Batanes, is the northern most province in the Philippines and the smallest for both land area and population. Being the northern most province it is frequented by typhoon’s. But what makes Batanes travel worthy? Simple, it’s unique landscapes and rich culture. Making the whole province to be listed on UNESCO tentative list for inscription in the world heritage list. They even tagged this province in their tourism campaign as: Breathtaking Batanes. Which I would definitely agree. It is indeed BREATHTAKING! My pictures below will prove it.
I’m very lucky that I get to experience Batanes. Ika nga ni Coco Martin sa movie na You’re My Boss, “Ang Batanes ini-experience, hindi gino-google” and dang! He was right! It was from the same movie that I get to see the glimpse of Batanes, and from that, I felt love at first sight. From then I promise myself that one day, one day I will experience Batanes.
But I’m telling you, it is more than just the beautiful scenery, unique landscape that makes Batanes beautiful. It is also their people the Ivatans, their culture, the complete isolation and more. Yes, more! Cause I’m writing this with mixed feeling. Basta, just experience Batanes even once in your life and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. 🙂
Now, enough with the chit-chat I know it is not being read anyway. Just me and my friends.lol
But anyway, if you’re really here to know more about Batanes on how you can experience it. Just keep on reading!
HOW TO GET THERE?
In order to get to Batanes you need to take a plane ride either from Manila (SkyJet & Cebu Pacific), Clark (Philippine Airlines) or Tuguegarao (Sky Pasada) as there are no passenger ship/roro travelling to Batanes due to the travel time. Airline regular fares are a bit pricey starting around 4 000 PHP. I suggest you keep an eye on seat sales, like I always do. If you want to learn more on how to book during seat sales, you can check my other blog article: Tipid Travels: TIPS ON HOW TO BOOK A FLIGHT SEAT SALE.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BATANES?
Given its location that it is on the northest province, and that Pacific Ocean and China Sea merges, weather in Batanes can be unpredictable. Usually it is the highway of Typhoons exiting the country. That explains the well known stone houses to protect them during bad weather. So if you were to ask me the best time to visit Batanes, it is January up until summer. But if you don’t mind getting stranded in the province feel free to visit during the Ber months.
WHERE TO STAY?
Despite being a remote province, Batanes have a wide range of accommodation depending on your budget and preference. But if you are on a tight budget you can stay at homestays. This is what I actually prefer whenever my purpose of travel is not purely leisure, as homestays are actual home of locals that are being offered to host tourists, with this you get to experience more of their culture and experience on how they live, plus most of them offers shared facilities where you can meet new friends, common room/living room and the shared kitchen where you can cook your own food, another wallet saving.
For the whole duration of my trip in Batan Island, I have stayed in Nanay Cita’s or Palangud Inn. Their AC room costs 500 PHP whereas the fan room is 350 PHP. But who needs AC room, right? You are in Batanes! The land of the winds. Location is within Basco proper, near to souvenir shops, banks, gas station, coffee shops and eateries. Yes, when I say near, it is near, as all of those mentioned are just walking distance. Also you can borrow nanay Cita’s bike if you’re going out.
As for the accommodation in Sabtang, you can ask for help from nanay Cita if you choose to stay at her place. You can stay at the stone houses or in Sabtang Lighthouse. In my case, I chose Sabtang Lighthouse, again it is some kind of a homestay as the main house is just divided into several rooms, rate is 500 PHP, per night, feel free to cook your food in the shared kitchen while making friends with other guests.
For other accommodation options you can also check-out Airbnb, don’t have an account yet? Sign up using this LINK, and get 1 600 PHP off on your first accommodation booking and 600 PHP off on your first adventure.
Tricycle – not your normal tricycle as the roof are made of cogon and wood, very cozy, unique and worth experiencing, the fare costs 20 PHP if within the town proper as for tours, that will depend on the place you want to visit. Up to three person can ride the trike.
Van – usually it is available if you have availed for a package tour, but if not you can also book one from Klook or ask someone from your accommodation to book one for you.
Bike/Motorcycle – these rentals are available in Petron and Cielo’s, just make sure you have your driving license with you if you’re planning on renting a motorcycle. For the bike rental, the japanese bike cost 25 PHP per hour, but this is not ideal for long travel as the roads in Batanes are winding and mostly uphill, I suggest renting out a mounatin bike instead, as for the motorcycle rental it costs 1 000 PHP for the whole day inclusive of gas.
Sarao Jeep – this is mainly used to transport goods and baggage but you can ride this one when traveling to Ivana Port, fare is only 27 PHP. You can save if you opt for this, as the round trip trike transfer is 500 PHP.
