Batanes: A Slice of Heaven

Batanes: A Slice of Heaven

It can never be BETTER than this!…
It leaves you mesmerized!
It leaves you wondering!
It leaves you feeling awesome!
It leaves you wanting more!
It leaves you nothing but HAPPY moments, immortalized by epic poses and jump-shots you’ll make here.

Batanes will welcome you with its beautiful and outraging sceneries. The views are breathtaking; the picturesque lighthouses, the cattle grazing on dramatic cliffs, the waves smashing on natural rock formations, the ruins of stonehouses and the scenes from daily village life. Truly Batanes is such a wonder.  No words could express its essence.

A must place to see and the locals here are truly admirable for all their effort in preserving such a wonderful gift. So unleash the child in you! Take that picture perfect smile and bring it on in Batanes!


The Province of Batanes (Ivatan: Probinsya nu Batanes and Filipino: Lalawigan ng Batanes) is an archipelago province in the region of Cagayan Valley, Philippines. It is the northernmost province of the Philippines and is also the smallest province, both in terms of population and land area. The provincial capital is Basco on Batan Island.

The island group is located about 162 kilometres (101 mi) north of Luzon and about 190 kilometres (120 mi) south of Taiwan, separated from the Babuyan Islands of Cagayan Province, Luzon, by the Balintang Channel and from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel.


During Pre-Spanish Period, Ivatans were known to be a boat-making and seafaring people who use to settle into tribal communities and do hunting, fishing and others for means of living. It was in Torongan Cave in Itbayat Island about 4500 years back according to recent studies was the first dwelling place of the Ivatans – part of Austronesian family.  Another interesting part is the ivatan fortresses called (idiang) – pronounced as (Ijang). Where tribal community was headed by a chieftain called Mangpus, followed by Mapolon and Caillianes and the Slaves (but slaves before are not by birth). Idiang serves as a refuge of last resort and security against attack from other tribe. Up to this date, these large artifacts still visible and the most prominent is the one from Savidug, Sabtang.

On the Spanish period in 1782, then Governor General of the Philippines Jose Basco y Vargas sent an Expedition to Batanes to undertake the formalities of getting the consent of the Ivatan to become subject of the King of Spain. On June 26, 1973, Jose Huelva y Melgajo became the first Governor of Batanes. The new province was named Provincia dela Concepcion. Gov. Jose Basco was named “Conde dela Conquista de Batanes” and the capital town was named after him. Lime and stone churches began to build around 1795 with the help of imported masons, stonecutters and carpenters from Cagayan.

On the American Period, Otto Scheerer was appointed the first Governor of the Province. A wireless telegraph was erected to maintain distant communication and better roads were built and agricultural land was converted into an airport, public school started, launching of sanitation campaign, general health and Hygiene.

Japanese Occupancy, Arrival in Batanes on December 8, 1941 who bombed and destroyed the airport and wireless telegraph tower.


Batanes Hills

Almost one-half of Batanes are hills and mountains. Batan Island, with a land area of 35 square kilometres (14 sq mi), is generally mountainous on the north and southeast. It has a basin in the interior. Itbayat Island, which has a total area of 95 square kilometres (37 sq mi), slopes gradually to the west, being mountainous and hilly along its northern, eastern coast. As for Sabtang, mountains cover the central part of its 41 square kilometres (16 sq mi) area, making the island slope outward to the coast.


Batanes has a tropical climate (Köppen climate classification Af). The average yearly temperature is 26.0 °C (78.8 °F), and the average monthly temperature ranges from 22.0 °C (71.6 °F) in January to 28.5 °C (83.3 °F) in July, similar to that of Southern Taiwan. Precipitation is abundant throughout the year; the rainiest month is August while the driest month is April while having November–February as the coldest months. There is a misconception that Batanes is constantly battered by typhoons. Batanes is mentioned frequently in connection with typhoons because it holds the last weather station in the north of the country. It is a reference point for all typhoons that enter the Philippine area.


The people of Batanes are called Ivatan and share prehistoric cultural and linguistic commonalities with the Babuyan on Babuyan Island and the Tao people of Orchid Island.

The main languages spoken in Batanes are Ivatan, which is spoken on the islands of Batan and Sabtang, Itbayaten, which is spoken primarily on the island of Itbayat, and Ilocano. The Ivatan which is dominant in the province is considered to be one of the Austronesian languages. From college level down to elementary level, the language is widely spoken.


The large majority of the island’s people adhere to Roman Catholicism by 94%. The remaining faiths are followed by some other Christian Churches.


Sabtang Island

is undisturbed and unspoiled. The island has lots of natural attractions guaranteed to satisfy the most sophisticated nature lovers. It has intermittent white sand beaches with steep mountains and deep canyons with small level areas sporadically found along the coastline. Southwest of Batan Island, Sabtang is accessible by 30-minute falowa ride from Radiwan Port in Ivana. Sabtang Island is also the take off point for Ivuhos Island from Barangay Nakanmuan.

Itbayat Island

is located north of Batan Island. Itbayat is shaped like a giant bowl. The island is surrounded by massive boulders and cliffs rising from 20–70 feet above sea level and has no shoreline. It has a dirt airstrip for light aircraft. A regular ferry runs the Batan-Itbayat route. Travel time is about four hours on falowa from Basco Seaport or Radiwan Port in Ivana. A light plane flies from Basco Airport to Itbayat at P1,875 per person and leaves only when the plane is full.

Batan Island

is the most populated island of the province. It is composed of four municipalities namely Basco, Ivana, Uyugan and Mahatao. Basco is the center of commerce and seat of the provincial government.



is the northernmost island of Batanes. It is also called the Orchid Island. One can see Formosa (Taiwan) on a clear day. Tatus or coconut crabs abound in the island surrounded by rich marine life.

Di-atay Beach

is a beautiful cove with multi-colored rocks and white sand ideal for picnics and beach combing. Located along the highway of Mahatao, it is 9.85 kilometers from Basco.




in Chadpidan Bay is an hour of exhilarating trek from Basco proper (3 km). It is famous for its beautiful sunset view.


Chawa Cave

is for the more adventurous. An enchanted cave with natural salt bed whose mouth opens to the south China Sea and is accessible through the boulders of Chawa Point in Mahatao. It is four kilometers from Basco.

Sitio Diura at Racuj-a-Ide

is the fishermens village at Mananoy Bay. Fishing season is marked by a festival in mid-March called Kapayvanuvanua. Visitors are treated with fresh fish delicacies from the Pacific Ocean. Within the area is the legendary Spring of Youth and living cave with crystal limestone formations. The bay is nine kilometers from Basco proper.


White Beach

at Vatang, Hapnit and Mavatuy Point all in Mahatao.



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