Mt. Iraya. Photo by Geline Salac, ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - Contrary to what many people think, it is not that expensive to travel to Batanes.
I visited the beautiful island province in the northernmost part of the Philippines with five of my friends for four days and three nights last January, and it only cost us P5,000 each.
So how did we do it?
The first and most crucial step to achieving this is getting cheap plane tickets.
The cost of airfare to Batanes is generally more expensive than other local destinations -- and even a handful of international destinations -- because there are limited flights to the island. But with timing and perseverance, one can get to fly to Batanes at a bargain.
Basco Lighthouse. Photo by Geline Salac, ABS-CBNnews.com
It was around October of last year when we chanced upon a seat sale at PAL Express, the budget carrier of Philippine Airlines. The seats were selling out fast, but we were able to book for the last week of January, which is said to be a good time to visit Batanes.
Our tickets cost P1,757, all in.
Mt. Carmel Church. Photo by Geline Salac, ABS-CBNnews.com
Those who are not that lucky may opt to get cheap flights during the lean months, or around July to September. But be warned -- travelers may end up getting stranded in the island during a heavy downpour.
After scoring cheap tickets, the rest will be a breeze. Rooms can go as cheap as P300 per head, with transport at around P100 each a day and meals at P40 to P350.
Vulugan Beach. Photo by Geline Salac, ABS-CBNnews.com
During our trip, we got to see well-known attractions in Batanes such as Mt. Iraya, Mt. Carmel Chapel, Tukon Radar Station, Idjang, Fundacion Pacita, Dipnaysupuan Japanese tunnel, Valugan Boulder Beach, Vayang Rolling Hills and Naidi Lighthouse. We did not take part in any package tour -- all we did was ask around and we got a lot of tips from the friendly locals.
Stone houses of Barangay Sinakan in Sabtang. Photo by Angela Salano, ABS-CBNnews.com
Here is a more detailed list of what I spent during our trip.