By Ruth Santos

In the island of the northern winds, the land of the true Insulares, experience nature’s magnificence in its purest form.  In Batanes, the scenery is so rich, so captivating, and so mesmerizing, it permeates your whole being and invokes the feeling of calmness and peace.

Time has stand still in Batanes. The Ivatans, native inhabitants of Batanes, are considered the “True Insulares” since they have kept the purity of their gene pool amidst time.  They could trace their Malay roots starting from the Spaniards who came in the 16th century and the early immigrants from Formosa, Taiwan.

Found at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, Batanes is the smallest province in the Philippines in terms of population and land area. It is composed of ten islands but only the three major islands are inhabited: Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat. These wind-swept islands lie along the typhoon belt and get frequent typhoon visits.

Batan island is the main island of Batanes, where Basco, the province’s capital, is located.  It is a volcanic island shaped like a dumbbell, each end is commonly known as Batan North and Batan South respectively.  It is the most populated of the islands and is composed of four municipalities namely Basco, Ivana, Uyugan and Mahatao.

Sabtang island can be reached through a 30-minutes ride in a faluwa, Batanes’ small and riggerless boat, from Radiwan Port in Ivana. Undisturbed and unspoiled, Sabtang has lots of amazing sceneries that leaves one breath taken.  It is known for its lighthouse, old stone houses of the Ivatan villages of Chavayan and Savidug, and white sand beaches with steep mountains and deep canyons.

Although Itbayat Island is the largest of the three inhabited islands of Batanes, it is the least visited due to distance and harsh waves. To reach the island, travel time is 3-4 hours by a fast boat or 15 minutes by plane, although the plane will not leave unless there are enough passengers. Itbayat is also comprised of small and uninhabited northern islands namely Dinem, Siayatan, Ditarem, A’li, Misanga and Mavulis.

The best time to travel to Batanes is December to May. The recommended length of stay is at least 4 days/3 nights to properly see nature’s amazing sceneries, also taking into account the travel time. The mode of transportation on the island is by bike, tricycle, or a van for large parties. Travel to Batanes, see the majestic views, and fall in love like countless other visitors did.

How to get there

From Manila, Philippine Airlines fly daily to Basco, Batanes, while Skyjet Air flies every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Travel time is 70-110 minutes. From Basco Airport, The town center is just a short walk away.

Valugan Sunrise, Batan North

What to see in Batan North:

• Mount Carmel Church

• Radar Station, Tukun

• Japanese Tunnel

• Idiang Viewing

• Fundacion Pacita

• Valugan Boulder Beach

• Vayang Rolling Hills

• Naidi Hills

• Basco town proper

• Abad Street

• Provincial Capitol

• Rizal Park

• Basco Lighthouse

• Domingo Cathedral

What to see in Batan South:

• Mahatao

• Chawa Viewdeck

• Spanish Lighthouse

• San Jose Borromeo Church

• Rakuh-a-Payaman (Marlboro Country)

• Ivana

• Old Spanish Bridge

• House of Dakay (one of the oldest stone house in Batanes)

• San Jose Obrero Church

• Honesty Coffee Shop

• Sung-sung ruins Viewing

• Alapad Hill and Rock Formation Viewing

• Old US Naval Base Viewing

• Tayid Lighthouse

• Uyugan – Barangay Imnajbu

What to see in Sabtang Island:

• Travel to Ivana Port

• Sabtang Town Tour

• Barangay Savidug Community

• Savidug Stone Houses

• St. Thomas Chapel

• Idjang Sleeping Beauty Viewing

• Tinyan (viewing of the Pacific Ocean)

• Barangay Chavayan Hamantad

• Vakul Weavers Association

• Vernacular Houses

• Barangay Malakdang

• Morong Beach

• Mayahaw Natural Arc

• San Vicente Church

Sabtang Island, Batanes

What to see in Itbayat Island:

• Chinapoliran Port

• Lake Kavaywan

• Mt. Karoboban View Deck

• Torongan Cave

• Torongan Hills

  Small Lagoon

• Rapang Cliffs

• Stone Bell

• The Beach of Kaxobcan

• Mt. Riposed

• Nahili Votox

• Komayasakas Cave and Water Source

• Manoyok

• Northern Sarokan Cave

• Eastern Sarokan Cave

• Pevangan Cave

• Do’tboran Cave

• Agosan Rocks

• Port Mauyen

Where to stay:

If you wish to stay in the Town proper:

• DDD Habitat

• Marfel’s Homestay

• Brandon’s Lodge

• D’ Islands’ Lodge

• Midtown Inn

• Martin’s Inn

• Berlen Lodge

• Shanedel’s Inn

• Octagon Bed and Dine

• Batanes Resort

• Nathaniel’s Lodge

If you wish to stay near the sea:

• Amboy’s Hometel

• Dive Batanes

• Bernardo’s Hotel

If you wish to stay on the Mountain Top:

• Fundacion Pacita

If you wish to stay in Itbayat Island:

• Levinda Lodge

• Cano’s Lodge

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