Batanes is a small paradise comprises of 10 stunning islands near Taiwan (190 km south). However, the locals in this town don’t speak or understand Taiwanese language. It is the smallest province in the country with only 17,000+ population. Hence, every local know each other. Recently, it earned a nomination in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Both the natives and their language are known as Ivatan. However, as a foreign, you don’t have worry about the language because most of them speak fluent English.
Here are Top 7 Things to do in Batanes:
1. Visit the Beaches
Chadpidan and Nakabuang Beaches are two of the most well-known beaches in Batanes. A picnic plan will be perfect if you are visiting in a group and love to play music. Visitors usually grasp some booze, relax by the shore and grill some flying fish. Observe Diura Village’s stunning coastal terrain. Head to magical Homoron Blue Lagoon, in Mahatao. It was also known as Spaniard’s Lagoon as only the Spaniards were permitted to swim. You must not miss the sunset and sunrise on the beach. Enjoy cool and windy weather. Visit Valugan Beach to see some cool and stunning views. There are some wonderful caves near the coast which every visitor much explore. Head to Chawa and Nakabuang Cave in Sabtang.
2. Visit other islands and interact with Ivatan people
Ivatans are proactive as they approach and greet every visitor. They will guide them to the famous landmarks. Take help from them to visit Fundacion Pacita Lodge in Basco. Batanes includes 10 beautiful islands with three occupied ones which are Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat. Itbayat is the largest island. Batan is the most popular and populated island of Batanes with 6 spectacular districts. Sabtang is the barely populated and southernmost island.
Other than these three inhabited ones, you can visit the unspoiled islands. Siayan and Mavudis are two of the popular islands open for visitors. To visit these islands, you have to travel first to Mavudis and stay in Siayan as Mavudis doesn’t possess portable water. The sea waves are a bit strong in these parts. Hence, your trips could be a bit of a ride.
3. See The Traditional Stone Houses
No, the people don’t live in caves. Their ‘stone houses’ look similar to any other house, however, made with different materials like limestone and corals. The locals usually call their houses as ‘vahay‘. They used to live in cogon houses, however, the Spaniards forced and taught them the process to make stone houses. It was a great change since Batanes occasionally experience earthquakes and these houses can not only withstand earthquakes but also strong typhoons. In present times, houses are made of modern brick or cement in Basco. However, still, there are plenty of stone houses in Ivana and Mahatao. You will find locals living in stone house communities in Itbayat and Sabtang.
4. Enjoy the rolling hills
The place is really iconic in itself with hilly and mountainous landscapes. There are so many spots to explore! Visit the hills for hiking and enjoying the view. Don’t forget to take jump shots. All the tourists love to take jump shots in various picturesque places which are spread almost everywhere. Your Batanes experience will only be complete when you go for hiking.
If you are one of the mountaineering or trailblazing folks, you should definitely make time for trekking. Head to Mt. Iraya. You can reach the top within 3 hours. It is a dormant volcano rising at about 1,517m. Enjoy this terrain.
As for the hills, visit Naidi Hills and explore the Basco lighthouse. Head to the island’s own ‘Marlboro Country,’ a public pastureland! The locals call it ‘Rakuh a Payaman’ meaning a large area to walk around. Enjoy the breathtaking view of dramatic cliffs and large pasture lands. You will find free-roaming cows and visitors who relax around with carabaos.
5. Visit the man-made attractions
Batanes is also known for its lighthouses. Head to some of the churches and lighthouses. Batanes possess plenty of churches which were made in the 70s or 80s. Some of them have been rebuilt like St. Dominic de Guzman Cathedral. However, it still holds the same appeal. All the municipalities possess churches. However, one of the most iconic is Mahatao church which was made in 1873. It is also known as San Carlos Borromeo Church. The NCCA and the National Museum declared it as a cultural icon. In Naidi Hill, explore the rounded Basco Lighthouse facing the West Philippine Sea. In Mahatao, explore the hexagonal Tayid Lighthouse facing the Pacific Ocean.
6. Roam around in two wheels
There are shops ready to offer visitors bicycles and motorcycles. So go ahead, this is a must! Other than the jeepneys, these are their common means of transportation. Although now you can see some cars in Batanes, it is much more fun with a bike as the roads are not broad enough. Go and travel by bike through the winding and cliff-hugging roads. Don’t forget to blow the horn on a curved road! Head to Uyugan to explore the spectacular Alapad Pass. It has a splendid rock formation and an awesome sight of the nearby beaches.
7. Top Loading and Faluwa
It’s really dangerous. You get to see a 360 view of its surroundings! If you are daring then take permission from the jeep owner for ‘top-loading’! The jeep will be moving through winding roads.
You might get fears of getting thrown off the cliff. However, it’s really fun.
Plan your trip now and explore the unexplored beaches.