travel

Batanes [7days / 7 nights]

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I was sorting my files today and saw notes from our trip to Batanes so I decided to write something to reminisce and at the same time to be able to help others in planning for their trip. It was sort of DIY tour, thanks to other’s blog post where I got all the ideas and places that we planned to visit.

I’ve been wanting to go back since we came back from our vacation in Batanes 1 year and 10 months ago – yes, that long ago. 🙂

We went there January 2015, but we booked our flight as early as April of 2014! I bought my round trip ticket  for PhP 8,253.00 – thanks to PAL’s ‘seat sale’.

In our 7 days/7 nights in the northernmost part of the Philippines, we stayed in five different places. Why? Because we wanted our itinerary to be flexible enough to accommodate last minute changes in our plans given the unpredictable weather, plus we wanted to try the homestay. Turned out it was not a bad idea after all.

We booked our first two nights (Dive Batanes) ahead of time because we know for sure that we want to roam around Batan. For the third night, we did not book a hotel because it will depend whether we are going to Sabtang or Itbayat. Initially we were planning to go Sabtang first because of their festival. However, when we were inquiring for the trip to Itbayat, the locals were suggesting to go there instead while the weather is still good. And it was a right decision to follow them since they are the ones who knows when is the best time to cross the sea to go to Itbayat. So, we spent overnight in Itbayat (Nanay Cano’s Lodge) after a nerve wrecking 3-hour boat ride trip to the island. There we hired a tour guide and tricycle. We went back to Dive Batanes on our fourth night.The following day (fifth) we had half day tour in Sabtang guided by the tricycle driver that we met in Batan. We hired a tricycle to help us go around the island while Kuya Romy described each of the places that we visited. After our tour, we then stayed in the humble home of the Pajudpud family. After we settle in our room, we just went out for a stroll and dinner and ended the night early to rest. The next morning (sixth), we were supposed to have our South Batan tour, however because of the heavy rain, we decided to just cancel it. So we just tried to head to our home for that night – Rapitan Di Vasay. It is like an ancestral house that was well maintained and turned into a bed and breakfast. We came a little bit too early, i think. We had to wait for the caretaker to arrive so that we could get in and settle. Good thing there was a store and a barbeque stand nearby so we just had snack while waiting.

On our seventh day, we got up early and Kuya Romy fetched us to go to the airport. We got our bags inspected, checked-in, then waited for boarding. (Un)fortunately, the wind was strong that morning so they had to delay the flight for a bit, until one of the staffs announced that the flight is still on however, they have cut down the number of passengers. It immediately popped into my head that what if we just volunteer to stay for another day, but I also immediately changed my mind and told myself and my husband that we’ll just wait and see. So, several minutes passed by, and a lot of people were having conversation on the next steps until another announcement came in. Apparently there were people who requested if they could take the flight because of important commitments. We even had Fr. Orbos on the same flight. The staff then asked if there were people who are willing to be bumped off so others may take the flight.It took us a few minutes until they said they needed two more to volunteer, and so we raised our hands and said with all smiles that we’ll stay without knowing yet what would be deal.

We were lucky that when we volunteered to stay, our hotel accommodation (Shanedel’s Inn), our lunch, dinner, and breakfast, and airport shuttle we’re all care of PAL. All these PLUS a round trip ticket to any local destination. 🙂

I think the stars aligned so that we can get one more day in Batanes and have a chance to tour South Batan! We called Kuya Romy right away and told him where we’re staying so he can pick us up and start the tour.

And that’s it! That’s our week-long adventure in the beautiful islands of Batanes!

Batan Island

 

Sabtang

Itbayat

Where we stayed in Batan:

  • Dive Batanes: ~2000/night (booked via agoda)
  • Pajudpud Homestay: 350.00/person/night (we learned this with the help from Kuya Romy)
  • Rapitan Di Vasay: ~2500/night (booked via e-mail)
  • Shanedel’s Inn and Café (FREE! – accommodation c/o PAL)
  • Octagon Bed and Dine – We did not technically stayed here, but this was our go to place for dinner or lunch on the days that we did not have a tour. They have a good internet connection compared to the other places.

Where we stayed in Itbayat: 

  • Lodging: Cano’s Lodge – 250/person/night
DAY AREA PLACES NOTES
Day 1-2 North Batan Basco Town Proper Lodging:
    Tukon Church (Mt. Carmel Chapel) Dive Batanes: ~2000/night (via agoda)
    Fundaction Pacita Pajudpud Homestay: 350.00/person/night |
Contact #: 09072828642 , 09151521553
    PAGASA Weather Station – Basco Rapitan Di Vasay: ~2500/night (breakfast not included)
e-mail:info@rapitandivasay.com
    Santo Domingo Cathedral (Basco) Shanedel’s Inn and Café (accommodation c/o PAL)
    Batanes Provincial Capitol  
    Batanes Municipal Hall Tricycle Driver: Romy Merida |
Contact #: 09381592721, 09175254030
    Naidi Hills (Basco Lighthouse + Bunker Cafe) Tricycle Fare: ~50.00
    Vayang Rolling Hills Bike Rental: 25.00/hour or 100.00/day
    Chadpidan Boulder Beach Guide map
       
Day 3-4 Itbayat Chinapoliran Port Lodging: Cano’s Lodge – 250/person/night
    Mt. Karoboban View Deck Tour Guide: Kuya Toto | Contact #: 09198983146
    Town Proper Tour Guide Fee (1000) + Tryk (2000)
    Paganaman Port Lunch: 200/person (arranged by Tour Guide)
    Torongan Cave Dinner: 200/person (arranged by Tour Guide)
    Torongan Hills Boat Fare: M/B Veronica – 450.00/person (2-3hours)
    Lake Kavaywan  
    Rapang Cliffs  
    Nahili Votox  http://www.traveling-up.com/travel-guide-itbayat-batanes/ 
       
