Skyjet flies Batanes April 8

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Sunday, March 18, 2012


BATANES -- Starting April 8, the Skyjet, a British manufactured plane, will start flying three times weekly to the northernmost island of the Philippines.

In an interview, Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA) director and Skyjet chief executive officer Joel Mendoza said the company would start offering affordable and convenient flights to Batanes province.

The 94-seater-plane, he said, aimed to offer cheaper air fare and focus on hard-to-reach destination, like Batanes, and bring back the frills to traveling.

"You just want to focus on what your aim is (and that is to) provide quality service. That is my goal. Free yung pagkain, ayoko nung walang frills. Let's bring back the frills," Mendoza said.

For one-way ticket cost of P6,200, Skyjet offers the best in airline hospitality. Onboard a flight to Basco via Skyjet, passengers will be treated to the regular hospitality extended by the crew and unlimited snack and drinks.

Snack items like mamon, chips, coffee, water and soda are offered after take-off and passengers can still ask the flight attendant for a second round and refill of drinks anytime they want.

Mendoza said Skyjet planes, BAE-146-200s (British Aerospace), were imported from the United Kingdom.

He said he specifically chose the planes because these planes are made especially for short and unpaved runways like Basco's 1,200 meter airstrip.

The Skyjet CEO said some of the clients of BAE Systems, a British company which manufactures the aircrafts, include the British royal family, British airlines, Lufthansa, and other Europe-based airlines.

"This aircraft is specifically made for short landing and takeoff. It specializes in (operating in) unpaved runways, yung graba. Sa Johannesburg, ginagamit ito, yung mga walang espalto," Mendoza said.

Batanes is perfect for career-driven working men and women who need some days away from the noisy, busy and chaotic urban life.

It is also a great destination for the honeymooners, and for serious travelers who are more interested with cultural heritage.

The province offers travelers breath-taking landscapes and seascapes, which has been nominated to the Unesco World Heritage List and describe as one of the most beautiful corners of the world.

A visit to the province will treat visitors to a glimpse of the limestone technology introduced by the Spaniards during the 18th century.

Aside from the iconic vernacular houses made out of limestone, stones, corals and a thatched roof, you can also see old churches that were built by Dominicans during the Spanish era.

Some of the notable churches are the San Jose Obrero Church in Ivana, Sabtang; San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao (1873); Sto. Domingo
Cathedral in Basco (the oldest built in early 18th century); and, Sta. Maria Immaculada (1845) in Itbayat. Also worth visiting are the church in Chavayan, the only one in Batanes which still uses a thatched roof, and the church of Itbud.

Everywhere in Batanes is picture-perfect, with some corners seemingly cut out of the movie scenes of The Lord of The Rings -- villages nestled between the tall lush mountains and cliffs on one side and a sweeping view of the sea on the other. Truly, travelers cannot have enough of the beauty of Batanes. You have to go there to experience it for yourself.

BCTA, dubbed as "Your Personalized Batanes Tour Operator", aims to promote the cultural heritage of Batanes. Together with the local government of Batanes, BCTA promotes the province to become one of the prime destinations in the Philippines. (SDF/Sunnex)

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