It’s now possible to visit the dreamlike landscapes of Batanes! Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced that more flights will increase to accommodate the demand. Here are Batanes travel requirements to get you started!
Also read: Batanes During COVID-19: These Ivatans Show Us What It Looks Like
Who can travel to Batanes?
While Batanes is now open to tourists, there are still a few things to take note of when planning your trip. The Provincial Government of Batanes allows travel for returning residents and OFWs, government and private officials on official business trips, and tourists for visits. “Authorised persons outside of residence” (APORs) who want to travel to the island may also enter Batanes.
To enjoy Batanes as a tourist, follow these guidelines before going through its tours:
- All tourists should be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 prevention. At the moment, no vaccinations means no entry to Batanes!
- Tourists can only arrange tours from agencies and operators accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT). Sadly, self-itineraries are not allowed at the moment.
- Accredited tour agencies and operators will be responsible for accepting tourists and managing the tour itself. Their tour packages and the tourist’s return ticket will also determine how long you can stay on the island.
Guests of government and private agencies who want to tour around Batanes after their business trips should procure at least one tour package from any accredited tour agency or operator. Their Certificate of Acceptance will stipulate these conditions along with the necessary LGU and DENR fees.
Did you meet the checklist requirements? If so, Batanes is waiting for you! To fly to the island, you will need the following documents:
- Vaccination card bearing complete details or a digital copy of vaccination certification from VaxCertPH
- Proof of booking from an accredited local tour agency or operator
Submit your documents to the PGO Heritage and Tourism Section via [email protected]. Afterwards, you will acquire a Certificate of Acceptance. Do note that its issuance will also depend on the availability of beds from DOT-accredited accommodations, so better wait for this before booking a flight!
You can secure your Certificate of Acceptance in these offices:
- LGU of destination — for returning residents
- Provincial Tourism Office — for tourists
- Provincial Government of Batanes — for government and private APORs
- LGU of destination — for non-Ivatan private workers
Also read: Know More About Ivatan Beer, the First Locally Brewed Beer in Batanes
Tourist guidelines while in Batanes
No matter how clear and fresh the air is in Batanes, we can’t dismiss the threats of COVID-19. The Provincial Government of Batanes suggests these guidelines when you arrive at Basco Airport:
- Accomplish a Health Declaration Assessment upon check-in at the airport of origin. Tourists can fill this form beforehand through online Google Forms from the Provincial Health Office. It is also accessible through the QR code printed on your Certificate of Acceptance.
- Go through a health screening before transferring to your accommodations.
- Go through testing if COVID-19 symptoms are showing. If test results are positive, they will go through isolation in a government quarantine facility. Testing and quarantine will be free, but food and necessary supplies will be from the tourist’s own account.
- Observe all other protocols from OPLAN COVID Defense Protocol for Arriving Passenger at the Basco Airport.
The Provincial Government of Batanes also mandates health and safety standards for tourists and tour workers alike:
- All tourism workers must be fully vaccinated against COVD-19.
- Wear face masks at all times, except when eating.
- Observe social distancing at all times.
- All tour sites must have functioning hand wash stations or available 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethyl alcohol or alcogel.
- Avoid mingling with locals not covered by the tour or itinerary.
- Avoid indoor gatherings.
Philippine Airlines increases flights to Batanes
Fortunately, flights to Batanes are frequent due to increasing flights from Philippine Airlines.
The flag carrier will be adding Sunday flight schedules to the Manila-Basco route starting 24 Jul. Apart from this, daily morning flights for the same routes will begin on 2 Aug. Departures from Manila will be at 6am and will arrive in Basco at 7.45am, while returning flights will leave Basco at 8am and will arrive in Manila at 10am.
Also read: Dear Batanes, I Should’ve Visited You While I Could
Batanes is still a dream destination for most Filipinos for its picturesque cliffs and amazing seas. From photos alone, it looks like paintings coming to life. So if you want to see this breathtaking beauty, it’s time to pack your bags and book your flights to this idyllic archipelago province.
All images credited to Joseph Christopher Oropel via Canva Pro.