Three Awesome Days in Batanes: A 3-Day Itinerary and Budget Guide

The Philippines’ northernmost province, Batanes is a unique treasure trove of dramatic cliffs, beautiful blue waters, abundant reefs and rugged coastlines. Because of its isolated location at the northern tip of the country, getting to Batanes via the daily flights available can get pretty expensive. That’s why you gotta time your visists right and watch out for promos by airlines like Skyjet or PAL. Luckily for me, we had a work trip going to Batanes and I got to spend my days exploring the islands if this province, while late afternoons and dinners were dedicated to meetings.

I’m pretty grateful. Exploring Batanes was an awesome experience that was a feast for the senses and a treat for the soul. Plus, I learned cool little tidbits along the way, like how the word “Wakay” literally means sweet potato (kamote) but Ivatans also use it to refer to other Ivatans, especially outside Batanes.

 

A Budget Guide for Your Batanes Trip

Good news: Batanes can be as expensive or as affordable as you want it to be.

I’ve always leaned toward the backpacking style of traveling, but I wanted to also outline a budget option for the midrange spenders (see table below for the two budget ranges). For those looking for fancy options, the only difference for an ultra luxurious trip would be accommodation and where you eat. The places to see and what you can enjoy are only limited by time.

Accommodation in Batanes can go anywhere from Php 400 to Php 5,000, depending on how many you are and what kind of digs you want to crash at. Fundacion Pacita is much higher than the 5k, of course, but I think they do have family rooms if you’re willing to brave the more expensive option.

Food was a bit pricey but you can always share. You have several options in Basco. Breakfast was free with our hotel, which had complimentary unlimited drinking water. Lunch was free on the tours, except for my improvised and spontaneous tricycle tour.

The tours have pretty standard rates. You can do DIY tour with a tricycle or try ones with tour agencies or have your hotel arrange one for you.

Basco Lighthouse – one of the stops on the North Batan tour.

 

Backpacker's Budget Midrange Budget
Flights 8,500 (no promo, Manila-Basco round trip) 8,500 (no promo, Manila-Basco round trip)
Accommodation 1,000 x 3 nights / 2 pax 2,600 x 3 nights / 2 pax
Exploring / Tours North Batan: 1,200 for 2-3 pax
South Batan: 1,500 for 2-3 pax
Sabtang: 1,500 for 2-3 pax + 100/pax for faluwa, 27/pax for jeep
Total: 1,527
Rate for 3 areas (North & South Batan, Sabtang)
Packaged tricycle tour: As low as 4,500/pax with a min. of 3 pax
Join a group tour (van): 5,500/pax
Private van tours: As low as 5,000/pax for 6 pax and above
***Lunch, boat fare and water are included in tours.
Tourism Fee 350 350
Food Breakfast x 3: 450
Lunch x 3: 600
Dinner x 3: 600
Snacks: 200
Water: 150
Total 2,000
Breakfast x 3: 450
Lunch x 1: 300
Dinner x 3: 900
Snacks : 100
Total 1,800
Total Php 5,377 + flights for 4D3N Php 10,550 + flights for 4D3N

 

 

A Three-Day Itinerary Outlining Tour Stops

I arrived in Batanes very early on a sunny Saturday morning. All the airlines arrive pretty early, allowing visitors a chance to get a full day of exploration in for their first day. And trust me, you don’t want to waste a single day of your stay in Batanes.

The first day I did the South Batan Tour solo, renting a tricycle. On Day 2, our host organization arranged for a combination tour of Batan Island. I got to see North Batan then. We visited Sabtang Island on our third day.

Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint on Sabtang Island.

If you have the time, don’t do the combination tour. The limited time sorta makes you feel pressured to move from site to site. You can’t really soak in the beauty and appreciate each place. Plus, you skip out some stops in South Batan during the combined tour. This is why the itinerary I’m outlining has a dedicated tour for each day.

 

Day 1 – North Batan 

8:00 AM – Arrive in Basco, tourist registration, airport pick-up

9:00 AM – Check-in at hotel

9:30 AM – Breakfast and settling in at hotel

11:00 AM – Early lunch

12:30 PM – North Batan Tour

  • The Rolling Hills of Vayang
  • Naidi Hills and Basco Lighthouse
  • Sto. Domingo de Guzman Cathedral
  • Valugan Boulder Beach
  • Japanese Hideout Tunnels
  • Idjang Viewing
  • Fundacion Pacita
  • Mt. Carmel Chapel

5:00 PM – Sunset Viewing (options below)

  • Basco Lighthouse
  • Beach in Brgy. Chanarian (across from Amboy’s and Villa Hontomin)

7:00 PM – Dinner

 

Day 2 – South Batan

7:30 AM – Breakfast

8:30 AM – South Batan Tour

  • Chawa View Deck
  • San Carlos Borromeo Church and Blank Book Archive
  • Homoron Blue Lagoon and White Beach
  • House of Dakay and Old Spanish Bridge
  • San Jose de Obrero or Ivana Church
  • Honesty Coffee Shop
  • San Antonio Parish
  • Muchong Viewing Point
  • Ruins of Songsong Viewing
  • Imnajbu Point and Alapad Pass/Rock Formation
  • San Lorenzo Ruiz
  • Racuh a Payaman/Marlboro Country
  • Tayid Lighthouse
  • Mahatao Boat Shelter

5:00 PM – Find your sunset spot: Chawa View Deck

Catching the sunset at Chawa View Deck. Credit: Ritzie Mar Apaitan

7:00 PM – Dinner

 

Day 3 – Sabtang Island

5:00 AM – Breakfast

5:30 PM – Travel to Ivana port

6:30 AM – Depart for Sabtang

7:30 AM – Arrival and start of Sabtang Island Tour

  • Conscience Café
  • San Vicente Ferrer Church
  • Savidug Village
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel
  • Chamantad-tinyan Viewpoint
  • Chavayan Village
  • Morong Beach, Mahayaw/Nakabuang Arch and Ziplining
  • Sabtang  Island Lighthouse

1:00 PM – Back to pier for return boat trip

 

Day 4

6:30 AM – Airport transfer

7:00 AM – Check-in for flight home

That last day at the airport, all I could think about was planning a trip back here, hopefully a longer one with Terry in tow and overnight stays on the islands of Itbayat and Sabtang on the itinerary. Heck, maybe even camping on Vuhus Island. Now, if only my savings would cooperate with this dream.

I think many a visitor to Batanes has had similar notions at the end of their trip. It’s so different from the rest of the country, but somehow you feel at home and connected to it. And of course, in awe of its beauty. It’s an amazing part of the Philippines, which has earned a special place in this blogger’s favorite list.

 

Here’s another travel guide for transportation to and around Batanes, available accommodations there and other travel tips.

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Marian Ledesma works full-time at Greenpeace SEA - Philippines, an environmental non-profit. She started R2R with Terry, her partner in crime. Marian has a love affair with good books, movies, music and photography. She also thinks writing about herself in the third person is somewhat disturbing.

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