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Tips to survive 6D 5N in Batanes for only ₱6,500 (Budget Travel)




I was a bit impotent to travel in the last couple of months as things went a bit rough with my schedules and personal errands, I have loads of articles owed to my readers, my schedule hasn't changed yet this article couldn't be set aside. Whenever I leave an article in a back log that's considered turned to dust, I rarely go back and finish it up. I'm back and it's a big come back! With my chin up let me share this article with utmost pride and gratitude, I am happy to share my extreme Batanes adventure, how lucky we were to ace a very cheap airfare and how insane it was to decide whether we'll pursue the trip with an approaching Super Typhoon in the northermost of Luzon (Typhoon Lawin) or we'll end up having a shoulda woulda coulda moments if we dropped and let go of this trip.

We read of some blogs featuring their jaunts to Batanes luckily striking a very low cost round trip ticket to Basco, I told my self that I won't book a ticket to Batanes until I catch a flight not exceeding to 2000Php, I checked PAL's website once in a while especially during after hours or midnight as they usually release sale seats during these hours, for almost a year of trying I already gave up until one of my friends (Summer Almero) approached me (very urgently) vehemently said that there was a seat sale of 1,437PHP RT to Batanes, it was a bit strange because when we booked the date for three pax it shows a stellar amount but when it's completely processed it shows a different fare rate so we were all baffled, we didn't wasted the time and booked the flight right away. Of course I made my other friends aware of this but when they tried to book a flight the cheap fare's already gone, we were not sure if it was an unannounced seat sale or just a system glitch but one thing's for sure, stalking airline websites pays.
 


We booked the flight May of 2016 and chose October 19-24 as the travel date, unaware of what's lies ahead. Come October 19, the landfall of the Super Typhoon heading northern Luzon. It was not easy to decide as most of our friends and relatives restricted us to go, it was indeed an insane decision, we all decided to go if the flight won't get canceled, it was not and so we didn't.

On our first day to Batanes, while Typhoon hasn't approached the province we took advabtafe and agreed to start the Southern Batanes trip.

Here's our Itinerary:

1st Day October 19

South Batan Tour

2nd Day Rest (Due to Typhoon, we couldn't go out) we just go biking in the afternoon

3rd Day North Batan Tour

4th Day Sabtang Tour

5th day Socials (We attended the Mass and rented a bike going around the city including the lighthouse in Naidi Hills)

6th Day Fly back to Manila

 
North Batan Tour


 
Basco Town Proper

This is where most Tourist stay and dine, the town proper is ideal for biking. If you're an experienced biker probably you can set a North Batan tour on your own though it's not advisable unless you really have a reliable bike to use. There are also plenty of recommendable restaurants where you can try the native Ivatan dishes.

Mt.Carmel Church/ Tukon Church

A picturesque church made out of rubble stones that made it more appealing, this is the most preferable wedding location in Batanes, I heard lots of people who wants this place as a wedding venue, I absolutely understand why.

 

Fundacion Pacita

Often mistaken as a church, this place I must say is one of the expensive hotels in Batanes, if you're not on a tight budget I suggest you try this place. Since we were trying to achieve the cheapest way to survive our Batanes trip so we didn't check in to this hotel.

 




Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel

Was built by the Japanese during the world war II, I'm not into such activities but it was not difficult since the tunnel was not that long, I enjoyed going down the dark tunnel, it is something very unusual to do it Batanes as most of the trips are sightseeing tours.

Just be sure to bring flashlights with you to avoid accident.

 


St.Dominic Cathedral

It's located in the town proper of Basco and very accessible to all homestays in the area, we had our accommodation at Wakay Homestay, it's a short walk from the lodge (15mins walk) since we planned to visit the Lighthouse in Naidi Hills we opted to rent a bike instead (25per hr) going to the church.

 

Basco Idjang Fortress

This is a hilltop fortress by the ancient Ivatan, this is the place made to monitor and lookout for the invaders. This is an underrated landmark in the Northern part of Batanes.

