People close to me knows that I prefer commuting to work rather than drive. I’ve spent some number of years driving to and from work but it eventually got the better of me especially with the daily EDSA traffic ranging from bad to forever. I’m an advocate of commuting mainly due to more personal benefits:
- It allows me to work while in transit (read my e-mails and join conference calls) which is one thing that I can’t do if I drive (yes I can join calls but it gets distracting)
- I get some form of exercise. For someone who spend long hours sitting in front of a desk, going up and down the MRT stairs is the closest I can get to a cardio routine.
- One less car to add to EDSA traffic
- Less pollution
- More time for Kdrama, Jdorama and “research”
Note: this is a late post. As in nag-1st anniversary na ang Batanes trip namin before ko pa ito matapos haha! But as they say, better late than never. This blog post series has been in draft for a looooong time and I feel that I won’t be able to move on in posting my other travels without publishing our Great Batanes Dream. So here goes… Happy New Year! 🙂
Our journey to fulfill The Great Batanes dream started 10 months before our December flight after we nabbed a seat sale via PAL Express. It wasn’t super low at Php 8k but enough to spark us to push through with the trip. Fast forward to 10 months later and after hours of online research and group chat discussions, we were finally ready for our trip last December 8 (2016 haha).
One of the challenges of visiting Batanes is that the weather plays a big factor in your trip. Flights can get cancelled and you get stuck there for days, or it rains when you’re there which makes it difficult to visit the other places. So we were monitoring the weather days before our trip. Although the weather forecast mentioned some rain showers, there was no reported typhoon so we still hoped for the best. The flight is at 6AM with boarding time of 5:30AM. When the boarding time arrived, we were told that the flight is on hold due to bad weather in Basco. After an excruciating 1.5 hours, we were informed that our flight is “definitely cancelled” 😥
Batanes gave me the experience to see not only breathtaking landscapes but also old infrastructures that took me back in time and made me appreciate our country’s diverse culture more. The boat ride to Sabtang is probably the most intense I’ve ever experienced but exploring the island made it all worth it.
On our third day in Batanes, we spent one whole day doing the South Batan Tour. From the homestay, we passed by Paderes, a long wall along the road which is also the surname of the architect who built this. There was an ongoing installation of street lights that time which was proof of the continuous development of the area to cater to the growing tourism.
Our first stop was the Chawa view deck which has the oldest uplifted coral. According to our guide, Chawa came from “kawa”, meaning rock. It’s like a viewing deck built beside this gorgeous coral formation. Even if it’s our third day already, we were still in awe with Batanes. We admired how the turquoise sea water splashed into the corals below and how the sea seems to have a lot of different blue and green colors.
Chawa View Deck
Unlike the South Batan Tour which is a whole day tour, the North Batan tour only takes half a day. We did our North Batan road trip in the afternoon of our Day 4. We met our guide at the Pension Ivatan where we had a hearty lunch of different Ivatan cuisines. Due to its popularity, you need to book a reservation here especially during peak season since the Ivatan platter tend to run out of stock.
Ivatan cuisine at Pension Ivatan
As the Batanes tourism flourished, homestays also became more popular as a cheaper option to hotels. It is also a great way for tourists to get to know the locals and interact with them closer.
When doing our research online, most blogs mentioned either Marfel’s or Nanay Cita as budget lodging options. We decided to book at Palangud Inn a.k.a. Nanay Cita’s homestay. She’s also more commonly called Nana Cita in different online forums and blogs. I contacted Nana Cita via text few months before our trip. She confirmed that there’s available room and didn’t even require any deposit. Despite the limited telecom signal in Basco, we were still able to communicate with her without issues especially when we told her that our flight got cancelled. She adjusted our reservations without any hesitation. Continue reading
Having to deal with government offices here in the Philippines is challenging, to say the least. It’s one of the errands that I personally don’t look forward to or try to avoid as much as I can. That’s why I’ve been dreading having to renew my driver’s license. What with all the horror stories I read online such as waiting for 3-6 hours just to complete the transaction and getting just the receipt in the end. Yes, one piece of paper instead of the driver’s license card.
I tried to hold off my trip to the LTO. But it sort of had me “trapped” at home with nowhere to drive to, and it’s not good for a lakwatsera like me. So I literally dragged myself to LTO to get it done. I originally planned to renew my license at SM North Edsa but upon doing more research I found out that there’s a District office near my where I work. So this morning, I just dropped my things at my office, took a 10-minute cab ride and arrived at LTO Pasig.