Batanes: An Unspoiled Archipelago Province in Northern Philippines

What’s truly attractive about Batanes is that despite being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, it remains largely unspoiled by progress. This is mainly due to the small archipelago being designated as a Protected Landscape and Seascape by the Filipino government in an effort to preserve its rare natural offerings. Apart from its indigenous plants, this also includes Batanes’ extremely diverse marine life, undulating terrain, limestone cliffs, and well-preserved rolling hills.

These same qualities are what separates Batanes from the rest of the other picturesque locations in the Philippines. Dubbed “the Scotland of the Philippines,” many places in Batanes simply don’t look like they belong in the tropics. From the rolling green hills to the cliffs that crash into the ocean, to the indigenous Ivatan stone houses that dot the landscape, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were in some part of Europe instead of the Asian tropics. Be that as it may, there’s also no shortage of pristine and undoubtedly Filipino beaches that you can visit in the province’s ten different islands.

The panoramic views of the natural landscape are really what Batanes is all about. The unspoiled surroundings provide the perfect frame for other attractions in the province, like the stone houses and structures of the local Ivatan people. The Ivatan used corals, wood, stone, and local cogon roofing to build houses, fortresses, and even churches that can stand up to the region’s typhoons. This is why even if many of these houses have been abandoned for years, they still stand today as historical landmarks.

While you’ll find many lighthouses at Batanes, the Basco Lighthouse in the provincial capital offers both spectacular views as well as a nearby restaurant offering good eats. Whichever of the ten islands you visit, you’ll be able to see the dormant volcano called Mt. Iraya. Buildings and communities in Batanes are separated by large swathes of land and/or sea. In short, it’s both the perfect place to finish a good book over the weekend as well as one of the most Instagrammable provinces in the country. Feel free to make the most out of your visit and do both.

There are different ways to get to Batanes. Philippine Airlines makes regular flights to Basco Airport from either Clark or Cebu – both of which are easily accessible cities from Metro Manila. Once you’re there, you can either shack up with a tour guide, brave the public transportation on your own, or rent a car for more mobility. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll be exploring “The Last Northern Philippine Frontier.”

Before you head to Batanes, make sure to check out our ‘Travel Tips to Have a Great Summer Vacation’. If there’s anything you can apply to the province from that list, it’s to check the weather – the geography of Batanes makes it especially susceptible to the region’s typhoons. The good news is that the locals are used to it. If you do end up in Batanes during a huge storm, just do as the locals say and you should be fine.


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