Valugan Boulder Beach

This is Boulder Beach of Basco, it lies in the eastern side of the province. This unique boulder beach of Basco is new to me, I've seen an uncountable pristine beach destinations in the Philippines, I had been to pebbled, black, white sand, etc but far from those beaches it was my first time to see a boulder beach like what we have in Batanes. Prior to this trip I already saw various photos  of Valugan Boulder Beach from different blog sites but this look different when I visited it. The surface of the beach looks easy to step on but that's what I thought, just be extra careful on stepping the boulders.




Vayang Rolling Hills

This is my favorite place in Batanes, here is where we stayed longer, seeing the photos below you probably understand why. The majestic view of the hill was extra ordinary, this is the abstract view of Batanes to the minds of those who haven't visited the province, this is the picture perfect Batanes we all imagine. We spent most of the time taking photos in Vayang Rolling Hills, Naidi Lighthouse supposed to be the last but we didn't make it because we spent the entire remaining afternoon at the rolling hills.

 






Basco Light House and Naidi Hills

Another famous landmark in Basco, standing 66 feet and built in 2003 for the purpose of navigational facility for local fishermen and at the same time a tourist attraction for the visitors of the province. Since we missed to visit the lighthouse on our North Batan Tour we just decided to include this on our next day's errand since we'll be attending the mass we just rented a bike going to church and Naidi Hills.

 



South Batan Tour

Chawa View Deck

The first landmark you'll visit for South Batan Tour, nearest to Basco and lies in the western part of the province. Chawa view has a surprisingly majestic view in the coast of Batanes, if you're simply driving to the south you might overlook this area, you'll need to walk further to see the stairs go down down the cliff. As mentioned on my introduction we had this trip during the super typhoon so it was extremely dangerous and the wind was uncontrollably strong yet it didn't hinder us to take an ig worthy shots. 
 

Mahatao Boat Shelter

Another surprisingly magnificent place to visit, I realized you can't visit all the places here by your self, some says you can rent a motorcycle and do the tour by yourself but the beautiful places are somewhat hidden and difficult to locate unless you're a native resident. This boat Shelter in Mahatao offers a scenic view that everyone will surely be pleased.

 







 
San Carlos Borromeo Church

Located at the center of Mahatao, San Carlos Borromeo Church is one of the oldest churches in the province, next to it is a library called Mayway a Libru Du Vatan.

 
Tayid lighthouse
A popular attraction at South Batan and also located in Mahatao, an overlooking view of a  picture perfect mountain and breath taking greenery.  Here we stayed the longest and we just enjoyed the gloomy weather. They no longer allow tourists to enter the lighthouse. 





Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country)

Not far from the Tayid Lighthouse we reached the Marlboro Country, I was wondering why they call it a country when it's just windy hill. Anyways, this is one of the best tourist landmarks in the Souther part of Batanes, unfortunately the wind was intolerable  anymore and we couldn't stay for too long, but we still had a glimpse of it through these photos below as if the wind was calm. 




Honesty Store

I knew this place long before this visit, I heard this place from various people, now I came to see this unattended mini store. We stayed here and grab some snacks, it was amazing to see how people adapt their culture and practices, I witnessed how other travelers honestly paid and dropped their money at the box, if we have a version of this in Manila I bet it won't be a successful business.






House of Dakay

Built in 18th century, a traditional Ivatan house considered the oldest amongst other houses located in Ivana. We also wore Vakul, the traditional headpiece of Ivatans and other gears as props for our photo session, we just paid 10 pesos per gear (not bad).


Imnajbu point

The last stop for our South Batan stretch was the Imnajbu Point. The weather didn't permit a clear blue sky, the typhoon was clearly approaching anytime during the trip but we still appreciate the view from the coast since we saw the huge massive waves hitting the stones, though it was a little too scary to see those waves I was entertained by its color, imagine the color of fabric conditioner disguising as huge waves, that how it looked like plus the perfectly carved rock formation along the road.


