Discover the breathtaking view of Batanes for P10,000 All-In (5 Days 4 Nights)

If you don’t love reading, here’s my nakakahilong travel video in Batanes. 🙂 Just click this.

Batanes has been on my bucket list even before it was featured on a local blockbuster movie. I’ve been wanting to visit this place since 2012, however, my big problem has been the plane ticket. It’s a bit difficult to look for the cheapest fare since their flights are limited. There are only two airlines that offer direct flight to Batanes from Manila and these are Philippine Airlines and Skyjet. Regular fare starts from P7,000 to P10,000 for one way. But luckily, I was able to avail the promo of Skyjet last May 16, 2016. This offer was exclusive for walk-in customers in their office at Aseana, Macapagal. I bought my two-way ticket for P3,996 ONLY! Yeyyy! For tips on how to catch the cheapest airline ticket, please check my old post here.

Skyjet offers one flight per day to and from Batanes except Tuesdays and Thursdays. While Philippine Airlines also offers only one flight per day but daily. Both airlines offer only morning flights to and from Batanes with ETD (Estimated Time of Departure) around 7 or 8 o’clock.

The best time to visit Batanes is from the months of February to June since they usually experience typhoon from July to December. At first, we were kinda nervous about the weather on our chosen dates but because of Accuweather, one of my favorite travel apps, we became confident it would be a sunny week. Accuweather provides weather predictions on different cities all over the world.

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Skyjet operates at NAIA Terminal 4 so we didn’t need to come early since it is a small airport. We took our breakfast at Seattle’s Best coffee shop located inside the boarding area. We then left Manila earlier than the departure time. Kudos Skyjet! 🙂  And also, thanks for the free water and fudgee bar. hahaha 😀

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HELLO BATANES! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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I always do DIY (Do-It-Yourself) travels but because my companions wanted a hassle-free travel, we availed a tour package by BISUMI Tour and Services. ‘Twas a good thing I was convinced because it was verrrryyy hot in Batanes that time so the van provided by Bisumi was a good relief after every skin-roasting tour. HAHAHA By the way, if ever you’ll be asked by BISUMI (thru their feedback form) on how did you learn about their agency, I’d appreciate it if you’ll write “www.iamkulit.com” HAHAHA LOL

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The rate per person for the package we availed is P5, 900. This is a 3D2N (3 Days 2 Nights) tour in Batan North, Batan South & Sabtang Island which is inclusive of all government fees and permits, tour guide services, A/C Van for the tours and transfers, round trip boat rides to Sabtang, lunch and refreshments and dinner (Sabtang Island only).

DAY 1 North Batan Tour (Afternoon)

  • Lunch at Vunong Dinette
  • Boulder Beach in Chanpan Valugan
  • WWII Japanese Hideout/Tunnel
  • Basco Idjang Viewing
  • PAGASA “Tukon” Radar Station
  • Tukon Church (Mt. Carmel Chapel)
  • Vayang Rolling Hills
  • Lighthouse in Naidi Hills
  • Our Lady of Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral

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DAY 2 SABTANG ISLAND

  • Travel to San Vicente Port and/or Radiwan Port in Ivana
  • Malakdang Lighthouse
  • Sinakan Stone Houses
  • Brgy. Savidug Stone Houses
  • Sto. Thomas Chapel
  • Savidug Idjang Viewing
  • Refreshments at Chamantad-Tinyan Viewpoint
  • Brgy. Chavayan Stone Houses
  • Souvenir Shopping/Picture taking (Ivatan headgears)
  • Sabtang Weavers Association
  • Sta. Rosa De Lima Chapel

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DAY 3 South Batan Tour 

  • Walking tour at Paderes Point and Cliff Road
  • Chawa Viewing Deck
  • Mahatao Boat Shelter Port
  • Mahatao Town Tour
  • San Carlos Borromeo Church
  • Blank Book Archive
  • Mahatao Spanish Lighthouse
  • Mahatao Tayid Lighthouse
  • Lo-Ran Old Naval Base
  • Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Itbud
  • San Antonino de Florencia Church in Uyugan
  • Honesty Store
  • San Jose de Ivana Church and Ruins
  • House of Dakay and Old Spanish Bridge

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“Blow Ur Horn” signs are almost everywhere

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Blank Book Archive where you can write your Batanes experience or memories.

