“All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~Walt Disney
Traveling had once been a distant dream for me – not until I started to switched jobs leaving the traditional office employee workplace and started becoming a freelancer. Yes it may be unstable but as they say nothing’s really stable in this world, even corporate companies that you thought are stable goes into bankruptcy.
So here I am after 3 years of being a freelancer, still holding on, enjoying the freedom I have – and now with my dreams slowly coming true.
Let’s begin with this dream trip that I’ll share to you today. A trip that almost every traveler here in the Philippines wishes to have – however most are afraid due to the high cost that usually accompanies a trip to Batanes.
Is Batanes really expensive?
But is it really that expensive? A question often asked by many. But what would you feel if I’ll tell you that it’s not that expensive at all? Let me show you how to achieve that dream of yours of a budget trip to Batanes.
1. Find a Promo Fare for a Flight to Batanes
Begin by trying to find promo fares for flights going to Batanes. If there’s one thing that makes Batanes really expensive, it’s the air fare. For this trip I was able to find a promo fare from http://www.flypalexpress.com (Philippine Airlines Pal Express) for only roughly 900Php one way, around 1,757Php roundtrip all in.
2. Finding an affordable Homestay in Batanes
A trip to Batanes is best enjoyed if you’ll be staying long enough in the island itself to fully appreciate the wonders it has, probably one that will last for 4 or 5 days or even better , more!
For you to accomplish this and still stick with your budget, it will be best to stay in a Homestay than in expensive hotels. Yes, hotels in Batanes can be really expensive. Rates start at 1,200 pesos per night
Where to Stay in Batanes?
I’m sure you’d love it if I’ll tell you there’s a homestay in Batanes where you could stay for just a very affordable price of 350/day.
One of the newest homestay facility in Basco is Marfel’s Lodge. Operated by a local resident Felomena Batan Fitero, Marfel’s has two locations – the original one located just a few meters away from the airport, and the new Annex near Petron Gas Station in the center of Batan (this is where we stayed).
Other facilities include a common toilet and bath, a small living room, a dining area, and a kitchen that you could use to cook your own food (saving you from spending much eating out), and a WIFI connection is also available. A perfect budget accommodation in Batanes!
Another thing that I love about Marfel is the kindness and hospitality that Ate Fe has. I could say that in all my travels she’s the kindest caretaker I’ve ever met.
Ate Fe – 0908-8931475 (Marfel Lodge Contact Number)
3. Avail an affordable Batanes tour
Another thing that’s a plus when you’re staying at Marfel’s is that you’ll have no difficulty arranging your tour. Ate Fe can contact Ryan Cardona from used to work for Batanes Cultural Travel Agency (BCTA) but now a freelance tour guide anytime for you to be accommodated in his tour groups.
Ryan Cardona (Smart 0998-9885898).
How Much Batanes Tour Cost?
A typical packaged 3-day tour at Batanes if you’ll avail Ryan’s package is quoted for 4,000 pesos each. It includes tours in Batan (North and South) and Sabtang islands, 3 lunches, permits/fees, van/jeep, guide, land transfers, boat ride (Batan to Sabtang and vice versa) and water while on tours. It is important that you get an accredited tourist guide that will not just show you the tourist spots but will also share information about the place.
DAY 1: Batan North (Requires at least 5 hours)
DAY 2: Sabtang Island (Requires at least 1 full day)
DAY 3: Batan South (Requires at least 8 hours)
Batanes DIY Tour
You could also opt to hire a tricycle if you’d like to have your own DIY tour and do not want to join the big groups. This way you get to manage your own time.
Tricycle Rental in Batan cost – 200/hour, maximum of 2 persons per tricycle.
For our tour, me and my buddy decided to take the trike tour in our Batan North (1,000Php for 2 pax) & Batan South (1,500Php for 2 pax). While the Sabtang Island tour I suggest it will be better to join the big group of Sir Ryan as the trip includes arranging a boat ride, pre ordered meals, etc which could quite be a hassle if you don’t have contacts in Sabtang Island.
So for the whole tour we just spent Sabtang 1,900Php + North Batan 500Php + South Batan 750Php each for a total of 3,150Php.
Batanes Itinerary & Total Expenses
So for our total expenses and daily itinerary, here’s a breakdown. This is a per person cost (there were 2 of us for this trip, you’ll likely to get discounts if you’ll be traveling with a large group I guess).
Accommodation: (350day x 5 days) = 1,750
Day 1 (Feb. 14, 2014) – Batanes Valentines Day gone biking around Batanes – Pictures here – bike rental (50Php x 2hrs) = 100Php, Lunch (350Php), Food for cooking bought at the market (200Php) = TOTAL COST: 550Php
Day 2 – Sabtang Island Tour (inclusive of lunch) – 1,900Php
Day 3 – Sunday bumming around Basco, foodtrips, souvenir buying – 1,000 Php
Day 4 – Batan North – 500Php + Pizza for lunch at Casa Napoli (150Php) = 650Php
Day 5 – Batan South 750Php + Lunch & Dinner – 500Php = 1,250Php
TOTAL: 8,857 Php including airfare from Manila
*Not included is the Davao – Manila airfare, and those whimsical souvenir buys that you’d like to have & cravings.. For this trip we’ve allotted 8,000Php allowance.
Stay tune for more posts of our adventure & tours around the magnificent attractions in Batanes. Kapian kamu pa nu Dios!