There is something about places that promote Art. Not only do they make your pictures more interesting, it gives you a passage to learn the local history in an easy visual narrative (if you don’t want to think, while you’re on holiday mode), easier to digest and more pleasing to the eyes.
Fundacion Pacita is a homage, nature lodge dedicated to a Filipino artist named Pacita Abad. Located on the main island of Basco, it is around 10-15 minute drive from the airport. Set in an isolated standing on a hill-top, surrounded by picturesque hills, luscious shrubs, cobalt blue seating, all over-looking the Pacific Ocean, making Fundacion Pacita itself a destination on Basco island
Fundacion Pacita Garden
Inside the gallery
Entrance to the Pacita Abad gallery
View from the Pacita Abad gallery
Place and Time:
To get to Batanes, you can catch a flight with Philippine Airlines or Skyjet. We went with the latter, and arrived in Basco 7:30am on a Sunday. You’ll need to register all parties after landing in Basco and wait for your luggage to be manually distributed after your flight.
Organisation with Fundacion Pacita and our booked Tour guide (Bisumi Tours) for our pick-up was not apparent, from my end. Even though we had told our tour guide we would be picked up by our accommodation Fundacion Pacita, they insisted they will be there to pick us up (correspondence was through fb chat). Also, Fundacion Pacita was vague about the person picking us up from the airport.
After arriving in Basco, I tried to hawk out our ride, from the sea of names from Fundacion Pacita. I saw my name under Bisumi Tours, but did not want to go with them as I wanted to check-in first in Fundacion Pacita. After 20 minutes or so, still no Fundacion Pacita, I approached Bisumi Tours. Good thing I did, as the tour guide seemed relieved I have finally introduced myself. She introduced me to our ride to Fundacion Pacita and herself, who would be our tour guide later that day, and for the entire 3 days Batanes tour.
Around the Fundacion Pacita premise
Signature cobalt blue chairs around Fundacion Pacita
Mural portrait of Pacita Abad
Slightly groggy from lack of sleep, adds drama to a windy and rainy hill-side view, now only if Angus and Julia were playing in the background (please don’t judge my music preference.) The free van trip from the airport to Fundacion Pacita is approximately 10-15 minute ride on a single lane road. Already you learn about the Ivatan culture of their patience, giving nature and community-ridden values.
On the way to Fundacion Pacita, you see a lot of uninhabited land, with cows freely grazing on their abundant grass fields. The van parks in an open gravel parking area, takes your suitcase into the receiving area, while you are attended by the receptionist.
After finalisation of payment, we were ushered to their restaurant Café du Tukon for our complimentary breakfast and was told we could go to our room after breakfast to rest for a while, before our tour starts.
Service from our stay with the Fundacion Pacita was intuitive, friendly and comfortable.
From our arrival on the first day, service was almost like they had telepathy powers. They knew when we were hungry, they knew we wanted to rest before the tour starts, they knew where to put our luggage without us having to worry about it before breakfast, they cleaned our muddy shoes without being asked, and they somehow fixed our room and folded our clothes whenever we weren’t in the room.
Our interactions with the staff were always friendly, always greeted with a hello and always willing to help us with all our simple requests without hesitation. Like our request to go into town on short notice was accommodated by both the receptionist and the driver, even though there was a certain time-frame we were only allowed to do so.
Our stay in Fundacion Pacita was made more than comfortable, from the simple things they did for us; Providing umbrellas for our town trip, folding our clothes and cleaning our room tirelessly whenever we were out of the room was a service I have yet encountered, until Fundacion Pacita, bringing our luggage into our room without us having to worry about it- separates an accommodation into a higher tier, leaving their guests impressed and wanting more
Room:The Pangaditan room as seen in their pictures, is as alluring as it Is in person (maybe even more so) but I don’t want to heighten your expectations too much. What sets this room apart is the spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean after your verandah, contrasted with the scenic hillside of Batanes, dotted with a working lighthouse.
The shower is also unique- intertwining the Ivatan heritage into a luxurious experience. Hot water is a given. Also, there is an air-con to which they seem to encourage to be on for your entire stay, because every time we close it when we leave, it’s open when we arrive.
Though Basco island seems to also get their common black-outs like the rest of the Philippines, don’t fret. Fundacion Pacita seems to have a large reliable generator, that will power all your normal electrical needs throughout the night.
Just for your information, there is intentionally no internet or television at Fundacion Pacita as it is a nature lodge. Why would you need it anyway? With so many things to lap up and absorb, television and internet would only interfere with your au naturale Batanes experience.
Lapping up the ambiance
Ivatan inspired shower
Fundacion Pacita bath package
As previously mentioned, Fundacion Pacita is an isolated accommodation on top of a hill, taking 10-15 minutes to get into town center. Their in-house restaurant called Café du Tukon, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Opened from 5am to 8pm.
Their selections are varied from serving delicious local Ivatan dishes to comfort foods like pizza and pasta. My favourite though was the Tamidok salad (a local wild fern) with calamansi vinaigrette, which I ordered every night because of its fresh and addictive sour but earthy taste.
Fundacion Pacita and Cafe du Tukon signage
Batanes is not a cheap destination to get to (in my opinion). And staying in Fundacion Pacita was also a treat for us. I would recommend this trip with your partner, but they do have family rooms as well. Maybe families with older kids, who will appreciate the natural beauty of Batanes and how much you’re spending on them, to experience this glorious place might sway you to include them in your trip.
• Isolated and quiet• Top quality service and accommodation• Free town and airport transportation via van• Complimentary breakfast and bottles of water (daily)• Delicious food at Café du Tukon• Pacific Ocean view• Pricey, so only a few people stay at a time
• Not enough information about airport pick-up• A lot of mini-millipedes about, even in the bathroom (rainy season)
For 2 adults in the Pangaditan room for 3 nights we spent Php38,610 ($998AUD). Working about to be Php11,000 ($285AUD) per night exclusive of tax and other fees.
Though it is pricey and isolated in its location, Fundacion Pacita has served to be one of my better experiences in my sheer attempt to travel around the world. I “think” I understand the pricing and I find it fair; its far location from the city center, the maintenance of the entire compound, the Pacific Ocean view, maintenance of the farm to table Café du Tukon restaurant and the art and culture Pacita Abad brings.Some places in Sydney don’t even bring half of those things to the table and they already charge this amount as a standard, but on a hill-top far away from civilisation a place called Fundacion Pacita serves this in entirety and more. Sorry to sound like a closet diva, but I don’t usually give full hearts to my experience, unless they’re picture perfect Michelin encounters. But for Fundacion Pacita, I cannot get over how beautiful and wonderful you are. You get 5 of my hearts, I cannot wait to visit you again.