Faluwa – boat they used in transporting people and goods across Sabtang and Itbayat, fare is 100 PHP one-way.
WHERE TO EAT?
Prices of goods in Batanes are a bit pricey due to the logistics as most of their goods are either transported by plane or roro from Manila or Tuguegarao. But the price difference is just around 3-5 PHP. So what you heard that food is very expensive is not true. Especially if you know how to look for cheap treats. My go to carinderia is Monica’s Canteen their viand cost only 60 PHP per serving, not bad right? Plus their food taste good.
Other restaurants that I have tried are the following:
- Casa Napoli – they have a food truck around the plaza, their taco’s are cheap and very worth it, it costs 70 PHP as for the physical restaurant they only serve pizza and pasta, you should try their best seller pizza at 320 PHP for a 12 inches family size pizza.
- Octagon – if you are looking for a beach view while having breakfast this is the place, the price of their food is quite pricey though, but I think it is the view that you’re paying, not the food.
- Vunong – I suggest this one if you want to try out their local foods, it’s very authentic and delicious, for 300 PHP you will get a set meal which includes, beef stew, uvud balls, turmeric rice, lunyis, fern salad, camote fries, bistek and fried blue marlin. The food set is served on vunong leaves and best enjoyed when eating with bare hands.
Nanay Jessica, the owner is very nice, we had a chat while eating, she even offered a free refill of the turmeric rice, unfortunately I was very full from their set meal.
- Beehan’s – Pancit Beehans is very affordable and delicious for only 65 PHP and best paired with their special burger for 100 PHP.
- Also seafood are cheaper in Sabtang, you can get 1 kilo of lobster for only 800 PHP.
As for my go to coffee shop are:
- Phil’s Brew – try their iced coffee it’s one of the best and also try their dukayo and chocolate cake very delicious and mouth watering, 130 PHP for iced coffee and 130 PHP for snacks.
- Shanedel’s Inn
SAMPLE ITINERARY WITH EXPENSES
Yes! With expenses, cause some thought it is expensive to experience Batanes. But actually it is, if you’re travelling solo just like I did. But if you’re in a group even just two or three, afford na afford!
DAY 1: NORTH BATAN TOUR
06:20 AM Depart NAIA Terminal 4
08:30 AM Arrival in Batanes
- Homestay Check-in
- Brunch at Monica’s Canteen – 60 PHP
- Pay Environment Fee at the Capitol – 400 PHP
02:00 PM Start of North Batan Tour – 1000 PHP
- Basco Arc
- Sto. Domingo Church
- Pagasa Weather Station
- Idjang Viewing
- Japanese Tunnel
- Valugan Boulder Beach also tried their homemade ice cream 50 PHP
- Vayang Rolling Hills
- Naidi Lighthouse
05:30 PM Snacks at Phil’s Brew – 260 PHP
07:00 PM Roam around plaza and tried Casa Napoli Tacos – 70 PHP
Room rent – 350 PHP
Total: 2 190 PHP
DAY 2: SABTANG ISLAND TOUR
08:00 AM Wake up Call
08:30 AM Breakfast at Octagon – 220 PHP
11:00 AM Depart to Ivana Port – 27 PHP
- Pay terminal fee – 5 PHP
- Faluwa fare – 100 PHP
01:30 PM Arrive at Sabtang Port
- Pay Environmental Fee – 200 PHP
- Pay Tour Fee – 1 500 PHP for all the Barangays
02:00 PM Start of Sabtang Tour
- Morong Beach
- Fishing Village/Little Hong Kong walking Tour
- Savidug Village (Stone houses)
- Chavayan Village
- Old Beaterio
- Chamantad Cove
- Tinyan Viewpoint
05:30 PM Drop by to buy some dinner as most stores and eateries closes at 7 PM – 264 PHP inclusive of dinner, cup noodles for next days breakfast and 2 bottles of beer.
Room rent – 500 PHP
Total: 2 816 PHP
DAY 3: SABTANG ISLAND AND BASCO PROPER
06:00 AM Wake up for sunset viewing at Sabtang Lighthouse
07:00 AM Breakfast (cup noodles bought from last night)
- Enjoy Sabtang Lighthouse and swim at the lagoon 1 and 2.
