Saturday, March 15, 2014

Batanes, The Product Of Envy



Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.
Envy is also a great motivator.

Batanes, one of my dream destinations... but it was not in the "immediate and urgent" list.
  
I was wrong. This should be "urgent".

A friend posted his Batanes pics in Facebook. Just a month before, he has never travelled alone. He asked about my solo travel experiences. Then after a month, he travelled to Batanes alone! 

Pressure. Envy. The next day, I booked by rountrip flight to Batanes at regular rates, seven months in advance. I used my emergency travel fund.





Itinerary
I had five (5) whole days to explore the Batanes. I could’ve done Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat during the entire trip, just to hit them all. Para sulit yung regular fare ko na pamasahe. However, I felt that I was cramming a lot of spots into one trip. I decided to take it easy and just hit Batan and Sabtang islands. To compensate for not doing Itbayat, I decided to do something not to touristy: I hired a boat and visited Ivuhus island, one of the uninhabited island near Sabtang.

After reading Chyng Reyes' experience in her blog, I learned that Batanes can be done without joining a group tour. Pwedeng-pwede pala ang DIY. Got her tour contacts as well.
Since I had time, I did North Batan tour twice, one via trike, and one on foot. Yes, on foot all the way up the rolling hills. I also did South Batan twice, via tricycle, and via motorcycle. 

The table below lists my itinerary and expenses:


DAY
ACTIVITY
COST
NOTES

Pal Express rountrip non-promo fare
       10,565.00

Day 1
Arrive in Batanes. North Batan Tour


4:30
Arrive in NAIA T3


6:00
Arrive in Basco



Taxi to airport
            300.00


Jollibee meal
              76.00


Cinnabon coffee
            110.00


Bulalo cup noodles in Palangud House
              17.00


Sari-sari store loot
              51.00


North Batan Tour
         1,000.00
Contact: Dale - 0929-341-0941

Batanes viewing deck



Tukon Church



Fundacion Pacita



Japanese Tunnel



Valugan Boulder Beach



Lunch at Pension Ivatan
            305.00


Rolling Hills



North Batan Lighthouse



Saint Martin de Porres Church







Accomodations (Php 350 + 175 half rate)
            525.00


Coffee
                7.00


Beer
              27.00





Day 2



Trike fare going to Ivana port - Php 220 per trike, per way
              70.00
*220/3 pax

Pandesal
              10.00


Boat fare to Sabtang
              75.00


Savidug Village



St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel



Tinyan Viewpoint + Chamantad Cove



Chavayan Town



Chavayan souvenirs
            200.00


Morong Beach



Lunch at Morong
            400.00


Trike tour" *Php 800/3 pax.
            300.00
 Contact: Michael Hornedo - 09184370551


Please contact Michael Hornedo

Round trip trike dare to Nakanmuan
            500.00
Nakanmuan is the jump-off point to Ivuhus

Dinner
            300.00


Accomodations - Tourism Office
            300.00





Day 3
Back to Basco. North Batan Solo Walk.



Sabtang to Basco boat fare
              75.00


Trike to Palangud
            220.00
*Trike No. 18

Sarisari store purchase
              59.00


Lunch is free c/o Ate Fe dahil fiesta



Merienda/Dinner on STIC canteen
              65.00
pancit, egg, pineapple juice, mocha slice




Day 4
South Batan Tour (via trike)



         1,500.00
Contact: Dale - 0929-341-0941

Chanarian Viewdeck



Mahatao Lighthouse



Marlboro Hills



Imnajbu



Alapad Rock



Sitio Song Song



Honesty Coffee Shop



Ivana Church



House of Dakay



Lunch (paid for the guide’s lunch also)
            520.00
Vatang Restaurant

Piknik
              30.00


Dinner at STIC Canteen
            115.00





Day 5
South Batan tour take 2 (via motorcycle)



South Batan (via motorcycle)
            700.00
Contact: Dale - 0929-341-0941

Fallen turbines



Diura fishing village



Long walk in Marlboro Hills



Alapad Rock take 2



Ensaymada
              20.00


Lunch
            120.00


Accomodations
         1,050.00


Milo
                7.00


Tshirts
            380.00


Rice
              20.00


2 pcs egg
              18.00


Sizzling Sisig
              38.00


Coke
              26.00





Day X
Depart Batanes



Terminal fee
              50.00


Coffee
                9.00


NAIA to UP taxi
            300.00

8:10
Depart Basco


9:50
Arrive Manila



Taxi to Manila







TOTAL
       20,460.00


I was supposed to bike going to South Batan during Day 5. But after some researching, I realized biking for at least 15 kilometers is not for me. Also, it rained that day. Biking in Batanes is not in the stars.

