Thursday, August 5, 2010

Batanes: rough seas, turbulent skies and bumpy ride. Or is it?

"Window seat, exit row," with a knowing smile, I'd tell the lady behind the check-in counter.
"Nice view, pseudo-business class leg room..." insert these in my thought bubble whilst I wait for the printer to cough up my boarding pass.

It's always my seat of choice every time I fly.

But if I fly with my girlfriend W (she apparently prefers aisle seat) on an aircraft like the A320-200, my window seat has to, well... take the back seat (pun intended). For me, chivalry is still alive *rolls eyes. kidding!*

weather-beaten. the rugged landscape of Batan--the main island in Batanes

That said, I always end up in the middle seat sandwiched between W and some random passenger  (who can keep his/her peace since I don't usually engage in small talk. My other seatmate was an old lady last time) since the girlfriend prefers aisle seat. I'd be lucky if the flight uses the twin-aisled A330-300 since I can have my window seat and she, the aisle seat.

dreaming of Valugan Beach whilst on-board

Seair Flight DG0605  from Manila to Basco, Batanes uses Dornier 328 turboprop. The photo below is how the cabin (manned by one crew) look like! Just imagine how a lucky bastard I was on that flight! W and I had the best of both worlds! And we were seated three rows from the cockpit.

preferred seating. perfect for couples and solo travelers! photo source in here.
 The early and easy Sunday morning flight took-off from Ninoy Aquino International Airport swiftly. The 32-seater plane made a smooth and gradual ascend and soon after, it hovered above the Manila skyline. The sky was spotless and from the altitude of XX feet, I could make out moving cars the size of M&M. Now, make it moving M&Ms along the length of EDSA.

stiff neck. would there be a time when window seats are facing the windows? just asking. guffaw!

With nothing much to see after we moved past above the Cordillera Mountains and with W catching some sleep, I turned to InFlight, Seair's inflight magazine, for entertainment. The issue was loaded with information and I actually had more than what I could really ask for. So, what would you expect from a hungry-for-more-adventures me but to stash the copy in my carry-on as soon as the first officer announced to prepare for landing.

More and more hedgerows came into view as the plane started its final approach. In the distance, the majestic Mt. Iraya loomed over the town of Basco on one side and  the deserted beach of Valugan on the other. The Pacific Ocean + South China Sea looked rather calm that morning and the snaking roads in the island of Batan seemed well-paved as seen from my window as the plane zoomed its way to the runway.

As soon as the door opened, everybody seemed not to care at all. Just sitting on their seats lazily. The laid back energy of the island disarmed everyone, it seemed. Or was it because of the sheer size of the plane  (means less number of passengers, so no need to swoosh one's way out) or the idea of time simply dissipated? Either way...

...welcome to Batanes! (...or how do you say that in Ivatan?)

Me and my penchant for plastic bags!  Look at another photo of me in HK a week after

In Louis Vuitton Hongkong! Look at that!!!
I couldn't help but take-in the sight and smell as soon as I set foot in oooh, sooo, friggin' (in a friggin' good way) rustic Batanes. As Carlos Celdran whose blog about Batanes I read weeks prior aptly puts it, it's like ugly was banned (in reference to the picture-perfect Fundacion Pacita Abad Ecolodge. More of that ecolodge in my next post)!

Everyone flocked toward the arrival area of Batanes airport. The airport actually looked like a clubhouse than an airport. Meanwhile, as the check-in luggage were still being unloaded, I tried-on the different traditional Ivatan raincoats displayed in the lounge whilst W was on her trigger-happy mode with the camera.

As soon as the first cart of bags arrived, we were whisked to the waiting area outside the arrival hall.

one big family party in the lobby as everybody seemed to know everybody
So, where now is my arrival party?

next: my home-stay in Basco and the round-the-island tour on a rented motorbike


  1. sadly, the days of just asking for "exit row, window seat" are almost over. in the us, they're now available for a fee (unless one is an elite member of the FFP)

  2. oh, i see. it's probably trickling its way here any moment as well.

    i also read somewhere that the free carry-on baggage allowance in a US airline is over.

  3. wow, that's a tiny plane! hehe.

  4. omg, my bf and i are visiting batanes on September 9-15. I find myself watching out for your next post.

    Im not a tour guide fan so I plan to make our own itinerary. We have one already but we're having a hard time trying to get in contact with Homestay assocs, hotels, transpo, etc. None of their phones seem to be working. :(

    We'll really appreciae your travel in Batanes soon. Also if you could post some numbers of people we could get in touch with.


  5. @ flo: yes. its a tiny plane. tinier than the ATR i think.
    @ simone: i just posted the homestay entry earlier. do check it out. thanks. happy travels to Batanes!

  6. RVVV!

    love ur pics and travel posts!

    nice new blog!!

    im looking for ur posts re singapore and malaysia. hope its' here. teka hanapin ko...

  7. hi doki! enjoy Malaysia and Singapoh, la! hehehe


What's your two-cents about this travel adventure and/or misadventure? Do leave a comment here. Thank you.