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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tips When Traveling to Batanes

Port of Ivana
Batanes is one of the traveler's dream destination. The place is simply breath-taking and the beauty of nature is mesmerizing. People in the island are so warmth that they even greet the tourists with their smiles saying good morning or good afternoon. However, Going to Batanes could really be expensive, and is more costly than traveling to Hong Kong or to any other Asian tourist destinations. Staying in Batanes for 3 to 5 days may not be an enough time to complete your traveling experience.

But there is an alternative way of spending your money in order to cut your budget cost based from my travel experience in Batanes. Below are some of my tips and the summary of my expenses and experience for you as a guide to look at so that you will be able to anticipate your cost to make a leeway to some unseen circumstances occur in the island. The more people traveling in the group is the better as this will lessen your expenses. But since I was the only one who went to Batanes, the cost was conservatively based from my personal experiences.

Travel Expenses:


  • Airfare (roundtrip with Sky Pasada via Tuguegarao to Basco):  Php 7, 600
  • Bus from Cubao to Tuguegarao - 575
  • Bus from Tuguegarao to Cubao - 575
  • Food Allowance for 7 days - 2,500
  • Inns for 7 days - 3,000
  • Pasalubong and souvenir items - 500
  • tricycle rentals in Batan tour - 1600
  • Tricycle rentals in Sabtang tour 800
  • Jeepney allowance - 200
  • Faluwa boat ride (round trip) 100
Going to Tuguegarao made via Victory Liner bus takes approximately 12 hours travel time. From Tuguegarao to Batanes is one hour plane ride.

Sky Pasada also offers an alternative route from Manila to Batanes which is more expensive. You can check the time, schedule and rates and reserve a ticket online www.skypasada.com. Schedules of flights may change, so you should be able to check your flight schedule prior to the departure time. My flight from Batanes to Tuguegarao when I purchased my ticket online was at 8:45a.m. But good thing I left the inn at 6:30 a.m. because the flight was earlier and it left Batanes 7:30 a.m. According to the staff, the schedules online in their website are NOT updated.

You are only allowed to check in 5 kilos of baggage and will pay more in excess of 5 kilos including your hand carry bag. In my case I have a total of 13 kilos, so I was required to pay the 8 kilos amounting to 404.00 pesos. This was a quite ridiculous experience because my returning flight from Batanes to Tuguegarao, I was only asked to pay 3 kilos excess which I paid the amount of 150 pesos only and they did not include my hand carry bag to pay an extra fee. Sky Pasada is a 19 seater plane and is suitable once you are in a budget travel. Make sure to get an advance reservation for your flights as much as possible if you are going through the month of February which is the prelude of the peak season.

Bring extra cash as there is only one ATM machine available at Basco which is Landbank. Also you cannot use your credit card for paying some goods, restaurants or any hotels/inns.

Hotels/Inns

If you are a backpacker, you can stay at some of the cheapest inn to cut your cost. Ivatan Lodge starts from 300 pesos per person a day. Some hotels/inns is more expensive averaging from 800 to 1500 pesos a day. Peak season occurs during summer. If you are going this season, make sure to make a reservation in advance as most of these inns and hotels are fully booked.

Restaurants

There are few restaurants you can find in Basco, Batanes. The one that I usually dine in is Zantan's Canteen owned by Susan. It is beside Ivatan Lodge. They have a free wi-fi internet. It opens from 9a.m. to 10p.m. The schedule might change depending on the season. SDC Canteen is found near the plaza and is the biggerst restaurant in town. Hiro's Cafe is a classy restaurant located at Abad St. Foods in Batanes are expensive as most of these goods are coming from Manila and Luzon island. You can also drop by at Vatang Grill along the national road going to Ivana. It is the only restaurant you can find along the main hi-way. Pension Ivatan offers an Ivatan food even if it is not a peak season. It is found outside the Basco airport. Ivatan foods are seasonal so Pension Ivatan is a good place to eat especially if you are looking for a local food. Foods there are really expensive so if you want these foods to be served as your meal, you can ask a caretaker in advance to cook for you.

Note: Please DO NOT eat a coconut crab or "tatus" for it is an ENDANGERED species.

