Money-Saving Tricks to Batanes

Geographically, Batanes Islands are almost as close to Taiwan as they are to Luzon. One interesting facts: when turning on the radio, you'll be tuned in to a Taiwanese radio station loud and clear comparing to the local radio stations from nearby provinces where you get stuttering, buffering and really terrible connections.

Batanes, the northernmost island in the Philippines, is composed of ten tiny islands, offering craggy cliffs, emerald hills and legion of cows and goats. However, these islands are sparsely populated and are subject to frequent typhoons. The three largest islands namely Batan, Itbayat and Sabtang are the only inhabited islands.

Weather in Batanes is really unpredictable. According to our tour guide, February is the coldest month there. Batanes is also considered as the reference point for all the typhoons entering the Philippines.

Biking is the best way to discover the beautiful islands of Batanes. You can leave your things anywhere you want as Batanes is known for zero crime rate. Yes, you read it right.

Traveling to Batanes is relatively costly. The air fare could fly you out to a certain Asian country. However, here are some of the money-saving tricks you should know.

  • Attend travel fairs. Travel fair is one the perfect venues to book the cheapest flight a backpacker would ever imagined. Remember, the early bird gets the worm!
  • Testing the '90-Day prior to flight seat sale'. According to a certain blog, when you book a flight 90 days before your flight, you can get the best deal ever. Usually, airlines already completed their seats inventory and if they found out that there are many seats available, they will desperately sell these available tickets.
  • Keep checking the SkyJet Airlines and Philippine Airlines' websites. You might be as lucky as the backpacker I've met in Batanes who paid Php 300 for her airfare. That's not a joke!
  • Travel with your family and friends to share the expenses. Luckily, Amboy Hometel Batanes [Official Fanpage] sent me a copy of their package tours. Yes, these tour packages are the cheapest -- inclusive of airport transfer, accommodation (air-conditioned), full board meals, Batan Island Tour (north and south tours), Sabtang Island Tour, tour guide, government & entrance fees and service vehicle (van).


KUYA RENZ GALAT; 0927 514 4646

The most exciting part of travel is discovery -- that's what I've realized for traveling solo since 2011. I love the feeling of being in awe and to the completely unexciting things to happen. These might be the reasons why I enjoyed my stay in Batanes last year.

Kuya Renz is one of the tour guides in Batanes. He was referred by Amboy Hometel where we stayed for 4 days and 3 nights. I met him at the hotel's reception area, looking tired that morning but still managed to smile.

If you're new to a certain place and you haven't researched at all, you'll definitely listen intently to your tour guide and ask so many questions just to satisfy your curiosity. I have learned that Kuya Renz was working as a government employee in Batanes for years to support his daughters' studies here in Manila.

When Kris Aquino featured Batanes on her now defunct-TV show, the need for tour guides mushroomed. Without flinching an eye, he enrolled himself to TESDA and got certified. Few days after, he was invited by Amboy Hometel to guide tourists from Manila. He admitted that he's enjoying his current job as a tour guide (sometimes, as a photographer) because he has all the time for his family and helping promote Batanes -- that alone makes him teary-eyed.

This is a shout out for Kuya Renz for being very informative, understanding and honest during our stay in Batanes. He played the tour guide-photographer role wholeheartedly.

Kuya Renz is indeed an inspiration -- age is not a hindrance to enjoy what you're passionate about. He studied, got certified and now helping his community through tourism.