BUDGETARIAN SERIES: Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500 ($180)

BUDGETARIAN SERIES: Exploring Batanes for Only Php 8,500 ($180)

And no, we didn’t deprived ourselves when it comes to food and/or exploring Batanes by being such a cheapskate. This is a convenient traveler’s guide to enjoying the breathtaking Batanes!

BATANES LOW-DOWN & FUN FACTS

  • Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines and is also the smallest.
  • The islands are infrequently populated and subject to frequent typhoons. The three largest islands, Batan, Itbayat, and Sabtang, are the only inhabited islands.
  • The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, Itbayaten, which is spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat, and Ilocano.
  • The color of the houses, church and other infrastructures in Batanes are from the remaining paint that has been used to touch up the bangkas. Widely used colors are: blue, light green and white.

JUMP-OFF POINT

From Manila, the fastest way to get to Batanes is by plane. Philippine Airlines has daily direct flights to Basco and takes 1.5 hours to get there.

Alternatively, you can take the Manila-Tuguegarao route and do a connecting flight to Basco via Sky Pasada which offers Tuguegarao-Basco routes.

North Batan (2)

SAMPLE ITINERARY

We chose to hire an exclusive tour guide and a tricycle to get around. Not only it is cheaper, we took it as an opportunity to breathe some fresh air during all our tours.

With minimal traffic and majestic sights, yes, we did the right thing to choose  a transportation with open windows. Literally.

Day 1: North Batan Tour

A tour that only took half a day to finish. It was recommended by our tour guide to start after lunch in order for us to rest for a while after a 4 hour flight to from Manila to Basco.

Read our tour experience here.

North Batan (34)

Spots to Visit:

>> Boulder Beach in Chanpan Valugan
>> Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel
>> Basco Idjang Viewing
>> Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge
>> PAGASA Tukon Radar Station
>> Mt Carmel Chapel (aka Tukon Church)
>> Vayang Rolling Hills
>> Sto Domingo Cathedral (aka Basco Cathedral)
>> Lighthouse in Naidi Hills (aka Basco Lighthouse)

Day 2: South Batan Tour

The most tiring tour I have done yet! Brace yourself (and your feet) for there will be a LOT of walking on hills and mountains.

Though it can be exhausting, I can promise that the sights were very promising. Read our tour experience here.

Spots to Visit:

>> Chawa Viewing Deck
>> Mahatao Boat Shelter
>> Ruins of Song-song
>> Hohmoron Blue Lagoon
>> San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel
>> Alapad Hills & Rock Formation
>> Honesty Store
>> San Lorenzo de Ivana Church & Ruins
>> House of Dakay
>> Old Spanish Bridge
>> White Beach
>> Blank Book Archive
>> San Carlos Borromeo Church
>> Racuh-a-Payaman
>> Paderes Point and Cliff Road
>> Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse

Day 3: Sabtang Tour

Started our day early as we need to cross to this island. It was said that the Ivatan culture was more intact and practiced in this locale.

We also experienced riding a faluwa, Batanes’ version of bangka and witnessed it transport a tractor from Batan to Sabtang. I know, cool right?!

Read our tour experience here.

Sabtang

Spots to Visit:

>> Sinakan & Chavayan Stone Houses
>> Sto Tomas Chapel
>> Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
>> Ivatan Headgears
>> Sta Rosa de Lima Chapel
>> Morong Beach
>> Nakabuang Cave
>> Ahaw (Limestone Arc Formation)
>> San Vicente Ferrer Church
>> Malakdang Lighthouse

Day 4: Free Day

Most people only spends 4 days on the island but we decided to extend another day to have the full Batanes experience. I have to admit, I have always seen myself biking around the Basco Town Proper way before I have secured a plane ticket to Batanes.

Wish granted and that was the best decision I have ever made. It’s Batanes, wala ka nang luge noh! Read our tour experience here.