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DAY 4 FREE DAY

For Day 4, we just slept the whole morning. HAHAHA In the afternoon, we bought souvenirs at BISUMI souvenir shop. I highly recommend this shop because they have unique and beautiful designs for shirts (cotton or dri-fit, P180-P250), ref magnets, wallets, bags and etc. Around 4 pm , we decided to go the Fountain of youth but were not able to do so because it closes at 5 pm. Sad. We just then went to the White Beach instead. The sand is not that white though, the beach is full of corals (so ouchy to the feet LOL), and I don’t recommend this for your kids because some areas that don’t have corals are deep. I suggest you go biking. 🙂 Some hotels offer free rent for bicycles while there are stores that charge P25 each for unlimited use. If you have your license, you can also rent a motor.

DAY 5 SEE YOU AGAIN, BATANES

Triple M Homestay is very near to the airport. The terminal fee is P100. Our flight back to Batanes is 7:45am. This has been the saddest part of my every getaway- flying back to Manila. Haaaay. But I will surely come back for you my dear Batanes!!! 🙂 For a prenup shoot perhaps? HAHAHAHAHA

TRIPLE M HOMESTAY

We stayed at Triple M Homestay (Marfel Lodge extension) during our stay at Batan. We met Miss Marfel on our first day stay and she was very accommodating and friendly. The rate per person is P400 (fan room) or P600 (A/C) with a common bathroom. We only used stand fans on our first day and A/C on our third and fourth day. We only paid P200 each on our second day since we didn’t sleep there, we just left some of our bags in our room. You can cook in their kitchen and buy snacks or food at their honesty store. One thing I really love about Batanes is its people. They’re very honest and trustworthy. Other motor owners even leave the keys in their motors outside their house. When you rent a bicycle, you don’t need to leave an id or something as a security deposit. I bet Honesto is from Batanes. Harhar.

SABTANG LIGHTHOUSE STAY

Our stay in Sabtang is my favorite part of our tour. Our overnight stay here is not included in the package so we paid P500 each to Nanay Ading. 🙂 It has two comfort rooms, two beds, a videoke machine for singers wannabe out there hahaha, television (with cable, aha!), refrigerator and my favorite part, it has the BEST view of Sabtang Island!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂  The best afternoon nap of my life happened there. 😀 I slept on a cliff with the amazing view of the ocean on my left and of the beautiful mountain on my right. 🙂 And during that night, the sky was full of staaaarrrrs! The moon was shining so bright! That night was truly amazing. So, I highly recommend this place! And I also recommend that you stay overnight at Sabtang. 🙂

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RESTAURANTS

The following are the restaurants we tried at Batanes. Some of which are a bit pricey if you just eat alone but of course, cheaper when shared with your travel buddies. 😀

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SUMMARY OF EXPENSES

With BISUMI Tours & Services:

  •  Plane Ticket via Skyjet                            P3,996
  • Tour Package                                               P5,900
  • Sabtang Lighthouse Stay                        P500
  • Triple M Homestay                                   P1,800
  • Meals                                                             P1,000
  • Rental Fee (Bicycle)                                  P25
  • Tricycle Fare                                                 P200
  • Terminal Fee (Basco Airport)                P100
  • Miscellaneous                                             P200

                                                             TOTAL:        P13,721

If DIY (Do-It-Yourself)

  • Plane Ticket (via Skyjet)                                                                   P3,996
  • Triple M Home stay (Fan Room for 3 days)                                P1,200
  • Sabtang Lighthouse Stay                                                                  P500
  • Meals (depends on your hunger and appetite haha)               P1500
  • North Batan Tricycle Tour (P500 each, min of 2pax)               P500
  • South Batan Tricycle Tour (P750 each, min of 2 pax)               P750
  • Sabtang Tricycle Tour (P400 each, min of 2 pax)                       P400
  • Eco Tourism Fee (to be paid upon arrival at the airport)        P350
  • Basco-Ivatan Port and vice versa Tricyle Fare                           P250
  • Sabtang Boat Ride (two-way)                                                          P150
  • Sabtang Environmental Fee                                                             P200
  • Rental Fee (Bicycle)                                                                            P25
  • Rental Fee (Ivatan Costume)                                                           P20
  • Terminal Fee (Basco Airport)                                                          P100

