Batanes, there and back again (December 28 – 31, 2009)

A lot of friends asked me for details on my trip to Batanes, particularly how and how much?

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Planning for the trip.

I decided I wanted to go Batanes as my final trip for 2009 sometime December 6th. I asked a friend of mine, the much travelled Ivan Henares, for some tips, who to recommended I contacty Seair’s Travel Agency… Leisure Escape Packages. But I wasn’t getting much luck with them (I sent several e-mails with no response, and the no one seemed to pick up the phone when I called). So scrap that idea.

I decided to just do things on my own. First, I needed a place to stay (I do this before booking the flight). I searched Batanes on Bing and found this very helpful website: http://www.philsite.net/batanes.htm which listed a few options. I later realized… there weally just a few options. Another site I consulted was http://www.flyseair.com/destinations/batanes/wheretostay.

 

Batanes Seaside Lodge

I obviously decided on Batanes Seaside. How? Well, I e-mailed all e-mail addresses on the sites and such as Seaside’s at lbroberto_seaside@yahoo.com. Only Seaside’s manager, Lydia Roberto replied to me. So I decided that she would get my business. The different sites stated the rates of the options, but I decided that I wanted to make my life easier and specified to Lydia what I wanted. And I was very specific. I wanted a quote for 4 days  / 3 nights, that I would be alone, and I requested that they arrange the tours for me. She quickly replied with some packages.

I opted for a package which included all my meals, the tours, and the stay. For a single pax (the rates were cheaper the more you are in a group.) My rate? P7,500. Which I thought was quite decent. (Note, the packages for 3D/2N in groups actually started at P4,500.).

Over the next few days we would exchange texts to clarify my needs.

 

Booking my flight

This was the easy part. I just went to the SEAIR website at http://www.flyseair.com and booked directly there. My total airfare was P13,897.20

So my total fixed cost was P21,397.20. I brought some extra cash, just in case which is prudent but I really didn’t have much additional expenses after.

 

Unexpected Expense

The only unexpected expense I had was to facilitate the boat rides to and from Sabtang Island. Long story short, because it was Dec 30, there weren’t many passengers going back and forth. And since I didn’t want to be stranded, I offered to pay extra. But it was no big deal.

 

Snafu

Those who follow my blog will know that my Dec 28-31 trip was originally Dec 26-Dec29… details here: http://lakwatsero.me/2009/12/26/aborted-departure-for-batanes-for-now-the-many-things-that-went-wrong-today-travel-wise-dec-26-2009/

All in all, the snafu aside (which I didn’t ruin my adventure) the planning and the trip itself went quite well.

 

Great service at the Batanes Seaside Lodge

An extra mention. I already said this in a previous blog post. Ms. Lydia Roberto, Seaside Lodge’s manager went out her way to ensure that my specific requests were met. She is also quite a woman to exchange stories with. (you have got to meet her). Meanwhile, her entire staff was great. From her driver Narding, her cook Precy (who always prepared more food than I could finish), and of course my guide Dwight was… the best!

They say that Batanes folk are quite nice, polite, and tourist friendly. I clearly saw that in the whole of Batanes… but specifically from the staff of Batanes Seaside.

 

Urban Legend

Several months ago, a friend of mine told me a Photographer’s Urban Legend. It goes, while at Batanes, you take your camera, point it at anything. and the picture would turn out great. So during my trip to Batanes, I wanted to test this and see if the myth was confirmed or busted.

Amongst the 800+ photos I took I could say that the urban legend is just that. I had a lot of really bad shots as anyone would. However I would say, that because of the sheer splendor of the place, yes… majority of my pics turned out really good. Hence, I would say that the Urban Legend is clearly exag. But I can see where it was coming from. Because it was so easy to take great pictures with such a backdrop.

 

Final words

In the words of Douglas McArthur… I shall return.

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13 Comments

  1. Hello! its nice stumbling on your website as i was surfing for a prospect for a summer outing… love your blogs! anyways, i have always wanted to go to Batanes… but December seems to be the most convenient time for me… obviously because of the long xmas vacation… but i have apprehensions on going to Batanes on December due to weather conditions there… when i saw that u were there on a december, how was the weather condition? wasn’t it rainy at all? i’ve heard that the best time to go to batanes is during summer and september… thanks! =)

    Reply
    • Hi Maia,

      I have heard the same stories about the rains. But that is only during the rainy season. You never know these days when that is :)

      First off, yes I have been told that during September, Batanes experiences some “Indian Summer” and it is a great time to visit.

      I went in December for two reasons 1) I didn’t want 2009 to pass w/o me visiting Batanes and 2) They “say” it is good to go from December-January because it is cool. And it was. I didn’t turn on the aircon in the room at night. The days were also quite comfy and windy. Aslo note… Batanes is so way to the north that you should not use rains in Manila as basis for rains in Batanes. What I did was I checked out weather sites like Weather Underground (http://www.wunderground.com/) to generally see how the weather is like. During my 4 day stay in Batanes at the end of 2009 (literally as I came home on New Year’s Eve).

      At the same time, I actually want to go back to Batanes now because during summer is when the sky is bluest. And I think that would make for great pictures.

      Additional thoughts. Upside and downside. When I visited in late December, I hardly bumped into any tourists… there were 2-3 families I would see as I went around, but that was it. For me, it was generally peaceful. The downside is that unlike summer, the ferry schedules (like to Sabtang) were limited due to less people. I hear that in summer, people are more attentive to trourists due to more people. I don’t know how that works out for you.

      Reply
  2. wow! I love the detailed blog you’ve made for Batanes. It was always a dream to travel in Batanes just because I wanted to go up high in the lighthouse..hehe…ang babaw noh!? thanks, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Thanks. Batanes is simply breathtaking!

      Actiually when I went to the Batan Lighthouse, I was hesitant to go in. Then the caretaker said something like “you might as well, its not often then you can come here.”

      Reply
  3. super love this post! so far this was the only blog that is generous enough to put into details almost everything I wanted to know about Batanes. thanks Mr. Lakwatsero! I’ll be there before my graduation! :D

    Reply
    • thanks neily! Batanas is one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. Be sure to check the weather before booking your flight.

      Reply
      • thanks! I will! :D

        Reply
  4. It’s great that you’ve featured an interesting article on Batanes in your blog. Just by reading the comments I now that you were able to influence a lot of curious travelers out there who haven’t been to Batanes yet. Your blog might just be the “inspirational push” that they need. All the best in your blog. Cheers!

    Btw, here’s my take on Batanes
    http://phoenixperience.blogspot.com/2008/12/i-got-married-to-bunch-of-paddlers-in.html

    Reply
  5. Batanes is One of the best place you’ll ever want to visit. Indulge in beautiful scenery. It’s more fun in the philippines.

    Reply
  6. Nice reading your blog! :)

    Thanks for considering Batanes!!!

    Reply
  7. Hello colleagues, how is everything, and what you wish for to say regarding this
    post, in my view its genuinely amazing for me.

    Reply

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