You can skip some of the places. You don’t have to do everything. Research about the places then pick a couple, and spend your time there. 

Scarf + windbreaker + view

I know that you can do Batanes for half the price of what I spent if you booked a promo-rate fare and if can share your expenses with a travel buddy. But it was not my objective to cut costs. The objective is to enjoy Batanes given a budget (the motto of this blog is “Balancing Life On A Budget”).

Accommodation

Batan Island: Marfel’s lodge is the most famous backpaker’s type of accommodation in Batan. I texted Ate Fe in January to inquire and wag ka, they are fully booked! She offered me a room in Time Travel’s Lodge and Palangud House. Palangud House was cheaper at Php 350/night for a single-bed room, common bathroom. It has its own honesty shop, where you can buy food (instant noodles, coffee, junk food).

Sabtang Island: I stayed at the dorm of Heritage House, located at the Tourism Office for Php 300/night. If you want their private double rooms (which I recommend over the dorm), better book your accommodations once you land in Sabtang.

Tips
Food is costly. A normal carinderia food in Metro Manila will cost you Php 40-50 will cost you Php 80-100 in Batanes. There are eateries and restaurants around. But most of these cook “just enough” for their customers. Given the accessibility of the province, the locals are very good in managing their resources. They are not wasteful. For some restaurants, you'll have to make reservations.

In Sabtang island, a meal of two/three viands, rice, a drink and dessert will cost you Php 300. Whether that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food is very good. The thing is, you don’t have to eat like a king all the time. Minsan, ang pagkain, laman lang ng tiyan.
  

Yummy local dinner but really pricey at Php 300.

March is still winter season. It can get very windy. Bring your jacket/windbreaker.
Bring your sunglasses, sunblock, fully charged camera and memory card (bring an extra one). 

There’s a PNB ATM in Batan island. It was working. But to be on the safe side, I suggest you bring enough cash to cover your expenses.

Watch out for the poop. Watch out for fresh poop. Before sitting on the grass, check for poop traces. The continuous existence of the poop in the area serves as the natural fertilizer of the hills. Charing!
 
Cow poop hill
 
Don’t be a snob. Greet the locals. When they say “Good Morning”, smile back and say “good morning” as well.

The souvenirs were quite touristy for my taste. They have the usual shirts, mugs and keychains. A "Blow Ur Horn" shirt would be pretty cool. Too bad I didn't see that one sold, I just saw someone wearing it in the airport.  

Blow Ur Horn signs in blind spots

11 comments:

  1. How many minutes was the boat ride to Ivuhus Island? What did you see on the island? Also, how much did he charge for the boat to/from Ivuhus? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was just 15 minutes. The beach was pristine during the afternoon, clear waters. I wasn't able to see the cattle and the faluwa shaped burial site kasi malayo daw yun. I was charged over Php 1,000+ for the boat.

      Delete
  2. Hi! Can i copy and tweak your itinerary? Im planning to go there March 2015 and just like you i'll be doing it solo. I found other solo travellers' blog as well pero they dont have a worksheet for their expenses. Ayoko mag-calcu. Hahaha! Sad to say I was a week late when i checked for PAL's seat sale. JUNE-july 2015 na ang sched nila :( i'll wait until november for the final seat sale to batanes. Sayang din ang matitipid.

    Thank you in advance! Ps. I didnt expect to find you in GT also ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mariesun! Feel free to tweak this itinerary as you see fit. Although most would say sulit ang ticket to Batanes, mas practical pa rin to wait for seat sale. Good luck! Hope you find a great deal. :)

      Delete
    2. I think it will be hard for me to spot a promo ticket for March 2015. PAL has a sale now pero for July-Aug 2015 na! Homay. Di bale. Is Skyjet's plane ok? Kasi their flights are cheaper. Kaya lamg i've read problems with them naman though sa balesin naman ang flight... but still...����

      Delete
  3. :) nice

    thanks for visiting Batanes!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, what are "Taxi to airport P300.00" and "NAIA to UP taxi 300.00" for ? Are those part of your expenses in Batanes ? o sa Manila na ? Thanks :))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Both expenses are part of my Batanes trip expenses, spent in Manila.

      Delete
  6. Hi. Did you reserve your accomodation beforehand? Or don ka na naghanap when you get there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Yes I did reserve beforehand - via text.

      Delete

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