Ways to Travel Cheaply in Batanes
Just recently, Batanes was added to every traveler’s bucket list – for the simple reason that this island offers what nothing else can: an untouched beauty of nature. Situated far from the majority of the islands of Luzon, Batanes is actually closer to Taiwan than any other island in the Philippines.
So, how do you get to experience Batanes without breaking your bank? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Advance Flight Booking
Advance booking for Batanes often goes beyond one or three months. No, if you want to be 100% sure about this trip, you’re going to have to find a ticket a year ahead of schedule. This is probably the most challenging part because: (1) Batanes flights are always in demand, (2) few flights are going to the island, and (3) airfare promos for Batanes don’t come often. This is why if you plan to go to Batanes, always have sufficient funding in your debit/credit card and grab the opportunity when you see it.
Take advantage of Seat Sales and Travel Related Expo’s
Local Airlines offering flights to Batanes are offering seasonal seat sales during off-peak season; make sure to subscribe to their email list to get seat sale alert on your email. The country’s top tourism organizations are conducting yearly travel expos. Two major annual travel events are Travel and Tour Expo and Philippine Travel Mart.
Be Part of a Group
The bigger group you’re in, the better! See, Batanes isn’t exactly public-transportation friendly. You can’t just jump on a jeep and get to where you want to go. Hiring a vehicle is crucial if you’re going to see rolling hills and untouched sea for miles on end.
During one of my visits to the island, I was with a group, and we saved a lot since we rented a jeep to tour around the main island. Renting a vehicle will be costly if you are in a small group since fewer people will share the rental cost.
What if you are traveling to Batanes in a small group? The good news is that tour groups currently schedule trips to Batanes on a routine basis. Get in touch with these people and avail of their tour packages; it’s definitely cheaper than having a DIY trip.
Use a Bicycle
Bicycle rentals are abundant in Batanes, so if you have the stamina for it, skip scheduled tours for a day and just wing it. This is undoubtedly one of the cheapest ways to move around town and see all the essential parts of the tour. Of course, you’ll still have to be guided to the more far-flung places on the island, but for basic transportation – bikes are your best bet.
You can also try renting a tricycle, and the drivers usually have a good idea of where to go. Note that this could set you back as much as PHP3000 for a two-person ride. Yes, renting a tricycle is more personalized, but it is not as fast as other modes of transportation, and not all tricycle drivers are trained tour guides.
Find a House for rent or a Lodging House.
Hotels are expensive compared to lodging houses or houses for rent. Fortunately, some lodges offer rooms and other basic necessities cheaper. On one of our previous Batanes trips, we stayed at Novita House – a house for rent located at the town center. We had the whole place to ourselves and best of all, we could save more money by cooking our own food.
However, like airline tickets, it’s best to reserve yourself a room before actually flying there. As much as possible, opt for a lodge or a house for rent that gives you access to a kitchen to save more on food.
Where to stay in Batanes:
Food is Expensive!
A meal in Manila will set you back around PHP150 at its cheapest, but a meal in some Batanes Restos will cost more than that. Food Supplies on the island are tough to get due to the island’s relative distance.
That being said, be prepared to cook your own food during non-tour meal times. This way, you won’t have to spend as much, plus you’ll be able to make whatever meal you happen to crave. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should skip local cuisines entirely. There are local eateries too that serve “lutong bahay” (home-cooked) meals; you will find them in the town center.
Searching for the best Batanes hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of best Batanes affordable places to stay via Agoda, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the province.