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TRAVEL TIP: How to Plan a Trip to Batanes on a Budget (A Travel Guide)



Batanes
Basco Lighthouse

Planning my Batanes trip is one of the hardest I had so far. I planned it 3 months in advance by reading blogs and asking friends who've been there. Working on a set budget, it wasn't easy to decide whether to get a packaged tour or exploring it in "do-it-yourself" way, where to stay, what to eat and outlining the itinerary. So, I'm sharing to you some information I gathered before and during the trip. Hope this will guide you on your Batanes trip soon!

Batanes
Basco Airport Terminal

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HOW TO GET THERE?


There are two major airlines (PAL Express and Skyjet Airlines) that fly directly to Basco from Manila and vice versa. Airfare ranges from 13,000 to 16,000 pesos round trip. There are also small airlines (Sky Pasada and North Sky) that fly to Basco from Tuguegarao. You may check their website for the fares and schedules.

Batanes
View from Alapad in Uyugan

Airfare would take the big chunk on your budget. Be sure to plan ahead and take advantage of seat sale from airline companies. I was able to buy a promo round trip ticket from PAL Express last February which I used to fly to Batanes this May. Getting cheap flights saved me a lot on budget.

Batanes Philippines
San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao, a "National Cultural Treasure"


ITINERARY?


Since our booked ticket is only for 4 whole days in Batanes, our planned itinerary is composed of a 3-day tour covering Batan North (1st day), Sabtang Island (2nd day) and Batan South (3rd day). The 4th day is a free day where we just roamed around Basco. If you wish to visit Itbayat Island, I suggest that you add another 2 days on your itinerary to spend at least a night in the island.

Batan and Sabtang Islands - at least 4 days
Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat Islands - 5-6 days

Batanes Philippines
Honesty Coffee Shop in Ivana

Places to Visit, Tourist Spots and Attractions in Basco (North Batan Tour)

  1. Tukon Church
  2. Basco PAGASA Weather Station
  3. Fundacion Pacita
  4. Basco Idjang
  5. Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel
  6. Valugan Boulder Beach
  7. Vayang Rolling Hills
  8. Naidi Hills, Basco Lighthouse and Bunker's Cafe
  9. Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral

Places to Visit, Tourist Spots and Attractions in Sabtang Island

  1. Sabtang Church
  2. Savidug Village
  3. St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel and Old Beaterio
  4. Chamantad Cove and Tinyan Viewpoint
  5. Chavayan Village
  6. Sabtang Weavers Association
  7. Chavayan Chapel
  8. Morong Beach, Mayahaw Arch and Nakabuang Cave
  9. Sabtang Lighthouse

Places to Visit, Tourist Spots and Attractions in Mahatao, Uyugan and Ivana (South Batan Tour)

  1. Mahatao Idjang and Boat Shelter Port
  2. Mahatao Church (San Carlos Borromeo Church)
  3. Maywang A Libro Du Vatan (Batanes Blank Book Archive)
  4. Spanish Lighthouse
  5. Old Beaterio
  6. Mahatao Town
  7. Mahatao Wind Turbines
  8. Tayid (Mahatao) Lighthouse
  9. Diura Fishing Village
  10. Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)
  11. Imnajbu Village, Uyugan
  12. San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel in Imnajbu
  13. LORAN Station
  14. Alapad Hill and Rock Formations
  15. Old House in Uyugan Town
  16. Song-Song Ruins
  17. Honesty Coffee Shop
  18. Ivana Church (San Jose de Obrero Church)
  19. House of Dakay
  20. Old Spanish Bridge
  21. White Beach
  22. Chawa View Deck


PACKAGED TOUR OR DO-IT-YOURSELF (DIY)?


For our trip, since we were only 2, we opted to join a group for us not to miss any tourist spot. We contacted Ryan Cardona (Smart 09192795963 / Globe 09158034582) from Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA) and asked if he can accommodate us to join his group tour on our travel dates. Fortunately, he has a group tour and he let us join his tour.

Batanes Philippines
Rakuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country) in Mahatao

He quoted us a packaged 3-day tour for 4,000 pesos each (as of May 2013). It includes tours in Batan (North and South) and Sabtang islands, 3 lunches, permits/fees, van/jeep, guide, land transfers, boat ride (Batan to Sabtang and vice versa) and water while on tours. It is important that you get an accredited tourist guide that will not just show you the tourist spots but will also share information about the place. That way, you don't just enjoy the sights but also learn as the tour goes by.