Batanes Free Day

Spots to Visit:

>> Bike around Basco Town Proper
>> Diura Fishing Village
>> Diura Beach
>> Fountain of Youth
>> Man-made Freshwater Pool

WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed for 4 nights in Marfel’s Lodge (extension) fan room for P1,000 per night for 2 people.

FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS

Below are the dishes we ate during our stay in Batanes:

COCONUT CRAB lunch from Pension Ivatan during our North Batan tour.

CHEESY BAKED LOBSTER dinner after our South Batan tour.

LUNIZ lunch during our Sabtang tour.

TRAVEL TIPS

• Wear your utmost comfortable shoes. Batanes tours requires you to do a lot of walking.
• Don’t forget to put on some sunscreen.
• Bring a bottle of water at all times. You’ll need it.
• Get up early to roam around Basco Proper. Rent a bike for only P25 per hour.
• Lobster and coconut crab are cheap in Batanes though cannot be brought out of the province, either live or raw. Sneaking it will cause you serious jail time.
• We stayed at Marfel’s Lodge which is only 5 minutes away from the airport. They offer free airport transfers.
• Please note that it can get cold during the night and though we originally reserved for an AC room (P1,500/night). In Marfel, we just settled for a fan room instead.
• Most dishes in Batanes’ restos are usually good for two. If you don’t have a big appetite, you can just settle to one ulam.
• If less than 3 people, it is better to do a trike tour than to join a group tour or rent a van. It will  be cheaper that way.

CONTACTS

Special shout out to the people who helped us make this trip possible. In behalf of my travel crew, maraming salamat po. Sa uulitin. Apir!

Kuya Jhun Gasilao, whom I have contacted months before our trip but a DOT seminar conflicted with our sched, thank you po for finding an alternative to take your place. Di nio po kame pinabayaan. Contact him at 0906-565-3457 and 0999-825-9130.

Ate Donna, our tour guide, contact her at 0939-288-1164.

Ate Fe and her kwelang Marfel Lodge staffs, contact them at 0917-857-4493 and 0908-893-1475.

TRAVEL EXPENSE SUMMARY

Expenses Total Divide by 2
Marfel’s Lodge Fan Room (4N) 4,000 2,000
Tour Guide 3-day Exclusive Tour 3,000 1,500
North Batan
North Batan trike rental 1,000 500
Pension Ivatan lunch 1,100 550
Midtown Inn dinner 380 190
Snacks 88 44
South Batan
South Batan trike rental 1,500 750
Chawa View Entrance Fee 100 50
Lunch 490 245
Dinner 160 80
Snacks 159 79.50
Sabtang
Sabtang trike rental 800 400
Ivana Transfers 440 220
Sabtang Environmental Fee 400 200
Honesty Store 135 67.50
RT Trike to Octagon 60 30
Lunch 600 300
Dinner 840 420
Snacks 70 35
Free Day
RT Diura trike rental 500 250
Marfel bike rental 100 50
Diura Entrance Fee 100 50
Breakfast 300 150
Lunch 350 175
Dinner 300 150
Snacks 105 52.50
TOTAL 17,077 8,538.50

Disclaimer: Airfare and pasalubong shopping not included. We got our RT PAL Batanes tickets for P6,250/person during a travel expo. Though I have met a solo traveler who got his for only P1,600 RT in an online Philippine Airlines sale last year.

In total, our Batanes expenses will be P14,788.50, to which was still not too bad! And oh, we paid for everything on this trip, no blogger discounts and all that. In fact, I didn’t disclose that I am a travel blogger newbie (nahiya ako eh).

** Our Batanes tour has been done during our Batanes trip last Jul 21-25, 2015. Pics were taken using Nikon D3100.

 

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#Basco#Batanes#Batanes Free Day#Batanes Travel Guide#bike#coconut crab#lobster#Luniz#Marfel Lodge#North Batan#Octagon#PAL#Pananayam Canteen#Pension Ivatan#Philippine Airlines#Sabtang#Sky Pasada#South Batan
Written by Tody Dino