Tour Guides/Car Rentals

Marlboro Country in Mahatao
If you are in a guided travel, tour guides charge their services from 1500 pesos or more for a whole day tour exclusive of car/van rentals. You may also hire a car/van and rental fee is 1500 a day. It's the same amount charged by tricycle owners for a whole day tour. You may not need a tour guide once you know the spots what you are going to visit and you can ask the driver to take you to some of these spots.  And usually the drivers know about it and could also be your tour guide. But hiring a tour guide is HIGHLY recommended if you don't want to miss out some of these spots. But I SUGGEST that you hire a tour guide!

Transportation has been a problem in Batanes. You can ride through a jeepney if you are going to another town. But please take note of their time for they only have two trips daily. One is morning which is as early as 5a.m. and the other is at noon at 12p.m. Make sure when you return to Basco, you don't miss the last trip which is around 3pm. Otherwise when you miss the last trip, you will be able to return to Basco the next day already. Ask for some people about the schedules of the trip.

Going to Sabtang Island

Lighthouse in Sabtang
Sabtang island is simply irresistible and is recommended to visit so you will be able to complete your tour. It highlights a lighthouse, the old houses and the Morong beach. But the trip could be dangerous as it involves traveling by water through Faluwa boat ride, a small boat used by locals for traveling back and forth. The weather condition changes from time to time, and it even changes in just a matter of minutes. The fare is 50 pesos only from Port of Ivana. They normally have two trips daily. First trip runs at 7a.m. If you are already in Sabtang, please take note of your time when returning to Batan. Schedules vary, depending on the weather condition as it is unpredictable in Batanes. Especially when low tide, the boat leaves the port early from Sabtang due to the weather condition is unpredictable and the boat can hardly leave the port when low tide. I had almost missed the trip returning to Batan due to the boat was leaving already the port in Sabtang and it was already the last trip during the day. DON'T MISS THE LAST TRIP if you do not want to stay overnignt in Sabtang.

Tricycle rentals for your half day tour in Sabtang is 800 pesos only. You can go to the tourist desk upon reaching the port in Sabtang and sign up there. They will be able to help you up to get a tricycle service and prepare some foods for you.

TIP: Always ask the locals if you have any questions anything about your travel in the island.

FOR MORE TRAVEL INQUIRIES AND BOOKING: Kindly post a comment or send me a message to johnluismiguelmadrigal@gmail.com to forward your inquiries to the tour guide.


Sameera Chathuranga


50 Responses So Far:

batanes_ryan said...

Nice Reading your blog...

Good Job :)

Some changes happen... :(
like the boat rides in sabtang is now P150/head RT, reg fee will be P200/head starting this Feb.

and correction for the tour guide service fee, it is not 1500/day thats too much, Batan tour is only 500-800/day and sabtang 800-1000/day.

Thanks for this :)

Ryan :)

john said...

Thanks Ryan for sharing these infos. :) Oo nga that's too much pala :)

Regards,

John

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog, thanks for giving us the information. This helps a lot...

Liz

Anonymous said...

nice blog, very informative!! thanks...Gigi

mench said...

Hi John, we are going to Batanes on Jan 30 - Feb 1.

john said...

Hi Ate Mench,

That's great to hear! Just enjoy your stay in Batanes, ok?

Regards and God bless!

John

JeffZ said...

Is it safe to ride the planes of Skypasada? Been really fascinated to visit Batanes and hopefully when the weather permits.. Is summer time a good time to visit Batanes?

Thanks.

JeffZ said...

Is it safe to ride the planes of Skypasada? Been really fascinated to visit Batanes and hopefully when the weather permits.. Is summer time a good time to visit Batanes?

Thanks.

john said...

Hi Jeffz,

I wouldn't say yes or no if it's safe to ride with Skypasada plane. But to my experience, I think it's fine although Skypasada has a 19-seater capacity plane. To ensure the accuracy, kindly check their website at www.skypasada.com. Tour guides said that it is best to go to Batanes during summer season. But if you'll take my words, it's really worth it. Thanks and regards,

John

Anonymous said...

Very useful info for someone like me who's been searcing endlessly on how to get to Batanes particularly when Sea Air and Asian Spirit no longer service Manila-Batanes sector.

Wish I could travel to Batanes come December good weather permitting.

Thanks a lot!

Bing

john said...

Hi Bing,

Thanks for your comment..Traveling to Batanes in December would be fine, it's actually winter in Batanes come December. Good luck!

John

Joanne said...

hi po... i just wanna ask kng promo ba ung airfare mo from tuguegarao? my friend and I are planning to go to Batanes on February... we're on a very tight budget kaya ngaun p lng nagrready na kamio... thanks!

