The Last Frontier of the North: Places to Visit in Beautiful Batanes

Batanes, the Philippines’ northernmost and smallest province, is a dreamy destination that’s part of almost every Pinoy traveler’s bucket list. Honestly, who can blame them? With its vast verdant hills, clear blue waters crashing into rocky shores, and warm and welcoming locals, Batanes is definitely a pocket of paradise. 

Small as it is (with a total land area of 219 square kilometers), Batanes has plenty of natural and cultural wonders to offer. The three main islands of Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat are the location of idyllic villages, museums, churches, hills, rivers, and beaches to visit and enjoy. For first timers, it may be wiser to book a Batanes tour package. This way, you can both save money and get to visit all the must-see spots and attractions. Speaking of which, here are just a few of Batanes’ hundreds of breathtaking sights.

Rakuh-a-Payaman

These rolling hills and sprawling meadows (complete with roaming cows!) in Uyugan, South Batan, are more popularly known as Marlboro Country or Marlboro Hills. Indeed, Rakuh-a-Payaman looks so much like the setting of the infamous cigarette advertisement. The lush green fields and hills are complemented with the clear blue skies, wispy white clouds, and the crashing waves of the Pacific. It will leave you awestruck for a few moments, for sure, just taking in the sights and breathing in the fresh air. The pictures truly don’t do it justice; you have to visit Batanes and see just how majestic Rakuh-a-Payaman is for yourself.

Basco Lighthouse

Located in North Batan, the Basco Lighthouse is situated atop the Naidi Hills. It’s another well-known and often-visited tourist spot in Batanes, and it is also Basco’s most famous landmark. The spot used to be where the Americans established telegraph facilities in order to connect Batanes to the central government during that American colonial era. The facility remained there until it got bombed by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War.

Basco Lighthouse or Naidi Hills Lighthouse stands about six stories tall (66 feet), with a viewing deck on the fifth floor. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the glorious sky and landscape, as well as sweeping vistas of the West Philippine Sea, Mt. Iraya, Batan Island, and Sabtang and Itbayat Islands.

Mt. Carmel Church

Also located in Basco, Mt. Carmel Church was constructed using traditional Ivatan stone houses as a design inspiration. The church is also called Tukon Chapel, an apt name since “tukon” means “mountain” in Ivatan, and the building sits on top of a hilly area near Mt. Iraya.

The Abads, the most prominent clan in Batanes, spearheaded the project with the help of the local community’s carpenters, craftsmen, and stoneworkers. The church was completed in May 2008 and has since become a popular venue for weddings. Photographers also love capturing the beautiful views of the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the strategic vantage point of the church.

Valugan Boulder Beach

The Philippines is known for its many white-sand beaches, and all of these are quite beautiful in their own right. If you’re looking for something more unique, however, Valugan Boulder Beach might just be the place for you. As its name suggests, Valugan Boulder Beach doesn’t have sand; instead, it has huge boulders and stones, which are the products of past eruptions of Mt. Iraya. Swimming is not recommended here, though, since the strong waves are a bit too much to handle for anyone. However, you can still roam around and hop on the boulders to take photos. The rock balancing art pieces, in particular, are popular subjects, as are the foamy waves crashing on the shore.

Homoron Blue Lagoon

Located in Mahatao, the Homoron Blue Lagoon sits between rocky cliffs along the road connecting Mahatao to Ivana. During the Spanish colonial era, the Spaniards had exclusive access to this area. This earned the lagoon the moniker “Spanish Lagoon.” Unlike most of the waters surrounding Batanes, the waters in Homoron Blue Lagoon are pretty calm and are thus perfect for swimming. The sloping, rocky path to get to the pool is a little obscured, though, so hiring a tour guide would be a good idea.

All the gorgeous tourist spots mentioned here are in Batan, but there are definitely more places to visit in Batanes. Dequey Island, Morong Beach, Chavayan Village, Malakdang Lighthouse, and Sumnanga Village are waiting for you in Sabtang. Moreover, the Agosan Rock, Kumayaskas Underground Stream, Port Mauyen, Mt. Riposet, and Siayan Island are some of the must-visit locations in Itbayat.

