The Great Batanes Dream

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Note: this is a late post. As in nag-1st anniversary na ang Batanes trip namin before ko pa ito matapos haha! But as they say, better late than never. This blog post series has been in draft for a looooong time and I feel that I won’t be able to move on in posting my other travels without publishing our Great Batanes Dream. So here goes… Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

Our journey to fulfill The Great Batanes dream started 10 months before our December flight after we nabbed a seat sale via PAL Express. It wasn’t super low at Php 8k but enough to spark us to push through with the trip. Fast forward to 10 months later and after hours of online research and group chat discussions, we were finally ready for our trip last December 8 (2016 haha).

One of the challenges of visiting Batanes is that the weather plays a big factor in your trip. Flights can get cancelled and you get stuck there for days, or it rains when you’re there which makes it difficult to visit the other places. So we were monitoring the weather days before our trip. Although the weather forecast mentioned some rain showers, there was no reported typhoon so we still hoped for the best.Β The flight is at 6AM with boarding time of 5:30AM. When the boarding time arrived, we were told that the flight is on hold due to bad weather in Basco. After an excruciating 1.5 hours, we were informed that our flight is “definitely cancelled” πŸ˜₯

With broken hearts, we went back to the check-in counters to try to rebook our flight. While in line, we met a man (“kuya Four”) who is rebooking for the fourth time. He said that he was trying to fly to Basco since November 28. Same as him, we rebooked our flight to the next day. We also got free rebooking on our return trip so we moved it by a day as well.

For the next day’s flight, I wasn’t able to check-in via web due to an error (even if we were more than 2 hours before the flight) We arrived at the check-in counter around 5AM but we got into a heated discussion with the airline staff when they refused to give us boarding passes despite making it more than 45 minutes before the flight. They mentioned that because of the unfavorable weather, the flight is still on hold and they need to compute the weight of the plane first if it can make the trip. In the event that the weight of the plane cannot accommodate all passengers, we would be cut off. We didn’t want to be rebooked again so we stayed there by the counter where the staff can easily see us. After more than 30 minutes, we were finally issued our boarding passes. We were one step closer to the dream.

Finally boarding!

Finally boarding! Yehey!

The flight to Basco is 1hr 45mins but our flight took almost 2 hours as we spent 15 minutes circling above Basco due to the strong winds. That’s when we understood the “unfavorable weather” that the PAL crew kept telling us. After what seemed like years, we landed safely at 9:05AM in Basco. It was one of my most intense plane rides ever!

Basco

We circled this island for more than 15 minutes. So near yet so far!

Basco rain welcomed us

Basco rain welcomed us

Upon arrival at the Basco airport, we had to register in their “Tourist Information Center” and pay Php350 for the environmental fee where they issued us an Eco-tourism ticket. Tip: bring this ticket with you on your tours as there are some locations where they will ask you to present this such as the Japanese tunnel.

When we arrived at the Basco airport, kuya Dave fetched us and brought us to Nanay Cita’s homestay. More about Nanay Cita’s here.

After settling in, we went around the area in search of lunch. We rented bikes for Php25/hr and biked towards Octagon Bed and Dine. Our lunch of Sinigang na Baka, Cuttlefish cooked ala-calamares, Pako Salad and Octarice costs Php 700.Β We rode our bikes toward the airport and were already amazed with the view just seeing the green surroundings along the runway and the view of Mt. Iraya in the horizon.

Biking outside Basco airport

Biking outside Basco airport

Welcome to Batanes

Welcome to Batanes ❀

After we returned our bikes, we brought food supplies at the store along the hi-way. There’s an abundance of stores in Basco so you wouldn’t starve there.

Sharing our 6 Days 5 Nights itinerary and expenses with links to our detailed tour adventures:

Day 1: Journey to Paradise and Batan Bike
9:05AM – Arrival at Basco
9:30AM – Check-in at Nana Cita and rest (Php 1,500 / night)
12:30PM – Rent bikes (Php 300 for 4 pax)

1:00PM – Lunch at Octagon Bed and DineΒ  (Php 700 for 4 pax)
2:00PM – Bike to airport
3:00PM – Returned bikes, grocery (Php 593 for food supplies and SPAM!)
7:00PM – Dinner at Nana Cita’s
9:00PM – Lights off

Day 2: Sabtang Tour
3:30AM – Wake up and breakfast
5:00AM – Jeepney ride to Ivana Port (Php 108 for 4 pax)
7:00AM – Boat ride to Sabtang (Php 800 RT for 4 pax)
7:20AM – Arrival at Sabtang
7:30AM – Start of Sabtang tour (Php 200 each for registration and Php 2000 for tour package for 4 pax)
11:30AM – Lunch at Morong Beach (Php 1200 for 4 pax)
1:00PM – Boat ride back to Batan
1:30PM – Arrival at Batan
1:45PM – Jeepney ride to Basco (php 100 for 4 pax)
2:15PM – Arrival at Nana Cita’s then rest
6:30PM – Dinner at Octagon (Php 820 for 4 pax)
8:00PM – Sightseeing at the Plaza
8:45PM – Back at Nana Cita’s
9:00PM – Lights off

Day 3: South Batan Tour
5:30AM – Wake up and prepare
7:00AM – Breakfast prepared by Nana Cita
8:00AM – Start of South Batan Tour (Php 2,400 for 4 pax)
2:00PM – Lunch at Paulvana’s Mahatao (Php 1,200 for 4 pax)
4:00PM – Back at Nana Cita’s and rest
6:30PM – Dinner at the plaza (Php 200 for 4 pax – BBQ, kwek-kwek)
8:00PM – Watch event at Plaza
9:00PM – Fireworks
10:00PM – Lights off

Day 4: North Batan Tour
6:30AM – Wake up and Breakfast
7:00AM – Watch TV and waste time πŸ™‚
10:00AM – Lunch at Pension Ivatan (Php 1,800 for 4 pax)
1:00PM – Start of North Batan Tour (Php 2,400 for 4 pax)
6:00PM – Back at Nana Cita’s
7:00PM – Dinner at Nana Cita’s (Php 535 – groceries for dinner and food for next days)
9:00PM – Lights off

Day 5: Free Day
6:30AM – Wake up and Breakfast
7:00AM – Watch TV
11:30AM – Lunch at Kuman Tana
1:00PM – Siesta at Nana Cita’s
3:00PM – Travel to Ivana (Php 880 trike for 4 pax)
5:00PM – Souvenir shopping at Basco, grocery
6:00PM – Back at Nana Cita’s
7:00PM – Dinner at Nana Cita’s
9:30PM – Lights off

Day 6: Back to Reality
5:00AM – Wake up and breakfast
7:00AM – Check out

We spent about Php 6-7k each for the entire trip including accommodations, tour packages and food. It was definitely one memorable trip! ❀

Here’s our quick video of the Great Batanes Adventure.

Naidi Lighthouse

Ichaddaw ku Batanes

Other posts from the Batanes Series:

Sabtang Tour

South Batan Tour

North Batan Tour

Nanay Cita’s Homestay

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