                                                                           TOTAL:            P9,941

If you have noticed, it’s really cheaper if you won’t travel ALONE. hahaha So better bring your sibling, your best friend, your kalandian, your ex (if you haven’t moved on yet! LOL) or your FOREVER! Achuchu! hahaha

Batanes is really a very very beautiful place. She’ll surely break your heart upon leaving. 😦 I’ll see you again soon, Batanes! 🙂

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If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave a comment! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading! 😀 I also hope you find this useful for your Batanes getaway soon! 🙂 That’s all folks! :*

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.

 

Credits to my companions for some photos above. LOL

 

 

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Best summer destinations in the Philippines

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April and May are the hottest months in the Philippines, thus, it’s the official SUMMER season of the country. I say “official” because it’s like summer for the whole year here, it’s really hot all year round. Well, we’re a tropical country. Haha. 😀 For us Filipinos, the word “summer” is synonymous to “beach”, “swimming”, “adventure”, “road trip” or “travel”. One summer is not enough to visit all the beautiful white beaches, amazing rock formations and great tourist spots that we have here. Whatever your hobby is, whether it’s surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, mountaineering, fishing or just walking in the seashore LOL, you can have the best experience of it… here in the Philippines! 🙂

On this post, I’ll be talking about the top places in the Philippines for every different activity. I mean, top surfing spots, scuba diving spots and the like. But before that, let me give you a short description of the Philippine geography.

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www.freeusandworldmaps.com

Philippines is an archipelago that consists 7,107 islands which are divided into three large groups namely: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. But as of the latest count, there are actually 7,641 islands, as shown by the Philippine Islands Measurements Project, a special project conducted by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA). Read the full article about this here. Philippines has a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). We have a total of 81 provinces and 122 cities. Our capital city is Manila which is part of the province of Metro Manila in Luzon. To avoid confusion, Manila is a city and Metro Manila is a province. The busiest airports and national offices of different government agencies are located in Metro Manila. And the worst traffic in the country is also in… yah, in Metro Manila! LOL But despite the traffic, there are still a lot of good places here. There are a lot of good restaurants, big shopping malls, casinos and 4 to 5-star hotels. And also, most of the big concerts and music festivals are being held here. However, if you’re not into urban living or if you want to experience the beauty of nature, then Manila is not the place to be. Yeow! 😀

To those who love MOUNTAINEERING, here is the list of good choices in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. (My lists will be divided into these three island groups so that you can experience all those different activities even if you’re just staying in one group of islands.)

LUZON:
Mount Pinatubo, Zambales – an active stratovolcano in the Cabusilan mountains. (4,875 ft, minor climb)
Mount Pico de Loro, Cavite – a.k.a. Mount Palay-palay, a dormant volcano with an iconic rock peak also known as Parrot’s beak. (2,178 ft, minor climb)
Mount Pulag, Benguet – highest peak in Luzon, 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines. (9,586 ft, major climb)
Mount Mariveles, Bataan – a dormant volcano in the province of Bataan, a.k.a. Mount Tarak. (4,553 ft, major climb)
Mount Banahaw, Quezon – the Holy Mountain in the Philippines. (7,119 ft, major climb)
Mount Mayon, Albay– a.k.a. The Perfect cone, active composite volcano with almost symmetric conical shape. (8,080 ft, major climb)
Mount Daguldul, Batangas – coastal mountain of San Juan with a beautiful seascape. (2,198 ft, minor climb)
Mount Guiting-guiting, Romblon – a.k.a. G2, jagged mountain of rock. (6,751 ft, major climb)

VISAYAS:
Mount Kanla-on, Negros Occidental – most active and highest volcano in Visayas. (7,988 ft, major climb)

