Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seair InFlight • Batanes essentials

Seair flies to Batanes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.T o book, call tel.: 02/8490100 or visit 

The Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA) has packages starting from P12,100 for a three-day trip which includes round-trip air ticket, transfers, accommodation, rented van, tour guide, two picnic lunches, boat ride to Sabtang, government permits and entrance fees. breakfasts and dinners are excluded.

Seair flies to Batanes every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. To book, call tel.: 02/ 849 0100 or visit URL:  Where to book:  The BCTA office is at: 219, 2nd floor, ODC Bldg., Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines. Call: 02/ 813 0510, 810 4006 and 810 0988 or mobile: 0917.8112282 and 0922.8213717; or fax: 02.8101176. The Basco, Batanes office is at Brgy. Kaychanarian, Castillejos St., Basco, Batanes. Call: 0906.3766778. visit: 

Flying fish - Get your dose of omega 3 with this one, served boiled, steamed, grilled or dried. the locals like to dip the fish in vinegar mixed with Batanes’ strong garlic and shallots.
Venes - Minced gabi (a type of root crop) stalks sautéed in pork blood and dried fish tastes better than it sounds.
Coconut crab or Tatus - Its dwindling population has prompted the local government to fine those who take this Batanes delicacy home with them – alive or cooked. This tree-climbing, round-shelled crustacean has a sweet meat and a sack of roe.
Kamote - Sweet potato here is the sweetest you can get, whether fried as chips, eaten with yam chips, or boiled. The reason is you get them straight from the land and not on the grocery shelves. Ivatans eat it as a snack, as with ube (yam) chips.
Casa Napoli’s pizza or pasta - Though owner Xavier Mirabuena has a pizza menu, an order of pasta must be called or texted ahead time. Xavier decides what kind of pasta to make, given available ingredients. Just tell him if you are averse to certain ingredients. Call mobile: 0927.7583370. Casa Napoli is at Abad St., Brgy. Kaychanarianan, Basco, Batanes.
Accommodation in Batanes are not expensive but when a blackout strikes, do remember that you’re paying for the five-star views and not the swanky service.
Batanes resort - This local government- owned and newly renovated resort has 10 stone houses with two rooms, each able to accommodate three people. Located on the mountain slopes, giving rooms a spectacular view of the sea. modern comfort includes air conditioning, hot and cold shower, and a standby generator. Only 10 minutes from Basco. basic Ivatan fare on the menu, consisting of turmeric rice, dibang, arayu and venes. Rates start from P1,000+ per person, per night for double occupancy. No phones here, but your mobile should work. There is no phone at the resort located at Kaychanarianan, Basco, Batanes. To book, contact their booking office at tel.: 078. 5333444, 5333456, and in Manila at tel.: 9272393.
Seaside resort - Offers basic, clean rooms with air-conditioning, TV, a fridge and water heater. There are rooms able to accommodate up to 30 guests. Located in a natural cove, Seaside has a black-sand beach safe for swimming. Batanes has a strong undertow you have to know your beach before you swim. No generator here. Food is again basic Ivatan fare. Contact Lydia Roberto at tel.: 0921.2290102, or mobile: 0917.8825609.
Shanedel’s Inn and Café is popular with anglers. This bed and breakfast has 14 rooms and is staffed by members of the owner’s family and their help. Rooms are basic and clean, with private toilet and shower, and air conditioning. It’s located in the town proper, walking distance from the plaza and restaurants, and less than five minutes from the airport. The inn overlooks Basco’s commercial port. Food served is basic Ivatan fare. Rates are from P450-p1,000 per person, per night. Call: 0920.4470737 or e-mail:
Homestays or staying at an old traditional house - Limestone walls and hardwood floors of an Ivatan house ensure that the house is cool even during the hottest time of the day. No air-conditioning, just fans. The home usually consists of the main house with its living room and bedroom/s and the outhouse and kitchen, which is also a storage room of sorts. During your stay, you’ll be assigned a cook, a housekeeper and a local tour guide by the town council. The toilet and bath are a basic but clean affair; and although there’s no hot and cold shower installed yet, you can always request the assigned staff to boil water for you. Food served are local Ivatan dishes by cook assigned by town. rate is P1,000 per night for the whole house. contact BCTA to book. (lifted en toto from the Seair InFlight cover feature, Aug-Sep 2008 issue).


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