Isis Bungalows: Budget-friendly Bohol Accomodations for a Family of Six

June 14, 2010

Isis Bungalows: Budget-friendly Bohol Accommodations for a Family of Six

What kids will like about this place
  • It has free strong wifi 24 hours a day. 
  • It has cable tv in the rooms
  • The beach is a few steps from the room.
  • Although the beachfront is small, the shallow waters stretches around 50 meters from the beachfront.
  • You can snorkel on the beach in front and see small fish and different shapes of starfish.

What I like about this place
The Room:
  •  They have rooms that can accomodate big groups. In our case, I prefer to have a room that can accomodate both my husband and I, and all our four kids so we don't have to worry about them staying in the other room. It's often hard to find rooms that can accomodate us because often, family rooms are only good for 4 people, the couple and their 2 kids. It's more expensive for a family of six to book 3 standard rooms good for 2 people. That's why I prefer to book a family suite, or any room that will allow 6 people to stay in one room.
  • The Isis Bungalow deluxe bungalow can accommodate all six of us. We stayed at deluxe bungalow 4, near the reception. But next time we're going to stay at the family bungalow 8. It's the most spacious, has a very large bathroom, has a terrace and a nice view of the sea. It's on the second floor and on top of Isis Thai Restaurant
  • The size of the room is 30 sq. meters and the deluxe bungalow is shaped like a pentagon. It has enough space to accommodate  1 queen-sized foam bed, a single foam bed, a double sized airbed, and a single airbed. We brought with us the airbeds to save on mattress fee.
  • They have a cabinet with lots of shelves and hangers.
The Bathroom:
  •  Bathroom is large, clean and designed for the comfort and convenience of the guest because of additional shelves.
  • Water in the bathroom is relatively strong, considering that Panglao Island has a water problem.
  • They have hot and cold water.
Other Amenities:
  • Even if you do not rent the mattress, they give free pillows, blankets and towels to the additional persons.
  • They give free toiletries like shampoo in sachet and soap and free instant coffee, sugar and creamer in sachet. They replenish it when you consume it.
  • They have laundry service but we didn't use it so I cannot rate it.
The Service:
  • The staff is very efficient and fast in giving service. Every time I ask for extra towels, pillows or blankets, they were able to immediately give them to me.
  • They clean the room and toilet every day.

The rate of one deluxe bungalow is P4,000 per bungalow per night. The rate is for 3 persons per deluxe bungalow. There is a charge of P350 per night for additional persons in the room in excess of 3 persons. There is a charge of P350 per night for each additional mattress requested.

Amenities included in the rate of a deluxe bungalow:
  • 1 queen-sized bed and 1 single bed 
  • with air-con
  • with cable TV
  • with mini refrigerator
  • private toilet and shower, with hot and cold water 
  • electric hot water thermos with free coffee, sugar and creamer
  • free toiletries: shampoo in sachet and soap
Terms and Conditions:
We are required to make 50% deposit to confirm our reservation. The 50% deposit is to be deposited to their Bank of the Philippine Islands bank account

In case of cancellation of booking, you will forfeit the 50% deposit you made.

Rebooking Policy:
If you rebook your reservation 2 weeks before arrival, you will not forfeit your deposit.

Check-in time: 2pm
-- we arrived around 12 nn and was allowed to check-in immediately since the room assigned to us was already free.

Check-out time: 12nn
-- since our pick-up time from the resort is at 230 pm, we checked out at 12 nn and our luggage was stored at reception.

Contact Information:
Isis Bungalows website 
Isis Bungalows email address 
Isis Bungalows Resort: Traveler's Photos

When to catch SEAIR promo flights to Batanes

June 3, 2010

When to catch SEAIR promo flights to Batanes

For the past few years, I noticed that the best time to watch out for SEAIR promo flights is during January, February and September.

SEAIR anniversary sale (released January)

Last January 2010, to commemorate their anniversary on March 25, they offered a Php1,400 peso discount for roundtrip airfare to Batanes for March to May peak season travel.
Date of travel: March to May 

SEAIR Travel Tour Expo Sale (held every 3rd weekend of February)
This is the biggest sale they offer for peak season travel. They offer buy-one-take one flights to Batanes. The fare is Php 14,344, inclusive of taxes, good for two people.
Date of travel: March 15 to June 15
When to purchase: only during the Travel Tour Expo 

It's cheapest to travel to Batanes from June 15-October 15. Fare is around Php 7,647 roundtrip per person, inclusive of taxes. 
Date of Travel: June 15-October 15 
When to purchase: at the Travel Tour Expo weekend in February till May 

SEAIR Philippine Travel Mart Sale (held every 3rd weekend of September): 

They usually offer buy-one-take one flights for September to October 15 travel. The fare is Php 14,344, inclusive of taxes, good for two people.
Date of Travel: September-October 15 

How to go to Batanes

How to go to Batanes

New!! Updated as of Feburary 9, 2013: Manila to Batanes flights (Airlines, Schedules, Fares)

Updated as of April 6, 2012: Skyjet flies from Manila to Batanes starting March 27, 2012
Updated as of August 10, 2012: There are currently no SEAIR flights to Batanes because they stop flights during low season. Read more at Seasonal flights of SEAIR

At present, the only way to reach Batanes from Manila is to fly via Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR). There are no other commercial passenger planes that flies direct from Manila to Basco, Batanes except SEAIR. Batanes airlines and SkyPasada flies from Laoag or Tuguegarao. (see other ways to go to Batanes)

Updated as of August 16, 2012:

There are three (3) airlines flying Manila to Batanes. The current status of these airlines are as follows:

Southeast Asian Airlines: has seasonal flights to Batanes, which means it has flights only during peak season travel, and suspends its flights during low  season travel. As of this writing, it has no flights to Batanes. The reservation officer said it may begin flights in October 2012. 
Skypasada Airlines: they have early morning flights twice a week from Manila to Batanes (Wednesday and Fridays), and afternoon flights twice a week from Batanes to Manila (Thursdays and Sundays). You can book flights online here.
Skyjet Airlines: they have weekly early morning Saturday flights from Manila to Batanes. It  currently cannot be booked online. See my post How to book Skyjet Airlines to Batanes

There are no RORO routes so it cannot even be accessed by motorbikes or other means of transportation. You can motorbike to Laoag or Tuguegarao but you still have to ride a plane from there to go to Batanes. You have to leave your motorbike in Laoag or Tuguegarao because the small planes landing at Basco airport cannot carry it. Even if the planes are willing to carry it, you will be charged at least 2 passengers worth of airfare. And that will be too expensive for the privilege of riding your motorbike around Batanes. Overall, it's cheaper to fly then to rent a motorcycle from the locals.

Another airline that may fly to Batanes soon is Air Philippines. According to their Chief Executive Adviser, Brian Hogan, "the company intends to open more “missionary routes” such as El Nido in Palawan, Tawi-Tawi, Jolo, Basco in Batanes and many more local destinations now served by roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) vessels." (see full article)

I will update you when this happens. For now, SEAIR is the only airlines flying direct from Manila-Batanes.

How to book SEAIR Flights
Regular flights of SEAIR from Manila to Batanes and vice versa is once a day. So it's best to book early. Seair uses the Dornier 328 planes, which only has 32 passengers per flight. This means only 32 passengers arrive in Batanes per day.  

During Spring (which is March to April), they have two flights per day. The second flight they open, which is the 5am flight, is usually delayed by an hour or two. So it's better to book the 8am flight rather than the 5am flight. You don't have to wake up too early only to end up leaving almost the same time as the 8am flight. Then in May, they increased flights again to three times a day. The rest of the year, they have only one flight per day. 

Read more on The Experience of Flying Seair

Cost and booking policy of SEAIR
You can book Seair online at Total cost per person for roundtrip Manila-Batanes-Manila is :  
Php 13,647.20 per person
Fare : Php 11,670.00
Taxes and fees: 1,977.20
  •  there are no child fare discounts.
  • the online payment can be made using Visa or Mastercard.
  • the online buyer is required to present the card that was used to purchase the ticket. Therefore, they require that at least one person in the group is the online buyer.  
More information on WHEN to catch SEAIR promo flights 

Airport Terminal Used by SEAIR
SEAIR currently flies from the Manila Domestic Airport. There are only two airlines flying from the Domestic Terminal. So, even during peak season, this terminal will not be crowded.


Will Kids Enjoy Batanes?

Will Kids Enjoy Batanes?

My husband and I went to Batanes March 2010, right after school. The kids were not with us. I didn't think they will enjoy the isolation and the nature tripping in Batanes. There's no TV at Fundacion Pacita, where we stayed. Internet connection is intermittent, meaning it comes and goes with the wind. We had a Smart Bro plug it but the connection is also difficult once the wind starts to blow. Smart has a good signal all throughout the island, but the Globe signal disappears occasionally. For kids who want to stay connected with their friends during out-of-town trips, this is not a situation they will like. Batanes is all about nature tripping and peace and quiet. There's nothing to do in the evenings after dinner.

So we decided not to bring them. We took our vacation, rested and enjoyed our time alone with each other. What is great about staying at Fundacion Pacita is it's fantastic view of the Pacific ocean and the hills. You don't have to go out of your room to enjoy what Batanes has to offer.

What Couples Will Enjoy
  • isolation
  • peace and quiet
  • great views at your private view deck (if you're staying at Fundacion Pacita)
  • proximity to Manila: only 1 1/2 hours away by plane
  • totally different climate and weather from Manila (Batanes is nearer Taiwan than Manila)
What Kids Will Enjoy
If you have no choice but to bring your kids with you, there are things they will also enjoy, like:
  • walking on top of Naidi Hills or Marlborough Hills while wrestling the strong winds (not your ordinary wind but signal no. 3 winds)
  • riding the fallowa to Sabtang. It is known to be a rough ride and will beat your ordinary amusement park ride. Just make sure they drink Bonamine the night before. The fallowa is designed to cut through the waves. So it doesn't look like your ordinary banca or outrigger. The route to Sabtang is the point where the Pacific Ocean meets the South China Sea so the waves will be rough.
  • swimming at the beach in Nakabuang beach in Sabtang during summer, but it's too cold to swim during the spring
  • picnic under the Nakabuang Arch at Nakabuang beach
  • fishing
  • building stone blocks at Valugan Bay
  • sitting on the boulders at Valugan bay near the waves
  • running down the hills of Marlborough hills
What Kids Will Not Like
Here are the things your kids may not like about the place. This is to prepare you so you can provide alternative activities for them.
  • no internet: just bring your own laptop and a Smart bro plug it for those times when you are lucky enough to catch the signal
  • no TV: bring an MP3 player or a laptop loaded with videos
  • no fast food meals: call and order in advance at Pension Ivatan. They need at least 1 1/2 hours to cook what you order. There are no pre-cooked meals in Batanes. So the kids will find it  unusual not to be able to have cooked food the moment they feel hungry. Another option is to call and have pizza delivered by Casa Napoli.