Joanne said...

hi po... i just wanna ask kng promo ba ung airfare mo from tuguegarao? my friend and I are planning to go to Batanes on February... we're on a very tight budget kaya ngaun p lng nagrready na kamio... thanks!

john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john said...

Hi Joanne. the Tuguegarao route to Batanes is one of the options if you are in a tight budget. That is what I did. They might have a promo rate, just go to Sky Pasada website www.skypasada.com and make sure you reserve a booking as soon as possible.

Regards,

John

Anonymous said...

thanks, John! i always visit the site kaso laging "No flights available, please try another date." nakukuha q :/ probably kasi next year pa ung travel period q...

i'll keep on trying na lng :)

me guide ka ba before? baka me marecommend ka... thanks! :)

john said...

Hi Joanne,

Perhaps the reason why there were no flights available, it might be because lots of people going to Batanes during February. Pero you can call Skypasada as there might be some cancellation of booking. You better believe me, though expensive it's worth your money going to Batanes, When I went there, I didn't have a guide, except that I bumped with a guide there when I went to Sabtang. If you want a guide, I know someone there I can refer you to. Thanks

Regards,

John

Joanne said...

thanks again John! :)

I'll ask for the guide details when I've secured Skypasada tickets. Thanks again! :)

Darlene Labuguen said...

Thank you John, for your blog. ^_^

Hi Joanne!

I have the same experience with sky pasada's website. And nobody is answering their landline. I dont know how else can I secure a flight. =(

Darlene

Darlene Labuguen said...

Thanks for your blog, John. ^_^

hi Joanne.

Im having the same problem with sky pasada's website. No one is also answering their landline. :(

So sad. I really want to get cheaper flights. :(

john said...

You're welcome Darlene!

Regards,

John

Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing these useful tips. I'm planning to go to Batanes this April. Airfare is quite expensive.

Dios mabalos Sir! :)

Cynthia

john said...

Hi Cynthia,

Thanks for reading my blog. Just a little update about the airline, Sky Pasada is no longer flying to Batanes but there is alternative airline, please check it with Sky Jet. Airphil will be rendering a flight to Batanes sometime in May this year. Make sure you make reservation as soon as possible since summer is a peak season. Thank you and regards.

Christian said...

Hi John,

Would it be ok if we travel to Batanes this August? Thanks!

john said...

Hello Christian,

Thank you for visiting my blog site. August is a rainy season and we can expect more rain falls during the month of August. To my experience, the best time to go to Batanes is between November to May. But when you go this summer, expect flights are possibly fully booked and same with the hotels in Batanes too.

Thank you and best regards,

John

Anonymous said...

Hi JOhn..great to have read your blog..somebody told me that November is still a rainy season in Batanes..but we really want to go on Nov 1-4 especially that it's a holiday.

Is it ok to go there during that month? We just can't afford to miss the flight upon going back to Manila because of weather condition.

Thank you so much!

Pepper

john said...

Hi Pepper! It is indeed a rainy season in the month of November when you go to Batanes but I believe there's not much as rain compared to the months between June to October. I went to Batanes November but it rains quite a bit. I believe it's okay to go within that month but remember also that rains at times are unpredictable.In my experience, it rained, but not as much as these rainy months..Don't forget to reserve some bookings as early as you can, but if you need a tour guide please let me know I can recommend one for you.

Regards,

John

Anonymous said...

how can one bring a car in batanes? do we have to coordinate with the coast guard or the navy for this? you can contact me at 09156978275 or joemarjoms@yahoo.com

john said...

Hi Joemar,

Thanks for visiting my site! As for your questions. It may not be advisable to bring your car to Batanes and this possibly may cause you a lot of money. There's no passenger ship going to Batanes but I'm pretty sure that cargo/container ships are always on its way to Batanes to bring the goods from the main island of Luzon. I haven't had heard too much yet about tourists bringing their own car. But there will always be a tourist guide who can assist you to arrange your tours and they can rent a van/car for you once you are in Batanes which is a way lot cheaper than bringing your car. This option is great for tourists..Thanks and feel free to drop me a line. Best regards :)

John

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Thank you for these info, been wanting to visit Batanes. can you possibly give me some info for an itinerary good for 3 days, would that be enough?

Regards,

Connie

john said...

Hi Connie,

Thank you for visiting my site. Kindly message me through my email address, I will refer you to someone for your itinerary, he is a tour guide, I will email you his contract information. Here's my email address: johnluismiguelmadrigal@gmail.com.

