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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My 4-day, Solo Travel to Batanes for ₱8,000

Surreal. 

That was how JM de Guzman described Colosseum in Rome to Angelica Panganiban in the movie The Thing Called Tadhana. I thought it was just play of words used to describe a place just to make it "pa-deep" but I only understood how that word really meant when it was put in my own reality where I went beyond imagining things from the movies I've watched or magazines I've browsed. 

Surreal was indeed the only word that I can think of when asked of how I would describe my trip to Batanes. The experience was really dream-like. I have only seen pictures of Batanes in numerous websites that I have visited, posts of other travel bloggers, and Facebook posts of friends who have already been there. Actually being there was like a dream turned into reality. And that reality was not even pricey. I was able to really have a low budget travel but the quality of it was never compromised. I alloted 4 days for this trip. Day 1-3 was for the arrival and 2 1/2 days tour and day 4 was departure from Batanes.

One of my fave spots in Batanes

How did I do my solo travel in Batanes for ₱8,000 all-in? Here you go...

Flight

Manila to Basco 6:00 A.M.-7:15 A.M.
Basco to Manila 7:45 A.M.-9:00 A.M.
Flies every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday

I really have to be thankful that Skyjet Airlines had a promo fare offering 88+ base fare per way. This is the main and only reason that I was able to have this low budget trip. The usual fare for two-way Batanes flight is around ₱8,000-₱15,000. That is a lot of thousand difference. I booked my trip last August 2015. I got my airfare for ₱564.80 to be exact. Initially, I booked my trip for September. Then, it got cancelled due to operational requirements so I had it rebooked during the APEC break last November. Again, the flight got cancelled. So, I need to rebook it again within 30 days. The fateful day that I chose was Dec. 6-9, 2015 hahaha. In as much as I don't want to travel during work days, got no other option rather than waste my precious flight to Batanes so I took a leave from work.

A lot of my friends have been asking, how did I get such a low airfare? First of all, hindi po ako "abangers". Please don't imagine me as someone who has been always staying in front  of the computer to wait for sale fare. I have work. I have a social life hahaha. Here's the trick: once the sale fare is posted on the airline's site, look at date of the travel period. Choose the one with the lowest base fare. Don't mind the date. Take a risk to take a leave from work. The unspoken rule in every promo sale is that it comes with inconvenience. Mura eh, ganun talaga.

Accomodation

Since I usually travel solo, my most important consideration for accommodation is the reviews of the other travellers which covers comments about safety, services of the staff, amenities, etc.  The location just comes second. I don't mind if it is not near the city center as long as it was evaluated positively by other travelers who have been there before me.

I was able to search for a specialty lodging which was ranked #1 in TripAdvisor.I booked my 4 days, 3 nights stay in Crisan Lodge. It offers pick-up from the airport and it just takes a few minutes from airport to the lodge. Crisan Lodge is the only accommodation in Basco which offers free breakfast and has a grocery store at the first floor. You can also rent a bike for ₱25 per hour. I was charge ₱1,200 for my 3 nights stay. The room has two double deck. Luckily, I was the only one in my room 'coz there are no other travelers booked during my stay but I don't mind sharing the room with other fellow solo travelers. It has a common living room with TV, common comfort room and has a water dispenser. You can just refill your tumbler every time you go out so that it lessens your expenses instead of buying bottled water. I was able to meet the owners, Kuya Mon and Ate Crisan. They are really nice and had a chance to have a chat with them. They are very hands-on. 

Pick-up at the airport

Sala at the common area

My bed :)


Bike rental- PhP25 per hour

Contact details:
Crisan Lodge
Mon Imperial- Proprietor
0999-9907548, 0915-8490178
crisanlodgebatanes@gmail.com
facebook.com/crisanlodgebatanes

Batanes Tour

Signed up my tour package at BISUMI Tour and Services. They are the only travel agency in Batanes which offers joined group tours. Luckily, I was able to avail of their promo for North Batan-Sabtang Island-South Batan tour for ₱5,000

Upon arrival, they will give you time to rest. Then, they will pick you up at your accommodation during lunch for the half day North Batan tour. Day 2 would be Sabtang Island tour. I was picked up at Crisan Lodge at around 6 A.M. Through the efforts of other travelers, we were lucky enough that this tour pushed through. It was nearly cancelled because the boatmen said that they will not have a trip because they will have to do preparations for their Christmas party and Feast day of Immaculate Conception. Finally, they agreed to have a special trip for us and of course it comes with a price. We have divided 4,500 for the special trip amongst us 17 travelers who are really eager to push through with the Sabtang Island trip. We chipped in ₱250 per head. It was again another breathtaking experience of braving the roller coaster motion of the falowa (boat). The 30-minute boat ride of holding on to your dear life and praying that the you would land safe. All for adventure. The tour ended at around 2:30 P.M. Day 3 is the South Batan tour. The tour starts at 9:30 A.M. and ends at 4:30 P.M. The tour was really enjoyable and fun-filled because of our tour guide Lhet and honeymooners Ryan and Tina who were with me during the joined group tours.

The detailed itinerary are as follows:

Day 1

  12:00 noon pick-up at the accomodation
                    Orientation 
Juliet "Lhet" Cabrito, my favorite tour guide. She is very nice, knows every little detail about Batanes, accomodating, pretty and has good photography skills. My experience was more fun because of her. ^_^
Welcome Lunch at Vunung Dinette

         I am really a picky eater pero lahat masarap :) Pako salad and Luñis are my favorites.


