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Mountain Biking Batanes: North Batan Tour

Mountain Biking Batanes

Batanes: it’s where earth, sea and sky meet in the most spectacular manner. Photo by traveling-up.com

Batanes’ landscape is special. To describe this group of islands as beautiful is to commit a grave understatement. Even jaded travellers are awed by its strangeness. I’m not sure if you can find another place in the Philippines where the earth, sea and sky come together in the same spectacular manner.

Biking Batanes is also a very special experience. Admittedly, its islands do not have the most technically challenging trails in the country, or not yet anyway. If you want to display your attitude and prowess, this is probably not the best place to do it.

But if you are in search of the ever elusive flow, you’ve come to the right place as Batanes has got loads of flow, and then some. You can find your own flow in many of its sweeping rolling hills. But its real attraction for bikers is the sheer raw beauty of the landscape, which is incomparable.

Biking to Basco Lighthtouse in Batanes

The Basco Lighthouse. Photo by traveling-up.com

Batan Island North Tour
Tour operators divide Batan island into two travel packages: the North Batan Tour and the South Batan Tour. Since the island itself isn’t very large, you can actually finish these tours in a day if you want to.

But, because you will want to spend hours just lazing in many of the sites, the hours get stretched. Before you know it, the sun is already setting and you still haven’t grown tired of the view.

On our first day in Batan, Kara and I decided to go up the Basco lighthouse. This imposing structure is just a few minutes ride from Basco and can clearly be seen from the town center. It stands proud on a hill and is just begging to be bagged like a trophy.

Mt. Iraya, Batanes

Mt. Iraya lords it over Batan island

Biking Batanes

This bike has been to a lot of places, but Batanes beats em all

The Vayang Rolling Hills
It wasn’t an easy climb for Kara as she had yet to rent a proper mountain bike then. All we could get was a single speed commuter bike. Ivatans use these bikes to get around the whole island. They are quite convenient in the flats, but are a challenge up in the hills.

Kara frequently had to stop and push her bike up the steep roads. But these lulls in the biking also afforded us time to really appreciate the view and take as many photos as we liked.

Biking Batanes

The road to the Vayang Rolling Hills. Scenic doesn’t even begin to describe it

Biking Batanes

Views like these would be extraordinary everywhere else, but in Batanes they become quite ordinary as you see them almost everywhere. Photo by traveling-up.com

Selfie while Biking in Basco Batanes

Surgeon general says taking a selfie while biking is dangerous to your health, but what the heck.
Photo by traveling-up.com

When we finally got to the Vayang Rolling Hills, I had to muster all of manly fortitude to keep myself from opening my arms and breaking out in song like Julie Andrews. There was sweet music in the the crests and slopes of those hills.

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

I’ll stop the world and melt with you… Photo by traveling-up.com

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

The Vayang Rolling Hills make you feel like a champion

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

Trails galore overlooking the waters where the Pacific and the West Philippine Sea meet.
Photo by traveling-up.com

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

More trails on Vayang Rolling Hills. Photo by traveling-up.com

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

The perfect soundtrack to this trail would be the soundtrack to 50 First Dates. Reggae and New Wave.
Photo by traveling-up.com

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

Good vibes are overflowing

We could have stayed at the rolling hills and I wouldn’t have minded. But there was still so much more to see. After the rolling hills there was a boulder beach, and what the locals called the Japanese tunnels.

We never really got to the tunnels, but the boulder beach was quiet and peaceful. It was also romantic in its own very raw kind of way, especially when the sun began to set.

The Road going to the boulder beach

Look at the view from this road!

Boulder Beach north of Basco Batanes

Find your Zen in Batanes

Boulder Beach north of Basco Batanes

You can sit on this beach, listen to the crashing waves and watch the sun cast its last glorious rays

It was already starting to go dark when we decided to head back to our homestay. We wanted to take sunset shots of the Basco lighthouse, but the sun was long gone by the time we got there.

I returned by myself to North Batan a couple of days later. Kara was out exploring Itbayat island, so I had to go solo this time. I was determined to complete the North loop by bike. I followed the same road we took going down to the boulder beach.

