Misadventures of Taong-Gala

Batanes Group of Islands (North Batan) Part 1 of 2 3D3N +1D Itinerary

I have to be honest, Batanes is not budget friendly. Yeah, you can book seatsale that would cost you ₱3,000++ roundtrip airfare to Basco. But that’s rare and difficult to book as more and more people are being competitive just to get seatsale. More often than not, you’ll be able to book seatsale on lean months and probably during typhoon season which is not the ideal time to go there. An airfare of ₱6,000 to 8,000+ roundtrip is good enough for Batanes. Batanes still remains a dream destination for most of the travelers here in the Philippines because of its exquisite natural beauty, exclusivity to limited tourists, and uniqueness that you might not probably find in other places. Even I, myself was able to book my first international travel before even going to Batanes, because there are more chances that you will be able to avail seatsale abroad than in Batanes.

We did not avail of seatsale because our date of travel is fixed. Hahaha! That’s why we must suffer the high rates of airfare. It’s like we paid a roundtrip airfare to and from Korea or to and from Japan (on sale). We booked Skyjet because they said that it’s the most reliable airline in Batanes. We’re supposed to have our travel on December 29, 2018 to January 1, 2019 but a typhoon landed in the Philippines and our flights got cancelled. We rescheduled it on January 12 to 15, 2019.

Basco Airport has a limited capacity and not capable of holding flights during the night; therefore, all flights are during daytime only and limited as well to small aircrafts. Here are the airlines you can board going to Batanes.

Manila (NAIA Terminal 4) to Basco Domestic Airport v.v.

Manila to Basco 6:15am

Basco to Manila 7:55am

Manila to Basco 6:30am

Basco to Manila 9:15am

Manila to Basco 5:15am

Basco to Manila 8:15am

Clark International Airport to Basco Domestic Airport v.v.

Clark to Basco 7:00am & 9:40am

Basco to Clark 9:00am & 11:30am

Tuguegarao Domestic Airport to Basco Domestic Airport v.v.

Tuguegarao to Basco 9:00am

Basco to Tuguegarao 10:00am

For those who are curious, there are NO sea travel going to Batanes. Unless you are a cargo, you might be considered.

Before anything else, you need to pay the ₱50 protected area entrance fee, and the ₱350 tourism fee at the capitol. The tourism fee is for the pamphlet  that they will give you, that is like a passport, that they will stamp on it everytime you get to visit a tourist destination in the island. Batanes is the only province that is entirely protected both land and sea in the Philippines.

Where to Stay

We stayed at Amboy Hometel as it was recommended by my Ivatan friend, Jhong, as he heard good reviews about it. He wasn’t really sure about it, but I trusted him with it anyway. Hahaha! Sometimes it is really hard to trust the people you know, just kidding.

Amboy Hometel lives up to its name as home + hotel. It looks like a residence on the outside but very hotelish in the inside. It is complete with towel, toiletries, bedroom slippers, complimentary water and coffee, and hot & cold shower. It has cost us ₱4,000/night, good for 3 persons. It is known in Basco that Amboy is quite an expensive accommodation, but it’s a nice place to stay if you have a budget. They also have a restaurant, but I wouldn’t recommend it because the food there is very expensive, it’s double the price than other nearby restaurants and the food there is not worth it.

Other Accommodations in Basco

Recommended Food Trip Places in Basco

Korner Hauz Cafe at Martin’s Inn

Korner Hauz Cafe is located at National Road, Basco near the Capitol. They serve all-day breakfast, pasta, kamote fries, tacos, milk tea, coffee, etc. It’s a good place to make tambay if you have free time because they have games like Jenga, Monopoly, and Scrabble. Their food and drinks are good enough for the price. Price would range from ₱80 to 180.

Pension Ivatan Restaurant

Pension Ivatan Restaurant is located at National Road, Basco near the airport but you will not reach the airport. This was also recommended to me by Jhong, and I am glad that we tried it. The food there is delectable and suits my tastebuds and the price is good, it ranges from ₱35 to 200. They have the leche flan version made from kamote and it’s nice, must try. Their sisig and steak are also nice, I actually love it.

Casa Napoli – Bernardo’s

Casa Napoli was also recommended by Jhong and my high school friend, Sheila. They are famous for their pizzas and pastas, and boy! They were right! Their pizza is mouthwatering and flavorful, and the price is just right. We wished that we have discovered it earlier so we were not able to eat at the expensive restaurant of Amboy. The price would range from ₱300 to 400 for pizza and pastas would be from ₱150 to 200.

There are two branches of Casa Napoli in Basco, one in the town proper and the other one is beside the Bernardo’s Hotel, near Amboy.