Thanks and regards,

John

Anonymous said...

With blogs like this around I don't even need website anymore.

I can just visit here and see all the latest happenings in the
world.

Anonymous said...

Hi John, Thank you for posting your informative blog. My husband and I will be going to Batanes this March 2014. Can you suggest an itinerary to experience Batanes for only 3 days/2 nights? I hope you can help me out on this. Thank you so much! Mabuhay, Stephanie

john said...

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for visiting my site. There are tour guides who can provide you an itinerary for 3 days tour. I do suggest you coordinate with the resort staff on or before your arrival date to Batanes. Guides are available upon arrival. Kindly message me on the email I provided, for I will send you the contact information of the guide that can assist you with your tour. Thanks have a good one!

Regards,

John

Anonymous said...

Hi John! please tell me options on how to get to Batanes thru Tuguegarao. Is there a boat from there or an airline? They say Skypasada ceased operating. Any recommended guides from Batanes? Thanks a lot!

john said...

hello, thanks for visiting my site. I think there's a plane that is going to Batanes, try Skyjet Air, www.skyjetair.com but you should be able to check out that there's a flight going to Batanes. Unfortunately there is no boat going to Batanes. Email me and I will give you the person I can recommend when you go to Batanes..Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

Hey John, me and my boyfriend are planning to visit batanes this coming September 15-19. Our flight from Manila will be on September 15 to Tuguegarao.. Just want to know your suggestion for the transportation from tuguegarao to batanes.. Do they have land trip going to batanes? Thanks! Jen.. ��

john said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks for visiting my site. There used to have a ship before but unfortunately it stop from operation. There's a plane going to Batanes from Tuguegarao, just check it out in their airport the moment you arrived Tuguegarao. I think you can check it with Sky Jet or PAL as they might have a flight to Batanes.

Thanks and best regards,

John

pablito ruizo said...

Hi,

this is very informative

very refined writer.

Rachel Galo said...

Awww... no more ferry ride from tuguegarao? :( it is my 1st option pa naman... really want to see Batanes...

john said...

Rachel,

Yes wala na..yun din ang first option ko dati, I was looking for a ferry nung sa planning stage pa lang ako..I hope na magkaroon na..

Thanks,

John

jozell Rili said...

Hi! nabasa ko yung blog mo, matagal na tong napublished kaya sa palagay ko marami na ring nagbago sa traveling expenses going to Batanes. We are only a group of three, plano namin pumunta ng batanes by november. is it a good time? Pwede bang humingi ng tips? kasi ayaw namin kumuha ng tour package. gusto namin mag-explore on our own. Thanks! This is a good blog :)

john said...

Hi Jozeli,

Sorry for my late reply. Yes November is also a good time to go to Batanes based on my experience I went there November for 8 days stay. You can explore on your own and you can ask the local to assist you where you can go to some of the good spots. If you are backpacking that is really a nice way of exploring Batanes, at least you can enjoy it as much as you can. I DID that without getting tour packages which is really okay. However if you are on your own just make sure to always ask the locals there to assist you and guide you at the same time. Feel free to ask me more. Thanks.

John

Anonymous said...

Hi, is there a faster way (other than email) to reach you? Via mobile if possible. I have a few questions to ask. Thanks!
-Camz

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

It was great resding your comments. I've been wanting to go to batanes for quite a long time.. Now i think i have a chance. Do you ppsitively think it's safe for a girl to be wandering alone in the island? Is is safe to hire tricycles to go to different spots? Well i am a bit scared, but i don't want this to stop me from going to Batanes. Any tips? Thanks a bunch.

john said...

Hello,

Sorry for my late reply. It is better to have someone with you if you decide to hire a tricycle to take you on different spots. Yes just for your own safety purpose. Yup just tour the place and someone should accompany you. This is not to say it's not safe there, in fact there is zero crime rate in Batanes. You can ask the locals there to give you more options on your tour. Enjoy!

John

Unknown said...

Hi anyone whos planning to go in Batanes this year? Can I join to your group?

jhune ace said...

Hi anyone whos planning to go in Batanes this year? Can I join to your group?

maria said...

john

hello... planning to go there 4 of us this coming 0ct 8 2016 . can you recommend hotel... tour guide and car for rental. THNX ...

maria said...

john

hello ! can you recommend hotel, tour guide and car for oct .8, 2016. THX