Nilagang Baboy

Pako Salad


Vunung

Inside the vunung

Lunis (salted pork), Uvud (mukhang meatballs), fish and strip of beef
         
North Batan Tour

Mt. Carmel Chapel



PAGASA “Tukon” Radar Station 



Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel



Boulder Beach in Chanpan Valugan







Simbahan ng Basco



Basco Idjang (viewing only)


Vayang Rolling Hills



Lighthouse in Naidi Hills



Sunset Viewing




Day 2

Radiwan Port in Ivana



30 minutes Faluwa Ride to Sabtang Island


Falowa (boat)


Loading of passengers and motorcycles

 One thing that really amazed me in this falowa ride is the way the boatman drove it. He uses his feet to lead the direction in which the falowa can dodge the big waves. So, he needs look out at the hole of the roof of the boat. A unique experience, indeed!


Hawak ng paa niya ang buhay namin :)

Sabtang Island Tour

Ahaw (Natural Limestone Arc Formation)



Nakabuang Cave



Morong Beach



Sabtang Municipal Tourism Center



San Vicente Ferrer Church



Conscience Cafe & Souvenirs


Sabtang's version of Honesty Store
Tinyan Viewpoint


Lakas maka-Lord of the Rings




Vakul wearing

Sabtang Weavers Association




One of the Senior citizen weavers teaching me how to make the materials
that will be used to weave the vakul
Brgy. Chavayan Stone Houses

Sinadumparan Stone House

My fellow travelers, Ryan and Tina, in one of the jin-jin houses
With the cute Ivatan kids
Sta. Rosa De Lima Chapel

The only church with cogon roof

Savidug Stone House


Sto. Thomas Chapel

Viva Santo Tomas :)
Lunch near the port 








BISUMI  Printing & Souvenir Shop


On point :)


 Day 3

 Southern Batan Tour

 Chawa Viewing Deck


Viewdeck

152 steps

View after the 152 steps :)

Haggard paakyat..tander problems hahaha :)

Mahatao Boat Shelter Port



Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse



San Carlos Borromeo Church



Blank Book Archive



270 :)
Lunch at Paulvana’s Canteen


Venes

Lunis

Tinolang Manok in Pako
Racuh A Payaman (Marlboro Hills)




Hindi naman masyado mahangin hahaha :)
San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapel in Imnajbu





Lo-Ran Old Naval Base




The struggle is real hahaha #mahangin

Alapad Hills and Rock Formation


"I-Dawn Zulueta Mo Ako" Hills


Ruins of Song-song (viewing only)



House of Dakay
The oldest stone house built in 1887. Nakikinig sa tour guide :)

Old Spanish Bridge



White Beach 



Hohmoron Lagoon (swimming optional)


Blue Lagoon

 Honesty Store



Make sure to prepare exact amount. Otherwise, it's already your donation :)

End of the tour :(


Contact BISUMI TOUR & SERVICES
Mobile Numbers:
Smart - +63 919 2795 963
Globe -  +63 915 8034 582
Email: ryan.batanes@gmail.com ; bisumitours@gmail.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/batanestravelguide
Instagram: @batanestravelguide
Twitter: @batanesguide
Google+: Ryan Cardona
www.discoverbatanes.com

Dining

Day 1 dinner- dined at Pension Ivatan restaurant. Unfortunately, coconut crab was not in season so I haven't had the chance to try it. I ate together with my fellow traveler, Ryan, Tina and Carlo whom we met at the Basco Lighthouse. We split our bill into 4 so I think I just spent ₱125 for the meal.

Day 2 Dinner- ate at Chili's canteen which is a few blocks away from Crisan Lodge. Cost of the Adobo and Rice is ₱80.

Day 3 Dinner- we tried Jino's Pizzeria which is a few minutes away from Basco Lighthouse. A 12" pizza costs ₱380 which we divided for 3 persons. I paid ₱125. 





All my breakfast are taken cared of by Crisan Lodge and all my lunches are included in the tour so I only spent for my dinner in which I shared with Ryan and Tina so it lessened the cost. 

Souvenirs

You can buy your pasalubong/souvenirs at Basco Lighthouse, Bisumi Souvenir Shop and Tinyan viewpoint. The usual stuff that I bought were ref magnet 3 for ₱100 and Batanes T-shirt ₱230. We were given a free taste of the Tubho tea at Tinyan viewpoint. I refused at first because it looked like coffee and I don't usually drink coffee but the Ate said that it's a tea so I gave it a try. It was delicious so I bought 2 packs of Tubho tea for ₱100. 

So, that is how I spent my 4-day, surreal experience in Batanes. Dios Mamajes!

Breakdown of the expenses
  • Airfare ₱564.80
  • Accommodation ₱1,200
  • Tour ₱5,000
  • Falowa fare to Sabtang (just to push through) ₱250
  • Souvenirs ₱430
  • Dinner ₱330
  • Basco Terrminal Fee ₱100
  • Miscellaneous ₱200
Total expense is ₱8,074.8 to be exact. If you have further questions, please feel free to email me at tincantravel@gmail.com. I'll be glad to share travel tips. :)

6 comments:

Tricia Tanhueco said...

Si Lhet din yung tour guide namen. I also went alone and met awesome friends! :)

Moojee said...

I love the "Grabeng Gastos" shirt!!! :) Bilhin ko yan pag nakabalik ako sa Batanes.

Tin Quita said...

She is the best. It was really a great experience of meeting new friends while traveling. Very memorable. Keep on traveling ☺️

Tin Quita said...

Yes. Panalo ang mga statement shit. Sarap talaga balikan ang Batanes. Enjoy traveling. ☺️

AyizaVanessa said...

BATANESSSS!!!! ♥ this is a really helpful post! *bookmarked*

Tin Quita said...

Thanks 😊 Just keep ur Maldives itinerary, i'll ask it from u..sa tamang panahon 😉

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