MINDANAO:
Mount Apo, Davao del Sur – highest peak in the Philippines. (9,691 ft, major climb) Sadly, it is closed for three to five years because of the recent forest fire. 😦
Kitanglad Mountain Range, Bukidnon – rich in biodiversity and was declared a protected area in 2000. (9,511 ft, major climb)

 

 

 

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Mount Mayon, Albay

 

 

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Mount Apo, Davao www.thephilippines.com
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Mount Pico de Loro, Cavite www.kamustamazagine.ph
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Mount Tarak or Mount Mariveles, Bataan
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Mount Pinatubo, Zambales www.tripsiders.com

 

I have some friends who love the mountains but not the beach. They have great strength for hiking but not for swimming. Some of them don’t even know how to swim. But not all swimmers can hike too. *winks* So my next list will be about the beautiful BEACHES in the Philippines.

LUZON:

Matukad Island, Caramoan, Camarines Sur (Nearest airport: Virac airport)
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte (Naga airport)
El Nido, Palawan (El Nido airport or Puerto Prinsesa International Airport – 6 hours land travel to El Nido)
Coron, Palawan (Busuanga airport)
Puraran Beach, Catanduanes (Virac airport)
White Beach, Puerto Galera (NAIA Terminal Terminals in Manila)
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte (Laoag International Airport)

VISAYAS:

Boracay, Aklan (Caticlan airport or Kalibo International Airport – 2 hours travel to Boracay)
Bantayan Island, Cebu (Mactan Cebu International Airport)
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte (Tacloban airport)
Malapascua Island, Cebu (Mactan Cebu International Airport)
Salagdoong Beach, Siquijor (Dumaguete airport)
Panglao Island, Bohol (Tagbilaran airport)

MINDANAO:

Naked Island, Surigao del Sur (Butuan airport)
Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental (Davao International Airport)
White Island, Camiguin (Cagayan de Oro airport)
Samal Island, Davao (Davao International Airport)

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Bantayan Island, Cebu
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El Nido, Palawan
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Boracay, Aklan
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Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
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Malapascua Island, Cebu www.tropicalbeachgetaways.com
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Camiguin Island www.madeintheisland.wordpress.com
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Coron, Palawan www.metrodeal.com
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Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte www.afreemind.org
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Samal Island, Davao www.metrodeal.com
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Panglao Island, Bohol en.wikipedia.org

While there are many people who go to the beach just for swimming, there are others who want more than that, they are the surfers! Here is the list of SURFING spots in our country.

LUZON:
Baler, Aurora (6 hours land travel from Manila)
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte (10 hours land travel from Manila or 2 hours from Laoag airport)
Puraran Beach, Catanduanes (1 hour travel from Virac port)
Liw-liwa, Zambales (4 hours land travel from Manila)
Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte (7 hours land travel from Manila or 2 hours land travel from Naga City)
San Juan, La Union (5 hours land travel from Manila)

VISAYAS:
Calicoan Island, Eastern Samar (3 hours land travel from Tacloban City)

MINDANAO:
Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental (4 hours land travel from Davao City)
Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte (45 minutes direct flight from Cebu or 3 hours ferry from Surigao City or Butuan City)

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San Juan, La Union www.soleofmissy.com
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Siargao Island www.blog.8share.com
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Calicoan, Eastern Samar www.faq.ph
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Baler, Aurora

Disclaimer: Some of the pictures posted above are mine, some are not. But I have included the links or pages of the owners of the photos who wrote about their travel experiences on those places. You may check their pages if you want. 🙂

That’s all for now. 🙂

 

Xoxo,

Kulit.

 

 

Travel guide for foreigners who want to visit Philippines

I have already posted a travel guide for Filipinos who are planning to visit other countries. This time, before I will post my local travel experiences, I’d like to also give a guide for our foreign tourists who want to see the beauty of our beloved country – Philippines.

FIRST, let’s talk about the visa requirement.

Here is the list of the non-visa required countries who are given an initial stay of 30 days for free under EO408. Again, it’s exactly 30 days, not one month. Okay? 😀

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You can extend your stay for a certain fee in any immigration office for another 29 days (a total of 59) and so on but take note that if your entire stay is 6 months or more, you need to get an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) at any immigration office nationwide (see list of offices here or a more detailed one here) and present it to the immigration officer upon departure. You may also avail the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) at the airport to have the 59 days of stay ahead. If you plan to avail the VUA, make sure to prepare your Philippine peso before coming in to our country. There are money changers and ATMs in some airports though, but it’s better if you have Philippine peso on hand. Debit and credit cards are not accepted at the immigration cashiers.