11:00 AM Head to Sabtang Port
12:00 NN Depart Sabtang Port – 100 PHP for the faluwa fare
01:00 PM Arrival at Ivana Port
- Ride jeep going back to Basco – 27 PHP
02:00 PM Late Lunch at Monicas – 90 PHP
03:00 PM Afternoon Nap
05:00 PM Coffee and Snacks at Phil’s Brew – 260 PHP
05:30 PM Roam around Basco Proper
08:00 PM Take out Dinner at Casa Napoli – 320 PHP 1 box Pizza
09:00 PM Chill at Basco Arc Hut
Room Rent – 350 PHP
Total : 1 147 PHP
DAY 4: SOUTH BATAN
06:00 AM Wake up and breakfast (left over pizza and coffee)
07:30 AM Left for South Batan Tour – 1 500 PHP
- Mahatao Shelter Port
- Mahatao Church
- Blue Lagoon
- White Beach
- Spanish Bridge
- House of Dakay
- Honesty Coffee Shop – 80 PHP for some goodies
- Songsong Ruins
- Alapad Rock Formation
- Marlboro Hills
12:30 PM Lunch at Vunong’s – 300 PHP Set Meal plus 20 PHP soft drink.
01:30 PM Walk back to Nanay Cita’s Homestay
04:30 PM Coffee at Phil’s Brew – 130 PHP
07:00 PM Dinner (left over Pizza)
08:00 PM Chill in the hut at Basco Arc
Room rent – 350 PHP
Total: 2 030 PHP
DAY 5: SPRING OF YOUTH AND FREE TIME
07:00 AM Wake up and breakfast (left over pizza and coffee)
08:30 AM Rent Motorbike – 1 000 PHP, a new found friend tagged along with me so we split the rental fee (500 PHP each)
09:30 AM Head to Spring of Youth
10:30 AM Arrive at Diura Fishing Village
- Pay 100 PHP for entrance and environmental
- Bought some snacks – 40 PHP
- Swimming at the beach and Spring of Youth
- Drive around South Batan
- Sun Bathing and Swimming at White Beach
- Swimming at Blue Lagoon
02:00 Back at Basco, late lunch at Monica’s – 160 PHP
04:00 PM Coffee at Shanedel’s Inn – 35 PHP
05:00 PM Free Time
07:00 PM Dinner at Beehan’s – 165 PHP
08:00 PM Souvenir Shopping – 260 PHP
Room rent: 350 PHP
Total: 1 260 PHP
DAY 6: DEPARTURE
05:00 AM Wake up call
06:00 AM Head to airport – 80 PHP since I did pick-up Tine from her accommodation.
08:30 AM Flight Back to Manila
Total: 80 PHP
Total Tour Expenses: 9 523 PHP
Like I said this can be lowered if you are travelling with someone or group of three, yes group of three (ideally) as that is the maximum passenger that can fit in their trike getting an additional trike or van means additional expense, but still group tour means expenses can be divided.
Sample computation if you are travelling with a partner or group of three and riding the trike:
- Travelling with a partner: 2 000 PHP (not inclusive of accommodation, air fare and food expenses)
- Travelling as a group of three: 1 333.33 PHP (not inclusive of accommodation, air fare and food expenses)
- MNL-BSO-MNL: 5 646.20 PHP
Overall total expenses: 15 169.20 PHP if you’re travelling solo, inclusive of airfare, food expenses, accommodation and departing from Manila.
- Nanay Cita Homestay: 0939 919 3616
- Tricycle Tour (Kuya Ryan): 0947 877 6905
- BATODA: 0929 703 8404
- Cielo’s Bike and Motorbike Rental: 0919 993 9908 | 0916 355 1108
- Nanay Adela Lighthouse: 0921 496 7233
- Seat Sales heading to Batanes do exist. Be always on the lookout.
- If you have the budget to reserve a seat, take seat D going to Batanes, seat A going to Manila. I regret not knowing about this before heading, the view from the plane are beautiful from this spots.
- Available ATM’s are PNB and Land Bank, but if possible bring enough cash. Had to go back and fort just to get additional funds, as there are times machine are out of cash especially over the weekend.
- Do not wear revealing clothes, Ivatans are quite conservative. Treat them nicely and respect their culture. I’m saying this as I have witness an incident where some tourist are arguing with some locals due to limited options and small inconvenience. If you’re not ready to live a simple life even just for a few days Batanes isn’t for you. Ivatan are amazing people.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN BATANES
- Visit Itbayat Island – not sure what this island has to offer as I was not able to visit the place since local government are not allowing tourist due to fear of COVID-19 as Itbayat doesn’t have their own hospital.
- Trek Mt. Iraya
- Visit Vohas Island – an uninhabited island this can be explored on a day trip, it is mainly used as a place to breed cows and goat.
- Scuba Diving – Batanes have a very healthy marine ecosystem you can book this at Dive Batanes.
Here are some additional photos from my trip:
Want to see more? Here’s the travel video I created.
So there you have it, the things you need to know about Batanes Ultimate Guide: How I travel Batanes for 6D5N with Sample Itinerary
Don’t forget to follow my adventures on INSTAGRAM.