19 Must-Visit Places In Batanes This 2019

Is 2019 the year you finally visit Batanes? (HARD YES.)
PHOTO: (LEFT) Instagram/libreashaira, (RIGHT) Instagram/katrinatricia

The Batanes islands aren’t the easiest to get to. Planning the trip almost takes as much effort as heading to another country. But considering how unlike the rest of the Philippines its landscape, climate, and culture are, it might as well be! If you haven’t yet, be sure to visit this otherworldly destination. Here are the top destinations to visit in Batanes in 2019.

  1. Basco Lighthouse


    Located atop lush green hills, the Basco Lighthouse is easily accessible to visitors via a hike that is just over a kilometer long, starting from Port of Basco. Once at the lighthouse, you can climb the six-storey structure to a panoramic viewing deck that allows you to see the entirety of Batan Islandand on a clear day, awards you views of Sabtang and Itbayat Islands as well.

  2. Mount Iraya


    This heavily-forested active volcano is located on Batan Island, and is the highest point in the province of Batanes. Beside offering a gorgeous green landscape unlike what is typical of the rest of the Philippines, Mount Iraya also comes with its own mythology that gives insight to the local culture. Being a sacred site to the indigenous Ivatan people, it is seen as a protective mother overlooking the local community, and warning of unfortunate incidents to come.

  3. Valugan Boulder Beach


    As a result of a Mount Iraya eruption over a thousand years ago, andesite rocks were scattered around one half of Batan Island. After years of being battered by the winds and waves of the Pacific ocean, these polished boulders now make up the comely shores of Basco. To gain a new appreciation of the Philippines’ vast range of natural beauty, be sure to visit this site.

  4. Fountain of Youth


    Want to stay young forever? Take a dip in the Fountain of Youth, also known as Rakuh-a-idi Spring. This natural spring pool that overlooks the beach, and offers a breathtaking view of Mount Iraya, is a refreshing spot to visit in the summer. It is accessible via tricycle or private van from Diura Village, plus a thirty-minute walk on a well-trodden path that passes through a pre-Hispanic settlement.

  5. Chavayan Village


    This tiny village located on Sabtang Island showcases century-old stone houses designed to withstand frequent typhoons. However, more than its quiet, historic location free of tourist crowds, what’s special about this place is its culture. The locals proudly display their strong tradition of weaving, which visitors can purchase. One of the most notable pieces is the traditional Ivatan headdress, which is known as the valkul. It is designed to act as both protection from sun and rain, and are made from the fibers of local plants. Visiting this village is a great way to connect with and appreciate unique facets of the Filipino culture.

  6. Vayang Rolling Hills


    One of the most recognizable spots in Batanes, taking in the majestic views from (and of) the Vayang Rolling Hills will make you feel like you’re in some pensive Game of Thrones scene. But betterbecause it’s not a fantasy. Standing in the middle of expansive grasslands set against the unending sea, with the cool wind whipping against you is unlike any other experience you’ll have on other Philippine coasts. So be sure to put this destination on your Batanes travel itinerary.

  7. Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel


    For a bit of history, stop by the Japanese Tunnel set in the Tukon Hills. The Batanes Islands were an integral part of Philippine World War Two history, so if you want to learn more about what the local Ivatan population endured at the hands of the invading Japanese army, you must visit this site. Being in the physical space that the Ivantans were forced to dig in order to protect Japanese armies, gives you an appreciation for the resilience of this indigenous group despite unimaginable hardship.

  8. Tukon Chapel


    Tukon Chapel is one of Batanes’ most popular wedding locationsand for good reason. This beautiful, rustic structure inspired by the Ivatans’ stone houses is so unlike the other chapels in the Philippines that it almost has a pre-Medieval European vibe that will make any bride feel like an ethereal fairytale princess. And it doesn’t hurt that the chapel has a stunning view of the sea.

  9. Basco Cathedral


    Basco Cathedral, also known as Santo Domingo Cathedral, is another iconic structure in the region. It is more reminiscent of other churches in the Philippines, but it doesn’t make it any less of a sight to appreciate. Being over 200 years old, this building is an important part of local history.

  10. Naidi Hills


    While this famous site can get a bit crowded (at least by Batanes standards), it’s 360-degree are gorgeous from every angle. This means that you can take that amazing photograph, or have an intimate moment with your loved ones, without strangers cramping your space. We recommend catching the sunset here.

  11. Fundacion Pacita Lodge


    For an unforgettable stay, book an accommodation at the unique Fundacion Pacita Lodge. Straight out of a fairytale, this hotel is set atop a hill that overlooks the sapphire sea. Because it used to be the home of internationally-acclaimed artist Pacita Abad, the interiors are covered with her artwork, giving the location a cozy, eccentric vibe.

  12. Nakabuang Beach


    This pinkish-sand beach is located on Sabtang Island. It features an undeveloped coastline, interesting rock formations, and nearby cottages where you can seek shelter from the sun. Visitors can only get there via boat from Batan Island, making it a remote location perfect for a serene getaway.

  13. Local food

    Because of how untouched Batanes is, their local food is entirely organic. Their vegetables and fish are especially fresh and flavorful. Be sure to try their kinilaw-style lataven fish dish, which is delightfully sour, and their comforting gabi dish reminiscent of laing, which is known as vunes. One especially unique dish is uved or uvud, which looks like meatballs, but is made from the trunk of banana plats, ground meat, fish, and seasonings.

  14. Diura Village


    This fishing village is a great way to see contemporary Batanes culture, and to gain a deeper understanding of how important the seaand protecting itis to local survival. Composed of just under 40 families, this village is very small. So, in order to help preserve their culture, be mindful of respecting their land and rituals when you visit.

  15. Honesty Coffee Shop


    For a cup of coffee that warms your belly as well as your heart, head to Honesty Coffee Shop. This picturesque café is true to its name: It is totally unmanned and open 24/7. It relies on the honor system with designated “pay here” boxes for customers to use.

  16. Homoron Blue Lagoon


    Tucked between rocky cliffs, the Homoron Blue Lagoon provides a rare experience of calm-ish waters in Batanes, for those who want to swim. To get there, you can hop on a tricycle from Basco, and take a short (but steep, and rocky) route to this isolated spot.

  17. Pension Ivatan


    One of the best places to eat in Batanes is Pension Ivatan in Basco. This hostel/restaurant is located just across from the airportso you have no excuse to miss it. They offer fresh and delicious local cuisine, including local favorites such as payi (lobster) and ginger-turmeric rice.

  18. Marlboro Hills


    Also known as Racuh a Payaman, the Marlboro Hills is another must-visit spot. The rugged hills overlooking the sea sweeping over rock formations are postcard-perfect. It’s a great place to commune with nature. It is almost a religious experience to take in the cool air and to have your entire periphery engulfed by natural beauty.

  19. Alapad Rock Formation


    A roadside attraction unlike any other, the Alapad Rock Formation flanks a paved highway, and acts a prehistoric picture frame for the wild seascape. It’s a highlight of any roadtrip or bike ride through Batan Island. So don’t be shy to pull over and take this special scene.

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