Batanes Information

Northern most frontier

San Carlos Borromeo Church, Mahatao

Marine fisheries and eco-toursim core

The island province of Batanes is the smallest province of the Philippines with a land area of 230 square kilometers and was created by a series of volacanic activities and other geologic fores when Mt. Iraya erupted around 325 BC. It is bounded on the north by Bashi Channel, on the east by the Paciifc Ocean, on the west by the west Philippine sea side on the south by the Balintang Channel. Basco, its capital town is about 280KM north of Aparri, Cagayan or some 860KM north of Manila and about 10- KM south of Taiwan.

The pre-historic Ivatans who are nationally acclaimed as the “True insulares” were boat making and sea-fairing people who lived in small tribal communities that lieved on fishing, hunting and horticulture and raising root crops.

The ivatans traced their roots to the early immigratns from Formosa (twaian) and the Spaniards who came to the islands in the 16th century. To this day, they bear the features of their forebears – the Chinese almond eyes and the Spainiards aqualine nose. Their language is peppered with pidgin Spanish and is spoken with the rhythm of the Chinese language.

In 1782, then Governor General of the Philippines Jose Basco y Vargas sent an expedition to undertake the formalities of getting the cosent of the ivatans to become subjects of the King of Spain. On June 26, 1783, Joseph Huelva y Melgarjio became the first Governor of Batnaes. The new province was named Provincia de la Concepcion and Governor General basco was named “Conde dela Conquista de Batanes and the capital town was named after him.

By 1799, the Manila government was convinced that the Batans provincial government was unable to support itself and it was decided to downgrade it. The office of the governor was abolished and Valerio Bermudez, a Cagayano was appointed alcalde.

By 1855 the ibayat mission was formally recognized the same year when the era of the alcalde also ended and thegovernorship was restored indicating a mode of political and economic upswing. Fernando de la Cueva was assigned Governor.

Around 1890 a mail boat was coming every there months increasing the contact of the Ivatans with Luzon especially Manila. The export of pork, lard, cattle increased. Galvanized iron became available.

On September 18, 1898, katipuneros from Luzon hoisted their flag at Radowan point. Gov Julian Fortea became the last Spanish governor.

In February 1900, the USS Princeton landed in Batanes to begin American rule. The province a mere township under Cagayan, Btanes became a province again by the provision of Act 1952, encacted on May 20, 1909, with Otto scheeter as a govenrnor. A wireless telegraph tower and station was set up in Basco before 1920. When the Japanese arrived on Batanes Dec 8,1941 they bomb the airport  and destroyed the wireless telegraph  tower. Ivatan resentment turned to aggressive presence in 1945. Contact with the rest of the country increased after the war when the Philipines got its independence. The airport was rehabilitated , media and radio communicating have lessred cultural isolation. Infrustructures, electrification and deep-sea fishing improved and shift to rice from root crops as traditional subsistence was effected.

Batanes today boasts of undisturved and unspoiled beauty of nature preserved by the peace- loving Ivatans. A complete ecotourism destination, Batanes offers a kaleidoscope of natural beauty and ecological attractions from its rich marine resources to its verdant rolling terrain – all ideal for outdoor sports. Because fires and typhoons routinely destroyed government and mission buildings lime and stone churches began to be built around 1795 with the help of imported masons, stone cutters and carpenters from Cagayan. Today, houses built of meter- thick limestones walls and foot thick thatched/cogon roof whose main architectural consideration is its resistance to typhoon still stand.

Spanish Bridge, Ivana

In 1989, President Corazon Aquino visited Batanes while President Fidel V. Ramos celebrated his 65th Birthday in Basco in 1993. In 1994 the island province of Batanes was declared as one of the 10 integrated Protected Area system (IPAS) sites in the country.


Visiting the island province is best during the period from March to June. The entire Batan island can be toured using a Sarao type jeepney or vans at a rate of Php 1,200 per day. Boat fare to Sabtang island from Ivana seaport is Php 75 per person one way.

