Given the two weeks it took us from planning it to getting there, our Batanes vacation can be considered quite spontaneous. It’s normally a trip that takes time to prepare, where hotels and flights have to be booked weeks or even months in advance. Luck had something to do with it. We’re fortunate that our schedules matched, and Philippine Airlines still had seats available. The third crucial factor was figuring out where to stay. We’ve read a lot of great things about Fundacion Pacita Batanes Nature Lodge, so we checked their website. We fell in love with a particular room as soon as we saw it. And while this room was mostly booked for the rest of the year and well into 2015, it just so happened to be available on our target dates. This pretty much sealed the deal, and we were frantically making room and seat reservations within minutes.
Choosing to stay at Fundacion Pacita turned out to be a wonderful, memorable part of our Batanes trip. The evening before we flew in, Bloom from Fundacion sent a text updating us regarding schedule changes with our flight from Manila. When we landed at Basco Airport, Dennis was already waiting at the arrival area with our names on a signboard, ready to whisk us off to the hotel.
Plus, who needs a TV? We could simply stare at the breathtaking, majestic view of the Pacific Ocean from the balcony. We actually did stare. A lot. Aside from the Pacific, from this side of the Batan coastline, we could see the Tukon Lighthouse across the water. And, much closer, Fundacion Pacita’s main house majestically perched on the hill.
Once we had time to freshen up (and calm down a bit from all the excitement), we walked over to the main house for lunch. Walking up the brick path, and seeing the main house and its hedges up close got excited once more. It was easy to see why Fundacion is considered a Batanes attraction on its own, and is actually visited by the guided tours.
Fundacion Pacita is the former home and studio of the internationally known artist Pacita Abad. Proceeds from the hotel go to a foundation that supports the community, particularly young Ivatan artists. The main hall of the lodge is both the dining area for Café Du Tukon and a permanent exhibit of some of Pacita’s work. We could see how much she, and her family had influenced the community in terms of art and aesthetics.
We would wake up to birdsong and the distant crashing of waves on rocky cliffs, and the cool breeze coming in from the Pacific.
Fundacion Pacita has pretty gardens with iconic blue wooden benches, beautiful memorials, and little secret details behind manicured hedges, just waiting to be discovered. The place is inspiring and we were glad we brought sketchbooks along.
Our reco: Fundacion Pacita is about 15 minutes away from Basco by car. Their shuttle makes two trips to town per day, so check schedules with the office.
Up next: what’s good at Café Du Tukon?