mama almost never travels without me, so wherever she goes, I go too. I do love travel too! I love people and I love seeing new places.
Our SEAIR flight to Basco was scheduled at 5:45 AM. My mom and her friends straight from Naga via bus were already there at 2:30 AM. We left the house in Cainta at 3:30 and made it to the domestic airport at 4:30. (We paid the taxi driver who was nice enough to drive through the shortest route in the fastest possible time P300.)
After a relatively long time checking in (a party of 11 plus infant), we were inside the waiting area – where a Travel Factor friend, Maya, was already waiting.
I tried to keep my mind off the possibility that our flight to Basco was going to be cancelled, like it did back in October 2008, and tried to keep my spirits up. I silently prayed for good weather. Another Travel Factor friend, Jerome, had just been to Batanes the week before though. He came back all sunburned. “Summer in Batanes!” was what he said.