Sabtang Tour

From Basco we waited for a jeepney going to South Batan, the jeepney operating in Basco are limited so we had to wait for the scheduled trip every 5 in the morning, we were there right on time. The jeepney dropped us to Ivana port going to Sabtang, the port is situated across San Jose de Ivana and next to Honesty Store where we had our light breakfast. The boat locally called Faluwa was delayed for an hour, it arrived around 7 in the morning, we waited till they finished unloading the luggage (including motorcycles)that took almost half an hour. We embarked to a 30min boat ride to Sabtang. Massive waves are not new to me but I couldn't seem to get use to it, it was a quick boat ride probably 30-40mins but let me remind you that we were there during super typhoon, well it was after the typhoon when we had the Sabtang trip but the wind and the waves are still furious. Once we reached Sabtang we immediately registered our names to the tourism office and started our tour.




Sabtang Church

An old Catholic church situated infront of Sabtang port, it was built by the Dominicans in 1785.

 

Morong Beach


A popular tourist destination in Sabtang, I noticed the sand in the beaches of Sabtang is fairer than the ones in the main island of Batanes one of these is Morong. A distinctly popular for its prominent arc stone with a long stretched white sand. Morong beach is one of the most visited beaches in Batanes especially during the peak season.

 


Tinyan Viewpoint and Chamantad Cove

A hidden beach along the coast of Sabtang, you'll pass through this hidden beach going to Chavayan Village. The trail going down the beach was backbreaking and it is also time consuming. The boat going back to Ivana  leaves at 12:30, we just settled to take photos of Chamanted Beach from Tinyan View Point.

 


Sabtang Weavers Association

Located in Chavayan Village, this is like a Pasalubong Center inside the old village, they sell Vakul and other woven gears made by the locals.

 

Stone Houses of Chavayan

Another well known site in Batanes province, Chavayan village possesses the rich culture of Batanes, walking around the stone village is like traveling back in time. Most of the houses roofs are made of thick Cogon that could last for 30 years.

 

We had our lunch before we head back to the Ivana port, the food is ok but we were a bit disappointed, we were four in a group and they prepared 3 viands for us, on our way to Sabtang we met a couple  that happened to get the same meal as we had. When I asked them how much they spent for food I was surprised that it's half cheaper than ours (₱600 good for 2) and the size/amount of their meal looks exactly the same, even if we say  their food is lesser than us (in weight or in size)  I think our food shouldn't cause that much. 

1,200 for this platter (300 x4= 1200? ) then others only paid ₱600?  mas marami pa nga yung serving ng karenderia dito sa Maynila. Well, that's just my observation don't get me wrong.

OUR FOOD FOR 5 DAYS, YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

 

Don't be scared guys, including on the expense we also dined at Pension Ivatan,Basco. We also need to try their local cuisine aside from these canned goods and noodles. 




BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES:
This budget is for 4 pax

Airfare: ₱1,437
Food for 5 day: 500

Day 1 (October 19, 2016)
Eco Tourism Fee- 350
Accommodation (for 5d 6N)- 1,750
South Batan Tour via Tricycle- 750

Day 2 (October 20, 2016)
Bike Rental- ₱25 for hr

Day 3 (October 21, 2016)
North Batan Tour via Tricycle- 500

Day 4 (October 21, 2016)
Sabtang Tour- 500
Registration to Sabtang- 250
Lunch- 300

Day 5 (October 22, 2016)
Bike Rental- 75 for 3 hours
Dinner at Pension Ivatan- 100


Day 6 (October 23, 2016)
Head back to Manila


We didn't spend much for food since we had our boxes of supplies that lasted in days.


TOTAL = 6,527 PHP


It was unquestionably one of the best trips I had, there were multifold reasons of going back to this province and I would love to share my next visit as the same case maybe we will not deprive ourselves with food, we challenged ourselves to the cheapest way possible in getting around the province, next time we’ll just enjoy the ride. Till next time BATANES!

Shoutout to May and Shie, the travelers we met during our trip. See you again guys!



















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