Batanes. The northernmost province of the Philippines has been slowly gaining ground as one of the ultimate destinations in the country. One major hindrance, however, is not the distance but the price of airfare going to this coveted paradise.
Batanes trip planning: Personal experience
Ever since my first boss recounted his trip, I have been hooked. Since 2014, I have been waiting patiently for online seat sales to Basco but to no avail. So last February, I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and toughed it out for a day at the PTTA Travel Tour Expo 2015 just to book those golden tickets. I went home before closing, triumphant, managing to score discounted tickets for 4 pax.
The only problem I didn’t foresee right away because I was too blinded by the golden tickets was the fact that I could get my heart broken by traveling during the rainy/off-peak season. It turned out, circumstances broke my heart three times before we were finally able to set foot on Batanes soil. What can I do, Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with.
I shared more of our Batanes escapades in other posts but for now, let me share with you our itinerary, expenses, and some tips before you book your own golden ticket.
Batanes Three Day Itinerary
Day 1 North Batan
|ETD NAIA 3
|ETA Basco Airport
|Arrival at Marfel Lodge Annex (pick-up c/o Marfel)
|Start of North Tour (Vayang Rolling Hills | Naidi Lighthouse)
|Lunch (6 to 8 Panciteria)
|Mt Carmel Chapel | Radar Tukon (PAGASA) | Idjang Viewing | Fundacion Pacita | Dipnaysuhwan Japanese Tunnel | Valugan Boulder Beach
|End of tour
|Marfel Lodge (start of free time) | bike around the Provincial Capitol, plaza, Immaculate Conception Church, port, Shanedel’s Inn
|Dinner (Octagon Restaurant)
Day 2 Sabtang Island
|Ivana Port | visit San Jose de Ivana Church while waiting for the boat
|ETD for Sabtang
|ETA Sabtang San Vicente Port
|Start of Sabtang Tour (Nakabuang Arch, Morong Beach, Sabtang Church, Tourist information center -registration; Sabtang Idjang; Savidug; St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel; Chavayan Tinyan viewing
|ETD for Ivana Port
|ETA Ivana Port; Marfel Lodge (refresh/free time)
|Tawsen Souvenir Shop
|Dinner (D’Island Restaurant)
SEE ALSO: WHERE TO EAT IN BATANES
Day 3 South Batan Tour
|Call time (start of South Tour); Chawa view deck; Mahatao Boat Shelter; Tayid Lighthouse; Racuh a Payaman (Marlboro Country); Imnajbu; Old Naval Base; Alapad; Uyugan Church; Song Song Ruins; Honesty Cafe; House of Dakay; Bridge of San Jose; White Beach; Blue Lagoon; Mahatao Church
|Dinner (SDC Canteen)
Day 4 Manila
|Check in Basco Airport
|ETD Basco to Manila (NAIA 3)
Batanes: 3 Days Expenses
Computation per person (souvenirs not included)* — Prices as of 2015
Accommodation (3 nights) Php 1500 ( Php 500/night)
3 Days Tour (all in) Php 4000
Day 1 lunch Php 100
Day 1 dinner Php 150
Day 2 lunch Php 300
Day 2 dinner Php 150
Day 3 lunch Php 300
Day 3 dinner Php 100
Total Php 6600
Airfare (RT) Php 6539
*Note: Your spending habits may be different from mine. You can lower the expenses by cooking food in your accommodation and bringing with you miscellaneous items like coffee and snacks.
TRAVEL DATE: AUGUST 2015
Batanes Travel Tips
Flights to Batanes: How to get to Batanes
In 2023, there are currently two airlines servicing the Manila – Basco – Manila route: Philippine Airlines and North Airways.
Philippine Airlines has a flight time of 1 hour and 50 minutes (MNL to BSO). According to Google Flights (May 2023), the least expensive flights from Manila to Basco usually cost between ₱13,000–17,500.
Philippine Airlines Domestic Summer Timetable 2023:
Manila to Basco flights
|PR 2932 (Daily until May 21)
|PR 2932 (Daily Eff May 22)
|PR 2936 We-Su (May 14-June 28)
|PR 2936 Fr (May 19 – June 30)
Basco to Manila flights
|PR 2933 Daily until May 21
|PR 2933 Daily eff May 22
|PR 2937 We-Su (May 14-June 28)
|PR 2937 Fr (May 19-June 30)
North Airways in partnership with Leading Edge Air Services (LEASCOR) started flights to Batanes in April 2023. The flight schedule is CLARK to BASCO every Tuesday and Friday.
Personal experience with Philippine Airlines flight to Batanes
After being canceled for the first time last July, PAL automatically rebooked our flight the next day. I’ve heard that this is not the practice done for Skyjet, although their flight time is shorter and their jet can fly even if it’s windy.
Seat sales may be rare, but you just gotta look out for them. So better subscribe to the airline’s pages to stay tuned. I know of people who managed to get less than Php 2,000 roundtrip tickets.
You can also go from Tuguegarao to Basco via Sky Pasada (daily flights)
At the one-floor Basco airport, you will be asked to pay a Php 350 Visitor Sustainable Ecotourism fee at the Tourism Information Center should your travel agency/tour operator hasn’t paid it yet. This is by virtue of Provincial Ordinance No.146 s.2015.