DAY 1: Batan North (Requires at least 5 hours)
DAY 2: Sabtang Island (Requires at least 1 full day)
DAY 3: Batan South (Requires at least 8 hours)

If you wish to visit Itbayat Island, here's How to Get to Itbayat from Basco and to Basco from Itbayat by Boat and by Plane.

Batan North and Batan South tours should be on 2 separate days. If you get a packaged tour with both tours in just one day, it would be a compressed tour wherein you won't be able to visit some of the tourist spots.

Batanes Philippines
With Ryan, our tour guide

While eating in a restaurant in Basco, I had a chance to talk to a freelance tour guide. He gave me the following DIY Rates (as of May 2013). This could be your guide if you plan to tour on DIY:

Tricycle Rental (Batan) - 200/hour, maximum of 2 persons per tricycle
Van Rental (Batan) - 250/hour
Tricycle Rental (Sabtang) - 800 pesos/day
Tricycle Rental (Basco-Ivana Port-Basco) - 600 pesos/2-way
Van Rental (Basco-Ivana Port-Basco) - 1,200 pesos/2-way
Guide Fee (Batan North) - 500 pesos/group
Guide Fee (Batan South) - 1,000 pesos/group
Guide Fee (Sabtang) - 1,000 pesos/group
Pre-ordered Lunch (Sabtang) - 350/head
Pre-ordered Lunch(Batan South) - 350/head

Batanes Philippines
Vayang Rolling Hills in Basco

Here's a sample computation if we had it DIY:

BATAN NORTH
GROUP
PER PERSON
Tricycle Rental (5 hours @ 200/hour)
1,000
500
Guide Fee
500
250
Lunch (2 persons @ 250 each)
500
250
TOTAL
2,000
1,000

SABTANG ISLAND
GROUP
PER PERSON
2-way Tricycle Transfer (Basco-Ivana Port)
600
300
Environmental Fee (200 each)
400
200
2-way Boat Fare (2 persons @ 75 each/way)
300
150
Tricycle Rental (1 day)
800
400
Guide Fee
1,000
500
Lunch ( 2 persons @ 350 each)
700
350
TOTAL
3,800
1,900

BATAN SOUTH
GROUP
PER PERSON
Tricycle Rental (8 hours)
1,600
800
Guide Fee
1,000
500
Lunch (2 persons @ 350 each)
700
350
TOTAL
3,300
1,650

TOTAL
9,100
4,550

NOTE: Rates are correct as of May 2013. They are subject to change without prior notice. Thank you.

It's really up to you whether you get a packaged tour or explore Batanes on a "Do-it-yourself" way - whatever suits your needs and preferences. Please note that you could get cheaper rates if you travel on a bigger group. For me, since we're just a group of 2, joining a packaged tour is our best option.

IMPORTANT NOTE


YES, Batanes can be explored on DIY (Do-It-Yourself). BUT it's BETTER to hire a local guide. WHY? Because it's a way of helping the community by giving jobs to the locals.

With a local guide, you don't just see Batanes, but also experience their culture. You also LEARN from the stories shared by the local guides. Those are the insights you don't read on BLOGS.

Always, remember that traveling is NOT just being there and seeing the place.

Traveling is LEARNING, not just sightseeing.



Batanes Philippines
Ivatan House in Savidug Barrio in Sabtang


ACCOMMODATIONS?


There are several hotels, lodges, inns and home-stay facilities in Basco. Rates start at 1,200 pesos per night. Lodges and inns range from 200 to 600 pesos per night. We stayed at Marfel's Lodge (0908-8931475), a home-stay facility near the airport. An air-conditioned room costs 1,000 pesos per night good for 3 persons. We got it for 700 pesos per night for a fan room. Update: As of May 20, 2013, WIFI is now available at the home stay.

For the full review on Marfel's Lodge, click here.

Batanes Philippines
Ivatan Platter from Pension Ivatan Restaurant in Basco

FOOD?


The best part of staying in a home stay facility is that they have a kitchen where you could cook your meals. That could save you on your budget instead of dining in the restaurants during breakfast and dinner. But I still suggest dining at the restaurants such as Bunker's Cafe and Pension Ivatan for you to have a taste of different Ivatan dishes. In Basco, meals cost around 200-300 pesos.

