A year ago I visited the northern most part of the Philippines, Batanes. I know most of you are already familiar how beautiful, breathtaking, surreal (what else?) this place is since this has been featured already in different TV shows, blog sites and social media posts.
Like what they say “Mahal mag Batanes” and that’s true!
So this post will feature how did I achieved my Batanes dream The Next Minimalist way 🙂
When going to Batanes, Airfare is the reason why people tend to back out and instead think about other tourist destination to visit rather spend that much for just an Airfare which is really much more expensive compared to promo fares abroad.
So when I put this bucketlist on top last 2009, I have been constantly checking Skyjet Airlines and Philippine Airlines to get updates about their rate since during that time I only knew both of the said airlines which flies from and to Batanes. Everytime I check, ranges of regular airfare back and forth are 17k to 19k during summer and 8k to 10k during off season (ber months). I was initially thinking to go during off season considering the lower cost of Airfare however, I can’t afford going there yet I can’t enjoy since off season in Batanes usually is gloomy or in worst cases has typhoon as per the tour guide I ask via email. It was 2015 when I finally decided to really start saving for this. I even ask my Aunt to visit travel expos in Manila since Skyjet usually gives discount for Batanes during travel expos but I cannot expect from my Aunt and the promo is really limited. My friends are also interested and for the same reason, the airfare is not really practical (but money can’t buy the experience so I made it!)
Here’s what I did :
1) Jan. 2015 to Nov. 2015 – save… save… save… (per payroll intended for Batanes Airfare alone).
It was Nov.2015, I was checking Skyjet Airlines’ website and found out that the Airfares are quite lower of almost 6k during peak season of 2016. I thought it was the perfect time to book. I check my savings (8k plus) and added up a little more amount to avail it.
Nov. 2015 – Airfare from and to Manila-Basco Batanes booked! (11,440php)
I started to search for my Tour agency and found BISUMI Travel and Tours.
Total cost of Tour is 5000php inclusive of :
-Day 1 North Batan Island
-Day 2 Sabtang Island
-Day 3 South Batan Island
-lunch each tour
-Transfers and other tour fees
Another challenge was, I need to give downpayment worth 2,000 to reserve my slot.
2) Nov. 2015 – Feb. 2016 – save…save…save… (for the tour down payment)
and yes by end of February, I already had 2000php and paid the downpayment.
Next challenge was the accommodation which is not included in the tour. So I made some reasearch again and found Marfel’s Lodge, a homestay just 2-3 minutes away from the airport.
Luckily, they offer a single bed fan room for 500php per night and said that I can pay when I get there. woahh:) (3 days = 1500php)
The next budget challenge is my airfare from and to Dvo-Manila.
3) Feb. 2016 – Mar.2016 – save…save…save… for the Dvo-Manila airfare.
Luckily, Cebu Pacific had a promo airfare which costs 1500php back and forth and yey I scored it!
4) March 2016 – April 2016 – save… save… save… for the most awaited Travel (April 29, 2017 to May 1, 2017. It was like a 2 year money challenge and I consider it as a very significant experience being able to appreciate and learn a lot of things. Aside from the farthest place I’ve been to so far, going there solo made it more memorable. I learned to listen well, I feel like I became braver and most of all I learned to appreciate life’s simplicity seeing the Ivatans in their simple yet inspiring life and culture.
Summary of Expenses :
> 11,440php – Airfare from and to Manila-Basco Batanes-Skyjet Airlines (paid Nov.2015)
> 200php terminal fee from Dvo-Manila
> 1500php – 3 nights Accomodation in Marfel’s Lodge Batanes
> 5000php – Batanes Tour though BISUMI travel and tours (downpayment 2k Feb.2016)
> 600php – 3 day Meals (breakfast and dinner only)
> 1000php – Pasalubong
> 2000php – Pocket money
So when I went to Batanes, I only had 8,300php in my pocket since airfares are paid already and had downpayment for the tour. wew!
wondering about that 600php meals for 3 days? haha! check out the next post:)
This experience made me realize that we don’t have to be rich to be able to make our dreams come true. Travel goals are achievable but you have to take time and work for it because there’s no such place as far away to those who can dream and we can always make things happen.