Road going up Mt. Iraya, Batanes

I thought this road would loop back to the town center, instead it seemed to heading straight into Mt. Iraya

Somehow I got the idea that the road would loop back to town. Instead, it seemed to be going higher and higher and straight into Mt. Iraya. It would have been great to find out if the road led all the way to Batanes’ highest peak, but I was not prepared for such a task.

So I decided to just go back to the rolling hills and explore as many of its trails as I could. It wasn’t a bad decision either as you could see from some of the pictures.

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

The sunsets here at the Vayang Rolling Hills are just magical

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

My path was blocked by these ravenous beasts from hell. Just kiddin’ — the only danger they present is getting cowpies on your shins

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

The setting sun casts a warm golden glow on the landscape

Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco Batanes

Selfie before leaving

Another destination in the North Batan Tour is Tukon Hills. The chapel atop the hill is very picturesque. Fundacion Pacita is another must-see destination, but it was closed to outside visitors when we went there. The Pagasa weather station meanwhile reminded me of a giant golf ball.

The view from Tukon Hill in Basco Batanes

Batanes just amazes

Pagasa weather station in Batanes

The Pagasa weather station in Batanes looks like a golf ball made for Kaijus and Jaegers tournament.
Photo by traveling-up.com

Fundacion Pacita in Basco Batanes

Fundacion Pacita in Basco Batanes

The Tukon Chapel in Basco Batanes

The Tukon Chapel in Batanes

The Tukon Chapel in Basco Batanes

The Tukon Chapel in Batanes. Photo by traveling-up.com

How to pack your bike for the plane ride
A lot f people have been asking me about how to get ready for a mountain biking trip in Batanes. So check out this blog post on How to pack Your Bike for the Plane 🙂

Check out these other blog posts on Biking in Batanes

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  • francis del rosario

    May 6, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    nice blog boss.. ask ko lang when you go out of town like this one (on a plane) how much does it cost when you bring along your bike? parang astig lang na everytime you explore a new place you have your bike with you… salamat boss…

    • outsideslacker

      May 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      hi francis, i’ll be writing a blog post about this soon. medyo busy lang kaya di ko masulat hehe. pero before the end of the week i hope to have finished it

      • francis del rosario

        May 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        salamat boss… follower niyo nako sa mga blogs niyo that got me into riding eh.. speaking off… baka pwede din kayo gumawa ng blog ung mga things na essentials for first time riders… ung mga do’s and don’t… just a suggestion lang boss.. hope to read more blogs from you boss…

  • I would like to visit and explore this place using my bike. Waiting for your blog post on how to get my bike on a plane to Batanes. Good Job Sir on making us realize how beautiful our country is 🙂

  • Hi, i’m curious.. would you say a novice biker can make it through this kind of trip? .. or how experienced a cyclist does one have to be to appreciate biking in batanes?

    would welcome your opinion.. thanks.

    • you don’t need to be a hardcore biker to enjoy batanes, you just need a sense of adventure

      • Hello there! If you are to rate the level of difficulty to ride a bike in North Batan against South Batan, how would you rate it?

        • outsideslacker

          July 24, 2015 at 6:40 pm

          mas mahirap ang south batan. it’s a much longer route with plenty of climbs. north batan is realtively short, but the climbs are steeper, as far as i can remember. but overall, the climbs aren’t really that difficult. if you can handle antipolo, you can handle batanes 🙂

  • I’m an ivatan but had lived here in manila since college. I use to bike around the island for errands, i never appreciated it in anyway till i came here and have to hear so much about batanes. I’ve seen so many pics that awed me but yours are trully amazing photos!! i love mountain biking and i don’t know if you guys’ passion is travelling, biking, or taking spectacular MTB photos!!! I have just looked at this 1 of 3 blogs you have and man, the pictures you’ve taken shoots thru my heart that I want to go on vacation right at this moment and bike the whole island again! the pictures are like those that i’ve seen from some downhill MTB competition teasers or those ads for sports! I really wish i can have photos taken like yours, soon.. 🙂

    • thanks, besides biking we also like to take good photos. and sometimes photography even gets in the way of a cool flowy ride :p seeing the results make the dismounts and retakes worth it though

  • oh and i like the 10th photo the most!