WHERE TO EAT IN BATANES

During tours, meals are pre-ordered; especially in Sabtang and Batan South. If you're on DIY, you have to coordinate this with your guide before the tour. If you're on a packaged tour, this should be already included in the tour package.

Batanes Philippines
Chawa View Deck in Mahatao

I hope this will help you plan your next ultimate adventure in Batanes!
Dios Mamajes!

Batanes
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Batanes
Batanes
Batanes
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Batanes

"All our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them." ~Walt Disney

More photos on Pinoy AdvenTurista's Facebook Page, click here.

Please don't hesitate to leave a comment below if you have questions.

NOTE: Rates are correct as of May 2013. They are subject to change without prior notice. Thank you.



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61 comments :

  1. wow.. galing talaga magbreakdown ni boss Mervs..
    nakakainggit ang Batanes adventure!

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  2. ang gastos pala pumunta dyan pero sulit na sulit....sa view, foods and everything! thanks sa breakdown ng expenses. :)

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  3. im an avid fan of ur escapades, hope to pursue the remaining 40 provinces in my list....

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  4. Yet another drool-worthy destination! Balang araw mararating ko rin yan! Thanks for sharing this guide! =)

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  5. Galing. Definitely bookmarking this post. Sana magawa ko to next year :)

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  6. We can use this someday. Thanks for the tips!

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  7. Wow! To be able to visit to batanes is already a big accomplishment as a traveler. Good for you :D

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  8. Hi.just want to ask.. f ano lng mapuntahan nami for 2 days... any suggestions po..tnx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kaya naman po ng 2 days.. 1 day sa batan, 1 day sa sabtang... kaso, like i mentioned, hindi lahat mapupuntahan nyo...

      Delete
  9. Hi just wanna ask saan po ba ung Batanes Hedgerows? yun po kasi ang gusto ko puntahan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sorry po, di po ako familiar kung saan yun... :)

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    2. You're pertaining to Vayang Rolling Hills. North Batan. :)

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    3. Anonymous - I think you're pertaining to Vayang Rolling Hills where in there's a lot of hedgerows. :)

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    4. Hedgerows are those reeds planted in between private fields. you can see them while you are in the airplane or in radar tukon or in mahatao...

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    5. I am from batanes... the hedgerows are located in mahatao hills, they are reeds planted in between the fields to serve as wind control and erosion control and as boundary. you can see the hedgerows while you are in the airplane landing or in high places like tukon or in mahatao

      Delete
    6. Batanes hedgerows,

      - we call it "liveng" in our language,you can see/visit this in Batan island, in Basco and from southern part of Mahatao, traditionally this comprises of trees such as "vutalao" and reeds or "viawu" that are planted to separate farms that serves as windbreaks,property demarcation, erosion control mechanism and perhaps a habitat corridors. While in Itbayat, pile of stones/corals are being use as markers. These hedges are part of the sustainable agriculture system of the Province.

      www.discoverbatanes.com

      Delete
  10. Thanks for this, Mervz! Been reading a lot of blogs as well to prepare for my trip next week to Batanes!

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  11. thank u so much! we're planning for a trip to Batanes on Feb 2014 :) did you book your room when you arrived Basco or before the trip?

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  12. Thank you for the tips. By the way, may I know what's the name of the airline that gives promos? Heheh

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  13. Batanes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mararating din kita!!!! hehe...Nice informative blog...

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  14. as early as now, pinaplano ko na ang batanes birthday trip ko.. big help itong blog mo mervz!! salamat!!

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  15. napakaganda talaga ng batanes, tahimik, safe na safe ka sa batanes, kaya lang nskskatakot sumakay ng bangka papunta ng sabtang grabe ang alon sa dagat pero ang galing ng bangkero, pero sulit sa sabtang napakaganda, punta kayo ng batanes, yun nga lang mahal ang airfare pero kapag may sale ang mga pal express at skyjet mura lang, tagal ko din pinag ipunan ang batanes pero sulit talaga as in super sulit

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  16. Salamat sa post mo! I did what you suggested. I went to the Philippine Travel Mart to avail of flight discounts and was able to book my flight to Batanes for P6,000 roundtrip. I've contacted my preferred accommodation and booked with them too. I've recently contacted your tour guide Ryan regarding the 3-day day tours. Here's hoping that he also gives me a great price! I'll be traveling in February 2014, I gave myself plenty of time to plan this!

