Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bike Safari in Batanes

May 4-12, 2011 - a 9-day, 8-night bike holiday in the beautiful and refreshing Batanes group of islands.  Seair offered a hard-to-resist promo last November 2010, giving us exactly 6 months to prepare for the trip.  Although nothing can ever prepare one for RP typhoons, which eventually extended our stay from 5 nights to 8 nights.  The airline will take in your bike in a bag as check luggage, just pay the excess to the 10 kgs they allow for free at P100 per kg.  Keep your stuff in a hand luggage or backpack at max 7 kgs.  Local accommodations are plenty, and we were happy at the new Batanes Seaside Resort Annex at a reasonable P800 a night, which went down to P600 during our extended period. Double-bed rooms with hot & cold shower, cable TV, free WiFi & filtered water - remarkably good value for money at a place like Basco.

All of the above shots were taken at the famed "Marlboro Country" as the locals call it - protected area for cattle grazing, overlooking some spectacular views of the ocean, jagged beaches & rocks deformed by the waves, and bordered by amazing cliffs.  One can not help but pose for pictures for posterity to recapture the moments, notice the bikes are simply laid down and not ridden. (with pictures from Bruce, Cesar and Jun)

The rest of the bike rides are around glorious asphalted zigzag  roads leading to other towns or hilltops, generous trails to satisfy a mountain bikers desires, and challenging uphills which are generously rewarded by spectacular views of the ocean and the mountains.  There are historical bits to see, like the Japanese Bunker up a hill, which you can enter and explore even into its different rooms and turret gun placements;  the Pacita Stone House, which is beautifully located up a hill with the expected spectacular views, supposedly having the best rooms you can rent for your escapades in Batanes;  the Basco Lighthouse, perfect photo location and having one of the best views of the sunset in Basco, with its cute Bunker Cafe serving semi-gourmet dinners & the best banana turon we ever tasted in Basco (we kept coming back for dinner to this place for 5 nights).

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