UPDATED | Batanes is a group of islands geographically located at the northern tip of the Philippines. It is one of the top travel destinations in Northern Luzon, and an elusive dream destinations to some. Batan Island is the main provincial island of the Province of Batanes. It is the commercial and business center of the province and has the largest population compared to the other islands of Batanes. If you’re planning to visit Batanes, Batan Island already has a lot to offer you, here are top tourist attractions in Batan Island, Batanes.
Batanes is known for its green rolling hills, deep blue water, and a culture unique to Ivatans. Besides the natural beauty and the rich culture of its people, it is also rich in history as evidence by the tourist attractions you will find in Batan Island, Batanes.
Top Tourist Attractions in Batan Island, Batanes
Vayang Rolling Hills
Our first stop was the scenic Vayang Rolling Hills. It is a vast land of slopes and hills that offers the view of the ocean at one side and Mt. Iraya in the other. While the scenic view is the reason for tourists to flood it, the locals use it to graze their cows, and goats. It is a sight to have during the summer months with blue skies, and greenery taking up most of what you would see. But in the winter season while the grasses are still green, and you will find animals grazing in the hills, and grey skies with strong whipping and howling winds from the Pacific. It is a different experience all together.
Basco Lighthouse at Naidi Hills
The iconic lighthouse in Batanes is the famaous Basco Lighthouse that is perched on Naidi Hills. The Basco Lighthouse is one of the three lighthouses in Batanes, two are in Sabtang Island and Mahatao, not only is one of the working lighthouses in the province but it is also a top tourist attractions in Batan Island, Batanes. The lighhouse offers a postcard perfect view of the island of Batan.
Basco Town Proper
Basco is a municipality itself in the province of Batanes. The town is named after General Jose Basco, who led the Philippines to freedom from the control of New Spain, which is today Mexico. It is the commercial and business center of Batanes. You will find the airport, hotels, and restaurants within the town proper. It is fairly small, and everything is accessible by foot. The buildings and houses are low lying with strong winds frequents the town.
Mahatao Boat Shelter Port
Mahatao Boat Shelter was the biggest infrastructure in the time that it was built last October 2005 to protect the boats and serve as shelter for vessels during bad weather that Batanes is frequent to have. It has since become a popular tourist stop since then and is best viewed from the elevated road and from the shelter itself.
Chawa View Deck
Batanes is also known for its lashing strong waves on the rocky and rolling cliff sides. The Chawa View Deck is one of the breathtaking spots in Batan Island as one can marvel at the formidable cliffs of the island against the strong waves from the sea. You will also see glimpse of large rock formations near the shore that breaks incoming waves into foamy water reaching the cliff side. It has steps leading down to the shoreline that is treacherous during wet season, and salt water from the sea making every step slippery to take.
San Jose de Ivana Church
The San Jose de Ivana Church is also known as Ivana Church. It is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Saint Joseph with a colourful history like the culture of Batanes. It was first established by the Dominicans as a chapel in 1787 to serve residents of Ivana, Sabtang, and Uyugan. When the residents of Sabtang were allowed to return to their island, the congregation size reduced significantly. It was also where the Filipino revolutionaries waved the Katipunan flag in its church bell tower on the 18th of September 1898 only a few days after the Revolutionary Congress was opened.
Racuh a Payaman
Racuh a Payaman is the famous rolling hills and one of the top tourist attractions in Batan Island, Batanes. It is also known as the famous Marlboro Hills in the Philippines. It serves as grazing spots for the locals bovine but is known by tourists as the breathtaking hills that comes alive. One can find a spot, and chill a bit on one of its slopes looking out to the sea or a view of the Tayid Lighthouse, Mt. Iraya, and Diura Beach.
San Carlos Borromeo Church & Blank Library
San Carlos Borromeo Church in Mahatao was built by the Dominicans in 1789 and was rebuilt in 1873 Onesimo Polo, and a culturally significant structure in the province. It is listed as one of the recoginized cultural icons in the Philippines by the National Commision for Culture and the Arts or NCCA. It also where the Maywang a Libro du Vatan or Batanes Blanck Book Archive also known as the Blank Library is found. The small library has rows of shelves containing blank pages of hardbound books where people can write their thoughts and feelings down.
Honesty Coffee Shop
Lastly we stop by the Honesty Coffee Shop. This small and unassuming shop is known for being an unmanned operating store. It is unique from any stores as the owners put trust on the customers to pay for whatever they took or bought based on honesty system. Nobody is looking after the shop unless to refill the supplies with only small boxes around the shop where payment is dropped after each purchase. It has souvenirs for sale, snacks or hot drinks you can serve yourself, and home necessities like condiments and such for both tourists and locals.
There are many tourist destinations in Batanes Island than there are on this list. To fully experience Batanes and its group of Islands I would suggest one should have a longer visit than what we had. And if you’re planning to book with a travel agency and have them prepare your trip like ours did with Batanes Wakay Travel and Tours, make sure to let them know of the places you want to visit. Batanes may one of the smallest province in the Philippines both in population, and land area but it boasts the beauty of nature, colourful culture, and the warm hospitality if the Ivatan people.
Check out our Batanes Travel Videos
If you’re planning to visit top tourist attractions in Batan Island, Batanes – check out the Batanes Travel Guide post and the videos I managed to take during our trip!