Without any exaggeration, Batanes, an archipelagic province located north of the Philippines, is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places you will ever see.
The sun, the ocean and the astoundingly beautiful natural landscapes, complemented by the gentle winds that greet visitors, and the warm smiles of its locals, make Batanes a definite must-see.
I had great expectation of Batanes, and the place far exceeded all of them. lovingly called “Home of the Winds” because of its windy location, Batanes’ tourism highlights are just so breathtaking, that I was often left speechless.
The Islands of Batan and Sabtang are the most visited places in the province because of their otherworldly landscapes and unique traditional structures.
Here are some of the highlights of any visit to Batanes.
Mt. Carmel Chapel
Spanish explorers settled in Batanes in the 18th century and they introduced catholic teachings to the locals, called Ivatans. This explains the abundance of churches and chapels all over the province. The construction of the Mt. Carmel Chapel was spearheaded by the influential and prominent Abad family who wanted to have a place of wroship nearby.The design and architecture followed the typical design of Ivatan stone houses, to make it strong against the many typhoons that ravage the province.
Valugan Boulder Beach
This highlight is basically one of the most unique site you will see in Batanes. Historical accounts say that the mighty Mt. Iraya, a dormant volcano that dominates the entire Batan Island’s landscape, erupted in 400 AD with so much force and it spewed millions of andesite rocks. The lashing of the waves for thousands of years, have resulted to a beach surrounded entirely by millions of boulders.
Vayang Rolling Hills
The most beautiful place in Batanes, at least in my humble opinion, is the Vayang Rolling Hills. And i am not alone with that opinion. if you browse through pictures of Batanes, you will almost always see it at the very top just because anyone who’s been there can attest to its beauty. Imagine, gentle green slopes, under the shadows of Mt. Iraya, on the edge of the Pacific and kissed by the vast blue skies. It doesn’t get better than that.
Another must-see in Batanes is the iconic Basco Lighthouse located on the hills of Naidi in Barangay San Antonio. It is one of three lighthouses proposed by the local government to serve as a beacon for fishermen, and to serve as a tourist destination. It has six storeys with the fifth floor serving as a viewing deck.
Racuh A Payaman
Often called as Marlboro Hills, this place gives Vayang Rolling Hills a run for its money. Located in southern Batan Island, photographers call it a perfect location because of the presence of the mountain, the hills, Mt. Iraya, and the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention the horses, cows and water buffalos that graze in its hilly terrain. It is indeed a piece of heaven.
Other places of interest include the Savidug Village in Sabtang Island, where you can still see traditional stone houses built by the Ivatans, the Japanese Tunnel and the 18th century San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao Town. You can also check out Fundacion Pacita, the most premium hotel in the province, SongSong Ruins, and the Fountain of Youth in Diura town.