For former Philippine passport holders who are now holding a non-visa required passport, you are given a Balikbayan privilege stay for 365 days. This privilege can be extended to your spouse and children ONLY if you are arriving together. You may be required to present a marriage or birth certificate to the immigration officer upon arrival to establish the relationship.

If you’re traveling with a minor who is not your child and who is 14 years old and below, under Section 29(a) (12) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, that minor is classified as excludable. In order for him to be admitted into the Philippines, he must secure a Waiver of Exclusion Ground (WEG) from the Bureau of Immigration. For more information about this, click here.

For Brazil and Israel passport holders, you are given an initial stay of 59 days.

For Hongkong – SAR and Macau – SAR, you can stay for 14 days.

For British National Overseas and Macau – Portuguese, your initial stay is 7 days only.

Those countries which are not under EO408 and which are not mentioned above are considered visa-required countries. Visa-required passport holders need to apply for a temporary visitor’s visa at a Philippine Foreign Service Post at his/her country of origin or place of legal residence. However, there are some visa-required nationals who can still stay for a certain number of days here by using his visa issued by other countries.

Take for example, for Chinese passport holders, you may use your valid tourist, business, working, student or resident visa in USA, Japan, Australia, Canada and Schengen to have 7 days of stay. However, you must prepare a photocopy of the biopage of your passport or the visa of any of the said countries because our immigration officers are not allowed to stamp on a Chinese passport.

Indian citizens can also use valid USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Schengen, Singapore and UK visa to have 14 days of stay. Transit visa of these countries is not allowed.

SECOND, your passport should be at least six (6) months valid upon your arrival. However, under Operations Order No. SBM-2015-26, below is the list of countries whose nationals may be admitted into our country with passports of less than six months validity from date of arrival.

six months validity

THIRD, for holders of temporary visitor’s visa, Philippine visa is usually valid for 3 to 6 months from the issue date, it means you must enter the country on or before the expiration date. However, your allowable days of stay is different. The number of days is normally 14, 30 or 59 which is counted from the date of your arrival.

FOURTH, prepare your return ticket which is encoded in ENGLISH. Sometimes, hotel booking may be also asked or the name and address of your sponsor here in the Philippines.

FIFTH, make sure to fill out completely an immigration and custom form before going to the immigration area.

SIXTH, there are 12 international airports and seaports in our country (see the complete list here). Our major airports are located in Manila, these are NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Terminal 1 is exclusive for international flights. Terminal 2 is operated by Philippine Airlines (both domestic and international) while Terminal 3 is operated by various airlines (international) and Cebu Pacific (domestic). We also have international airports in Kalibo (Boracay), Cebu and Davao. So, you may book your tickets directly to these airports if it’s available from your country.

For more updated information, please check the official website of the Bureau of Immigration of the Republic of the Philippines at http://www.immigration.gov.ph/

SEVENTH, if you have connecting flights, you may avail of the Airport Loop or Airport bus to and from NAIA terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4.

EIGHTH, if you have connecting flight from the other terminal in Manila, please allot enough time going there (like at least 4 to 5 hours gap) because y’know – TRAFFIC!!!

NINTH, Philippines is a tropical country so just wear and bring light clothes. We have two seasons – the wet season and the dry season. The rainy season starts in July and lasts until November. September and October are frequently the typhoon season. While April and May are the hottest months in the Philippines.

Lastly, in the Philippines, power socket type A is used but some of our virgin beaches or islands have shortage of power supply so bring your power banks or extra batteries for your gadgets.

This is just a basic travel guide. In my next posts, I will provide you a list of the best beaches or tourist destinations in the country and a list of the must-try food or delicacies or any list that I can think of, soon. hahaha

I apologize for this lengthy post but I hope you still find this useful. 🙂 Thank you for your time, I appreciate it a loooot! 😉

Xoxo,

Kulit.