Yes, it was fun. I really did have the time of my life there. BUT (there are buts for this) there are lots of things to keep in mind when traveling here. Below are some tips that might help you in planning your Batanes trip. 🙂
- Book your airplane tickets early or watch out for on sale ones.
It is quite expensive to go here especially during peak season (which is around summer months here in the Philippines). So either you book your airplane tickets early or watch out for on sale ones. We got ours on sale. You could also opt to go here during off-peak season. Taking photos in the rain might make for some good dramatic photos? Tickets are relatively cheap by then. Just be on the lookout for typhoons coming in.
- Reserve at restaurants
Before and during our trip, we made reservations to most of the places we dined here. It’s a must. They really do prepare the meals beforehand. There was this one restaurant that we were supposed have dinner at. When we found out that it was so far from our place, we decided to just stay at our homestay. We were then contacted as the restaurant was looking for us! They prepared some dishes (we didn’t pre-order) for that night just for us. We felt pretty bad. That was a lesson learned for us. Another thing with the restos here is that some open late in the afternoon and are closed on some days. So make sure to ask around, text, and reserve.
- Wear rash guard or light long sleeved shirts
That’s me and my back. If you look closely, you’d see a red spot right on my left shoulder. I got burnt. Actually, I did use sunscreen. I re-applied yet my skin still suffered a bit of redness there. It’s better to wear a rash guard or light long sleeves to better protect your skin. Or else, you’ll suffer the same fate as mine. 😦
- Get and keep the number of BATODA
I never got to keep the number of their tricycle’s association but it’s better that you do when you go here. It comes in handy when you need to go someplace or be fetched somewhere in Batanes.
- Bring cash
As much as possible, do bring cash. Budget your expenses beforehand so as to prepare the amount you’ll be bringing. There are few banks here, and we only got to see one, namely, Philippine National Bank (PNB). We didn’t use our credit cards too, and never bothered to even ask if we could pay via that method.
- No haggling please
We all love a good discount. But here, all the items are fairly priced. There are a couple of souvenir shops each having a specialty of its own. Some offer packages (example: 3 items for PhP100.00 only). We were able to visit most of these shops as each one is a few walks away from one another.
- DIY tours
It is possible to do a do-it-your-own tour here like what we did. With enough research, you can go to all the tourist spots. You can also chat up with the locals. They would gladly help you get to where you wanna go.
- Hired tours
Yes, I do encourage you to go on a hired tour. We really enjoyed our time with our tour guide during our South Batan tour. We got to know the history and stories of certain spots. He even taught us to speak a few Ivatan words. And he also takes great photos! Just look at that stance below! Tours are a bit expensive but it’s good way to help the community and really get to know the place.
- Do stay in a homestay
There’s only one legitimate hotel and that one is expensive. Staying in a homestay is pretty much like being at home. And it’s pretty much where everyone touring here stays. You can cook your own meals which will save you a lot.
- Travel in a group
Solo travel here sounds pretty good but it will be expensive. Imagine hiring a tricycle (that’s good for two) and paying PhP800 in the end. So yeah, cheaper if you travel in a group.
This ain’t a tip but when going here, ENJOY! That’s what trips are for. Bask in all the glory that this island offers. 😉