It’s time to book that flight you’ve been planning to take to Batanes. You owe it to yourself to see this breathtaking Philippine province in person, so you can fully appreciate its natural beauty and well-preserved culture.

Applying for A Visa As A Freelancer In The Philippines

Struggle is real when it comes in applying for a visa, in my case though. Because I have myself an third world passport that is in need to justified the reason(s) why I do want to go in a certain countries or places hence it’s really painful to my end when the time I lodging my visa application in any embassies that I wanna go to. Thus mostly I do, is to wait patiently with a prayers that soon the embassy releases the passport it got me a visa labeled to it already which am gonna thankful for when it’s happened. I know most of you would relate in this because the agony of waiting ( for the result) is really not a joke at all. Because we already invested our money and our precious time by just having the visa on and even proofing ourselves that we are an bonafide tourist to their country by providing them some sorts of documentations that are sometimes hardly to obtained for.

In my case though, as a freelancer, it does hard for me to provide the certification of employment hence the Tax Forms too from our local Tax revenue office. Because these 2 are the most crucial for me as I don’t have a certain clients to work with and my Taxes doesn’t declared at all due to my ignorance on how to apply my freelancing job in the government, but I am working on it today. And if you does have the same situation as mine, no worries at all because you can still obtained a visa in several embassies by just providing the cover letter stating why you are lacking of a certain documents, and this one I made for my Japan, South Korea, China, New Zealand and UK Visa and with my surprised all visas got approved.

Hence, let me share with you the format of the cover letter when applying for a visa, especially when stating or writing your further explanation why you cant provide the documents they had required with.

Example:

To: Consular Officer

In line with my Visit Visa requirements, I am unable to provide a certificate of employment and ITR for the reason(s) of:

Or you can also put or address of the Embassy you are writing for, such like this:

THE HONORABLE CONSUL
EMBASSY OF JAPAN
2627 Roxas Boulevard 1300
Pasay City, Philippines

Sub: Ronel Marin ( Your Name), Philippine Passport No. ———, JAPAN Visa for Tourism

Dear Sir/Madam:

I would like to apply for Japan Tourist visa for a very short vacation, 4 days in total. For the reason(s) of:

Just state well your reasoning and support it with your other documents for them to believed your explanations why you aren’t able to provide the proper documentations they required with for their visa application.

I hope this post will help you out a bit for your visa preparation and if you wanna get the whole draft I have, you can simply email me using my contact details on the side and I’d be happy to sent it over for you to have an idea on how you can explain your situation well.

Thanks and Good Luck on your Visa application!

Intro: The inexpensive Journeys

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Finally! I got this gut to have this travel blog of mine to be up and run over the web. Actually, I am too keen to have an travel blog like this one way back time when I’ve started blogging year 2010. But due with the lack of travel experiences and I dunno what to write about that time I am then decided to stick with lifestyle blog might most of you known about already. Anyway, as an intro let me tell you what am gonna put up this little corner here that I’ve called ” The Inexpensive Journeys” I came up with this domain name while I was thinking off on what is the best to name this blog and as I am fond with checking some seat sales from these airlines I then thought why I am not doing this by giving out tips on how people can travel frugally and cheaply, as possible they can be. Truly enough, that we can go and out to the world with the minimal budget you have. No worries, I’ll help you with to your itineraries and places to check as you read the entire writes I’ve posted here.

By the way, to those people who doesn’t know me yet, possibly all of you who just stumbled upon here right now, I am the guy who owns http://iamronel.com and http://istarblog.com and many more. And I am doing blogging for like 6 years now as I am enjoying writing though my grammar aren’t on point and still am doing it to enhance my writings. Anyway, I hope you can always check me here and read some of my travel experiences,airlines reviews, recommendations and many more.