      1. Batan Island is the most populated island of the province. It is composed of our municipalities namely Ivana, Mahatao, Uyugan and the Capital, Basco, which is the seat of commerce education and provincial government. Day tours offer visitors the chance to enjoy nature at its finest without the trappings of commercialization, noise and pollution.
      2. Sabtang island – is a 30-minute rocky ride from Ivana seaport on a round –bottomed falowa, fourteen-kilometers southwest of Batan island. It has intermittent sand beaches and is dominated with steep mountains and deep canyons with small level areas sporadically found along the coastline. It is one of the most beautiful islands in Batanes. Visit Chavayan and witness the rolling of seen waves: sumnangan or the little hongkong, Nakamuan, the fishing village; watch the “kuyab” or migratory birds from Chiana that flock by hundreds during the month of October in Chavayan and the most vised sitio Morong with its morong beach featuresing the Ahaw/ Arc and the Nakabuang cave further along the stretch of the beach.
      3. Itbayat island – has the sarokan cave, the orchids that abound in the island to discover and the burial caves to see. It is three hours away by  Falowa from Basco seaport. The island is surrounded by massive boulders and cliffs rising from 20-70meters above sea level. Shaped like a giant bowl; it is the least visted and inhabited island of the province. It has no beach and no pier; it has newly cemented runwary for light aircrafts from Batan island and a regular ferry rungs the Batan-Itbayat route.
      4. Y’ami/ Mavudis Island- Is the northern most island of Batanes where one can see Taiwan on a clear day. “tatus” or coconut crabs abound in the island, which is surrounded by rich marine life.
      5. Mt. Irayais a dormant volcano standing at 1,517 meters above sealevel. It is good ofr a mountain climbing and trail blazing and is a few kilometers from Basco. It last eruption was in 505 AD and has become the source of fertile soile in Basco and parts of Mahatao.
      6. Radar Tukon- is an abandoned United States weather station located on a hilltop and is only 2.75 kilometers away from Basco. It offers a magnificient 360 view of Batan island, the south china sea, Mt. Iraya and basco proper on one side and boulder lined cliffs and the Pacific Ocean on the other side. At present it houses the Basco Radar station.
      7. Basco Port at Baluarte Bay in Basco is the port of call of cargo ships bringing goods from Manila and other boats plying the shores of Babuyan and Balintang Channels.
      8. Chapidan Bay is an hour of exhilarating trek from Basco Proper and offers a beautiful sunset view of Batanes.
      9. Sto. Domingo Church. Immaculate conception catherdral was built in 1812 under the supervision of the ODminican friars. Its is one of the first limestone buildings  to be built under the Spanish regime. The convent beside the church was built in 1814. Buildings in Batanes are traditionally two storet LIME and STONE HOUSES AND CHURCHES with meter-thick cogon roofs believe to last about 60 years. These buildings were built around 1795 with the help of the imported masons, stone cutters and carpenters from Cagayan.
      10. Naidi hills is walking distrance from basco proper offering a good sunset view and mothst accessible lighthouses in the island for late afternoon and early evening trips and al fresco dining. The restaurant by the hill offer visitors relaxing meals and coffee and souvenir shop a short walk from the lighthouse.
      11. Valugan Bay has a kilometer long stretch of beach with multi-colored rocks and is only three kilometers from Basco proper. It has a good view of claming sea while  the stones and rocks offer visitors to spend the hours away as they play.
      12. Pacita abad museum/ Fundacion pacita Batanes nature lodge- home of the paintisng sof the world renowened artist Pacita Barsan Abad is now open for public viewing. It is an economy hotel with de luxe facilities located at brgy. Chanarian-tukon.
      13. Japanese tunnel- located in the hills of tukon, this five door tunnel complete with the series of chambers, a bunker that served as a lookout spot and a water reservoir; was consturected during the Japanese occupation as a shelter house for solidiers. Descending the steps to the under ground level in almost complete darkness is a thrill that should not be missed. Locally known as Dipnaysupauan is n interconnected network of tunnels dug by Japanese soldiers which served asshelter during the Japanese Occupation until the end of WWII.

        Boulder Beach, Basco San Joaquin

      14. San Carlos Borromeo  Church- was completed in 1789 and still retains its centuries old features. It has been declared by the National historical Institute as Hertigae stite and is one of the region’s National Cultural Treasure. Visitors are inveted to write their messages and prayers at Batanes open book archive located at the church convent.
      15. Chawa Cave- is for the adventurous. An enchanted cave with natural salt bed whose mounth opens to the South China sea and is accessible through the boulders of Chawa point. It is four kilometers from Basco.
      16. Sitio diura at racuh-aidi- is a fishermen’s village in Mahatao located along the Mananoy bay. Within the area is the legendary spring of youth and crystal cave with living limestone formations and Racuh-A-IDI old settlements  04 Diatay beach is a cave with multi-colored rocks and white sand located along the highway of Mahatao conducive for swimming and excursions.
      17. Communal pasture land is a 25 minutes on  good road from Basco. Also called Racuh A payaman, it offers a panorama view of the hills and the seal in this area the cows outnumber the people.
      18.  Wind Turbine Farm system- installed at Mt. Sumhao in Mahatao was launched on August 7, 2004. IT is the first commercially operated hybrid system in the Philippines. The three units of 60-Kilowatt wind turbines complement the diesel generator system that Batan island is using.

Naidi Hills, San Antonio

    1. Radiwan Seasport are historical spots where Katipuneros landed in 1898. It is also the ferry station of falowas plying the island of Sbatang and Itbayat.
    2. San jose Church – was built 1814. One can climb and explore its crenellated fortress-like campanile. The church faces the Ivana seaport and Honesty shop.
    3. Honesty coffee shop is open for buyers who get their goods and leave their money on a wooden box. The shop allows visitors to make their own coffee and indulge in snacks and other goods on sale.
    4. Mt. Matarem is an extinct volcano 495 meters at its summit.
    5. White beach at vatang, hapnit and mavatuy points.
    6. House of dakay is one of the oldest houses in Ivana open to visitors who sign the guest book and give donations and take picture with the homeowner lola florestida
    7. Ruins of songsong is a ghost barangay, which features of cluster of roofless shells of old houses abandoned after the tidal wave that hit the island of Batan in the 50’s and is one hour road trip from Basco. It has good stretch of beach recommended for swimmingOld loran station- used to houses an old US coast guard detachment for almost two decades and is only 45 minutes from Basco on good roads. The station has been renovated to house the Provincial Museum of Batanes and will be a future branch of National Museum.
    8. Basco Idjang is and ancient ivatan fortress used a lookout point to protect the locals from marauders and invaders before the arrival of the Spaniards in Batanes.
    9. Sitio Tinyan provides an awesome view of the Pacific Ocean from Sabtang. It offeres frolicking experience and magnificent waves for photo opsl shop for local delicacies and taste of the Tubho Teaon a windy morning.
    10. Vayang rolling hills provides stunning views of verdant grasslands and blue sea. Located on the western side of Batan island, enjoy the stunning view of the hills and rock cliffs meeting with the seas while standing windblown.