Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines. It is also the smallest province comprised of 11 islands. However, only 10 islands are included in the map, and only 3 islands are habited. These are Batan (wherein Basco is located), Sabtang and Itbayat.
Most people consider Batanes to be an expensive place. It is true as I have to allot Php 300.00 per meal, which is the same rate for the food in Manila, as most of the produce are transported from the mainland. However, you can still have a budget trip in Batanes. Some solo travelers we met paired up with other solo travelers to save money in accommodation. Also, having group dinner is a good way to save money.
Staying in Batanes for more than 3 days means I need to save my money. Batanes has only a few banks, and the establishments here do not accept credit card. Here are my expenses while staying here:
My mom and I opted to stay in an airconditioned room with private bathroom as the fan room with bathroom in Marfel’s Lodge has been booked. We stayed in Jarvan Homestay, which is a few steps away from Marfel’s Lodge. The rate here is Php 1500.00 for 02 pax.
The rates for airconditioned room with communal bathroom are Php 1200 (02 guests) and Php 800 (solo). If I decided to have solo travel in Batanes, I would have opted to stay in a fan room in which the rate can go for as low as Php 350.00 per night.
I recommend Jarvan Homestay though. Ate Ruth, the owner, is very accommodating. She even invited us to stay in her farmhouse for one night, and she brought breakfast on our second day.
I brought biscuits, instant noodles and bread for breakfast to save money. Also, the Sabtang and Itbayat tours have early call-time, so having quick breakfast is advisable. Because I joined a group tour instead of DIY, I did not have to spend money for my lunch. Instead, I splurged for my dinner in Fundacion Pacita as we would not be able to go inside unless we order food.
The tentative budget per meal is Php 300.00/person.
The tour rates depend on the number of pax. Below is the quotation from A2C Travel:
I chose Set A (North Batan, South Batan and Sabtang tour) as we need at least 05 days if we are going to Itbayat. Travel time from Batan to Itbayat is around 2-4 hours, depending on the waves. This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the West Philippine Sea, so expect that there will be times the transportation will be cancelled due to waves.
Sample computation of expenses:
This can be cheaper if we book a fan room. Also, I have not included my other expenses, like transportation and groceries.
- If you are planning to stay in Itbayat Island, it is advisable to check the weather first as the sea might be rough for transportation. You should plan for at least 05 days stay to tour Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat. Put an allowance for the Itbayat tour just in case sea travel is cancelled.
- Water supply might be limited in homestays. On our first day here, water was only available at 0500-1000 local time. On our second day, water was available from 0500-0730 local time. Don’t worry, the owners of the homestays store water in container. Moreover, limited water supply only happens once in a while.
- Contrary to popular belief, Batanes is not battered by storm. We went there in July, and the weather was sunny. However, it can get really hot but windy there so don’t forget to use sunblock.
- There is no need to pre-book your tour package as you can just join a group tour when you arrive. I am not sure if this is also applicable during the peak season.
- Better to wear rubber shoes / sandals as most tours require walking, especially in Itbayat.
- Bring flashlight.
- It can get really hot and humid in Batanes even during the rainy season. Keep this in mind when booking the accommodation.
- As per July 2014, the circumferential road in Itbayat is still not finished. Hence, you need to go back to the main point before you can visit the other locations (ex. main point –> point A –> back to main point –> point B). It is advisable to stay overnight in Itbayat.
Marfel’s Lodge: 09088931475
Jarvan Homestay: 09088622447
Tour Guide / Coordinator: Ryan Cardona – 09192795963 / 09989885898
A2C Travel : 0939 5434 333
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/a2ctravel
More detailed posts about North Batan, South Batan and Sabtang tours to follow. Dios Mamajes!