Spend Under Php10,000 for 7 Days in BatanesTuesday, December 15, 2015
I must tell you something, so we won't get into each other's nerves and we won't waste each other's time, this guide DOES NOT INCLUDE airfare.
To say thank you, here are some tips to get the best airfare deals:
- Subscribe to airlines' newsletters, so you'll be notified whenever there are upcoming seat sales. Make an account too, it'll be worth it. Example: Air Asia's BIG members gets priority access during seat sales.
- Follow their Facebook pages. Not just Like them, Follow them. Watch every post like a hawk.
- Join Facebook travel-centric groups and communities, such as DIY Travel Philippines, to get more updates.
My two-way ticket, by the way, cost Php4,823, nabbed from PAL's May 2015 Seat Sale. Travel dates were September 29 to October 5, 2015.
Alright, now unto to the actual travel guide.
Tipid Tips Primer
- Do not forget to ask for a Batanes Map from the tourism office. This can also be acquired from the Basco Airport. The map will be an essential tool for all you Doras and Boots, sorry, Diegos out there!
- Learn how to ride a motorcycle, if you don't already know how. You'll save hundreds of pesos!
- Some destinations in Batan such as Vayang Rolling Hills, and Naidi Hills, are within walking/biking distance. Rent a bike or, better yet, walk to these places to save money!
- Bring canned goods (but not the easy-open ones, as they tend to get confiscated in NAIA) and other convenient-to-prepare foods. While Batanes has an abundance of photogenic vistas, the food scene is limited and relatively more expensive. I suggest you eat at the local restos for lunch and have instant noodles for breakfast and dinner. This way, you'd still get to help locals and not go over budget. Win-win!
- Talk and get to know the locals! The people of Batanes are soooo honest and kind. If you're lucky, you might get free cooking oil to cook your Luncheon meat in.
- Most of the destinations in Batanes are free to enter. You pay in the Tourism Office, and basically get an all-day-pass.
- Do not be unreasonably stingy, though. Our friends in Batanes thrive on tourism, so be generous if you can afford it. It's worth it.
DAY 1 - Batan
Arrival at Basco Airport
Checked in at Nanay Cita's Homestay
Took a nap
Lunch at Octagon
Rented a bicycle and went around town and visited Naidi Hills and Vayang Rolling Hills
Bought canned goods and cooked dinner at Nanay Cita's
|Biking around town on Day 1|
|What a dramatic background!|
DAY 2 - Sabtang + Batan
- San Vicente Ferrer Church
- Savidug Village
- Lime Kiln
- Chamantad Cove
- Chavayan Village
- Morong Beach (Mayahang / Makabuang Arch)
Dinner with friends at Novita's Lodge**
*We met friends on Sabtang and they allowed us to join them on their South Batan tour for free. But no worries. We went back on another day to make this guide more realistic
**We had friends who were also in Batanes during our trip there. They cooked food and shared them with us. No worries again as I included a fixed food budged in the Summary of Expenses to make this realistic.
|This place near San Vicente Ferrer Church is featured in the music video of Yeng Constantino's "Ikaw"|
|Just one of the vernacular houses in Savidug Village|
|In Chamantad Cove|
|Learning how to make "Vakul" -- the traditional headgear of the Ivatan|
DAY 3 - Itbayat
Checked out at Nanay Cita and went on a boat to Itbayat Island
Checked in at Levinda Lodge in Itbayat (overnight)
Lunch at the only carinderia in Itbayat
- Torongan Cave
- Torongan Hills
- Town Proper
- Lake Kavaywan
- Mt. Karoboban View Deck
- Paganaman Port
- Small Lagoon
- Chinapoliran Port
- Port Mauyan
Bought and cooked canned goods for dinner
|Torongan Cave was once an Austronesian settlement|
|Sunset at Paganaman Port|
|With Lake Kavaywan in the background|
|Pagamanan Small Lagoon|
DAY 4 - Batan
Checked out at Levinda Lodge
Went back to Basco
Checked in at Nanay Cita's
Spent the day napping*
Had dinner at Pension Ivatan**
*We were so exhausted from the boat ride from Itbayat that we slept the whole day
**Split the bill with the same friends we had dinner with on Day 2
DAY 5 - Batan
Rented a motorcycle and went to the following:
- Dipnaysupuan Japanes Hideout/Tunnel
- Mt. Carmel Chapel (Tukon Church)
- Sto. Domingo Church
- Chawa Viewdeck
- Mahatao Pier (Boat Shelter Port)
- Racuh-a-Payaman (Marlboro Country)
- Alapad Pass
- Song-song Ruins
- San Jose de Ivana Church
- Honesty Coffee Shop*
- House of Dakay
Lunch at Vatang Grill
Canned goods for dinner
*Honesty Coffee Shop is literally steps away from Port of Ivana (the port going to Sabtang). You can pass by here after you get back from Sabtang.
|At the Song-song Ruins|
|Venetian feels at the Boat Shelter|
|On the edge of Marlboro Country|
|Passing through Alapad Pass|
DAY 6 - Batan
Walked around town and made like a "lokal"
Lunch at Octagon
Rented a motorcycle and visited Valugan Boulder Beach
Visited Yaru Nu Artes Ivatan -- a small arthouse showcasing and selling works by Ivatan artists
Canned goods and instant noodles for dinner
|Valugan Boulder Beach in prevening light|
Checked out at Nanay Cita's
Departure to Manila
Summary of Expenses
Here's a breakdown of the expenses (adjusted per person/solo travelers)
Where to Stay
Nanay Cita's Homestay
+63 939 919 3616
I highly recommend this place. Nanay Cita is one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life. She's one of my favorite people, actually. Php350/night
Levinda Lodge is right in front of the town plaza. The rooms are quaint and airy.
Where to Eat
Almost all of their dish are priced at Php300. The food is actually delicious and the servings are hefty.
I wouldn't recommend this for solo travelers. But, hey, make some friends, pitch in, and share an Ivatan meal.
|At the Chawa Viewdeck in North Batan|
How to Get There
The earliest Ivana-bound jeepney that'll pass by Nanay Cita is at 5:30AM. To get back from Ivana Port, you may wait for a jeepney -- which will take quite a lot of waiting -- or rent a tricycle for Php400 - Php500 (depending on your haggling skills.)
There are three motorized boats that travel to Itbayat from Basco and back: M/B Itransa, M/B Ocean Spirit and M/B Veronica. There are daily boat trips, except for Sunday. Trips may be cancelled depending on sea condition. Ask assistance from Nanay Cita.
+63 908 436 6357
Kuya Jhun, unlike most guides, will give you ample time to appreciate each of your stops in Sabtang.
Bhong de Guzman
+63 921 566 8269
Kuya Bhong, one of the four authorized tour guides in Itbayat, will give you the ultimate Itbayat experience. He's also very giving with tidbits about the places you'll visit.
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