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  17. Hi guys! Marc here.. I'll be visiting Batanes on last week of January 2014. I got my roundtip airfare ticket for less than 2k via PAL sale. Anyone who might have booked the same dates? Tara! Kita kits tayo sa Batanes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kelan nagsale yung PAL?

      Delete
  18. Hi guys! Marc here.. I'll be visiting Batanes on the last week of January 2014. I got my roundtrip airfare all-in for less than 2k via promo fare. Anyone out there who might have booked on the same period? Tara! Kita kits sa Batanes! Godbless and more power to Pinoy Adventurista!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. less than 2k? roundtrip?swerte mo naman dre. kelan nagsale ang PAL?

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    2. less than 2k? roundtrip? swerte mo naman dre. kelan nagsale ung PAL?

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  19. Thanks, Pinoy Adventurista! I'm taking note of all your tips.

    We'll try to stay longer.. and opt for DIY trip.

    Budget na lang ang kulang. haha.. :)

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  20. Hi, do you have the contact detail for the DIY Tour? Iisang tao lang ba yung tryke driver at freelance tour guide?

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  21. Hi, do you have the contact detail for the DIY Tour? Iisang tao lang ba yung tryke driver at freelance tour guide?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi! anyone travelling to Batanes on March 16-20? can we explore the place and make our trip cheaper? Tara na!!!

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    Replies
    1. Will be there 15-17march..

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    2. Booked my ticket for batanes via pal express for only 1450 roundtrip this coming october 2014,hopefully maganda ang weather doon pagpumunta ako.

      Delete
  23. Hi! Anyone going to Batanes on March 16-20? Can we explore the place together and make our trip cheaper? Thanks!

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  24. Wonderful views, thanks for sharing. Very helpful.

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  25. nice place ang batanes, sarap balikan ,,, a place for photo enthusiast....

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  26. ayun. alam ko nabasa ko na 'to. Hahahaha... with air fare aabot talaga ng 5 digits 'to. Cheers to more travels and adventures this 2014, Pinoy Adventurista Mervin!

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  27. The Van Rental at 250/hr can you send me their contact number, please =) --joy

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  28. Thanks for this, Mervz. This would help me a lot should I decide to fly solo this 21-26. Two of my friends (with tickets) had to back out.

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  29. I'm traveling solo on Feb 22-25. Holler me so we can explore the island cheaper!

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  30. Travel on June 4-8!

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  31. Hi! Ano pong pedeng mabiling souvenirs/food sa Batanes?

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  32. I Plan to visit Batanes on October 2015, I might go there alone,
    Any advice for a wonderful solo trip?

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  33. Since ABS-CBN has been going around featuring and giving some sort of award to people whom they have found to be of impeccable honesty (I guess as a promo for their teleserye "Honesto") no one deserves it more than the owners of the honesty cafes and stores found on the Batanes islands, probably even the entire province and its people. What d'yall think?

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  34. Batanes Travel GuideMarch 12, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    We are looking forward to your visit here in Batanes! ... Yes, it is expensive to go to Batanes, make sure you get the most of your vacation by having a reputable travel guide.

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. hi! ano po advisable na first day ng tour? on a weekday, say Friday? or Saturday? we need to arrange our work sched din kc. thanks

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    Replies
    1. Any day po would be fine.. but iwould avoid weekends para less ang tourists...enjoy Batanes...

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    2. booked flight falls from Saturday to Tuesday. fingers crossed sana less lang tourist ng schedule namin. thank you.

      Delete
  37. Hi! I just want to ask how much did U pay for your roundtrip fare, sale ba or regular promo fare? Upon checking, only flypal has flights from Manila which cost P12k plus RT(April).

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  38. Hello, i just to ask when did u go, i mean mga what month poh kau nag punta? Planning to visit batanes one time pero not sure sa weather eh. Any tip? Thanks!

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  39. One of my dream destination. But this dream is seems to be elusive *atm hahaha.. how I wish one day I could visit this place with my loved ones.. ;)

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  40. One of my dream destination. But this dream seems to be elusive for now..hahah How I wish someday some time I could visit this place with my loved ones.. :)))

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  41. This is a very helpful post. Thank you! We're going to Batanes in July and we're taking the same tour.

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  42. hi!
    we are planning to visit on dec 20 to 27, 2014
    are there frequent flight cancellation during december?
    are there typhoon during this month?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing your thoughts! I may not seem to reply most of the time but rest assured, I read and appreciate all your comments. Salamat! :)