 
Day 4 North Batan walk/bike around the town proper time to relax and rest from the tour
       
Day 5 Sabtang (Day Tour) Tour Guide: Romy Merida
    Savidug Village Tour Guide Fee: (1000)  + Tryk Service (800)
    St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel Sabtang Tourism Fee: 200/person
    Savidug Idjang Boat Fare: 75.00/person (~30mins)
    Tinyang Viewing of Pacific Ocean Lunch: 300/person (arranged by tour guide)
    Chavayan Village  
    Morong Beach and Mayahaw Arch  
       
Day 6 North Batan walk/bike around the town proper first attempt to tour South Batan got canceled due to non-stop raining
       
Day 7 South Batan Tour Chawa View Deck Tour Guide: Romy Merida
    Mahatao Boat Shelter Port Tour Guide Fee (including tryk): 1500
    San Carlos Borromeo Church  
    Tayid Lighthouse  
    Racuh A Payaman  
    Uyugan Town  
    Old Naval Base and Alapad Hill  
    Uyugan Town’s Song-song Ruins  
    House of Dakay in Ivana  
    Old Spanish Bridge  
    Honesty Coffee Shop  
    Ivana Church (San Jose de Obrero Church)  
    Port of Ivana  
       
Day 8 Back to Manila    
       
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Hotel Review: Monsoon Hotel

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Monsoon Hotel Reception
Monsoon Hotel Reception
Monsoon Hotel Bar/Reception
Monsoon Hotel Bar/Reception
Monsoon Hotel - Deluxe Double
Monsoon Hotel – Deluxe Double
Monsoon Hotel - Deluxe Double - T&B
Monsoon Hotel – Deluxe Double – T&B

Room Type: Deluxe Double (includes breakfast)
Nights: 1
Total / Room Charge: USD 39.00 (PHP 1,594.76)
Booked via Agoda

TIP: I used Facebook (as usual) to communicate with Monsoon Hotel, and Leakhena (one of the owners) is very prompt and friendly in responding to every message I sent which, I really appreciate.

We came from a morning bus ride from SR, and hired a tuktuk from the bus terminal to the hotel. We were welcomed by 2 friendly staffs with all smiles and refreshing drinks.

PROS:
– Very courteous, attentive, and knows how to communicate well in English. (I hope I was able to meet Leakhena to thank her personally)
— They were the ones who contacted our shuttle service for the bus trip to HCM
– It’s not that cheap (1 night in Monsoon > 2 nights in Bou Savy) but, okay, considering it’s in the capital of Cambodia, I’ll say the price is a bit fair
– Room is neat and clean and I really like the ambiance. The hotel is well maintained.
— The Bed — it’s so comforting that I almost want to take a sleep
— Bathroom: Very clean, and everything looks new. I actually like the design.
– Free fast wi-fi internet connection.

CONS:
– They only serve breakfast 😦 Luckiy, there’s a lot of restaurants along the street.

I would like to stay longer, but because of the tight schedule, this will definitely be on top of my list if ever I go back to PP.

Hotel Review: Bou Savy Guest House

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Room Type: Double Air Conditioning (includes breakfast and unlimited bottled water)

Nights: 2 + 1 (we made two bookings because we had changes in our itinerary)
Total / Room Charge: USD 54.00
1st-2nd nights: USD 36.00 (PHP 1,521.43)
3rd night: USD 18.00 (PHP 780.91)
Booked via Agoda

TIP: I used Facebook to communicate with Bou Savy – I was able to confirm that they will fetch us from the airport via FB. That’s the only question out of a few I asked them that they responded to.

Right when we stepped out of the airport door, we saw 2 men holding Bou Savy signage. When I got closer, I finally saw my name and instantly one of the men approached me and assisted us to the parking area where the TukTuk is waiting. 🙂

PROS:
– Accessible from the airport and other tourist spots (e.g. Cambodian Cultural Center)
– Very courteous and attentive staffs!
– Very affordable – this is the cheapest out of the 3 hotels we had on this trip
– Room is neat and clean and very spacious just for 2
— Room Type: Double has 2 double sized beds
— Bathroom: Clean and spacious as well (had a hard time locking its door though)
– Free fast wi-fi internet connection. I believe each floor has its own router, so you’re connected everywhere you go in the guest house. 🙂
– Bike Rental (USD 2.00/day)

CONS:
– Dinner is served until 9pm (or 10pm?) only. – We arrived a bit late so we had to go to a nearby eatery

That’s the only not so positive that I can think of. After all. we got the accommodation that is just right for the price we paid.

SORRY! I was not able to take pictures of our room because I was too tired and hungry to take one (travelling straight from work isn’t the best idea). I’ll just point you to pictures from google that is similar to what we had, like I’ve said what you see in the pictures is what you’ll get:




Booked: My Hotel @ Sentral

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Finally got a hotel for my trip in KL. 🙂

I initially planned to stay at a hotel near Chinatown or on any bed & breakfast type of hostel since I will only stay there to sleep. But thought that it would be strategic if I’ll be near the MRT, and I’ll be more at ease since I’m travelling alone.

I was choosing between My Hotel @ Sentral and My Hotel @ Brickfield, both looked pretty decent to me. Actually both hotel My Hotel Group.

Hopefully I made a good choice. 🙂 Will post a review after my trip.

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