Hudzon’s Cafe

Hudzon’s Cafe is located in the town proper of Basco. It was also recommended because they are famous for their lobster, but we did not try because it is kinda expensive. Hahaha! It is quite popular because a lot of tourists are dining in. It was actually the only restaurant that we’ve been to that is full with customers. Their food is good as well and the price is cheap. Food ranges from ₱130 to 300 good for 2 to 3 persons. The only downside is, it takes so long before they serve your order because they only have one cook in the kitchen and one crew/cashier. But I guess it is still worth the wait.

Join Tour or DIY

PhotoOp with the Tryk at Japanese Tunnel

Actually there is no much difference in terms of price between joining a tour and doing-it-yourself. If you’re doing a DIY, the main transportation is tricycle and it would cost you ₱1,500 per day. A tour would cost the same but you will be in a van and you have you own tour guide plus if it rains, it would not be that of a hassle, unless you love adventures under the rain.

Tricycles in Basco are all on-call due to high price of gasoline, you can call 0929-7038404 (BaTODA) and provide your pick-up location and destination.

BISUMI Tour

For tours, I would recommend BISUMI (Batan, Itbayat, Sabtang, Uyugan, Mahatao, Ivana) Tours and Services and I would recommend Jay as your tour guide because he’s very knowledgeable of history and he can answer your queries almost anything about Batanes, he’s pretty smart.

Bicycle rent in Batanes costs ₱100 per hour. Which is kinda expensive and tiring at the same time if you use it for your tour in the island.

Batan North Tour

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Chapel, Tukon

The Mt. Carmel Chapel is located in Chanarian, Tukon situated on top of a hill with an overlooking view of Tukon and made of stones. The chapel was destroyed by a typhoon in 2016 and it is still undergoing a reconstruction to regain back to its original beauty and purpose, which to serve the Catholics nearby.

PAG-ASA Radar Station

There’s nothing much to see at the radar station, aside from the overlooking view of the sea, view of Fundacion Pacita, the overly expensive hometel in Batanes, and the destroyed radars of PAG-ASA.

Japanese Tunnel

I was disappointed, the Japanese tunnel wasn’t pixelated. Just kidding! The tunnel is an interconnected tunnel in Tukon that also served as a shelter for the Japanese imperial forces during the World War II.

Boulder Beach

The beach got its name, none other than, the boulder rocks! There are lots of rocks and the shore is very rough, not really an ideal place to swim or you might not be seen again. But it’s a good place for photoop and people have left some balancing rocks for picture-taking.

Sto. Domingo Cathedral, Basco

Established by the Dominican friars in 1783, it was the first church built in Basco and was made from cogon and wood. Due to its light materials, it frequently gets destroyed by fires and typhoons. It was then renovated several time until it is now today. The cathedral doesn’t look amazing on the outside but it’s fabulous when you see how creative they have designed the 3D altar.

Vayang Ranch (Rolling Hills)

Batanes has lots of hills with amazing views from the top. Rolling Hills is one of them that would captivate your soul and would let feel engaged with nature. You’d always feel awestruck everytime you get the view on the top of a view deck in Batanes. Just be careful walking on the hills because there are lots of cow dungs that serve as fertilizers on the hills. The cows in Batanes are weird, because they can run fast on a steep slope of the hills but they walk so slow when they’re on the road.

Lighthouse Naidi Hills

One of the 6 functioning lighthouses in Batanes is located in Naidi Hills of Basco. It is a 6-story structure with gallery and viewing deck on the fifth floor. Beside it is a traditional stone house for tourism. They let you rent traditional vakul (for females) or kayani (for men) for your photoop for only ₱20. The Naidi Hills viewing deck is a perfect spot to see the whole Batan Island and can get a clear view of Sabtang Island in the south and Itbayat Island in the north.

Click here for part 2 of 2 of Batanes tour (Sabtang Island and South Batan)

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1 Batan North Tour (You can start your tour in the afternoon, if you still have energy upon your arrival. Travel agency starts their tour at 2pm on the first day.)

Day 2 Sabtang Island Tour

Day 3 Batan South Tour

Expenses

Roundtrip Airfare (yeah it’s mahal) ₱14,500.00
Accommodation (Amboy 3 nights) ₱6,000.00
Airport transfers (complimentary) ₱0.00
Environmental Fee ₱50.00
Tourism Fee ₱350.00
Breakfast & Lunch (complimentary) ₱0.00
3-Day Tour (Batan and Sabtang Island inclusive of boat fares) ₱5,000.00
Dinner and Merienda for 3 days ₱1,400.00
Tricycle (personal tour to town proper) ₱60.00
TOTAL ₱27,360.00