To get to your accommodation, you can either choose to be picked up by your accommodation or your tour operator or take a tricycle to the town center. You can also opt to walk.
Batanes food: What and where to eat in Batanes
You can read more about our Batanes foodscapades here.
Banks in Batanes: ATM locations
As much as possible bring cash because your credit cards won’t have use there. There is a Landbank and PNB branch in Basco. Credit cards are not accepted in Batanes.
Internet in Batanes
There are hotels and homestays that provide Wi-Fi so if that’s a requirement for you, better check before you book. Mobile data is very hard to come by in Batanes so exercise a lot of patience if you ever get an H+ signal.
What to pack for Batanes
Because of the heat and humidity, light and easy-to-dry material for shirts are highly encouraged. Bring power banks because power interruption is normal in Batanes. Bring lots and lots of sunscreen and anything that can protect your skin from the evil UV rays. Best to waterproof your things for the faluwa ride.
2018 Update: PAMB Resolution No. 2015-16 and 2017-18 of the Batanes Protected Landscapes and Seascapes (Amendment)
Protected Area Entrance Fees
Filipinos – Php 50 (Adults); Php 20 (Students); Free (Senior Citizens, PWD, and children below 7 yrs old)
Foreigners – Php 100
Water Sports (Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Boating) – Php 500/head/visit/site with PAMB permit
Mountain Trekking (Climbing/Hiking) – Php 150/head/visit/site with PAMB permit
Camping – Php 150 (3 pax); Php 200 (4+ pax) with PAMB permit
Forest Tour – Php 250/head/visit/site with PAMB permit
Video Taking Using Drone – Php 5,000 with PAMB permit/formal request as to the use or purpose of taking pictures/videos (submitted to PAMB through DENR office)
There are a lot of tour operators now in Batanes and it’s up to you to choose. Aircon vans are usually used for groups.
You can opt to do DIY if you’re solo or there are only two of you by hiring a tricycle. Tricycles in Batanes cannot be hired on the spot, but rather you have to call them beforehand. Make sure that your tricycle driver has also attended the Tour Guiding and/or Tourist Driver seminar conducted by the local government and DoT.
BATODA hotline: 09297038404 (source: Batanes government official website).Klook.com
Other Activities in Batanes
Usually, there are bikes for rent in the accommodations. Rates differ per hour or per day. Marfel’s Lodge offers bikes for rent for Php 25 per hour.
You can also rent motorbikes to go around the island of Batan. You may inquire at your accommodation.
Popular swimming options include Fountain of Youth, Blue Lagoon and the beach behind Octagon. All are accessible in Batan. There is a bit of hiking included though before you reach the Fountain of Youth.
You can now go on tours using ATV in Batanes. One whole day rent of ATV is around Php 2,000. You can also rent it per hour.
OTHER TIPS FOR TRAVELING IN BATANES
Batanes can get very very hot and humid so prepare accordingly especially if you’ll be out touring the whole day. Even in the rainy season, it can still get hot and humid. Batanes is also very windy, especially near the ocean.
If you have more time, opt to stay overnight or more in Sabtang to experience how the Ivatans live in stone houses.
On the day of your South Batan tour, don’t forget to drop by the Fountain of Youth. Mountain climbers and enthusiasts may also opt to trek Mt. Iraya (1,009 masl).
To get the full Batanes experience, I highly suggest that you go to Itbayat and explore the island as well as more of Ivatan culture.
I will surely come back for Itbayat!
Frequently Asked Questions about Batanes
How many days do you need in Batanes?
It depends on your budget and how many days of vacation you have. You can go for as little as 3 days or at least 5 days.
If you really want to fully explore the islands, it’s best that you allot more days so you can also have an itinerary that is not so jam-packed and wherein you can have more time in each place.
What month is good to go to Batanes?
The best months to visit Batanes are March and April because it’s also the peak of summer and dry season. However, that means that it’s also a popular time for travelers.
May and June are still good considering that there is still minimal rainfall during those months.
Winter months are December to February and the weather during this season can be unpredictable.
Why is Batanes so expensive?
Because of its location (northernmost islands of the Philippine archipelago), limited flights, as well as weather and sea conditions, traveling to Batanes can get expensive, especially the airfare (round trip tickets).
Why Batanes has a zero crime rate?
Aside from the low poverty rate in the province, the Ivatans are well-known for their honesty and kindness that’s why Batanes has almost zero crime rate in The Philippines.
Is there WIFI in Batanes?
While previously, the province doesn’t have a wireless internet connection, that changed in 2021 with the Free WiFi for All Project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology in the Province of Batanes.
In 2023, many hotels and homestay accommodations in Batanes now provide WiFi to guests and visitors. However, cellphone/mobile signal can still be spotty in some parts of the islands.
Is there Jollibee in Batanes?
No. As of 2023, there are no fast food restaurants in Batanes like Jollibee, McDonald’s or KFC.
How do you say thank you in Batanes?
Watch the video below for a glimpse of our Batanes adventure:
Are you planning your Batanes trip?